music: a dance with clarity and chaos

For the past seven or so years, I have gigged in various bands, playing the likes of grunge, bar rock, top 40 covers, funk, hard rock, folk rock, and instrumental music. I played my first gig in 2009.

7 years, 12 bands, and five albums later, I’ve found myself in a bit of a musical rut.

This, despite the fact that the two bands I’m in now are constantly writing new material and are doing very well. I realized this a while ago during practice with one of my bands; we were working out our parts for a new song, and I realized that I was writing a lot of the same parts we had just done on our latest EP. My drummer commented afterward that I looked troubled during jam; maybe I was. I couldn’t come up with anything I hadn’t already done on a previous song. It was frustrating.

I think most musicians, if not all, go through a period like this a few times during their careers. For some, the rut is enough for them to get out of the scene completely; others might think about changing bands or joining another project. It can be as minor as wanting to find out about a new open jam, or as major as dissolving a band because of a bad gig. Some experience this once, maybe twice, and then have some stability with bumps here or there; for others it’s constant chaos.

But then you have moments of clarity in between those moments of chaos, and that’s where the magic happens. you hit a stride with your band, and new material comes spewing forth like Old Faithful. you have a good — no, GREAT — gig and you feel energized and inspired to play another one. You ride it until…until it dies down.

and you’re back doubting yourself.

this is the inevitable dance that creative people have with their gift. a dance with clarity, where you’re doing things so quickly that you can’t keep up; a dance with chaos, where everything sounds wrong and nothing seems to be coming together.

but some of the best things have come out of the chaos. Josh Homme, lead singer of Queens of the Stone Age (and my man crush, i mean come on now), made it known that their last album “…Like Clockwork” was heavily influenced by his near-death experience. It had been 7 years since their last album. he famously said that the band had to “come into the fog” to get it recorded. the result was a great album that was their best since “Songs for the Deaf”.

so though it’s been 7 years, 12 bands, and 5 albums later, and though i might be in a rut musically, there’s hope that something good will come of the chaos i’m feeling now. it can’t be forced, it can’t be manufactured.

rest assured. the clarity is coming.