Do you love Fresno? Do you love art? If yes, the... Enter Now
David Strackany doesn't have a hometown.
There are 30 or so cities where he could stay for an extended period of time, if need be. He claims Brooklyn because it's his favorite and he knows he's staying there this summer.
But mostly, Strackany travels.
Just so you have the numbers straight: Fresno is the 125th city Strackany has visited in 304 days. He's hovering just around 50,000 road miles. His band, Paleo, (okay, it's just Strackany and a toy guitar) plays at 9 p.m., tonight at Tokyo Garden.
If you're paying close attention, there's songs too, 304 of them — one for each day of the year in a song diary he's been writing since last Easter. "There are plenty of writers who can say they've written every day for decades and decades and decades," Strackany says. Emily Dickinson wrote a poem a day for long stretches of time. As an artist, the tradition is there.
Each song is written and recorded within the 24 hours it's credited to, on a simple setup — a laptop and single microphone. He works in studios when he can, but more likely it's a bathroom, bedroom, a bar.
He's recorded in a field, in his van.
The travelling came out of a need to play. And playing means moving, Strackany says. You can only show up at the same club in the same city, so many times before the fans, and owners, start to hate you. So you pack up your stuff and go.
But the road is a double-edged sword. He gets to play his songs to an audience every day, yes. But he still has to write those songs. "A song is potentially a really difficult thing to make," he says. And the perks of normal tour life can become distractions.
You meet people, musicians who want to collaborate, girls.
Just this week a girl in San Diego wanted to make him a home-cooked meal, take him for an afternoon in the park. He had to turn her down. He'll probably never see her again.
Then there's the actual distractions, like the dance music blasting from the smoky-club, which he would leave if he had someplace to go and it wasn't 10 degrees out.
June and July were particularly bad months. The initial momentum of the project ran out and he hadn't quite become acclimated to life, and recording, on the road. He was clawing at the music, he says. But turning back wasn't an option.
When he says missing a day would be disastrous, the way it comes out, his voice full of exhaustion, it isn't just talk — it's all he has.
And that puts him here, in Fresno, day 304. "Stopping doesn't mean going back to where you came from."
EDIT: Download the live Paleo show from Tokyo Garden. (49Mb zip file, 192kbs MP3)