Why Bother?

I’ve been playing in bands since the early 90’s. I’ve played metal, folk, goth, rock, country and a bunch of other silly styles when the mood struck me. Music was always a passion for me as a child and I’ve been fortunate to pursue it as an adult.  But…

But life changes things. Age changes things. When you are a kid and you play the bar scene a few nights a week, you love it! It energizes you. Then you graduate to playing out of town shows and festivals. Maybe you land a gig or two in a mall in some other city to promote your new album or open for a national artist. It’s all very exciting. But for most musicians, there is little money in it.

Money isn’t everything, of course. Most of us site the creative rewards for writing a song or performing. But in the end, you have to pay rent. So somewhere along the line, you start a career. As the years pile on, the career takes on more importance and requires more of your energy. Dreams of rock stardom have to be placed on hold!

I’m at the place in my life now where I have an established career. Oh yeah, and I play some music occasionally… Usually on Thursday nights… And usually with the same five faces looking on. Sure, we still get a kick out of writing songs. We have a vault full of impromptu jams just waiting to be developed. But we are all career guys now. Life has changed our priorities.

Some of us have had our creative energy tapped from day to day fatigue. Others have been stalled by anxiety and psychotropic drugs. I had wrist surgery in 2008 that greatly changed the range of motion in my hand which has hindered my already mediocre guitar playing! But we plod on week after week.

And you know what? Mostly, we like it. I say mostly because a hard work week can make a cancelled Thursday night rehearsal a relief. Yes, a relief. In my youth, I couldn’t imagine missing a change to jam with the band. But life changes things. Maybe some of you will say that I’m not a ‘true musician’ or a ‘true artist’. Fair enough.  I certainly know a few musicians my age who haven’t lost their zeal.  Along the way, I‘ve discovered new forms of expression.  I get the same charge from taking a great picture as I do writing a song. 

So why bother? It’s no secret that my band rarely plays live shows and hasn’t recorded any of these new songs we play for ourselves on Thursdays. It’s not that we aren’t capable. It’s that we don’t prioritize the time to book shows or record music. The band is in the back seat for us most of the time. So what’s the point?

Those four guys I jam with (Thomas Kinder, Kevin Reese, Mike Kushins and Rob Williams) are some of my best friends in this world. Rehearsal night is more than just a structured combination of playing our songs and writing new ones. It’s an opportunity to hang out and do something that is exclusive to us. When you play with the same guys for years, it becomes second nature. It’s actually hard to imagine any of us leaving the fold. We really are like a band of brothers. We spend a lot more time together away from music than we do surrounded by it. But it’s the common creation process that has become our writing style that makes it special.

There really doesn’t need to be any other reason. I’m happy that I’ve been able to accomplish some of my musical goals throughout the years. I’ve played shows, traveled, published music, heard my songs on the radio, sold music overseas, got my music on iTunes, etc and even found out that my music was being illegally downloaded (that’s a twisted compliment!) But what’s next? I did an interview with myself for the Sombrance website earlier this year. We need to set some goals and priorities for 2014. And I believe we will. Not all of them will be about music though. For example, our goal this month is to get to the Barley Wine Dinner at Charleville Brewing in Ste. Genevieve.

I write this blog entry as I am lately in a constant state of wondering about life. And age does have a few elements that are not negative. Experience is the best teacher and there’s only one way to acquire it… get old.  We are getting good at getting old!

Peace and Blessings,