I do not need pity, encouraging words, sympathy or even empathy. I only need to vent. I've never been one to polish myself up or adopt and portray the illusional lifestyle of the rock star or the scene star, or whoever people want me to be. I'm just me. I'm well aware of where I am, and I believe the truth in the quote by Gary Hamel that says, "The longer you're down in the trenches the easier it is to mistake the edge of your rut for the horizon." Perhaps that is where I am now, the trenches, and for the life of me I can't see passed the rut.
Does any one night make a difference when the next we do it all over again? We live without consequence and leave with only one regret; that we didn't have more. More of our fair share? More of what we're owed? Maybe some reassurance that this is the right path? We are owed nothing. We are the jesters of this country. Cheap entertainment for the outcasts, by the outcasts.
Fitting, but to what end?
Is this a pipe dream? A projection of ego? Will it all come crashing down, taking casualties with it, proving itself a mistake? Sometimes I feel it slipping...
Two years ago I tapped something I was feeling into my phone, it never made it into a song but occasionally the feeling returns to me:
I can't hold this world together anymore
It's tearing at the seams
The pressure's building soon it will explode
And nothing will remain but me
Like chopper blades the things I can't control
Have cut me down and left me here to bleed
The pressure's building soon I will explode
And chase away the people close to me
It's not the deepest or most original piece of poetry I've written, I know that, but it's honest. I suppose it reflects anger for how brutal the things out of our control can be to us... self destructive anger. Why? Because as much as struggling for years has built my character I will always at my core hate it. Even when I rejoice in my struggles, those few moments of unwavering joy and peace are fleeting. I always return to the constant, the thing that never changes (see blog post: The Struggle). I want to ignore it, to run from it, because I don't like it.
I always return to the reality that I'm broke at twenty-seven, with no current future outside of writing songs that on a great night two hundred people will show up to listen to live, paying us enough money for gas and a hotel and a few hundred bucks at the end of a six week tour. We take that money and we try to save it, but bills and debt pile up and we're forced back out on the road. I've damaged my voice so many times that the slightest thing will cause me to lose it. Without in-ear monitors I have no chance of saving it, especially at the tiny venues with the terrible sound systems and the incompetent sound people, but we can't afford an in-ear monitoring system. We can't afford a tour manager to take care of the things we currently struggle to take care of. We can't afford a sound person to make sure we can hear ourselves so we don't lose our voices or sound terrible live. We can't afford any luxury that would make us perform better, feel better, sound better, or stay healthier. We can't afford anything good in the trenches.
I wouldn't wish this life on anyone. It's groundhog day every day, with seemingly no headway made in any practical way. Sometimes when I'm on stage I feel like an aerobics instructor at best, dancing and sweating to the beat and trying desperately to encourage the audience to do the same. When I feel that way I start to resent our music. I start to hate it. We're just one band in a sea of bands, and we're running out of the naivete required to plug away like this for years to come.
Again I don't want pity, or any sympathetic response you may feel inclined to type. I especially don't need people to tell me that I'm lucky, and that I should feel blessed and that they would kill to be in my shoes. The truth is, most people wouldn't last one tour before their first mental breakdown. I've seen it. Most people are far more domesticated than they realize. Me? I'm built for this constant moving, I'm not a nester at all, and my struggle has been made obvious to you via this blog.
The only people that I've been able to relate to outside of touring are military people. They too leave their loved ones for months on end, putting themselves in harms way for a certain set of ideals in an attempt to be a part of something bigger than themselves. In the end, most military people justify it because of the paycheck. The ideals fade, the sense of duty becomes clouded and they get jaded too. But the paycheck keeps coming, so they keep re-signing with the hope of early retirement and financial freedom.
I suppose money is a piss-poor motive on the grand scheme of things, but it sure would be a nice thing to fall back on!
P.S - Please know that I do not feel this way all the time, and that most of the time I feel incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to be the voice of change in the lives of our listeners. I just felt like it was high time I wrote this feeling down so I can keep it contained in clear view.