As I write this it is very late at night. I just finished my outline for bands and other things I want to tell you about but I finished my tasks and checked out Facebook, and then I had to write. There’s this drummer I know, really a down to earth kind of guy, and he doesn’t post anything but memes really. Musician memes to be exact. I have never seen anyone be so poignant and touching without saying a word. Today I saw one about being a musician and being passionate about it. I made me start thinking about how passionate all of you are…and do you even know it?
See, I’m a people watcher as well as having a pretty large amount of schooling in psychology and mental health. I don’t just watch, I kind of study the people around me. It’s why I love live shows. The last show I went to was Saturday, in this nice little bar not far from my house. The crowd is a mix of family, friends, fans, strangers, and regulars. It gets pretty interesting. At the start of the night everyone is in their little bubble – groups formed of those who know each other well and they really don’t mingle. The regulars just wanted a beer and good food. Some of them had just gotten off work and this was a stop along their way. It was packed though, that’s for sure. A quick look around and I see people who are rather uncomfortable as checklists are gone over for the show and people in the crowd try to decide if they want to stay, some thinking they want to leave before that weird kid with the long hair gets up there – (Is that face paint?? Ugh, and that one in the hoodie has on eyeliner.) Other musicians who are part of the crowd feel anxious for those about to take the stage. Especially the one in the hoodie, he’s been sick with a fever of over 100 degrees the last few days and they are worried for him. I get my camera ready and scan the crowd waiting for the magic I know is going to appear. I watch it happen every time and never get sick of it.
The band takes the stage and some people prepare to leave. Then those first chords are struck… and so are they. Even out of the corner of my eye the reaction in the crowd makes me smile to myself. People ask all the time why I always look so happy… How can I not? I watch these people who have never heard this band pull out money to pay their tab but when the music starts, they sit back down. They look to the stage with surprise or they close their eyes. Some of them blink a few times and seem to look inward at their own reaction. All of them are touched. As the night goes on those little closed off groups begin to loosen and by the end of the night you don’t know who belongs with who. People chatting about this being the first show or one of five hundred, discovering new music, new musicians, new friends are made, new fans are found.
Do you know that you do this? I don’t care if you are a musician or not….do you know the passion for music inside of you? Some people like books, some like movies…there is not a person alive who doesn’t like some type of music. It’s inside of us.
If you are a musician, think about it. You tap into a part of yourself that not everyone has. It’s a gift. At times you think it’s a curse because it is so much a part of you that you live and breathe it above all else…but that…that is a passion burning in you that no one else can touch. You live with a flame inside of you that cannot be fed in any way other than you giving in to it and becoming even better at translating it’s desire. You think of music so much. You don’t just make music, music makes you who you are. If you are not a musician, you are a fan of music. You grew up making sounds that you liked. Hitting things to create a beat, stopping in wonder at the loud noises at parades, festivals. Maybe you listen to water and nature, but that is a rhythm all it’s own. We like different types of music, but we all like music. For people who don’t play, live music is the closest they get to the fire that burns so many. A friend once told me he mourned “The Death of the Rock Star” and I think we all do. Singing in the shower isn’t singing to ourselves. Our mind wanders and takes us onto a stage. We channel our inner rock star….even if the neighbors are using earplugs because we can’t sing a single note well. The magic is in the energy from that flame inside these men and women and the talent they have to connect us all. Flame or not, we whistle, hum, sing. Tap pencils in cubicles, feet in elevators. Our very hearts beat in time with some special cosmic beat. Music let’s us feel the connection. We are freed and connected because there are others who share our emotions and our needs. This isn’t just life, this is nourishment for our souls and I want you to start watching people yourself. They move with a rhythm. Headphones aren’t put on to stare ahead motionless and unblinking. Eyes close, smiles begin, heads move. Factory workers pick up the pace and mailmen get a spring in their step.
Music is powerful. It is inspiring. I think our souls were made with music in mind and at the end of this journey we are greeted by sounds and tones and beats that we have tried to mimic in life. These will resonate within us, and this will be Heaven. Until then, live music is the closest we will get. Passion is within us, and it is stirred by those first chords that reach into us and wake us from every day slumber. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you need to. Find some bands that interest you and be part of the crowd touched by their energy and warmed by their flame. I’m not here just because the music scene needs you….I know how bad you need the music scene. Get out. Have fun. Make memories. Above all – LIVE.