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Friday, November 24, 2006

The REAL Rock and Roll Lifestyle.


So last Tuesday found me at the Metropolis, recording part two of my interview with Ryan Barkwell from Idle Sons.

I was there for another interview (More on that later) as well, in my role as a music correspondant for Confront Magazine. In the last 60 days, I have seen an entirely new dimension added to my budding career as an author: Now, I am a music journalist, as well. The gig still doesn't pay much, but I'm branching out, expanding my circle of friends in other domains.

While waiting for Ryan who was off doing something (I'd shown up early enough to go for a coffee up the street and still show up early for the sit-down) I spoke with a record exec, who quizzed me about my novel. Very neat, I must say, as the record company in question has print media connections and associations.

Anyway, Idle Sons are currently on tour with Three Days Grace, Theory of a Deadman and Mobile. And yes, I'm giving out links to their sites, because these guys all deserve it: They are working their asses off, ladies and gentlemen; they are putting a great deal of effort into what they do.

The days of the 80s Rock God who gets everything handed to him on a silver platter are long gone. Now, Artists have to tour to promote themselves.

Know what's involved in a tour?

You get up at the crack of dawn for rehearsals, interviews, sound-checks, photographs, more rehearsals, more sound-checks, more photographs...this goes on all day, constantly, with no down time. And if you think that any of that is easy to do six days a week, being on from dawn to however late the "sponsored" after-concert promotion event lasts.

Now, that does not mean that these performers don't enjoy what it is they're doing. On the contrary, they very much enjoy the work and they are thankful--only too thankful--that they can get it. And they work their asses off, because they know damn well that if they don't sell enough tickets, sell enough residuals and most importantly sell enough CDs they will not be given the opportunity to make another record.

It is just that hard, right now.

Now many among us think that musicians usually have "fallback" positions. Like the rest of us, some do, some don't. Some plan ahead, some plan poorly, some wouldn't know a plan if it came up and bit them in the ass. Same goes for average joes as goes for rock musicians: This is a career. This is their specialty. This is what they have trained best to do. It is their discipline, it is their art, it is their vocation, just as some people are born with a love to teach and others are born with a love to crunch numbers, as some people are born to write code, some people are born to make music and work hard for their dreams.

So, how do you have a fallback position on a dream?

What are you supposed to fall back onto when you can no longer do what you love best?

Everything else is just settling.

And these guys, the guys that I interviewed, the guys that I just plain talked to, the guys, who, to be sure I'm old enough to neither know what band their in nor really care, because they're just plain folk when you meet them one-on-one.

And that's why I give a shit about Idle Sons, Mobile, Theory of a Deadman and Three Days Grace: These guys are regular folk; they're not ego-filled celebrities; obviously they have a desire for attention--they're performers. But that is what fuels them to do what they do so well, to work as hard as they do. These guys are busy. And when they make time to not just do an interview, but to actually talk to someone, to actually connect with you? That makes all the difference in the world.

So, no. I don't give a shit about personalities or celebrities that just want the attention. Give me a Michael Franti and Spearhead; give me a Steven Oliverez, an author who busts his ass to sell his book, to get out there and show people he's got something worthwhile. I'd rather hang out with a Ryan Barkwell, an intelligent, well-spoken young man whose passion is drumming and whose mind is always racing in reason and thought and philosophy, or have a beer with a William Thomas Leroux, Evangelical Minister of the First Church of the Mac, W3C Compliancy, Web Hosting and Belly Dancers, or share a philosophical Alice-with-the-Catterpillar afternoon haze with Tammie Morahan, who is trying to be the ante-rockstar. Most of all I live to hang out with Angel Gaudet-Karmazenuk, my best friend, my lover, my wife, my editor-in-chief at Confront Magazine.

And if you think sleeping with the boss has any privileges, let me assure you, it does not. Angel runs a tight ship, when it comes to the Magazine. And we're all going places. Each of us in our own way, each of us in our own ship, each of us heading in the same direction, though not necessarily together.

Let's put some positive energy out there, boys and girls; lets give ourselves some much deserved praise and love for working so hard to follow our passions.

These are people I can relate to; people who are just trying to do what they always enjoyed the most.

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