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My band played a show last night. After our 35-minute set, we were besieged by people who wanted to congratulate us, to buy a cd, to get a drumstick or an autograph.

I was dumbstruck.

As far as I was concerned, the show was the worst we'd ever done. On the very first song, I looked right at the setlist and still played the opening song from the last show we'd done. I wanted to sink into the floor -- Loki had to stop the drums & we were forced to start over.

It just got worse from there.

It was our first night playing with our own lights, and while everything looked faboo in our darkened apartment, once we started playing it became clear that our darkened apartment was nowhere near as dark as the Mason Jar with only our own little colored footlights & strobes. Loki and I could barely see our fretboards -- I mangled the new song so badly even I couldn't recognize the thing -- I had to keep turning my back on the audience so I could see where the hell my fingers were.

Sage forgot words, I skipped an entire verse of Ophelia, and even my adored Loki -- steadfast, genius musician that he is -- even Loki was so flustered he blew off singing backup on Bleed For You.

Nevertheless, we were besieged.

The headlining band, Second Skin, told us it was a great set, and our favorite sound guy paid us the ultimate compliment when he called us total professionals.

After a lengthy postmortem and several vodka-cranberries, I came to the conclusion that I am a perfectionist.

I've actually known for a long time that I'm anal about a lot of things, but I never saw myself as a perfectionist, especially when it comes to Paris Burning. But the truth is, we'd not practiced nearly enough before this show, especially with two new songs (one of which we left off entirely). We hadn't experimented fully with the new lights, and were generally blissfully unprepared to play -- no matter that, as regards set-up and aesthetics, we were bang on.

I found myself fired with zeal to practice at every opportunity, to hone my skills until I could play blind with three fingers cut off.

I wanted everything to be perfect.

What a shock.

Notwithstanding my minor anal tendencies, I'm incredibly easy-going. And Paris Burning, while having some excellent and well-defined goals, has always been about having fun & hopefully giving an audience a good time as well.

I'm going to have to give some serious thought to what it means to be a perfectionist. Can I handle it? Will it take over my life? Will I start trying to micromanage every aspect of my existence?

I'll keep you updated.

are you a perfectionist?

4 April 1999


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perfection ? . celebrity . perception
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