The band has no plans to tour, either. "I'd like to play Casa Grande," Cardello laughs.

Ultimately, though, the band seems content simply creating solid music. "We do it for the sake of playing, and bringing together creative ideas to create something that is artistic and engaging," Cardello says.

"The big thrill is creating a song out of nothing. You're just playing, and before you know it, there's this song, with an entity all its own," Portnoy says.

The Automatic Erasers: Awesome old dudes who really rock.
photo courtesy of Automatic Erasers
The Automatic Erasers: Awesome old dudes who really rock.

Listening to my recordings of Reeder, Portnoy, and Cardello bantering back and forth, I'm taken aback by how stress-free their band sounds. I think again about Jeff, my former drummer and current friend. I know that we had fights — long, blown-out arguments — about how to "make it" as a band. But for the life of me, I can't recall why any of that stuff ever seemed so important. I can only seem to remember the goof-off days, huddled around the turntable with guitars, trying to figure out which licks to rip off from LPs by The Jam and The Isley Brothers, the night that we e-mailed Bob Corritore, drunk off our asses, and conned him into letting us open for the legendary proto-metal band Blue Cheer.

None of the "big stuff" seems to matter now, just those ridiculous joys. "I think what we have in common is that we love music, and we love the music that we play," Orin says from my laptop's tinny speakers. "Whether that's recording, or in the rehearsal studio, whether we play for a lot of people or no one, we just like to play."

I'm glad I've got The Automatic Erasers to remind me how simple it should be.

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