Life After Basketball

by Marconi

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"Life After Basketball" and "Sudoku" are the two final Marconi releases.

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Dear Listener,

I'm a pretty big NBA fan. Over the years I've become convinced of a lot of similarities between the careers of musicians and athletes. With talent and luck and hard work, you have a chance to make a career of a passion. Real success is an elusive balance of technique, creativity, discipline, resilience, and politics. You earn your living almost exclusively in your 20s and 30s. A significant portion of that income goes to agents and middlemen working to relieve you of the responsibility of doing what you probably do not do best, which is turning art into money. Both of these career tracks end well before your peak earning years are through. And after your career has run aground you're left to figure out what's next without clear prospects. In a lot of ways, you have to start over.

What does life look like after music? What does life look like after basketball?

Most professional athletes run out of all the money they're supposedly being overpaid well before they've hit retirement. Some of it goes to those aforementioned middlemen, some to irresponsible spending, some to responsible spending, some to the taxes they owe to every state they play in. As for musicians—even with success, they're not making all that much money. People haven't really been buying music for years.

Admittedly, there's a lot at stake to discuss that's not touched on here—permanent injury, race, class. But that's the kind of thing I think about. And it's the kind of macro/micro or historical/personal comparison that most Marconi songs are built around. So I thought I'd try it in song form.

The vision for it really crystallized in the 2011 playoffs when Brandon Roy brought the Portland Trailblazers back from a 24-point third quarter deficit to beat the Dallas Mavericks and extend the series...

www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJjeZ4Scm9E

That feat in itself is astounding to watch: 18 points in the fourth quarter for the biggest comeback in franchise history. But it's the circumstances that flesh it out: Brandon Roy, the sixth pick in the 2006 draft, in only his fifth season in the NBA and at only 26 years old, had lost basically all of the cartilage in his knees and still willed a victory he had no reasonable chance to secure. It was a performance against all odds—against even the body's irreversible decline—one that tempted an unscientific hope that there was life yet in those dry joints. As it turned out, there wasn't: Roy retired in the offseason, attempted a comeback a year later after an experimental medical treatment that didn't pan out, retired once more in 2013, and is no longer playing professional basketball.

I think that's kind of what these two final Marconi songs are, albeit in a more modest sense: The offering of a good band that never got to all it had hoped to accomplish putting on a memorable parting performance that hints at what could have been. We spent the majority of our time as a band trying to catch up with songs that already existed. This was the first one that we started and finished together as a group. It was probably the most fun to play. And it's certainly the best recording thus far. It's an attempt at that two-sided concern that runs the course of a working band's tenure, the one that wonders equally whether this will catch on and whether any one of us really thinks our efforts are going anywhere. Does the crowd like the show? Do the writers want to share? Do the promoters want to help? Does this town eat its young? And does any of that matter where will is resolved against all odds—against even the body's irreversible decline?

Best Regards,
Luke Kirkland

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lyrics

Spinning globes and winning lee
Shifting weight and lifting free...
Weighing lines to flat accounts,
Bouncing around and rimming out...

Steering shy of moving parts
Grinding dry and shooting sparks...
Falling cold at filling bins,
Giving up and getting in...

You’ll come around.
All the cogs in this town couldn’t figure it out.
You’ll come around.
All the legs run aground, quickly fizzling out.

I saw the rafters burn aloft,
Raining foam and fitteds,
And the wheels of failing VCRs
Shredding frames and spitting
The melting reels around
In holes in the ground.

You’ll come around.
All the streets on this route wind and wander about.
You’ll come around.
All the kids in the crowd stand and stare at the sounds.
You’ll come around.
Every voice in the round stops to wonder aloud.
“Will you come around?”

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credits

released April 15, 2014
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Luke Kirkland plays guitar and keyboards and sings.
James Towlson plays bass and keyboards and harmonizes.
Jason Perry plays lead guitar.
Jeffrey Walsh plays drums.

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recorded and mixed by Luke Kirkland with additional engineering by James Towlson

cover photograph by Michael Wriston

design by Luke Kirkland

mastered by Nick Zampiello and Rob Gonnella at New Alliance East

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Marconi Boston, Massachusetts

Majestic indie rock for antiquers and train buffs.

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