Being a "working" musician tends to involve lots of life hurtles; mainly the ups and downs of income and merging the creativity of music creation with a busy tour schedule so as to not let it exhaust you into losing the magic during each show.
Over the past several months some of my dreams have come true. Since the day I first walked the grounds of Harmony Park I absolutely fell in love with everything there. The music and the community were one of great intention and spirit. Everything that happens at Harmony Park has clear intent and a message within. This immediately inspired not only my music writing but also how I went about my music business.
I began delving into the discographies of all of the musicians in the scene and booking shows that were of like minded purpose. This brought me back to Harmony Park several times and ultimately introduced me into an entire new chapter of my life.
I would have called you a liar if you would have told me back when I first came to Harmony Park that my band would be playing directly before Wookiefoot on a Saturday night at their own festival in just two years. Even though I was working my ass off 24/7 to get to that stage, I would not have believed that it would have happened the way it did. But here it is:
The thing about a major slot at a festival or a big show you took months to put together...it makes you really hyper-focus on every single second of your live performance. Jake, Riley, Kwame, and myself all put in major rehearsal time to be sure that set was as good as we could have made it and I don't mean to be vain in anyway but I'm damn proud of how we played that night....and we are always incredibly hard on ourselves after a show.
So that dream came true, playing at Harmony Park but the other dream that came true is a bit more generalized.
I believe this is the very first time in my life that I've been able to travel playing music, even just the small amount we do compared to other acts, and actually sustain income and have the opportunity to perform for people several states away who come out in numbers knowing the lyrics to all of our songs. It really is incredibly surreal.
You write a song by yourself during a tough time and then months later you are in the studio recording it with your best friends and before you know it there you are... on a stage in some city in some state with 40 people screaming the lyrics back at you.
The truth is, I forget the lessons I've learned in life as quickly as I learn about them sometimes. The songs sort of help me to remember what the hell it was I learned and to not repeat the same idiotic mistake. I couldn't tell you how many times I've been feeling incredibly lonely, on the road, had maybe too many drinks, I'm on stage and all of these people are excited to see us but deep down I'm numb to the bone and sadness lingers like a wet shirt thrown on a basket of freshly dried laundry.
Then I look up, see the smiles on fans, some of which droves hours to see us, they are telling us what the songs have meant to them and opening up their mental wounds to us because they feel they can share that with us and they've come to place of like minded community that gathers to hear the message. When I look up and see that and am reminded of what all this is, my sadness not only subsides, I begin to view the sadness as selfishness compared to the power of what I've just witnessed music do. Here I am lounging in my self pity when I've got all the love I need right here in this room with me.
Now if I'm being entirely honest, I've been a bit caught up with performing, rehearsing, working a day job when I'm able, and using other outlets for stress such as the gym so much so that I've really neglected writing music for sometime now. That's not easy to admit either. Part of this blog's purpose to assist with getting me back to writing again.
I'm not sure if every artist needs space from his or her art to keep it fresh and exciting but I most certainly do. It's very difficult for me to force a song that isn't just coming through. Lately though, I've had that spark come up. We've slowed down our gigging schedule and got back to a bit more of a normalcy for a bit which has allowed enough free time to get....bored I guess.
Bored is good though, because when you're bored you tend to start to think. Sometimes you'll overthink. Sometimes you might even obsess. Sometimes you can overthink and obsess to the point where its stressful and takes actual physical energy out of you. Those times, are the most humbling creative times in my opinion. It's necessary to have a bit of internal suffering to even question things in your life. Am I loving enough? Is my ego getting in the way of better relationships? Am I holding grudges that bear me more weight than if I were to just forgive and let go? Or to be so poetic about it...Have I been a dickhead to people? Am I being as genuine and honest as I can possibly be as often as I can? Am I taking care of myself or just filling my body with shit?
There was a time a few years ago when I was so busy either partying or playing music or working that I don't think I ever stopped to get bored and think and ask my self such questions, at least not often enough.
So this is where I believe it begins again. A break from the road and a chance to dive deep once again the world of creation. Music pours out like lava for me...very rarely but with the full force of nature when it does.
I'll be sharing with you as often as possible.