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💌 So Glad to Share Alex’s Answers to My Questions

💌 So Glad to Share Alex’s Answers to My Questions

Hey,

I hope you’re doing great! I’m now back at our church-studio near Montreal! I haven’t set foot here for more than three days in a row for so many months – some time around last fall! It’s great to be back as spring is gently and slowly settling down! It’s a great time of the year to be in this part of the world, especially being here to get started on new music! You have no idea how much that means to us all after what has seemed like the longest winter of my entire existence. 

As I hope you read last week, I shared an important news exclusively to you, being a The Club Member, about Alex’s next collector vinyl for “The Pain That Bonds” being released on May 24 for you, and May 26 for the non-members if this little wonder doesn’t go sold out beforehand! 

Next week, I’ll share all about this, explaining to those who just recently joined, how this works adding to the excitement and privileges of being part of this Club! 

Alright now…! Without any further due, as I know you’ve been waiting to hear from Alex for a very long time, here are his answers to my and your questions, sent to him last week! Enjoy!!!! 

 

ALEX'S ANSWERS

1. Many people know that I’m not always sharing exactly where you’re at in your healing process. Could you please let us all know how you’re really doing?

I’m doing ok within the circumstances, but I guess the real question should be “Jeff, do you believe what I tell you when you ask me how I’m doing?!” This is where it starts.

Seriously, it’s a difficult question for me to answer as there’s no “typical” day. That’s why all my specialists kept on telling me to trust the process, even though I’m not used to sitting and waiting, nor am I very good at this resting thing. 

The biggest challenge for me has been related to the cognitive aspects of recovery. I’m still barely able to concentrate for more than 10 minutes, reading is a nightmare, let alone writing. I still have severe headaches and for whatever reason, I sometimes forget common words such as “table” or “chair”. It freaked me out at first, but now it’s as weird as it is funny when it happens. Maybe it’s due to my sleep deprivation, for which the meds sure don’t help. They considerably slow my system down and radically change my usual upbeat character while creating prolonged episodes of intense dizziness. I should have the dose altered in a month or so. It was very frustrating for me to see my attitude and demeanor being so affected by all the pills I have to take during the day.

Physically, I would say it’s a constant challenge. My surgery, while not short of a success, turned out to be a “let’s deal with one complication after another” masterclass for the surgeons. The procedure, already complex in itself, took twice as long as it was supposed to due to my condition, and since I lost a lot of blood, I ended up needing multiple transfusions. I had to be maintained “alive” by a machine for an extended period of time, so the body’s general recuperation is much more intense than it should be. My chest is not healing as fast as it should be. The bones are reconnected, but my muscles and skin are not back to what they were yet. Any movement hurts and I have severe back pain. The long intubation period messed up my ability to speak. I lost a lot of weight as well, but hopefully, it’s slowly getting back to a healthier level. I wasn’t able to move much until recently, so let’s say that walking, climbing stairs, or being seated for too long is not as simple, let alone pleasant. I’m laughing about it all now, saying that I know what it feels like to be a 1% iPhone battery tragedy…! Not being able to speak much prevented me from complaining about it, right!?! lol   

Besides that, everything is fine. The good – or bad – thing (depending on my different moods) is that I cut coffee and alcohol from my life hygiene. It probably won’t be forever, but I can see the benefit on my mind and body for now. I think I’ve got a real positive attitude and I envision that new life of mine as the tremendous gift that it is, so I don’t see any of what I had to momentarily let go of as too terrible a cost. Let’s just say that getting pretty close to death puts whatever I may have to deal with in a much brighter perspective than before I was confronted with the reality of my potential expiration time… All that to say that I’m incredibly thankful and grateful for every additional day I’ve been “given”.
 



2. I’ve been sharing small bits on how it’s been really hard for you to cancel this year’s festivals and headline tour. Could you walk us through this intense decision process? 

To be honest, that was probably one of the most terrible decisions I ever had to take in recent memories. Even though it was obviously the right one to make, it was nonetheless as frustrating as it was heartbreaking for me to settle for it. My initial concerns were about the members of my touring team, the concert promoters, and my booking agencies; After COVID, no one deserves to work on rescheduling what has already been booked. It felt even more devastating when I had to. 

I remember asking my specialists how long it would take for my voice to come back, for my body to be completely healed so I could travel, be on stage night after night…  The answer was: “Alex, it’s only been 3 days since you had a double-graft cardiac surgery. You could have died on stage on any given night on your previous tour. You need to rest now. That’s why you are still in the intensive care unit.” I knew it was a totally ludicrous idea to head back on the road in June, but I needed to hold on to something tangible, something that was meaningful to me, something I wanted to share with you all.

In terms of the moment that led me to cancel, the walk-through is overly simple. I had set myself a far-off deadline, and my lack of voice basically decided for me. It could have been my persistent back pain, the intense dizziness, or the fact that I still can’t hold a guitar amongst other things, but no matter how I actually feel, that cancellation hurts more than anything.

It may sound a little selfish, but besides seeing old and new friends on subsequent tours, the other particular element that I truly like about touring is playing a city, a region, or a country for the very first time. There’s a poetic aspect to it. To finally meet people face to face, to offer ourselves a very first hug, to share the pure excitement of exchanging a few words (or, in my case, having a long conversation), to go beyond frontiers, may they be physical or spiritual, to connect with others. And on that upcoming tour, I know I would have had such blessings on several occasions. It's now only a matter of time and a whole lot of patience on my part…     

But most of all, I felt incredibly empowered to know just how supportive everyone was once I made the announcement. It was unbearable to deal with the feeling of having let people down, but it would have been emotionally disastrous for me if I had to deal with the guilt of having profoundly disappointed people I love and who have been so kind to me… 
 



3. You shared in your last journal that you would visit New York City. Can you share why this trip and why now?

I just came back from New York as I am writing this. I went for a couple of days. I had never been “grounded” for so long before, so when I had my doctor's authorization to make that short trip, I was both enthusiastically ecstatic and consciously precautious knowing I’d have to take it real easy. If this short trip served several purposes, it felt incredibly good mentally to roam around in the real world, even if I felt like I was in a constant state of protective bubble of some sort the whole time I was there… Let’s just say that taking a plane, riding the city trains and being in a café observing life’s motions floating in every possible direction was fabulously exhilarating for me. I needed those little glimpses of “normality” more than I initially thought. I’m truly thankful I’ve been able to do it, especially as I’m about to start my physical therapy. It kind of sets the tone, in a way…  

As for the other purposes associated with my New York trip, they were all related to how I’ve been foreseeing what is coming next for me artistically and the specific structure I want it to take place in. Every meeting I had was tremendously inspiring, exciting and galvanizing.     
 



4. You also shared this sentence: “There’s a significant redesign and restructure I want my artistic adventure to go through from here on out, and there’s no better opportunity for me to establish that new foundation than during my recovery.” Can you explain this a little more, please?

I spent the first 2 months after my surgery alternating between being in bed and managing the several aspects of my DIY enterprises. Looking back at it, I should have stayed in bed much longer than I initially did! I think it was the natural effect of having survived something for which I seriously prepared myself to die from that led me to take action over my new chance at life right after I left the intensive care. I didn’t want to go back into my previous life environment when I left the hospital and was immediately hands-on regarding issues I didn’t want to look after like I did in the past. I immediately put myself in a completely different disposition, may it be mentally, physically, emotionally or spiritually, and I don’t think I realized how much energy it took me to reverse and realign the mechanics of my life until only recently. In my case, that realignment was a necessary cleansing step I absolutely had to take before human nature would bring me back into the same stream I felt trapped in for so long before. My trip to New York was the direct result of that so-called cleansing.

I’ve been a fierce DIY and  independent artist-entrepreneur for the entirety of my creative journey. It is mainly Jeff and I who manage all the details of our beautifully amazing and increasingly demanding enterprises and about a year ago, I started to envision the potential addition of a managerial team to work with on the business side of my artistic endeavors. It’s when facing the constant challenges that came with owning a hotel, which required much more love and time than we expected, while being on tour that it became an obvious need for me, as I’m an artist first and foremost. The unexpected surgery and the 6-month recovery gave me enough time to think it through and reevaluate my entourage based on the trajectory I’m currently on. Musing about it all simply amplified what I already knew and explicitly exposed what was undeniably needed so I could keep on evolving both creatively and personally.

I don’t think I would have been so honest with myself had I been in an ongoing stream of projects like I usually am. Being “grounded” for such an extended period of time offered me the incredible privilege to face those everlasting issues for real and that’s why I said there would be a deeply significant, and therefore highly positive, kind of shift in what’s coming up for me.  It’s truly exciting and it gives my extended recovery period a much more uplifting purpose now.        
 



5. We just stepped toes into the month of May already. What will this month be like for you?

That’s a great question…! There is what’s planned, which is mainly physical therapy and vocal treatments, and what’s hoped for, which is being able to read, write my ongoing book, and slowly get back into a creative motion to set the course of my new upcoming projects. For the rest, it’s one day at a time. 
 



6. What about the collector vinyl “The Pain That Bonds” that you designed?

I didn’t know if it was already announced just yet… I used to be the one revealing everything, so it’s disturbing for me to see someone else be the bearer of great news…! That being said, yes, I’ve recently had the utmost privilege to work on the soulful visual identity for the collector edition of “The Pain That Bonds”. It’s a particularly significant design for me, as it represents elements such as the anonymous chaos found in the nature of a crowd, the structural distance of buildings built on top of each other, with time passing us by like brushing flashes of bright yellow. The turquoise circular ocean stream stands as a higher peace holding everything together. I found it a poetically moving balance between the complex yet simplistic reflection of a synchronized reality, but at the same time, it is a distressing representation of our dystopian abandonment to the societal status quo and personal hopelessness. Whatever it is, there’s no right or wrong; it’s the song being felt on multiple degrees of layered sensations. It could be an intimate dive-in or a conceptual observation. Its ambiguous and paradoxical visual identity allows us all to keep on defining (and redefining) its meaning and implications based on the vibrating evolution the song’s words and sounds create deep within us.   
 



 7. Is there a particular reason why you wanted to release “The Pain That Bonds”  now?  

I think, considering what I’m actually going through, that it was the perfect moment to share a song I always felt was emotionally very difficult to sing and share, especially now as I currently do not have much voice to carry the song’s personal feelings. I always found it heavy and dark, yet it is equally bright and delicate, just like life is. I have come to find that a song’s true meaning resides in our willingness to explore its endless depth and profoundness rather than settling down for its most satisfying or non-confrontational explanations. At least, that’s how I see it and why I thought it couldn’t be more honest of a timing to commune that singular project with everyone.
 



8. As you can see, people have been worried about you since you aren’t online too much these days. Are you planning to increase your digital presence a little more in the next few weeks?   

I greatly miss everyone. Our special communion and mutual affection are such a significant part of my life that not being able to connect with people as much as I would like on a daily basis has left a major emptiness in my heart. I’m still trying to figure out a way to be more present while I’m recovering. There are many aspects of my existence that I’m determined to realign toward what I want currently, and communicating with everyone is absolutely at the top of my list. 

So we’ll see how it goes with my physical therapy and we’ll go from there. But God, do I miss you all, guys!

 

IN CONCLUSION

Thank you so much for reading all of the above! I’ve been waiting as long as I possibly could before sending more “work” on Alex’s desk, even if I know it’s a real pleasure for him to do so! But from now on, I guess spring time truly has arrived in every aspect of our lives…! I hope it’s the same for you! 

Before I forget, if you haven’t already, you can download and listen to every exclusive musical content we’ve been releasing since I started to host this Secret Family Cult Club here.

See you next week! Let’s be great to one another! 

Your Host and Friend, 
Jeff 

PS: I’ve been listening to Secret Life by Fred again.. and Brian Eno while writing this Club Missive down. A great new friend of mine and now a Club Member shared this album with me! 

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