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40 Musicians and Their New Year's Resolutions

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40 Musicians and Their New Year's Resolutions

As we roll the calendar to 2012, most of us take time to reflect as another year has just come to a close. In the process, we come up with ways to improve ourselves, using Jan. 1 as the starting point for what we hope becomes change for the better. We spoke with 40 musical acts about their own New Year’s resolutions. See what artists including Dawes’ Taylor Goldsmith, Wire’s Colin Newman, Sharon Van Etten and others hope to accomplish in the coming year.

Nick Furgiuele
Gringo Star
2012 New Year’s Resolution: This is the year that I make it onto the AAA Gwinnett Braves. Been doing a lot of stairs and watching old Otis Nixon films (to get my “technique” down), but once January rolls around, i’m gonna take it up a few notches—ya know, lots of BP and really an increased focus on my fielding. Also, gonna do that bungee-cord trick to strengthen my arm, and use the bucket-of-sand drill… a lot more than I already do.
2011 New Year’s Resolution: Last year I was gonna go pro with the Atlanta Braves.
Did you live up to your 2011 resolution? It was close, but i found out about the tryout, after months of semi-adequate training, mostly thru playing with the ATL Sandlot Renegades, on the day after they had been held. I figured I’d lower my sights a little this year and maybe just try have an outstanding minor league season, and see if they call me up. I’m pretty sure they will.

John Wesley Harding
2012 New Year’s Resolution: To do less next year.
2011 New Year’s Resolution: To do more next year.
Did you live up to your 2011 resolution? The result was this year’s New Year’s resolution, so it must have been a success.

Nellie McKay
2012 New Year’s Resolution: Get a bigger gun.
2011 New Year’s Resolution: Give up guns.
Did you live up to your 2011 resolution? Not very long.

Buck 65
2012 New Year’s Resolution: To write a book and not fall in love.
2011 New Year’s Resolution: To floss every day and to learn to throw a baseball with my left hand.
Did you live up to your 2011 resolution? Yep. I’m in my dentist’s good books now. And I’m well on my way to destroying my other shoulder now.

Taylor Goldsmith
Dawes
2012 New Year’s Resolution: To learn how to play piano like Dr. John.
2011 New Year’s Resolution: I don’t remember if I had one. I bet I did though.
Did you live up to your 2011 resolution? I’ve never been great with New Year’s resolutions.

Sharon Van Etten
What’s your New Year’s resolution for 2012: I’m going to try not take anything personally.

Colin Newman
Wire
2012 New Year’s Resolution: I don’t normally make one although sometimes I use the year marker as a kind of guide point like at the turn of the millennium I actually gave up smoking. There’s nothing like a big obvious event to set a point in time..
2011 New Year’s Resolution: Actually I did. I gave up caffeine because I absolutely love coffee but 10 cups of espresso a day really doesn’t do anyone any good!
Did you live up to your 2011 resolution? Yes, absolutely I’m now caffeine free! Most people don’t really get why I’d want to do that but interestingly we shared a bus from the airport with the Rapture at one of those summer festivals this year and discovered that one of the guys had done exactly the same thing for the same reason!

Anais Mitchell
2012 New Year’s Resolution: Learn to play the violin.
2011 New Year’s Resolution: Learn to play the violin.
Did you live up to your 2011 resolution? See above.

Eric Schwortz
Milagres
2012 New Year’s Resolution: To win the war on Christmas.
2011 New Year’s Resolution: To begin to wage a war on Christmas.
Did you live up to your 2011 resolution? I haven’t wavered. I continue to believe in the separation of church and state (even though it’s quickly becoming unfashionable), and always say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” to friends, coworkers and strangers.

Taylor Muse
Quiet Company
2012 New Year’s Resolution: To ruin the life of Thomas H. Blank, the one that lives at 2815 Congress in Austin, Texas. He knows why.
2011 New Year’s Resolution: Last year I found myself weighing close to 200 lbs. so my resolution was to get back to my college weight of 175.
Did you live up to your 2011 resolution? I did. I’m at 172, though maybe my New Year’s resolution this year should be to cope with the eating disorder I’m surely developing by obsessively counting calories.

Daniel Pujol
PUJOL
2012 New Year’s Resolution: Work harder than last year.
2011 New Year’s Resolution: To brush my teeth and wear clean clothes.
Did you live up to your 2011 resolution? I feel (and smell according to those close to me) like I made it all year, but who nose. Ha!

Jeremy Warmsley and Elizabeth Sankey
Summer Camp
2012 New Year’s Resolution: Watch so much Community our eyes explode.
2011 New Year’s Resolution: Stop making New Year’s Resolutions.
Did you live up to your 2011 resolution? Aw, crap.

Madi Diaz
2012 New Year’s Resolution: I’m resolving to make a concerted effort to live squarely in the present for at least one hour daily. I get caught up in my lists—making up for time that got away from me, or planning out what I would need to accomplish to feel okay about letting time get away from me…lots of planning. But for a small portion of the day, I would like to be here and present for the passage of time. It’s easy for me to feel present in music or in preforming or recording, but this one is for me.
2011 New Year’s Resolution: Clearly, my resolution last year either wasn’t important or didn’t make it very far because i can’t remember it.
Did you live up to your 2011 resolution? Busted!

Will Runge
Fort Lean

2012 New Year’s Resolution: Start a family! With kids. They don’t all have to be my kids, but they’ll all be Fort Lean’s. We can sing lots of songs, like in The Sound of Music. I realize this might take some time to develop, but what better time to start a family than 2012.
2011 New Year’s Resolution: Be in an awesome band.
Did you live up to your 2011 resolution? 2011 was a happy year for Fort Lean so, sure, yes! You may as well make a resolution that you enjoy accomplishing, rather than something utterly masochistic, like “quit eating chocolate.”

Luke Doucet
Whitehorse
2012 New Year’s Resolution: find another thing (Spanish? banjo? short fiction? Chomsky?)
2011 New Year’s Resolution: qualify for Boston Marathon/move to NYC/launch Sleepwalk guitar Festival/be kinder.
Did you live up to your 2011 resolution? Qualified at Philadelphia Marathon, Nov 20; Moved to NYC, Sept 1; launched Sleepwalk Guitar Festival, Nov 4; I’m still an ass fairly often.

Jon Philpot
Bear in Heaven
2012 New Year’s Resolution: Clean my apartment.
2011 New Year’s Resolution: Write new songs.
Did you live up to your 2011 resolution? Totally, we made a new record! That’s why my apartment is so messed up.

JZA
Cloud Control
2012 New Year’s Resolution: Achieve a higher plain of being.
2011 New Year’s Resolution: Catch more public transport.
Did you live up to your 2011 resolution? Moved to London. Easy.

Dare Dukes
Dare Dukes + the Blackstock Collection
2012 New Year’s Resolution: To invent, write songs for and record with a new band that: 1) eschews all things guitar-related, 2) wears matching outfits and 3) is fronted by a woman with a better voice than mine.
2011 New Year’s Resolution: To make and release a record while remaining present for and kind to my wife and baby boy.
Did you live up to your 2011 resolution? I give myself a B on this—though you’d have to ask my wife and son for a more accurate assessment.

Lydia Loveless
2012 New Year’s Resolution: My resolution this year is to get better at guitar and generally be a more diligent musician. I am working through Mel Bay’s guitar method #1 right now. That and ditch the love handles.
2011 New Year’s Resolution: Probably ditch the love handles, 15 other things like read the classics, quit smoking, Bridget Jones-type stuff.
Did you live up to your 2011 resolution? I rarely do because I always have too many. I did get a little better, I suppose.

Rob Berliner
Hoots and Hellmouth
2012 New Year’s Resolution: Remember everyone’s name when I meet them.
2011 New Year’s Resolution: Not use any paper coffee cups.
Did you live up to your 2011 resolution? I came really close.

Tim Arnold
Good Old War
2012 New Year’s Resolution: To eat healthier food on the road. Whole Foods here we come!
2011 New Year’s Resolution: To quit smoking.
Did you live up to your 2011 resolution? No. I made it I think until January 3rd. It’s hard.

Cheyenne Marie Mize
2012 New Year’s Resolution: To find at least 5 new favorite (musical) artists, to write down my thoughts more often, to be a better bookkeeper, and to be as good to myself as possible in the crazy coming year!
2011 New Year’s Resolution: Probably something amazingly similar to this year’s.
Did you live up to your 2011 resolution? It’s like vitamins. I’m really good for a few days, weeks, or even a month or so…then it’s all just a faint memory of that time when I did really well with remembering to do this or that…

Chris Diken
Radical Dads
2012 New Year’s Resolution: This year we will defeat the so-called “zero-toothed monster”: sugar addiction. We have a problem, but to be honest with you, we can stop anytime. Now, or five minutes from now. Whenever. Next week, even. Most bands drink moonshine or smoke blunts made out of toilet paper tubes at practice, but we gorge ourselves on gummy bears/worms, Mike and Ikes (regular and tropical), cookies, donuts (traditional “jelly,” blueberry, Boston Cream)—whatever we can get our trembling hands on. Practice ends when we crash or run out of snacks, whichever comes first. It’s disgusting.
2011 New Year’s Resolution: We always give ourselves 10 or so resolutions to accomplish. That way, if we fail at 8 of them, we still feel good about the couple we did totally nail. One from last year was “Always have good snacks around the practice space.” Another was “misinterpret the word ‘good.’” Another was to memorize all the countries in the world, and their locations.
Did you live up to your 2011 resolution? We absolutely lived up to the snacks resolution. As for the countries, we made it 193/245ths of the way there. And in 2012 we’re touring through all the sovereign states not recognized by the UN.

Alex Brown Church
Sea Wolf
2012 New Year’s Resolution: To not worry so much and just stop and smell the roses. I tend to get all bent out of shape about the unknown. It’s helpful when getting down to the nitty-gritty details of making music, but can also throw up a lot a lot of unneeded roadblocks. My other resolution is to ease up on the clichés.
2011 New Year’s Resolution: Uh, can’t remember. That’s probably not a good sign.
Did you live up to your 2011 resolution? Whatever it was, it must not have lasted very long. Just added another resolution for this year: Remember my other resolutions.

Winston Yellen
Night Beds
2012 New Year’s Resolution: Go easier on the drinks and call my mom more often
2011 New Year’s Resolution: Go easier on the drinks and call my mom more often
Did you live up to your 2011 resolution? Well…

Kalmia Traver
Rubblebucket
2012 New Year’s Resolution: Year of the natural high (have as many as possible).
2011 New Year’s Resolution: Step outside of my introverted self and make three great new friends.
Did you live up to your 2011 resolution? Yes, I made three lovely and interesting great new friends!

Phillip Moore
Bowerbirds
2012 New Year’s Resolution: Fewer nights under ceilings—More nights under the stars.
2011 New Year’s Resolution: I think last years resolution had to do with being more gregarious.
Did you live up to your 2011 resolution? I probably lasted one night with that. If I’m honest, I’d rather sit around watching Bear Grylls tackle yet another “slippy” rock face or be doing something of that nature myself.

Kina Grannis
2012 New Year’s Resolution: I never really have one New Year’s resolution; there’s just this constant mental list of about a billion ways I could be a better person. It ranges from things like “floss daily” and “exercise regularly” and “cook!” to things like “make more time for songwriting,” “care less about what other people think about me,” “meditate”... the list goes on and on.
2011 New Year’s Resolution: See above.
Did you live up to your 2011 resolution? In some ways yes, in some ways no. I find it difficult to keep up a routine for more than two weeks at a time, so unfortunately for some of the things on my list, I do them religiously for a time, and then stop altogether until I amp myself up to go for another two weeks or however long it lasts for. Of course there are other things that I am constantly working on and trying to improve. While I’m far from my best self, at least I know there are some ways that I am getting closer to that.

Melissa Ann Sweat
Lady Lazarus
2012 New Year’s Resolution: Study, create, work hard, and make time for the pleasures and beauty of life.
2011 New Year’s Resolution: No whining, no regrets.
Did you live up to your 2011 resolution? I definitely went hard this year; I had some stumbles and rough patches, of course, but having a resolution or mantra like this really helped me keep my head in the game, and not collapse as I might have otherwise. I had set up quite daunting ambitions this year—self-releasing my first album, moving across the country, touring, moving back across the country. I’m looking forward to accomplishing my creative goals this year, but with ideally more of that everyday grace and spontaneity that makes life enjoyable.

Annie Williams
2012 New Year’s Resolution: To loosen up.
2011 New Year’s Resolution: To wake up with the sun.
Did you live up to your 2011 resolution? I lasted until August when I came back to Jackson, Wyo. That town is my medicine but it keeps me up very late.

Eric Hehr
Gold Motel
2012 New Year’s Resolution: Live harder.
2011 New Year’s Resolution: Live harder.
Did you live up to your 2011 resolution? For the past four years, my New Year’s Resolution has been the same: Live harder. I try to take everything I do recreationally and professionally to the next level: I listen to double the amount of albums, I work twice as hard, I write twice as much, I drink twice the amount of alcohol, etc. It’s a nice work hard/play hard resolution to have. However, 2010 was quite an intense year, and I don’t think I lived harder in 2011 than I did in 2010. They were about even, sans a few wild nights. I don’t think I would have made it through 2011 had I lived any harder. Hopefully 2012 will see an increase in both productivity and indulgences!

Sydney Wayser
2012 New Year’s Resolution: I’m undecided…it’s either starting and finishing my doctorate in Ukrainian Egg Painting or to just stop sleeping through my alarm.
2011 New Year’s Resolution: I had one, but I don’t remember it. Clearly that didn’t last very long.
Did you live up to your 2011 resolution? January 1st was great!

Henry Kaye
Static Jacks
2012 New Year’s Resolution: To really stop eating fast food.
2011 New Year’s Resolution: To stop eating fast food.
Did you live up to your 2011 resolution? Nope. It’s hard not to eat total shit while on the road—at least in our position where we can’t have a tour rider like The Foo Fighters and get every night specifically catered to our individual tastes. I don’t know how vegan straight edge bands do it. I have to do some research.

Ben Thornewill
Jukebox The Ghost
2012 New Year’s Resolution: Stop lighting cars on fire.
2011 New Year’s Resolution: Play more Monopoly.
Did you live up to your 2011 resolution? I did not play nearly enough Monopoly—I only played twice a week and never got to be the hat or the dog.

Matthew Woodley
Plants and Animals
2012 New Year’s Resolution: Practice with a metronome, don’t read people’s opinions on Internet forums about products I’m considering buying, write things down.
2011 New Year’s Resolution: If I had one, it was probably to try and go cross-country skiing as often as possible. We live in a city with super snowy winters and there’s a mountain in the middle of it with ski trails. This time last year we were spending lots of days in a dark studio. At night I’d take my dog up the mountain and get my outdoors on.
Did you live up to your 2011 resolution? It’s amazing at night because there’s nobody up there. You get to the top and see the big city below all lit up and stretching out to the horizon in the dead winter night. It’s exotic and invigorating. Two months later, it’s still cold and dark and, well, a bit less exotic and invigorating. I made it until either the deep craving for summer had taken over or the snow had melted.

Daniel Collás
Phenomenal Handclap Band
2012 New Year’s Resolution: This is really nerdy, but I’m gonna try and listen more closely to my records. The majority of my records have come to represent a single song to me, with a few notable exceptions. There have been too many times when a friend of mine plays a song that I actually own, and I don’t recognize it because I’m not familiar with the entire album or even the B-side, for that matter. My answer was going to be “learn to surf,” but this seems way more realistic.
2011 New Year’s Resolution: Last year—and the year before that—I resolved to become fluent in Spanish. I had always been able to speak enough to get by and I have a lot of friends who are fluent, but a specific incident that ended up with me waking up at this apartment in a Spanish suburb two years ago with a terrible hangover made me draw the line. I’m always diligent until about March or April, but then get discouraged by the numerous regional dialects. In fact, the aforementioned incident happened in Barcelona, and I only realized later that the people I was having a difficult time understanding were speaking Catalan, not Spanish.
Did you live up to your 2011 resolution? I’ve gotten a lot better, but still not fluent.

Patrick and Tyler Wheeler
The Wheeler Brothers
2012 New Year’s Resolution: Ride a buffalo and drink no bourbon but Bulleit Bourbon.
2011 New Year’s Resolution: Same.
Did you live up to your 2011 resolution? Negative on the buffalo riding (buffalo rabies epidemic), but came close on the bourbon.

Christopher Paul Stelling
2012 New Year’s Resolution: To see this record through that I am releasing on February 21st. To not get discouraged. To tour and play as many shows as possible, and to not get down. To stay kind and optimistic, but not annoyingly so. To keep putting one foot in front of the other. To make sure those around me know i love them. To be brief.
2011 New Year’s Resolution: All of the above, minus the release of the record; last year it was to make the record, which i am happy to report, I did.
Did you live up to your 2011 resolution? I think so, although at times I got a little discouraged. It’s going to be a good year. It could always be the last, so might as well make it good, right?

Brendan Benson
2012 New Year’s Resolution: Somebody wise once said, “a New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.” I couldn’t agree more. That’s why I like to make my resolutions on a daily basis.

Darren Bancroft, Thomas W-P and Dede W-P
We Have Band 11/12/30/wehavebandnye.jpg” width=”600” height=”400” class=”mt-image-none” style=”” />
2012 New Year’s Resolution: To try something new every week.
2011 New Year’s Resolution: To make a great second record.
Did you live up to your 2011 resolution? We think so!

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