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Everyone who wants to see a man rip his arm off and beat himself with it, line up here. It’s opening day for Joshua Tillman’s new act, and he promises some violence as part of the transformation from J. Tillman as Sad-Bastard Acoustic Folk Singer to J. Tillman as Father John Misty, a new moniker for a new style and new album, Fear Fun.
Seattle-based singer/songwriter Eric Elbogen, a.k.a. Say Hi,just released his third full-length, Um, Uh Oh, since shifting to a one-man operation with a shortened name (formerly Say Hi To Your Mom). According to a Barsuk press release, the album is the “result of the last ten years of Eric Elbogen’s experiences with failing at relationships, both musical and otherwise.” Who better to tell a story of a tragic missed opportunity in Hollywood in the late ’90s? Read on, and see how Elbogen manages to effortlessly weave the title of his new album into his prose.
How I Squandered The Biggest Break Of My Life by Eric Elbogen
It wasn’t until I moved out of Los Angeles, California 11 years ago that I realized how much of the rest of the country conceives of that city as nothing more than a velvet-roped landmark next to the Pacific Ocean, overflowing with actors and the sorts of people you see on Entourage. A common question I fielded once I moved to New York was whether or not the reason for me having been born in LA was because my parents were in “The Industry.” I’d usually make an attempt at dryly turning the tables, asking if the inquisitor’s parents were gangsters (if they were from New Jersey) or tobacco farmers (if they were from anywhere south of the Mason-Dixon). Nevertheless, there is one anecdote I collected from the 23 years I spent in La La Land that, I suppose, makes the aforementioned question a valid one.
On an unremarkable day at some point in the late ’90s, I left the sheltered micro-hills of UCLA to return to the smog-shrouded sprawl of the San Fernando Valley, in which I grew up. A friend of mine had started working for a casting agency, and was trying to round up a bunch of folk to be extras in a then-untitled film. I wanted the money and had the day free of classes, so I took the trip. At the time, I had been playing music in one of my pre-Say Hi bands and was still naïve enough to think that rockstar-dom would come knocking any day, that said rockstar-dom would immediately, completely, and utterly solve the entirety of my woes, so I scoffed to myself at the multiple hours of us extras waiting outside in a parking lot under a sun-blocking overhead tarp and on splintery high-school, cafeteria-style benches (remember, this was LONG before the existence of “Angry Birds”).