Bert Bacchus


I can’t help it but I’ve always had my irons in too many fires. When I was a kid it wasn’t enough to simply devour comic books. I had to fret over back issues I needed (getting that first whiff of completist scum-baggery coming off my person) as well as what characters and stories to create for my own comic books. "Your own comic books?" friends and family would ask. "Well yeah, I’m gonna write, draw, color, print, and distribute my own comic books." Things only got worse from there. In fact, I don’t think I ever even tried to get a handle on all the tentacles until my thirties. I always just focused on this for a while then on that for awhile. But as anyone who’s ever had idea overload knows: all the work suffers and nothing ever gets finished. Seth Godin calls it “shipping”. Guy Clark says a song isn’t finished until you play it for someone. I’m not unique in this sense by any means but the amount of unfinished novels, short stories, poems, screenplays, product designs, landscape dreams, paintings, collages, songs, comic books, etc. that I’ve left in a trail of amateur whimpers and long, deep sighs of resignation is staggering and at times, very depressing. But all that’s in the past now. These days I leave only unfinished music and lyrics in my wake. The difference is I actually finish some of them now. So if a woman in a song of mine has an idea for a movie it's probably because I thought at one point I'd write that movie. If some poor soul inhabits the empty streets in one of my tunes as he ponders the most efficient way to be noticed by an indifferent lover, then he was probably a short story I tried to write. I didn’t want to do this for a living I always joked, until I was in my 30s. Rock and roll is a young person’s game for sure and the hustle of getting any creative endeavor up and running is a grind so I just chalked my lack of success up to a lack of willpower. A lack of what they call ‘giving a shit.’ The kind of songwriting I try and practice though is more in line with what’s commonly referred to as a literary pursuit and so not bothering the world at large with my songs until I’d lived long enough to actually have something to say became my calling card. It’s easy to be critical of someone when they’re trying to do something and you’re not, so much of my time was spent being critical of most music and being hyper-critical of my own music. Eventually I just walked away from making music and got on with my life: a graphic design career, buying a house, marriage, two beautiful and brilliant children, etc. All the while thinking that one day I'd write songs again but genuinely not caring about the particulars; meaning I was eventually going to spend my days writing songs for me to sing to no one in particular on a beach somewhere as I waited for the void to swallow me or death to call me home. Well I'm not waiting around to die anymore to quote a certain "literary" tunesmith who's definitely on my songwriter Mt. Rushmore. I’ll leave you with some wisdom and inspiration from Steve Earle that exemplifies what I mean by literary pursuits… "Bob Dylan invented this job and he based the job on Woody Guthrie. Everybody who does what I do are post-Bob Dylan singer-songwriters. John Lennon definitely wanted to be Bob Dylan and Bob Dylan wanted to be John Lennon. So that’s kinda the point where rock and roll becomes art. And that’s the kind of songwriting I do. It is a form of literature. I consider it to be [art] and I approach it that way."







What is music to you? What does it give you?

Music is everything to me. It gives me explanations for the unexplainable.

What is your music dream?

To write, record, and tour the world with my friends playing music we created together.

If you could change the world - what would you start with?

Guitars for everyone! Although, that may end up badly. The world would sound like Guitar Center. Let's go with funding the arts and arts education as well as we do the military.

Which is the most memorable song from your childhood?

There's no way I could pin that down to one song. "He Stopped Loving Her Today" stopped me cold in my tracks as a child who heard country music everywhere and had largely ignored it until that song.

Who are your favorite musical artists or bands?

Stevie Wonder. Doug Sahm. Bob Dylan. Velvet Underground. The Kinks. D'angelo. Childish Gambino. Outkast. MC5.

What inspires you to make music?

The fact that it is truly universal and transcends language, class, gender, and race.

What is the message you want to send with your music?

We're all humans regardless of all the masks and superficial barriers we build between one another. I want my music to feel like someone is saying something for you about the way you feel that no one has ever been able to articulate before.

How do you feel when you perform in front of an audience?

Like I'm in a dream.

How do you see the musicians’ reality nowadays? What could be improved?

A working class existence is possible for musicians. It shouldn't be easy but it also shouldn't be so difficult. Access to health care and professional gear that doesn't cost tens of thousands of dollars.

What do you think of Drooble?

I'm new to it but so far it seems like a wonderful and much needed resource.

What frustrates you most as a musician?

Reality shows and the culture of style over substance. Retweets instead of emotional connections. Selling out instead of buying in.

Do you support your local scene as a fan? How?

Retweet and Instagram local artists I enjoy. Attend live shows. Buy merchandise and vinyl records whenever I can afford them.

What qualities should a musician nowadays have in order to get their music heard by a larger audience?

Honesty. Dedication to craft. A foolishly undying love of making and sharing music regardless of financial gain or "making it", whatever that means.

Share some awesome artists that we’ve never heard of.

Jay Gonzalez. The Possibilities. DJ Other Voices, Other Rooms. The Arcs (band from Athens, GA. Not the Black Keys side project) Lloyd Wyatt. Astral Blessing. Hildegard.