I find the passion of music people contagious. People in the music biz are in it for the love of music. I also love music, (My personal passion is promotions/marketing, but that’s another story.), and the more time I spend near musicians and music people, the more I love them.
One big irony of the music business is that the more successful you are, the less certain your life can become. Someone with a garage band can plan on Saturday rehearsals with their friends, but if you are in a hugely successful band, your workplace changes each night, and you often sleep in a hotel and hang out in restaurants or backstage at nightclubs. Of course big rock stars make tons of money, which makes this kind of schedule worth it in a way.
But it’s not that easy to make money being a musician. Even selling CDs is getting harder. There are only a handful of artists that get to the top and stay there. More likely even successful artists have only one album that gets some notoriety, and going on tour costs a lot.
Still, musicians keep on rockin. There are songs to be sung, there is music to be made. Musicians do it because they love what they do. I’ve seen bands play in parks, and on stages only three inches above the crowd. Bands give out free CDs and play free shows just so people can hear their music. Musicians stand by each other and support each other. They know full well that there is only a chance in a million that they may get discovered or signed, and yet they keep keepin’ on. [Don't believe me? Watch the Anvil documentary, an excellent story of persistance, passion and rediscovery.]
Just recently, the rock family lost Malcolm MacLaren, who created and managed the Sex Pistols, and we lost Peter Steele, a musician I really enjoyed seeing. He sang for Type O Negative, a metal/goth band that had been around for a long time, and I had the pleasure of meeting him and the rest of the band in person a couple of times. The band often argued amongst themselves, but always came back together even through the very worst of personal tragedies. The music world is showing its support with a number of kind tributes coming out about both Malcolm’s and Peter’s talent and personality.
April 17 is Record Store Day, which was formed “as a celebration of the unique culture surrounding over 700 independently owned record stores in the USA, and hundreds of similar stores internationally.” I used to be co-owner of a record store, so it means a lot to me. I’ll be heading to a record store in Baltimore to shop for some of the special releases and enjoy some in-store performances. I encourage you to do the same.
And, on a side note, there will be an awesome retrospective in this week’s Sunday Washington Post Magazine by J.Freedom du Lac on the 9:30 Club, often called the best nightclub on the east coast, and one of my personal favorite places in the world.
I hope that you love what you do. Life is way too short to spend your day doing something you don’t enjoy, and we can’t judge our talents by money alone.
Rock on! \m/