Join My Cult

By Nathan Payne | pablosmoglives | 14 Sep 2019

Several months ago, I bought a used computer from a Mexican Nazi.  He had a shotgun on his couch and was all about Windows 7.  He hated Windows 10 almost as much as he hated Jews.  He wanted to talk to me about living off-grid, and had all kinds of theories about it.  I told him I hadn't had a bank account since 1999 and lived in a van (or car) for 15 years, and that it makes a cool scene in a movie but sucks in real life.  A lot of interesting things happen to you, but it gets old, brushing your teeth in a stainless steel sink in the park on Christmas.  Sure, the bums share their steak and weed and methamphetamines with you at midnight in the park (always the park.  The park, or the library), but you can never move your arms, or your legs, or your body in general at all, really.  It's like living in a coffin everybody thinks is freedom.  Which it is, considering that the only way to get off this world and be free at last is to die.  

I don't write anymore and don't even really want to.  Occasionally I'll throw some lines down and it's fun I guess, but I'd rather walk into the miscelánea, which is the Mexican word for convenience store, and pore over bags of pan dulce for $1, and teach English to the guy behind the counter, as he teaches me Spanish.  Mexicans are friendlier than Americans in general, the occasional glare of murderous hostility notwithstanding.  I am not remotely fluent, but my Spanish has improved.  I am now an estudiante intermedio.    

But, y'know, Daniel Johnston just died and it makes me sad.  I was never a fan, but I liked a few songs, and he could rip your heart out, and I find myself very sad that he's gone.  Because I hate death and the smiley-faced denial and cop-out in statements like "life goes on," or "death is just a part of life."  Death is not a part of life.  It is the opposite of life.  It's death!  

Because he was sad and crazy and had a weird innocence that nobody has.  I don't believe we were intended to die.  There would be no point to life if that was true.  And there's obviously a point to life.  Death is not it.  Death is a tragic interference of the endless joy and happiness we were designed for.  It is a successful attempt to chronicle the infinite, to keep the boundless faith and innocence of childhood on a dirty leash.  If that's not a tragedy, I don't know what is.  

Today is a good day to die, as the ancient Indian meme goes.    

The computer is alright and has a huge amount of free space, but no recording program.  Daniel Johnston struck me as a tinkerer, someone who was always tinkering.  With words, with demons, with love & cassette tapes.  I kind of feel like tinkering again, in that spirit of infinite love, in the spirit of that infinite thing that has looked over the edge of the abyss and seen the neverending sorrow, whose hair has been blown back and turned grey by the horror of the view, and who chainsmokes and eats gummy bears to compensate for the loss of infinite paradise which plagues us all.  

Here's the albums I would start working on if I felt like it, or could:    


I could make them on the bus, but I'd need to get off the couch.  I could make them on the couch, but I'd need to get off the bus.  I'm always borrowing money to leave town, paying people back months or years later, and it's tiresome.  "Why do you only do that only?"  said Daniel Johnston in a song, speaking from the point of view of the civilized corpses that populate the zombie morgue of waking life.    

Music isn't "subscribable content," but I'm thinking of a way to make it that way.  I just set up a Subscribestar, with options for people who actually help me out.  In the immediate future, any and all new recordings will only be available to people who subscribe.  You will be the only ones who get to hear the album.  A near-impossibility in this time of bots and douchebags.  

I don't need to make the albums anymore, so I don't care if only 4 people hear them.  There are 21 albums to choose from on Bandcamp, not counting the greatest hits and live album, to get people into it.  If that's not enough, nothing ever will be.  I'd just like to pay the bills.  If there's a way to pay the bills, I can make these albums, and even more, beyond them.  I could tinker.  Then the music could be released exclusively to people who donate to my "subscribable discontent," and absolutely no one else.  If a contract comes along, and/or out of the blue I become rich and can afford to throw material out the window and into the dog-tank of entitled media-rippers because it happens to amuse me, so be it.  But if I'm sitting in a state of death and compromise, I'm just going to buy sweet bread and talk to Mexicans about American women and soap.  Until the end of time, when freedom finally begins.    

Eternity, at last!  

If you want to be an exclusive patron of the next 2 albums and beyond, hit me up.  If enough people and/or money come along, maybe I can pick up a recording program, and pay the rent on some shack in the woods, or the desert, or valley.  Maybe on the prairie, or in the jungle.    

It would be a monthly expense.  It would help me live truly free, and not the quasi-freedom that comes with living in a van.  I would be able to live with my cats, who need medical care at this point.  They have been in storage with family for 8 years.  That is unacceptable.  I can't live in the parking lot anymore, or on the one guy's couch.  The albums would belong to me, in spite of your ridiculous socialist beliefs, but in theory nobody would hear them except you and the other subscribers.  I would stick to that.  With gratitude.    

The reward tiers are "Superfan," "Crazy Person," "Cult Member," and "Lunatic."  All content produced will be set to "unlisted" or "private" on Youtube and Bandcamp, so that nobody else sees or hears it.  I will probably add these rambling existential newsletters to that list.  In fact yes, I'm going to.  No more freebies starting now.  

Tell your friends, spread the word.  All the greatest hits albums on Bandcamp are free, can not be paid for.  Take them, and spread them around.  Thank you.    



The next 2 albums are, at least in theory, a vision of the utter sorrow and regret of hell (a bunch of love songs, probably), called Mourning Star, and Road Rats, an album full of nocturnal road songs.  The albums never come out the way they are conceived.  But it has to start somewhere.  

Daniel Johnston gave away his music at first, but was unashamed about asking pointblank for money later, when talking about his fan mail.  "I put the pictures people send me on the wall, but if you write, send me money, money is what I need," to paraphrase him recently:  

Rest in peace, beautiful madman.  



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Nathan Payne
Nathan Payne

I am a songwriter and bandleader who travels the world in search of the golden ticket.


Replacing my blog at

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