As I am doing my best to keep on a more consistent basis, the biggest challenge of course is coming up with something to write. Most people would say that the issue lies in finding the time to write. But as I have already exclaimed on many occasions, if something is important enough you will find the time to do so. Like I said before, claiming you don’t have the time is just another way people bullshit their way out of admitting that they truly don’t believe are capable of doing something. Like a shield to protect one’s fragile ego while they are reminded of what they once set out to when they witness others who miraculously found the time to do so. And feeling even more shattered seeing others achieve success in some way doing the thing(s) they “didn’t have time” to do.
I have learned that if you keep doing what you set out to do, you have not failed. Yes, we are all hoping for some form of success, sustainability, or notoriety for what we have focusing on. However, waving the proverbial white flag and calling it quits is real the mark of being unsuccessful. I have at times thought that I have failed in many facets of my life. Only one person had accused me of having failed. The only thing I failed at was getting a few unmotivated lazy asses to be serious about getting a band together. Ironically, I was going to name this “Why I am glad that I failed”. For a while it made sense to me to feel that way. Through relationships, careers, and commercial success it seemed like all there was failure. So much so that I even feared a large amount of attention, which most people would refer to as “fame” as some parts of my story are too shameful to be brought out into the public eye. Many people who claim that they want to be famous often overlook this drawback not realizing people are going to be curious about your life. Either because they aspire to follow in your footsteps or the sheer fascination that people have with celebrities. Either way, their privacy is nearly diminished no matter how hard they try. And I am referring to simple everyday stuff like running to the store for example. And I’m sure you are probably aware of the fact that people make a living off capturing celebrities on camera, be it at an event or like I had previously mentioned while they are doing things in their spare time. See, if they can find time to do things than why can’t you? But that just suggest that just because someone is in the limelight that they should be a shining example of how the rest of us should be. It doesn’t mean that they are the greatest human beings that ever lived, and we should worship them for it. There are plenty of celebrities that are horrible examples of human beings. And I don’t say that because of some twisted media story. It’s starting to sound like fame is almost like being under a microscope constantly for anyone to examine, doesn’t it? Does it still seem worth it? I mean lots of this is the fact that we are led to believe that money comes along with that fame. But it’s not always the case. This seems like a bad example now, but in the at the start of their career Paul Stanley of the now legendary rock group Kiss was asked by a fan “what’s it like to be rich & famous”, he replied “I can tell you what it’s like to be famous, but I can’t tell you what it’s like to be rich”. This was early on, most likely during one of their very first tours while they were still struggling to find their niche and gained success with their first live album “Kiss Alive!”. On the other hand, you can be rich without the fame and all the other things that go along with it. Yet most people have this idea that money will buy happiness as well. In many ways it can, and we do need money to survive but not as much as you think. I learned that after reading parts of a book called “FU Money” by Dan Lok. It’s basically showing how much and how you can get enough money to walk into your job and say “FU, I quit”.
You probably may have concluded that most musicians set out to create form and form bands to gain money and the status that comes along with it. Which is true for the most part but not everyone is willing to put in the work. After all it is work. If you’re dedicating all your time to do it and getting paid to do shows and sell music is a job. I realized years ago that the structure of the music industry with traditional record deal is put in place so that you can focus on creating music and not have to worry about living expenses such as food and housing (even though you don’t see much money until the label recoups their costs, but that’s another story for another time). In a perfect world it makes sense. But as we all know this world is not perfect in the least (well at the people in it are not). I was shocked when I found out that people in notable bands that have record deals, albums released and have toured have to go out and do something outside the music industry to survive. That was always my biggest nightmare, I am yes I am living it. I don’t blame anyone but myself and the state of the world we live in. The fabled days of bands like The Ramones & Blondie gaining success after shows at the long-gone NYC club “CBGB’s”. I believe representatives from Record Labels frequented these clubs on both coasts and this was before the astronomical rise of inflation. You could afford to be a musician living in the East Village playing at the local clubs, and people came out no matter what day of the week. But this just means that these days we must work harder and use the resources we have available to keep things going.
Many people just settle after they find some other way of making a living or shift priorities off creating music for a living. And those of us who struggle to keep things going are often wondering why? Why things didn’t pan out like we had hoped? This entry was originally not going to have a musical reference along with the title. But when I decided against the original and more coarse title, I was reminded of a song that I thought was titled Why? Because it is one of the last words in the song. A song by Pearl Jam called “Black”. I wasn’t a big fan of theirs, but I did like their music and despite how hard it was(im sure some of you got that) saw them play live. And for the most part ignored some of the pretense that was associated with the band and mostly their singer, Eddie Vedder (see what I meant by celebrities always being scrutinized?). It does remind me of a time when I was starting my senior year of High School and I would visit my friend George at his house on lunch break. And coincidentally enough, this song is about early relationships and letting go. Which I have learned to do in most capacities. As far as asking yourself why as it pertains to life and your goals, you could ask yourself this about anything you were hoping for expecting in life. But, a wise man once told me “Expectations are Pre-resentments”. Up until recently I started understanding why this happened for me. Even though several years ago, someone told me that what you are doing right now at that very moment is what your supposed to be doing. I really didn’t believe it at the time, but it sometimes makes sense.
I am reminded of a day when I first started with the company I work for. My job required me to be outside in all types of weather. Rain, 100° heat and I was on foot, walking for most of the shift. Yes, it totally sucked and did harden me a bit when I saw how people complained about the simplest tasks given to them. Especially those who complained about haven to even get up that early to go to work. But one day as I was doing my work, I came across something ( or someone) that has led me to realize why I ended doing a job outside my preferred industry in another suburb after I had escaped the suburbs I grew up only to be thrown back into one for most of my week in order to make a living (yes, sounds melodramatic but when you’re ambitious nothing is worse than doing what you didn’t set out to do). You are probably thinking it was some other person giving me sage advice, but it was not. I walked over to part of this person’s lawn and there was a squirrel laying there on the grass. He was ok, but it was a small or baby Squirrel since he lacked that signature bushy tail, they all have, and it was raining. I heard his little cries and knew I couldn’t leave him there helpless to be killed by some other animal or stupid person. The first person I came across told me just to leave him there (I assumed that with all the crucifies and references to Jesus around their home I would have gotten the opposite response, but I guess some people are only good Christians when it benefits them) So I walked back to my work vehicle and found a box I could keep him in with my sweatshirt until I found out how to help him. I made some calls and found an animal rescue that even came to my work location the next day and brought him back to the sanctuary. I took him back to my house that night and one of my cats was looking over him as if she was a little nurse, I wish I had a picture of that. This was one event that made wonder, what of I wasn’t there? I don’t have faith that someone else would have done what I did. I already told you the first person I saw didn’t care. Maybe this was the reason why was meant to be at this job. And basically, one of the only reasons why I wouldn’t change my past it if I could.
Another example of this was about a year ago. Of course since I haven’t really been very successful in this occupation (how can you if your heart is not in it, I can’t force myself or fake like others for any amount of money) I ended up staying in the same low level position that would have made most people embarrassed (and yes by now I was) but for what it seems like the millionth day in a row I excepted hot steaming pile of shit they handed me as they assumed I would smile while I did(most people get angry when you don’t, their problem I guess) but I didn’t. I did eventually find my way into a more suitable job and continued to work on elevating the band with simple things like a phone call here and there and trips to the post office. So, on one of my stops, I was told to go to a deli. This address had two actually and I went to the wrong one, or so I thought. There I saw a dog that the people at the deli took in after the low lives that lived upstairs abandoned him. He was tied to a short leash outside and at night was put in the basement. I noticed him and was asked if I wanted to buy him. I asked what his name is, and was told that it is “Tarzan”. I took a few pics of Tarzan and contacted an animal rescue group (as lots of them take in animals that are scheduled to be put down, which should be illegal) and on social media. I immediately got a quite a few responses from people looking to adopt Tarzan. Two were from out of state. Luckily someone from nearby (although shamefully enough I haven’t visited yet) took him and decided to keep the name he was given. His new family has thrived since along side him and all I gained from this was knowing that I was able to help another living creature get the love they so rightfully deserve. Not that I was looking to get anything in return, but I can’t say for sure anyone else would have done so if they weren’t gaining from this in anyway. And as you can see this time I did take pics, this is the pic I sent out to people initially and a pic of him one his first day at his new home.
So you see, some answers just come to you mysteriously. On the other hand, some questions will always go unanswered. And some lessons keep repeating themselves until you learned them, I know firsthand. It’s very easy to allow the wrong people and things into your life when you’re fully of hope and positivity, which obviously at best leads to being let down. And if anything, I did not allow life’s circumstances to change me and my persona. Many people end up getting bitter or resentful overtime after not achieving their goals when they want to. I saw people I worked with in music succumbing to this mentality and being sucked in or brainwashed by their bosses in praise of the almighty dollar. And it drained them physically and emotionally. Making them mere shells of their former selves. I wasn’t going to let some corporation rob me of the one thing that keeps me going. Even though I have better job stability than most of these people who sold out and convinced themselves that creating music wasn’t worth their time. And in fact, we have even done quite a few shows for charities around the NorthEast and hope to do more.
Thank you again for reading. I would like to take a moment to thank all of you for reading and to those of you that gave your condolences this week on the passing of my beloved Greyson. A loss that I will never find any meaning in.
Be well, and I hope all of you flourish in this new year.
This is for my Greyson, in hopes that he does return & this has always inspired me(hence why I sampled it for Dissolved on our first album
This is from the Pearl Jam Concert I was at, since they block their content from being shown