Articles Do The Tighten Up - The Impermanence Of Life

Do The Tighten Up - The Impermanence Of Life

posted: 03/09/09 @ 06:08:pm

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The Impermanence Of Life


It’s possible to become so absorbed by being in a band that it takes over your entire life, both creative and personal. Yeah, you need to focus your energy, to create and hopefully live the dream—but not at the risk of losing what is often an already tenuous grasp on reality. In other words, don’t quit yer day job, at least not yet.

Here’s the thing—bands come and go, sometimes faster than you would like. While you may have put all your sweat and talent into building a rockin’ little combo, many of the situations I’ve discussed in earlier columns set up the self-destruct scenario that causes bands to fail. When the lead singer and rhythm guitarist mention that they’re starting “a little side project”, it’s time to start looking at Craigslist all over again.

The longer a band is together, the harder it is to deal with a breakup. All the emotional upheaval that comes with the end of any intense relationship applies here. So, what do you do? Give up playing? Crawl into a baggie of Chronic and watch tv? The key to a successful career (in any field) is to commit to what you’re doing while you’re doing it—give it your best shot, but also remember that things change. If all you can play is your band’s music, what will you play when the band goes away—nothing?

That is why I’ve been harping on the importance of expanding your musical horizons. If you have a broad range of musical abilities and interests, you’re going to find lots of opportunities to play. While life without your band might seem unimaginable right now, it would be a good idea to try to imagine it, and what you’ll do afterwards. I don’t mean to burst your bubble, but the reality is; if you’re a musician, and intent on staying a musician, you’re going to be in a lot of bands before they ship you off to the glue factory. (Someone please tell Paul McCartney to confirm his seat assignment…).

So, love like there’s no tomorrow, dance like no one is watching, play like every note will be your last—but also know that bands die, life goes on, and there are always opportunities for skilled players. Your insurance policy is to get your musical shit together so you have mobility. The higher your skill level, the better prepared you’ll be to seize an opportunity.

Along those lines, I’m sad to say this will be the final installment of this column as is going away. Just as in the world of bands, writing gigs come and go. I’m disappointed, but not surprised. As they say here in Texas—this ain’t my first rodeo. I’m confident that other opportunities are out there for me because I’ve developed my skills. So, like a bass player whose band just broke up, I’m on the hunt, ready to apply myself to the next situation. My final words of advice: Enjoy your band, but keep preparing for the inevitable moment when you’ll be looking for a new one by improving yourself as a musician.