Max Bemis is a man who has captured all–okay, maybe not all, but a significant amount–of the life and consciousness of humanity in ways I thought were never possible. A lyricist? Yes. A breathtaking one. But, NO! I can’t possibly just define him as a musical artist. Whatever distinguishes his title from good-musician to demigod within the millions of neural connections inside of my brain is a preference I have yet to wrap my mind around. But what I do know is this: finding an idol is one thing, but to be able to break down and bask in the Avalon that is their unattainableness is a place not many others have been able to explore.
As humans, we all have this beautiful tendency to be struck to the core. It is never particular what can trigger such an emotional response, but when it happens, it is certainly impossible to deny it. My heart will sing out. In the best way possible, the faintness of standing up too quickly and the nerves of adrenaline are combined into a fiery inferno. The suffering of passion suddenly makes sense, and the amount of love my body is able to bear is turned into an everlasting overcoat. Warm, and alive; to be struck by something is my soul being opened up again and again. The distinction between this tendency to in retrospect to a favored hobby, or a good book, or a drink you enjoy… It is more of an art than a pinpointed feeling. Feeling? How could I possibly begin such expression when the very thought of it makes me feel like I am suffocating; like arriving at your destination and departing on your grandest journey at the same time.
Max, most widely known from the band Say Anything, provides a service to his everlasting court of fans that combines one’s personal life with the very reason his success as a musician has flourished: Song Shop. Max Bemis Song Shop. In an effort to minimize the gap between music listeners and performers, Max came up with the idea to create and record personal songs for fans of his band and his songwriting.
With this information at hand I felt as though my world had been entirely wiped out and reborn.
Like a proposal, I always imagined the opportunity being given to me in a field blanketed with flowers. A marvelous sun would beam down on our bones. As the giver would kneel before me, a velvety box would reveal…
Well, that couldn’t happen, but, you could imagine the reality to be just that. And by “just that” I mean a sweaty, oubliette of a dorm-room, a crouched me, sitting as if I had been painted by Dalí. In my chair. 2 a.m. came along one cold, Word-document filled winter night, and an email notification reeled me back to reality. My cold hand clammily patted around as a chain reaction to the *buzz*, and I mindlessly opened up what would be the most overwhelming combination of words I had ever seen put together in my life.
Bemis… Song… Friend… you! The… Bought… Thank you! Congratulations!
With no forewarning, my mind became a freeway and the words were blacking out before my eyes. I tried to make sense of what was happening. Is this a dream? A mass of words concentrated in a mobile email and the LED light of my phone became the very light that cascades from the gates of Heaven, and in that moment, I was brought back to life and emitted into the Kingdom of Bemis.
Blessed with the very ability to contact him felt like intergalactic communication. I felt like a poet stuck in the peak of Romanticism: overbearingly ripe with passion, yet disgusted by my human tendencies to feel so much. The heavy weight of worship was so powerful I felt as though I would never be able to live up to what I was actually given. What I was sure of was that his very being was mighty, so mighty that whatever I was to write about could not possibly live up to the art he has shared with the world. Was he really going to read what I had to write? Was he really going to jump into the two-hundred character limit that defined me? Sickened by the thought that this short mess of words was to be my first and only impression, I spent weeks exploring my own mind in order to pinpoint exactly what was to be our window.
Song Shop. It sounded so simple! Not a single bit of HTML touched since the moment it was created: dark, gradient-like backdrop with the album art from their self-titled album back in 2009, “MAX BEMIS SONG SHOP” typed out like some sort of fantastical processor. Insert words here, song dispenses here. Oh, yes, and this is real.
Well, for me, I knew from the start that it was not going to break down any of my “inner demons”. To be honest, nothing really jumped out at me. Chasms of passion filled the website’s testimonials– hundreds of people who sacrificed a little piece of their soul, and personal information, to the songwriter himself. Max is a man who has evidently suffered, and loved, and suffered some more, and through his music, people have been able to connect to him on a one-on-one level of understanding in all aspects of humanity. When what has drawn many other angst-filled individuals to this very man was an epic my odyssey did not choose to follow, what has brought his music into my life is a process quite similar. Nothing has ever sounded clearer to me than what he is able to conjure up and lyricize into tune– sing on the top of his lungs, whisper into a microphone. It is the feeling of drifting and drifting and suddenly landing exactly where you were really supposed to be all along.
Bemis can be filtered into a category of musical stardom that strips the materialistic bugs and slime away from the title. Sure, he is well-known and affiliated now to quite a number of projects with other artists. But, to be able to build a bridge into a fan’s– initially, a stranger’s soul is a project not many people–never mind a popular artist–would ever attempt to do for another. In a world where real passion is sometimes hidden underneath the ugliness of humanity, there is nothing more personal, nothing purer, than a hand to reel you back into everything you stand for. Well, Max Bemis is a hand that certainly embodies everything the passion for music could stand for. “Song Shop” was my lifeline, and there are thousands of individuals in this world that can vouch similarly for its experience.
I am graced from this. I hold it closer to me than my own skin and bones. It is my greatest secret.
And that’s where I’ll keep it.
There are musicians out there that will fire up your passion without you even realizing it. There are musicians that can make you feel as though you could give your entirety to the very essence of their artwork and being. Yet, to a world full of people who suffer and love, there is nothing quite like reaching the grounds of which your very passion is built upon. I have looked this connection in the eyes, and opened up a little bit my life to a man I thought could only exist in my mind as the intangible. He’s a hero of mine and constantly proves you don’t have to pontificate to convey deep meaning. Song Shop was an experience I breathed in and it never will come out. It has remained in me as my deepest of secrets, yet it has given off more light than I could ever imagine in a memory.
And if anyone were to ask me, I could look anyone in the eyes and tell them I have touched the stars.