My buddy Jefferson Thomas got a hilarious text message from a singer the other day about a bass players availability for a gig. It read:
“Is he available for a gig, or is he trying to ‘make it'”.
We had a good laugh, and let’s not forget – all humor has some truth in it!
A letter to all musicians.
We will always play music because we love it.
However in the process of us who are trying to “have a career”, “make it”, book gigs, make a living and all be the top dog, I urge everyone to take a time out.
We must realize that we are constantly being forcefed “celebrity” – America’s drug of choice (according to Chuck D of Public Enemy), and we are affected by it collectively. It’s easy to forget why we love playing music and turn the simplicity of a song into a house of mirrors.
Everything has become the web presence, the shows, the gigs, the tours, the photos, the twitter, the hits on youtube, to many of us.
It’s all very nice when these things support the music, but when it becomes more important than the music, which we have let it – all of life becomes tainted with the “never having enough”.
The sickness of the music community (and all of showbiz) wanting “something for nothing” is running rampant. Shows like American Idol and overnight internet sensations cloud worthwhile artists from public view – but worse…they spread an MTD (mentally transmitted disease) of “making it”.
Now audiences too can feel the addiction of “wow I can be a celebrity too”. When they see the average, mediocre talent that is on display it is in reach for them. A baby can sing “Hey Jude” and be a star.
It used to be that audiences appreciated seeing someone do something that they COULDN’T do.
Imagine if everyone stopped trying to “make it”.
Imagine if YOU stopped trying to “make it”. Might you not be happier? How much will actually change?
None of the people who are “making it” are fooling me. Their being flashed before my eyes is like a temporary newspaper headline.
I call on you, dear musician, to abandon “making it big”. Just do what you do, let the profundity speak for itself with its own quiet voice. Carry on and live from the heart.
Why do I write this? To give value to the music community in some kind of way. To orient students and aspiring pros in a direction that will blossom.
In hindsight, the only thing that has ever done my “career” any good was being 100% into the music and feeling the natural joy that comes from that. Everything else has NOT worked…and believe me, I have tried!
Good Luck, and groove on!