I Don’t Want to Be a Rock Star Anymore

When I was a teenager, I wanted to be a mega star in a rock band. I mean, the B-roll of the members of Guns N’ Roses walking in midtown Manhattan and going to Manny’s Music, all loose and carefree – that’s the life for me!

Some of my earliest memories are watching my dad play guitar in a country-rock band at the ski-resorts in the summer time, the smell of Genesee cream-ale in the air.

I played my first show when I was about 17, and told the sound-man “fuck you” at one point (lesson learned). I’ve played shows in several states, alongside young riff-raff like me who went on to be just a handful of notable names in music.

If you would have told me in those teen years that someday I’d have the ability to record digitally, in pristine CD-quality sound, with nearly an unlimited number of tracks, midi-instruments, and effects, I would have fainted.

Here I am now, in the year 2020, in my 44th year on this planet, and that spirit, the craving for music making just comes and goes.

I know I’m supposed to respect the muse (see Steve Pressfield’s ‘Turning Pro‘), which is what I did today. The bass line in the clip above came to me as I was making coffee, as they do every morning I make coffee, or do the dishes, take out the compost, or whatever. Little droplets of music fall into my dumb head, I sing them to myself a little bit, laugh at myself, and then go on with my day.

Today, though, I was like, “what if I just do something with this?”

It’s not a complete song. It’s not a master piece. There’s no hook, chorus, or bridge. It’s a loop, some drums, some midi notes arranged to be a passable piano “ditty.” Nothing more.

But nothing is complete.

I had a few phone calls this week, and most were unplanned. They came, magic filled the void, and then on with the day. None were complete, there was no agenda, no planning, just… riffing.

So I don’t want to ever discount those random bits of magic, so I need to stop discounting random bits of music I make, too. We all do, even if your thing isn’t music, but maybe it’s photography, yoga, or whatever else that brings you joy.

Just because something isn’t complete, or a full-fledged album roll out, doesn’t mean it should stay hidden on my hard drive, never to be heard from.

Our ideas don’t need to be final, our blog posts don’t need to be perfect, our videos can be rough, our audio low quality, and our conversations all over the place, and that’s what makes us human. We don’t exist to be perfect, we imperfectly exist, make it through today and hope tomorrow is tolerable.