I spent my first couple of years here in San Antonio in a studio apartment near Castle Hills (though from the sound of the passenger jets screaming overhead, it might as well have been on the runway of the San Antonio International Airport). It was “cozy.” I had just moved here and I was still getting on my feet with a new job and finding my way around the city. My guitars, amps, my electric piano, stereo, records, and my recording equipment crowded out the small space and that is where they remained. Occasionally I found an open mic to play, but I found my endurance with staying out until 2AM to be lacking. I met really kind singer-songwriters trying to figure out their path as well and some of them even helped me out with playing my first shows here in the city. My best friend Clint Buck found a job here eventually and we started playing music again together as Buck Webb (Buck Webb, Greatest Band in Town, Bum, bum).
But most nights I would sit in the apartment playing guitar or recording music by myself. I had a group of songs I was doing countless demo takes—an exercise I now view as a waste of time. It seems like month after month would pass and I wasn’t getting any closer to making the recording I set out to make even before I moved here. Finding a rehearsal space was a problem. Finding a drummer to play on the record was a problem. Working in a small apartment with the planes screaming overhead was a problem.
And it began to wear on me.
I ate poorly, I drank too much, and I didn’t get enough sleep. Some of it was fun though—and there are those late nights playing and recording fueled by a focus and solipsism that only the loneliness and quiet of 3AM in a studio apartment in San Antonio can provide. But the rewards for this activity are few and not significant in the long term.
One day my favorite podcast featured celebrity-enabler Dr. Drew Pinsky on relationships:
“Go have a relationship. Have a good one, have a bad one, have a weird or temporary one—just go have one. You don’t change or grow as person on your own very much. Relationships change us, and that is good.”
And so I got a haircut, trimmed my beard, put on some clean clothes, ventured out of the apartment, and had a relationship with a woman—and she inspired me—not in the sense that I was writing narrative songs about my love for her, but rather she became my inspiration for wanting to be a better friend, boyfriend, son, brother, bandmate, musician, and person. The Laboratory is a song about the planning and isolation of pining for someone or the aching of wanting a dream. It is also the song on the record which features the title:
Science can’t explain the beating of my heart
when I see your face.
It can’t duplicate the rush of motion in my gait
when I see you again.
‘Cause I got this disease, it makes me weak in my knees—
Won’t you come rescue me.
Listen to “The Laboratory” here: