We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.

The last show I played before I went to prison was in the East Village, at Bowery Electric, sometime in October of 2012. Adam Duritz and Ryan Spaulding had invited me to play their Outlaw Roadshow Showcase at CMJ; Adam had always been particularly generous to me, recording my song "Like Teenage Gravity" for Counting Crows' album Underwater Sunshine, and then taking my band, the Honkies, on tour in the summer of 2012. At the show there were murmurs that I was in some kind of trouble, but for the most part people sidestepped any conversation about what I may or may not have done.

In the seven days following that show I lost my band, my home, and most friends I had. I was diagnosed as bipolar and outed as an addict-in-sober-clothing and a thief. I left Seattle October 24, 2012 and I reckon at the time there was not a soul sorry to see me go.

I didn't make it to prison until December of 2013, and in the intervening year or so I got clean, got treated, made amends with friends and family, and then fucked all that up but good by ditching treatment and heading to Los Angeles. I did find the time to give a couple of truly repulsive interviews wherein I took zero responsibility for what I'd done. Not an especially impressive run.

I spent two years in prison and in that time I did pretty much what you'd expect: I worked out, I played guitar, I read, I wrote, I wallowed in self-loathing and self-pity, I fell out of and into love (in that order and no, not with other inmates), and eventually, I got honest and I learned how to be accountable. I don't want to soak up a bunch of space here with all that, but Willamette Week ran a pretty comprehensive interview a while back and you're welcome to read that for all the meaty stuff.

Before I went to prison, I had a decent little thing going. I put out a few records, played with a great band, and toured with Steve Earle, Jason Isbell, Lydia Loveless, The Knitters, Dave Alvin, Peter Case, and a bunch of other folks I admire very much. I played SXSW, Bumbershoot, Twangfest, and all that other shit, and I had a good time doing all of it. I just wish I'd been better to the people who were so generous to me. I figured by the time I got out of prison, most folks would fall into one of two camps: "Who's that guy?" or "Fuck that guy," and maybe most do, but I played a handful of shows last year, and put out this live record, and people have been really kind and forgiving and it seems like maybe there are still a few people out there who'd like to come see a show, or buy a record, or talk about songs. I'm not sure how many of them there are, but there's only one way to find out. I'll see you out there.

Kasey Anderson  |  Portland, OR  |  January 06, 2017