“Five minutes till you start.”
The sound engineer’s words reverberate from the speakers, off the walls and in my ears. I head for the stage with my three other band mates. We’ve never played together at this venue before. I’m nervous, but it’s a welcomed nervous. It’s the kind of nervous that prepares you for action when moderated. We walk the steps up the side of the stage to our pre-chosen spots and prepare our guitars, our bass, and our drum kit for their beginning notes and rhythm. There’s a large, open floor in front of us, which begins to fill with unknown, expectant faces awaiting entertainment. My heart begins to beat quicker than I want it to. I consciously remind myself to breathe slower, deep breaths, and sing passionately. Don’t let the excitement cloud your thoughts and actions; just breathe… and sing. The lights are so bright, I can’t even see the faces of the audience anymore. They’ve become shadowy figures in our ethereal rock world. But to them, I sing… and express my greatest gratitude for partaking of our rock dream in its realest, and rawest form.
Making a rock band is a balance of business and hobby. Emphasizing one over the other results in either quashing creativity and fun, or never being serious enough to work hard and hustle in order to make a name. It’s a challenging process, especially taking into account and unifying the creative vision of your partners. It’s easy to feel you aren’t heard amongst the noise, even with thousands of streams and video views. At times, it can strain your relationships with your friends, band mates and romantic partner. It takes up your weekends, your late nights, and after work hours — even now as I write at 12:31am.
But when we walk on a stage and perform for 10, 50, 100 or more individuals, it’s a phenomenal sensation. It’s a roller coaster of emotions both naturally or intentionally expressed-excitement, passion, energy, sadness, humor, and anger. Anytime the audience enthusiastically admires our set, it makes me want to jump off the stage and hug each one of them, look each person in the eye and say, “I appreciate you.” They won’t know it, but each show is the culmination of thousands of hours of work. First, with a vision. Then, a process of finding partners who share your vision, work ethic, and ability. Next, song writing, rehearsing, and recording and creating great content. Finally, promotion, promotion, promotion — playing shows, self-analysis, maintaining social media accounts, paying for ads, and building a brand.
To be heard, it takes effective work, critical feedback, and entertaining content. Your content is either good, or it’s turned off.To achieve great content and lots of it will mean sacrifice — This could mean missing a weekend at the movies with friends, video games entirely, or instead of six hours a day with the girlfriend/boyfriend, maybe just three. But one has to make the choice for them self:
Am I in or am I out?
“Kickstart my rock n rolling heart” — (Jimmy Eat World, A Praise Chorus)