A Day in the Life: Social Distancing with Jimmy Fasulo of Selfdrou9ht

Photo courtesy of Isabella Limeri

Well, we finally made it into the dystopian future we’d all been dreading facing for the last few years. It’s an interesting time to be alive to say the least - feeling as though you’re watching the Great Empire’s collapse before your very eyes, all the while still having to pay bills, wake up to file for the benefits afforded you by your newfound unemployment; making sure you don’t allow your day to day benign tasks to be consumed by a looming sense of helplessness and pointlessness cultivated by a warped reality with no viable fix in sight. In a weird way though, this is…kinda sick.

In the months preceding the COVID-19 invasion, I have to plead guilty to the charge of contentment. I was content with my day job, I was content with sharing a house with a collective of other artists paying for a shared kitchen and bathroom with only one room to call my own, and, most painfully of all, I was content with my artistic output. As someone who has been on stage since the age of eight, it was a new sensation. Burnout coupled with a strange sense of completion - “I’ve done it, I’ve played so many characters, fronted so many bands, toured so many states; whatever happens next is up to fate. I’ve paid my dues and given it what I could” - a point of view I now recognize as not only lazy, but brain-rattlingly arrogant. In December I joined the band LOVEONACID, the brainchild of former Save Face guitarist Philip McGarry, whose music I had worshipped for years and drawn infinite influence from for my endeavors in punk/alternative in recent years. In my eyes this was a pivotal moment - I had earned the respect of established artists, down to their enlisting me for their own projects. What else could success be but the respect of respected peers? I stopped writing. I sang what was presented to me. I was happy, and the effort required of me was minimal. Show up at the studio, nail the song in one or two takes, hang out with the squad and have a good time. It didn’t feel like working at all. It was bliss. Tracking with LOA and our producer, Rob Chiarappa, felt like summer camp - friends coming in and out of the studio every week to track parts with us in a giant converted church right on a lake. If I could feel this way without pushing myself, why bother? My day job is at a theater where I get to see and interact with national acts every weekend and stay close to the action. I can live with that and playing a few shows here and there.

Photo courtesy of Joseph E. Nester

But here we are now. Half of a year spent indoors re-reading old horror novels, patiently waiting for a project I do not have control over to gain traction and be free to play live shows again, and reveling in a strangely productive stagnancy. This changed one day late June going through my Google Drive.

My friend and producer, Doug Gallo, had worked on a handful of demos a few years ago when I originally toyed with the idea of crossing over from playing pop-punk/rock and roll to where my heart truly lies - soul music. All of my life I had worshipped the likes of Sam Cooke, Stevie Wonder, Amy Winehouse and the like, but never took the steps to enter that realm beyond a few repertoire/tribute shows. Be it from imposter syndrome as a recovering pop-punk posi-frontman or just general feelings of inadequacy. These demos were never fully fleshed out, and they sat in my Drive to die until I had a strange urge to give them another listen. With fresh ears, I realized we had made some tracks that were very special; they were fresh, they were unique, and most importantly, they felt like ME. The REAL me I had been trying to translate into music since I started writing with bands when I was 14 had finally raised his voice! I was armed with unemployment checks and nothing but free time, so I pulled the trigger. The result of our reunion session is my upcoming single, “The Comedown”, and I can say with certainty that if this song goes on solely to exist in the infinite void of unstreamed tracks filling Spotify’s servers, I at least let a part of myself free that has been begging to meet the world in any capacity. That’s my silver lining. I’ve been on a roll since then writing more and more material and getting to know myself and my abilities better than I ever had, and I know this time I can commit to myself and stick around with this project for years to come - whether there is demand for it or not.

Whether or not the covid-cocoon I’ve been sent into will produce a butterfly remains to be seen, all I can say is I feel a sense of potential and drive I do not think would have filled my spirit had this not happened. I want to see the world, and I want the world to see me back. I have so much in my soul I want to share, and putting those contents under pressure finally produced a reaction. I’ve been blessed to remain healthy and (for the most part) happy through this era of madness, and I hope you and yours have been too.

See you soon, yeah?

While practicing social distancing, listen to my new single, "The Comeback":