In the pilot episode of Tenacious D, Jack Black and bandmate Kyle Gass are riding high off a gig at open mic night, until the club owner calls to tell them to bring new material, or don’t come back. With five days to write a new song, the duo struggle through every imaginable artistic roadblock. They jam impromptu only to realize the tape recorder wasn’t on; they riff on “Rocket Sauce,” then hear an ice cream truck drive by tooting the same melody. For all its exaggerated slapstick, the episode speaks to a universal question all artists face: where does inspiration come from?
Local Pablo Juárez, a 28-year-old research coordinator, has created Stalking the Muse to answer just that. Culling stories from local artists on the genesis of their work, Juárez and co-founder John Staubitz have created “Storytellers” for the local set, born out of Juárez’s love for his hometown of Austin and the collaborative network he found there.
After diving into Nashville’s rock scene, he and Staubitz—then fellow grad students in Vandy’s special education program—created the community project in January. The site is hosted only on MySpace for now (myspace.com/stalkingthemuse), so scrolling through blog entries on previous artists like The Bees, Thad Cockrell or Strays Don’t Sleep can be a little unwieldy. But it’s worth it to read the hilarious and provocative tales. Thornton’s frontman writes about what it’s like to be “hot shit in Nashville for about a day-and-a-half,” and Daniel Tashian from The Bees takes on a curious interviewee—himself. Forthcoming submissions include David Mead, Lylas, Ghostfinger and The Daisycutters.
There are established artists paired with lesser-knowns online, and the live shows aim to do the same—something Juárez hopes will cross-pollinate fan bases. A joint musical/art venture in October is in the works. The site isn’t genre specific, or even reflective of the founders’ favorites. It’s just about stalking the elusive inspiration behind artistic endeavors, about which Juárez, also a poet and songwriter, knows plenty.
“You just get to that point sometimes,” Juárez says of the creative process. “Some of my best poems took a really long time to write, because I just couldn’t figure out how to approach them. Sometimes you just can’t find it. Sometimes you have to search for it.”