EXTRA LETTER: An Impassioned Letter From The Keyboard Player in OK Go
October 28, 2014
Listen, you know how much I love rocking with you. I think we’ve made some really amazing music together over the years and played some truly awesome shows. I absolutely love being a member of OK Go.
But look, I’m just not sure how much more I can take. Over the past eighteen months I have spent perhaps 5% of my time playing the actual keyboards. And what else have I been doing? Choreography. Hours and hours of painstaking, intricate choreography. Weeks spent in cold, bleak rehearsal rooms being yelled at by a middle-aged Russian lady in leg warmers because my arm movements aren’t dynamic enough. Days spent upside down in a binding harness with paintballs being fired at me. Hours spent learning how to use an aqualung so I can play underwater while dressed as a crab.
At first I thought our commitment to creating unusual, amusing videos was really neat. But slowly it has become the sole purpose of my existence, engulfing everything else like some vast, multi-colored swamp. I don’t know what I am anymore.
And then there’s the pressure. The crushing, devastating pressure of not fucking up. The pressure of knowing that if I place my foot an inch out of line, blink my eyes incorrectly or fail to have the same blank expression as the rest of the band then a whole days filming is lost. Millions of dollars wasted. Repeating the same painful and spins. No end in sight. The biological noise that an entire film crew makes when you mess up and destroy a take is not something I ever want to hear again. The looks of the faces. The pure anger. It haunts my dreams. Can we maybe move onto videos with two shots? Or even more?
I just wanted to play keyboards in an infectious indie pop band. Weezer doesn’t have this pressure. I know, I’ve asked Weezer. Weezer are happy. They play shows and make records. Their videos are unambitious. They don’t have calf muscles that are, according to my leg specialist, ‘the ropey muscle mass of a retired linebacker’. In fact, I doubt anyone in Weezer even needs a leg specialist. Because there videos don’t involve them jerkily jigging around miniature versions of famous landmarks made from butter which slowly melts around you for 17 hours straight.
I don’t sleep anymore. I have a perpetual skin rash. My IBS has been described as ‘clinically interesting’. I have a permanent scar from an over-heating treadmill. How many keyboard players can claim that? Though I’m not a keyboard player. I’m a husk.
You remember when we started? Driving from town to town? Playing for beer? Sleeping on couches? I just spent the past four weeks learning how to drive a Segway through a giant replica of the board game Mousetrap while bouncing a ping pong ball on a bat. I can’t remember the last time I heard laughter. All I hear are the screams of my own drummer because I can’t dance in formation through a shopping mall while wearing a CGI leotard. This is not what I was expecting when I joined this band.
I hate music now. You have made me hate music. Every time I approach my synthesizer my throat closes over and there isn’t a fetal position tight enough to console me. I have the hips of a 70 year-old stuntman. I have so many complicated dance routines stuck in my brain, I can’t remember the names of my children, who I now look on with utter disdain as I have delivered them into a world where their father inches his way through the streets of Tokyo in a crash helmet with sand being poured on him.
I should let you know, The Rentals have been in touch. I am considering their offer. They don't dress their keyboard players as dandelion strands and blow them over the Hoover Dam at midnight in order to sell records.