Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Why I Do This
In a previous post, I asked all of you why you are a musician. Here is my story. I come from a family where music was always around in some shape or form. Both of my parents played trumpet when they were in High School but neither was what you would consider prodigious. My Mother was into Motown so when I was very young I was listening to Smokey Robinson, The Marvelettes, Stevie Wonder, and the list goes on. I could feel the music. The beat and the melody spoke to me. At age nine, my parents bought me a guitar for Christmas. I started lessons immediately but I didn't really like what they were teaching me. My teacher had me learning to read sheet music and playing songs like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and other songs I thought were "stupid" for me to learn. I quickly became frustrated and quit taking the lessons. I wanted to learn cords. Soon after I continued to play and started making sound on sound recordings with 2 small cassette tape decks that we had in the house. I wrote songs that fit the experience of a child and spent hours on end in my room going as far as producing radio shows that incorporated my own songs. At age 12, my parents bout me my first drums and at 14 had my first full drum kit. I played in bands all through High School and College. I simply knew it was "what I did." If you have spent time with any Gravity Kills music, the lyrics are dark. The music is aggressive. Well....I am complicated. A tortured artist if you will. Places like sorrow, despair, loneliness and sadness are places that are home to me. I don't know if I would ever be capable of writing a happy love song or a feel good summer party song. That is not who I am. I am not saying that I don't attempt to have balance in my life and those of you that know me, know me as someone more rounded and three dimensional than the voice on a Gravity Kills record. Those of you that have seen a show see there is more than that. I simply draw my most powerful inspiration from the dark places in my life. I feel compelled to work on music for many reasons but will tell you that making music at times is worse than being a drug addict. I compare it to that because at times in my life, music has cost me personal relationships, my marriage, money, stability and at times the ability to relate to others. When Gravity Kills broke up in 2003, I didn't pick up a guitar for close to a year. I had a guitar on a stand in my living room really for decoration. I would pass it daily and for the longest time could pass by the guitar without really thinking about it. Then the guitar started whispering to me. As time passed the guitar's voice gradually became louder and louder. One day, I finally picked it up. Not really to play it or to write a song but simply to hold it. Maybe in the same way you hug an old friend that you had lost touch with and had not connected to in a long time. Then I started playing again. Not writing music but simply enjoying the feel of the guitar in my hand and the sound of the cords I was playing. I never thought I would entertain the thought of even performing in public let alone write music again. Really, music gives me the medium to talk about things and say things I feel I need to say. Today things are the same yet different. I feel like I still have something to say but I have reasons beyond me. A few years ago, Tom Green who started DFEST in Tulsa told me that if I still have something to say then I owed it to those who loved the band and all the guys that never got a shot to be heard. I really didn't know how to take that. Did anyone give a shit at this point? Could what I have to say be at all relevant? I suppose that remains to be seen but in the end, I do have something to say and Gravity Kills has decided to move forward. Why? Because it is what I do and who I am. Thanks for reading this. Life is beyond interesting at this point and I hope to make it more interesting.