Monday, January 30, 2006

Time for a little honesty

Despite my repeated promises that I will write on a regular basis, this will come to no surprise to anyone stopping by: I am a big fat liar. I imagine any fiction writer could use those words to describe herself, but without the actual writing part, I’m whittled down to just plain liar. I don’t normally use that word to describe myself, but in this instance, it is more true than I’d like to admit. John’s nagging is having a profound effect, as well as his encouragement, despite the lack of entries. It weighs on me when I can’t sleep at night and think about all the things I haven’t accomplished.

One of my favorite quotes is by Goethe: “Hell begins the moment God shows you all you could have been had you only applied yourself.” That is one of those bone-chilling statements that just floors me every time I read it. I want to write a sentence that has that much power, but I will never write a sentence like that if I don’t write.

This is not an excuse, but has been a truth for the past month. My evenings have been spent learning new material for a band I’ve joined. From the time I was 13 until I was 28 almost every weekend of my life was spent playing in some kind of bar, moose lodge, theater, or dance club. Playing guitar has been such a huge part of my life, but after a few bad experiences back to back, I limited my playing to only recording in my studio. I was completely disenchanted with the whole scene. I suppose I was tired of being disappointed.

I don’t want to make a blanket statement about all musicians, because that is simply not fair. However, an unusually high number of them have chemical imbalances, personality disorders, addictions, and I suspect missing chromosomes. Or perhaps that is just what I attract.

I like to think of myself as a successful person. I’m educated, gainfully employed, happily married with 3 dogs and a modicum of talent. I have a good life. But in all honesty, I feel like a failure musically. I am the musical equivalent of some cartoon character that has the best intentions, but will always fall into the big deep hole or open up the package that blows up in her face. So, I’ve decided that perhaps my gift will be to write a book called “How To Not Succeed in the Music Industry.” This will give me several topics to write about on my blog to get the writing going. Here are just few essay topics I plan to include:

Fake English accents and socialist aspirations…not a good mix.
Beware of musicians with names like “Heaven” or “Destiny.”
Spot Drug Dealers Immediately
Don’t show up on a drunk drummer’s doorstep and demand money
Get Free Toiletries
Stalkers and You

I'm not completely pessimistic about my musical future. This band is actually quite good and they are the caliber of players I've been looking for. The only down side is they live four hours away. I went up to Baltimore two Saturdays ago and had a three hour rehearsal and played a show with them that night. It was pretty exciting. The thing is that I love every moment that my hands are actually on the guitar, whether its on stage or in the drummer's basement. It's all the stuff inbetween that kills me and makes me question if I really want to go down this road again. These are the things I hate:

1. Sitting in a bar for three hours waiting to play
2. Band groupies...especially the ones who hang around these kinds of clubs and drink too much jaegermeister and punctuate their sentences with "Woo hoo."
3. The people who claim to be the band's "stylist" or other various self-appointed titles
4. Sound checks that never start on time, or worse yet, never happen
5. Shows that are supposed to start at 10:30, but don't start until midnight.

Okay, maybe those things don't sound that bad, but after you read about a few of my past experiences you may see why these things can infuriate me.


At 12:21 AM, Blogger Duke_of_Earle said...

Ahhhhhh! I stopped by, and there was a new post! How satisfying.

T, I think that some of the things you mention DO afflict all, or at least the majority of, musicians. For years I led the praise and worship time at the church we attended, playing guitar and leading the singing. There were always other singers (a choir? Perhaps...), but often there were others with instruments as well. Guitars, drums, piano, keyboard (organ), and even an occasional flute and/or fiddle. Sometimes in practice we sounded really pretty good, when it all gelled.

But you could never depend on most of them to show up, or practice, or bring their music, or whatever. Lots of good intentions, but little follow through. It seems that rare is the soul who is both talented and disciplined. Why is that?



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