we should celebrate life while we can
I met Nathan Payne at The Red Eyed Fly somewhere around 2009 in Austin TX.
He had a tambourine duck taped to his foot that shook madly as he delivered a tantrum of truth that amounted to one of the most electrifying sets that I've seen - in my own avid search of meaning of life through art. I remember him singing the lyrics to "Let's get Married" ... "I wanna marry, marry, Mary the marijuana fairy in the scary mortuary where they bury all the bums" like it was yesterday. The reality of his own passion through the heart of a young musician trying to pave my own way in a music town was terrifying and freeing. That night I bought his record his record All the Diamonds You Can Eat from him as he tried to squeeze the juice of a single man's life (up to that point) into one transaction for a cd. He had something more to say to me. Sometimes an outpour of everything is only an introduction, that's only for the best of us though... or to say that those of us interested beyond the introduction have the opportunity to see into the meaning of life.
From my point of view -
(Nathan and myself have never agreed 100% theologically, philosophically or sociologically but that has NEVER MATTERED!" - today he said something that means everything to me "I don't believe in subjective truth, but I believe in people who are searching for the truth." - NP
I subsequently booked Nathan a "gig" at our house (where I set the yard on fire trying to replicate the 'flaming cymbal') through MySpace which came to a fiery halt in communication because he had to cancel. I objected to cancellation and he replied super pissed off and totally railed me with his reality of having a (probably) shitty girlfriend, driving a cab, and trying to make ends meet like the rest of us.
I continued listening, watching, and admiring Nathan's journey for 10 years silently.
I HAD BEEN FOLLOWING NATHAN AND SAW THAT HE WAS LEAVING THE MIDWEST
(MIDDLE EARTH, THE MIDDLE EAST, CHICAGO SUBURBS) AMERICA FOR MEXICO - TO POSSIBLY NEVER RETURN to THE STATES
He had already done a South American tour and spent 20 Years living out of a van. He's already brushed his teeth in a San Fransisco park on Christmas morning. So I had no grounds to try to dissuade him from this life choice, but I thought maybe he could make a stop in Fort Worth on the way and give us a hell of a time and some perspective.
Nathan has worked as hard or harder than anyone I've ever known, and when I presented the show idea to him after not speaking for 10 years (not sure if he even remembered me) the conversation was at best dicey. We went back and forth for a few days (weeks?), but landed on the idea that 'What is a world worth living in if Nathan Payne can't share his art in our town?'
We came to a place of faith. Somewhere around 30 tickets were sold, and from my point of view everyone received something that can't be calculated in dollars.
Nathan tried his hand living in Fort Worth, but was called to Mexico. He initially left with his van and two cats which he has cared for as much as a human could. He has one cat remaining, and only a few days ago he lost his mother who was the only person "who was ever on his side". The story progresses as Nathan digs through scorpion effigies for the rest of us. Those of us who skirt the edges of being an invalid. He seeks and tells the true tale, not on vacation, but truly vacating the remains of a broken promise of a society and traveling into the unknown.
Imagine yourself in a hotel in Mexico with a cat, having poured your life into music, with only one more day of rent, if there ever was a moment to give, this is it. This is the art and struggle we all dream of, and the time has come, or it will pass.
check out more of Nathan Payne at