Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
It should be known that this is going to be an incongruous piece of prose. It's going to be even choppier than it usually turns out to be, for the man this writing is about is fantastically incongruent. David Strackany, better known as Paleo to some, is riddlesome and caught in a straight-jacket of emotions and feelings, to a point where his head and soul must feel like they are resting at tens times their capacity levels, filled with eyes, vines and stray spider legs. It's a matter of backing up against a wall that's just been covered in the stickiest adhesive known to man, and with hands straight up in the air and legs spread as if one were being arrested and padded down at gunpoint, getting stuck there, for all of the elements to just peck away at you. While Paleo is free to roam about the country - something that he does more than anyone else I know - he is trapped with himself and like the image described above, he is at the mercy of everything that gets lobbed his way, anything that falls on him from out of the sky, everything that hunts him down, anything that's hungry, anything that's lonely as well and everything sad, glad and in-between. He's at the mercy of all of these things showing up at his feet and doing what they will to him and - not for a lack of the ability to protect himself or to limit the exposure - he has to take it, if only to see what the effect might be. Whether he likes it or not - it might be not at all, but a twisted thought is that we'd be surprised to know the truth - he's an experimental creature, one that he's supervised the development of for over thirty years now. He has approved all of the blueprints and the initiatives, all of the movements, tactics and lines and has not been opposed to seeing what he will end up like when all of the smoke has cleared and silence (complete and total silence) has once again settled in, but lord knows he might not recognize the sound of the stuff when and if it does return someday.
"And when this is over we can look back and laugh/We can fling all of our things in the river/I never thought of it as a fault to be drawn to the short straws/I am attracted to the sadness and I am proud of that/But just once I want you to come out and say what you feel/Or better yet, honor the deal/…When it began, we made a promise/And we swept the past under the rug/And with a rabbit like that, we had to come up with a big hat." - from the song "The Deal," on Paleo's new album, "View of the Sky."
Strackany's head is a center for indecent levels of consideration and constant turbulence. For a man who admits in his description of the incredible song, "World's Smallest Violin," "Somewhere in my heart of hearts, on some level, I have not really wanted to live. It took coming face to face with a dear friend's depression to get me to acknowledge that same abiding emptiness within me. I realized all of a sudden that I had always been filled with a hole, yet I had managed to find clever ways to perpetually distract myself from looking into its mouth," the toll that it all takes on him is hard to fathom. That mouth is a scary thing to look into. What you would probably see is an abyss and one that wouldn't feel like gently drifting off to sleep, but one that would feel like a life unlived, like the taunting of a blackened full moon, like dripping blood. The abyss is consuming and when it hurts we exist twistedly, like an enticement for the scavengers and the rest of the wounded travelers - those worried souls and the ones who have already given up. Sometimes they sing as they hurt and sometimes they smile when they sing, as they watch their hands play.