A Life Like No Other – A Quick Attack of the Heart
All Songs Written, Recorded, and Performed 2/14/2014 by Jeff Tom
These are my famous last words before I was quickly hit with a severe blow in the back of my head. All of a sudden another blow. It’s 2:30AM on 6th street and I don’t know what’s happening, or why I’m being hit, but I realize for an instant that I’m being attacked by two people before I black out.
Nothing else makes much sense then. Too numb to feel anything, but knowing I’m suddenly not quite awake, but conscious, in an ambulance after being picked up out of a ditch in the cold. Then I’m suddenly in a hospital. Then I’m in massive amounts of pain and people are asking for my relatives numbers.
For a moment I think I might die. I can’t talk or think straight, my jaw seems to be missing from my body. With any capabilities I have I take my phone out of my pocket I send a TXT my ex who left me for a richer, older, guy who owns a record label in England that I love her. I’m sure it isn’t seen or ignored.
I start to feel again more and recount what happened in my mind and realize I was attacked by two strangers downtown for no reason. It’s the holidays, just a few days before New Year’s Eve. I was finally starting to feel happy again and whole. I realized, people feel what I feel, I might as well be happy. Life happens. There’s no reason to not be happy. To not enjoy it and be stronger.
Even after the attack I maintain my optimism. A nurse comes in after they did an MRI with the look on his face that feeling sadness in having to inform another person of poor news. “Your jaw…It’s fractured. They’re going to have to wire your jaw shut.”
Could be worse, right? I could be dead.
In massive amounts of pain I finally am taken home and more painkillers. It hurts to lay on any side and my head hurts and jaw. Everything is just physically incredibly painful. A few days later after a family relative takes me to surgery to have my jaw wired shut after much asking. I can’t drive myself as they are going to numb me up to install a metal place holder in my teeth for the wire which will keep my jaw shut. Leaving me unable to eat, talk very well, speak, makeout, sing, and eventually hurt what’s left of my strength. I manage through it though.
This is how the New Year started out and 2013 wrapped up. In physical pain being attacked by a stranger for no reason with my jaw wired shut, realizing in later in massive agony I had two broken ribs requiring another trip to the ER. Things did not get much better from there. I lost my job, lost money, lost trust in people, lost faith, and lost hope that I had worked hard to get back and to get on the right path.
Everything that could go wrong it seemed did. Later my car would be broken into, lied to about jobs, and more things that push your edge of mankind and people. That make you want to say fuck it.
So I did what I’ve done now since I was a teenager. I can’t afford therapy so I wrote songs. I said, “Fuck it,” and made my own album in a few hours. I’ll come back stronger than ever. This I know.
For some time I’ve been wanting to put out a live acoustic LP for A Life Like No Other, just myself writing. With as rich in orchestration and layers of guitars as The Return of the Hero a true follow-up I have written, The Impossible, the only way I can top it, and want to top it, is to have access to a full orchestra. I want to take classical music, film scores, and rock and roll to levels never done before. Unfortunately, I don’t exactly have the budget. It’s been three years since the release.
I pride myself on my ability to channel emotions and for better or worse I can’t not write songs. The songs just happen. If I physically have a guitar in my head, they happen. If I’m no where near a guitar, the melodies and textures come to me and they happen. This wouldn’t be too bad if it was a full time job, but it can be distracting if also it is an incredibly rewarding experience. There is a gift and a curse, but again I’m trying to focus on the positive and see it all as a gift.
I’ve long been a fan of Elliott Smith’s early LP’s with a very lo-fi experience. I think they’re amazing, dark, and beautiful. I also love the demos of my favorite songwriters, albums like Alice in Chains Sap.
It’s been too long since putting out any music for A Life Like No Other. So I wrote this, A Quick Attack to the Heart, literally all recorded and written in about 2 hours. Most of this is improvised, so it’s not always pretty, but it is real. One song was written before hand, the rest was done not only from sunset to sunrise but literally in a few hours in the night. It is of course just a live, acoustic, LP recorded on a cell phone. But without the ability currently to put out an orchestral masterpiece I have in my head it seems like the next best thing to do is to say, “Fuck it,” and put out the complete opposite. A lo-fi, improved, album.
All in all, I’m incredibly proud of it. And it was a great release. It’s not always my best work, but for an LP written in literally two hours I’m quite proud. Mostly improved it’s all from the subconscious. I didn’t even realize the double play on, A Quick Attack to the Heart, and that I was attacked not long ago.
Please enjoy. Please share this (and preferably, my fully produced and properly recorded album The Return of the Hero). And keep on rocking in the free world.