I have something I need to say.
As I type, the profound words of a hit song are running through my head, guiding the content of this blog post.
"Say what you need to say, say what you need to say, say what you need to say, say what you need to say, say what you need to say, say what you need to say, say what you need to say, say what you need to say, say what you need to say, say what you need to say, say what you need to say, say what you need to say, say what you need to say, say what you need to say, say what you need to say, say what you need to say, say what you need to say, say what you need to say, say what you need to say, say what you need to say, say what you need to say, say what you need to say, say what you need to say, say what you need to say, say what you need to say, say what you need to say, say what you need to say, say what you need to say, say what you need to say, say what you need to say, say what you need to say, say what you need to say, say what you need to say."
Thanks for that, John. At least you probably never forget the words to that one when playing live.
According to my count, he utters the word 'say' exactly 75 times in this song. By all means, waste a few minutes of your life figuring out if I'm right or wrong.
Unlike Mr. Mayer, what I need to say contains at least some subtle variance between clauses.
So what, you ask, do I really need to say?
No, I'm not a homosexual. Sorry, Andrew.
No, I don't have any STDs, or a secret drug problem. I do take Propecia, but never more than the recommended dose. Who knows what would even happen if I did. Tongue hair, anyone?
No, I'm not a closet Republican, I'm not lactose intolerant, I don't know where Waldo is, and no, I'm not pregnant, as far as I know.
Without further ado, here it is: I'm tired.
I'm not talking about sleep. I actually got a pretty restful six and a half hours of sleep last night, and faithfully imbibed my daily regimen of four cups of mediocre black coffee this morning.
No, it's something more than being physically exhausted.
Don't get me wrong: I've been busy. The Friday before last, I released my new solo CD with my band Crown Point at the Doug Fir in Portland. We sold out the show. The night before, my other band Silversafe played with Powerman 5000 to a sold-out Hawthorne Theater. Earlier last week, I made an appearance on
Portland's KGW Channel 8, an in-store appearance at a world-renowned record store, and a live appearance on Portland's biggest rock station, KUFO.
I'm also leaving on tour with Crown Point to Illinois in a couple weeks. 17 dates, two festivals, 10 states. We parted ways with our bassist this last week, so we've been busy getting a replacement up to speed, as well as firming up radio and TV spots, accommodations, and other details for the tour. Not to mention
answering a multitude of fan emails, practicing, and sending out posters to various street teams around the country.
So, needless to say, I haven't been sleeping enough. Mom, if you're reading this, save yourself the trouble of calling. I already know what you're going to say.
It's more than a need for REM, though. It's a need for peace. I feel like my soul is being worn thin.
When I first started playing music, it was something beautiful. Something meaningful, spiritual, cathartic.
While in college, I switched majors six times, and finally settled on Communications, which my guidance counselor assured me would get me a degree in the shortest amount of time. After trying a little of everything (scholastically speaking), I realized that music was the only thing that made me happy, that made me feel fulfilled.
Ever since then, I've been pursuing a dream of being a professional musician. My career started as a part-time drummer in a crappy garage band. I then sang and played guitar and bass for a couple of well-intentioned grunge bands before moving on to an acoustic pop band. I then became the singer and screamer in a metal band. Next, I went solo, then joined an acoustic duo, then formed a pop/rock band.
I've been on twelve lengthy tours, had a tour van break down five times, played in almost every US state and 5 countries, and had two songs on hundreds of FM stations. I've met some amazing people, fans and musicians alike, played with some pretty big names, and sold more records than I ever thought I would. And
I don't regret any of it so far.
Somewhere, though, in all of this, the simple joy of playing music has all but disappeared. Gone the way of Ray Allen's shot in this year's NBA Finals.
It's a business, folks. I am an entrepreneur in one of the world's most cutthroat industries. To ignore the business aspect of a music career is to kiss your aspirations goodbye. No tongue, please.
I haven't written a blog post in awhile. Nor have I written any songs lately. I feel like my proverbial well has run dry. Worse, I'm in an industry where wells are frowned upon, shunned; where everyone is forced to hook up to city water to survive. The same blandly reliable city water that everyone else on your street is
drinking. No wells. No waterfalls. No flash floods. Just a faucet and a knob.
I can't remember the last time that I actually had the chance to sit down somewhere beautiful and play my guitar. And sing. To myself, to God, to whatever varmints might be listening.
I want to rediscover the spark, the passion, the purpose of playing music. Why am I doing it? Why do I spend seventy hours a week on something that doesn't satisfy? Should I be pouring my energies into something else? Or taking a different approach to the music business? Or take some time off? Or keep my
schedule jam-packed in the hopes that things will work themselves out? Time and life are not renewable resources.
I love my bands. I love my fans and friends. I love my manager, my attorney, and especially my PR coordinator. I love being on stage. I love traveling. I love meeting new people every day. I love Russell Stafford. (There, I said it.) Don't get me wrong: there's still plenty that I love about what I do. I simply never wanted it to turn into just another job, albeit one with killer benefits.
This blog post doesn't have a tidy ending. Nor will it make you laugh, unless you're a jerkface. I'm not digging for encouraging messages in return. It's not often easy for me to be vulnerable and admit that I don't have a finger on the pulse of happiness and fulfillment all the time. So, I'm actually writing this for my
own sake. If you're still reading, thanks. Goodnight.