Anyone that plays music has had this vivid fantasy at one point or another: that of being discovered after a particularly awesome set, where a flashy executive walks up with a contract and a million dollars and everything after that is tricked-out tour buses, screaming fans, and only the choicest of narcotics.
I think the key element of this fantasy is that the dreamer only has to imagine themselves on stage, soaking in the glory, and not actually doing the work: selling the tickets, creating the promotional materials, burning the CD's, coordinating schedules with several musicians and other acts, saving for busted equipment, and practicing until the novelty fades. People who play music for a living work their asses off, most of the time sinking dozens of hours per week into their craft beyond the time spent in their day jobs. It is, 95% of the time, a very un-glamorous enterprise. After playing to an empty room one time too many, one is tempted to wonder why they bother.
The answer, where fantasy and reality intersect, is the moment when the blank Magnavox CD's have all been sharpied, the friends and family have been shaken down to pre-order their tickets, the 35-minute set has been polished to a sheen, the between-song stage banter has been carefully rehearsed to avoid dead air, and then you get up on that stage and just kill it. There are any number of mystical and spiritual ways to describe a set well done, but the older I get the more I see that a lot of it is just working really hard on something, and then showing it to people and feeling them appreciate it.
Here's the new dream, a little more firmly rooted in the real world: we work a little smarter, and a little harder, to share ourselves with you. You respond in kind by buying our knickknacks and coming to see us when we play. We form one of those awesome energy loops that happen when act and audience are in perfect sync, and everyone leaves a little better than they were before.
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