Sure-Fire Way to Break Up the Band
Or… The Day the Music Died
I hate hearing stories like these.
How the band was poised to become the next big thing—ticket sales, turnouts and paychecks all increasing with a quickness and exponentially from week to week, month to month and after years…
Dues paid in back rooms and bar rooms, house parties for free beer (maybe) and a plastic bag full of quarters.
About to be dubbed the next ‘overnight success’…
Booked solid six months out and just killin’ it.
And then they broke up—the increasingly sophisticated ways in which the lead singer sabotaged himself and the success of his bandmates became too much to bear, a liability that torpedoed their rise to the top faster than you can say, ‘Yerfuckinkiddinmeright?!’
The other night I ran into a musician friend who told me a story exactly like this.
Sad, not only because I loved their heart-broke and whiskey-soaked style of Outlaw Country, but because while the breakup is new, the story is worn through to the heels.
You know that one where a musician (writer, artist, creative of any kind, really…) comes up with reason after reason for why they can’t make it big, can’t do what they love—can’t, Can’t, CAN’T?!
And whether it’s due to that tired old saw about ‘selling out’ or other more deeply-rooted and unconscious beliefs and habits, it equals the same damn thing—the ‘pause’ button hit (yet again) on another vital voice.
It pisses me off.
Probably because the chord it strikes is so close to heart and home.
Yep. It’s true. I spent years actively avoiding the life I knew I was born to live…
Answering questions like, “Matias, why aren’t you writing for a living?”
…with the standard and stale, lame-ass excuses disguised as defiance and pride, like:
“I’m beholden to no-one, and that’s who wants to hear what I have to say, anyway.”
And, “I don’t WANT to make a living doing this! It’d torpedo all the passion I have for it.”
(Bullocks. Balderdash. Damn Lie.)
Or even, “If you make money by helping people you’re a charlatan!”
(Agh! NO! You’re only a charlatan if you SAY you’re going to help people but don’t!)
The truth is that I was afraid and I was calling my fear by any name other than its real one.
Like many of us human types I was…
Afraid of failure.
Afraid of success.
Afraid of humiliation.
Afraid of being told to grow up and settle down when every molecule of my being was screaming at me to expand and dive in.
More than anything, I was afraid of baring my Soul for all eyes to see…
(What if they don’t like the view?)
But it came to pass that not doing what I wasn’t doing became even scarier…
It’s a special kind of misery that walks hand-in-hand and fingers laced with that kind of inaction. It gets harder and harder to find a way to be happy (or to tell yourself that you are) and actually believe it…
(As if happiness were a way of being that should come to us sentient bipeds naturally, instead of, as that old copy cat Jack Forde has been known to muse about the roundtable, as the “…by-product of getting good stuff done. And often.”)
And it’s a special kind of day when, the reality of this-is-your-only-shotness having mercilessly peppered your proverbial posterior with rock salt, you realize that getting that good stuff done and often, even if it scares the shit outta you, far outweighs the prospect of a life ‘lived’ disconnected from your own unique music.
Shaky knees, sweaty palms and butterflies are normal when you’re about to grab the mic…
And all of ‘em to a fear can be used to fuel the most un-fucking-believable performances you’ve ever given—again and again and every time.
Don’t break up the band.
Instead, why not seek to make your co-creations of this stranger-than-fiction and fractal Multiverse more conscious and, it probably goes without saying, more beautiful?
It’s way more satisfying than giving yourself over to the fear that cripples…
…than sabotaging your every effort and calling it artistic integrity…
…than continuing to flirt with those tired old un-romantic ideas about self-destruction.
The world needs your Wow. It needs your Vital Voice. It needs your No More a Victim Now Victorious.
Instead of “breaking up the band”, do something—anything, really—that will affirm and reaffirm your commitment to the rhythm of your own life.
Play On, Player…
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