Work work work work work work work. Yaaaaaaaaay!!!! The highlight of my life, just a few moments away now. Hell, by the time you read this, I’ll probably be washing glasses or cutting limes. It promises to be awesome. I actually get a little surge of energy on the days when I have to work. I don’t know if it’s me rising to the challenge or what, but it seems like I waste all my free days dreading work and lots of my work days not really minding it so much. Hmmm…well, I hate washing the dishes and I hate a few of my coworkers and I hate a few of my regulars, but that’s not really any different than the amount of hate I have for anything…Let’s talk about something I love and I’ll tell you why I hate it too. Uh, let’s see…how about family. That’s a good one, right? Everyone can relate to loving their family, and also hating them, or just wanting them to go away, right? I love my family to death, but there’s no doubt about it, if they were all dead, there’d be a lot less pressure, headaches, guilt, shame etc. I’d also be completely destroyed, alone, depressed, without any will to live whatsoever, so make no mistake, I’m in no way looking for a dead family, but you get the point…Even the very best things in the world can get to you. Okay, not that my job is one of the best things in the world either. It bugs the shit out of me, BUT, without it I’d be broke, aimless, panicky and definitely feeling a lot more pressure, headaches, guilt and shame you know, because of having a family, which would probably be worse than just hating my job. Jesus. I should really change the subject.
For ever, playing in a band was my only job. Never mind that we just barely are big enough to do that as an only job and we kind of scrape through by being on the road constantly. It was our only job, and we even have employees, who, when we’re going full time, have no other job either. Something about meeting someone at a party and saying “yeah, I play in a band” when they say “what do you do?” and then responding to the inevitable follow up: “What else do you do?” with “nothing” feels pretty great. There are times when I think I’d almost, ALMOST rather just be jobless than be a bartender, because at least I could still maintain this completely false image of jet setting leisure, you know? “what do you do?” “Oh, I just hang out with my kid and fuck around. I used to tour in a band, but we’re taking some time off so I can be with the baby” sounds so much cooler than “bartender”. BUT, doesn’t really work, does it? Nah, because aimlessness is the worst cancer your soul can get. It’s impossible to shake and it’s what turns easy tasks into impossible obstacles.
Entitlement is the problem with music. There’s a point, after a band has gotten any level of success, that they start feeling entitled to it. And this is true on two levels. First, the actual empirical number of kids at a show/records sold etc. As soon as this number goes down, there is a soul crushing level of devastation that completely destroys the performers on said stages/records. This is, mind you, only true if you’ve actually reached a point where the kids are coming to SEE YOU SPECIFICALLY. If your crappy band played down the street to thirty kids one night, and ten the next week, well, that’s a bummer, sure, but it’s not that feeling of ENTITLED outrage and again, devastation that say, Puddle of Mudd probably feels playing county fairs right now.
The second and much more dangerous form of false entitlement is that of relative popularity. No one likes to see a band that opened up for them on tour blow past their level of success. This is the one that usually ends up making people bitter, shitty old grumps. It doesn’t matter if your band is still popular. If your friend’s newer band suddenly becomes more popular, or has stayed popular longer as you’ve started to fade a little, that’s a bad scene, spirit wise.
I try not to let this sort of shit get to me, especially the second one, because let’s face it, it’s not important. You can only worry about what you do as a band, not what other people do. That’s just a recipe for feeling like shit, because no matter who you are, there’s always someone who’s gonna go farther and last longer. Always. AND there’s nothing AT ALL that’s cool about hating on someone just for being popular. It’s jealousy, and you look like a fucking pussy. Every time, in every situation. (Yeah, crusty kid who no longer listens to NOFX or Against Me!, you too). That’s all it is, that’s all it ever looks like, and if you think it’s not, you’re deluded. Sorry.
The first one is trickier, because it’s actually your own numbers dipping, and this one DOES bother me (not that it’s really happened to us too much, actually…but I always prepare for it) but it’s still a completely retarded thing to worry about. There’s no point in worrying about something you can’t control. If people stop coming, or stop buying or listening, and you’re still doing your thing to the best of your ability, hey man, join the rest of the zillion assholes who make records and play shows that no one gives a shit about. It’s not like they’re gonna lock you up in a tiny shit filled box. You’re just going back to being a regular dude, and one with better memories than most people, so suck a dong, you fucking baby.
It’s funny, because I’m trying to book us shows right now, and I had forgotten what a headache it is. People’s agents, talent buyers, clashes of egos, money hungry cocksmokers on every fucking level of every fucking thing-- the whole thing makes me insane. It’s like bartending, or family or anything else…No matter how great it is, there’s something that’s just gonna fucking make you impossibly pissed.