Tuesday, June 14, 2011

exploding hearts: how playing music in front of people with my best friends is the most religious experience i have ever had

Once you feel something that moves you to the point of feeling like your heart is about to explode from all the joy and passion you feel at once, it's so hard to forget about it.

A few days ago I read my friend Abby's latest tumblr where she talked about how much she missed playing music. Abby and I used to be in the same band together for a good year and a half, and have been best friends since. After reading how much she misses playing music, it's the only thing I have been able to think about. How much I miss the joy and passion and energy I felt when I would play music with my band.

I've never felt a feeling that even comes close to the overjoying sense of playing in front of people. But it was never because I wanted to impress people or become popular or look cool, it was because of how alive it made me feel.

If you're in a band, or you play music, and your heart does not feel like it's about to explode from joy and passion--I honestly ask you to take a few steps back and figure out why you play music. Because you "like" it? Would you marry someone because you "like" them? No. You want to be with someone forever because you love them. Because they bring you joy, because they make you feel alive, because they bring out the best in you.

I will always remember the feeling of our second to last show at the Clazel Theatre in Bowling Green, Ohio. We were opening for our friends The Phantasmagoria, an absolutely amazing instrumental band also from the area--and more importantly for me, the girl I was in love with was there. She was about to see me do the thing that makes me feel more alive than even being around her did. I remember feeling like my heart was literally about to rip out of my chest because of how happy I was and how much energy and passion was just exploding inside of me. At the same time though, I felt controlled. I felt at peace. I felt the energy of four of my best friends up there with me sharing in that experience. I can't think of any other life experience that can afford you to feel that with people. It was like feeling like you were perfectly in love with four different people--of course you aren't actually--but that's the closest I can describe it. I remember looking at them all as we were going through all set, and seeing the lights and fire in all of their eyes. That this was making them feel alive too.

Being in a band is really hard though, because playing shows is only about 1/6 of it all. Every thing else about it...booking shows, selling tickets, finding time to practice, writing music, recording music, finding new members when old members move on, getting along with your band, trying to be on the same page as four other people...is really, really hard work--and sometimes through all of that you forget why you started in the first place. I know I did. After that show more or less quit the band, as I didn't want anything else to do with booking shows, selling tickets, finding time to practice, writing music, recording music, finding new members when old members move on, getting along with your band, trying to be on the same page as four other people. I was tired of it and I just gave up.

I forgot I was doing all that extra stuff (and some of it shit...like selling tickets and booking shows) for that 1/6 slice of The Kaleidoscope, Brighter pie...to feel alive. To play music. To spend 30 to 40 minutes feeling like my heart is going to explode out of my chest and into the audience because of how happy and alive I feel.

Soon after I gave up playing in the band, Brian our drummer got married and moved to Cleveland, Abby our singer got a job and moved to Nashville--making the chances of us getting together to play music again slim to none. It wasn't until this year though that I realized how much I needed it. How much I needed to feel alive from music. I would try and play as much as I can for my college worship band, because I did feel something there, but it wasn't the same. I tried really hard to make playing in that worship band not about the personal experience I wanted and connecting people with Jesus. Which is great, don't get me wrong, but it wasn't the same.

Clearly, my band was not created to carry on and play music with each other for years to come. And I see and understand that. But that does not make me want it any less. When I think about all of the amazing memories I have from this band, even mountain sized regrets I still carry around about personal regrets, and anger I have towards people that have hurt me, seen like nothing. They don't seem real. They seem insignificant. They seem so small and stupid. Forget the girl that broke my heart and her boyfriend that I hate, forget how much I cheated on my future wife throughout college and how much regret I feel about that...with my four best friends I got to play music. I got to open up for some of my all time favorite bands like Lydia and Eye Alaska...bands that make ME feel a light and fire inside of myself. And I had the opportunity to do that for myself and for other people too. I got to feel alive, and it is so hard to ignore how much I want to feel that again.

Who knows, maybe someday I will. I'm hoping to get a job in Nashville to be closer to Abby, hopefully at the very least her and I can play music together and feel alive again. I don't want what all these stupid kids in their stupid bands want. I don't want to get signed, tour the world, become famous, win anything--I don't want ANY of that.

I just want to feel alive again, the way playing music in front of people used to make me feel. I want to feel like my heart is about to explode out of my chest again. I want to look over and see the lights in my best friends eyes and know that we are sharing this absolutely religious experience together. I want it all back.

1 comment:

  1. Music is the only thing that makes sense anymore. Best of luck and hope you can carry on and share your passion. Cheers : )