Never Forget the FUN!
Last night I had the good fortune to be in on a rough-and-ready recording session. There's a project in the works right now in the Portland, ME music scene in which several local artists are each recording a track from The Beatles' "White Album". My good friend Mat Zaro, who fronts and leads the annual David Bowie celebration band/shows that I'm in, was asked to be one of the artists to record, and he asked me along, as well as dear guitar friends Scott Hughes and Jerry Perron (who also engineered/produced the effort), and overall really talented/sweet dude Dylan Verner on bass. (Mat and Dylan worked together previously in Bass Box.)
The song we recorded was "Yer Blues", which was great because it packed a TON of historical significance for me. When I was 11, and before I'd even gotten a drum set, I was a part of a garage band called "Disturbance of the Peace" with my big brother Claude, and his high school friends Bud Caron and Jody Dube. Claude had fashioned a couple of drum-like things for me to hit from cardboard boxes. One was bigger and functioned as bass drum, and the other, smaller one had wax paper and fishing line taped to it to create a snare-drum-like sound. My sister Nicole held a pot lid and a whisk broom, and played quarter notes for a cymbal part. Our very first recording, using a single, office-dictation-style microphone into a home stereo, was "Yer Blues".
Going back in time, so to speak, to make last night's recording was a HECK of a lot of fun; I smiled through most of the process. Today, I was thinking about that sense of fun, and how it really drives us into pursuing music careers when we're young, and sustains us over the years. People who do this stuff for a living are in real danger of having that fun feeling squashed by worries of making enough money, choices of material - much of which we might not like - "colorful" club owners and patrons (ahem), travel, wear and tear on our bodies and our relationships ... it's a big list, and it all wears on the musician like an ocean beating on coastal rocks.
With that in mind, try to remember to do FUN stuff from time to time, whether you make money off it or not! Heck, part of what got me back into playing live music after an absence was a jam on my birthday in 2015 with some of my dearest, oldest friends. That was a GLORIOUS night filled with such joy, and there have been a couple more occasions like that since. And sure, sometimes I have to LOOK for the fun in some gigs, but really, I consider that the responsible thing for me to do - not only for myself, but for my audience. To ignore the need to remember the fun means risking burnout, and I just can't accept that thought. Neither should you.