A few years ago, I began building a PC whose sole purpose was to record music for my band, Cashmere Love Crash. My creation became known as Amalgam, and was accompanied by the purchase of a few good quality microphones.
This was, unquestionably, the best setup we’d ever had to efficiently record our songs and spend time mixing them the way they needed to be mixed.
So, what happened? The band not only split up, but moved to different sides of the continent. One member moved to California, another moved to Florida.
We never got a chance to properly record on Amalgam. Derek, Jeremy, and I got together a few times to cut some tracks, but our hands were tied as far as what we could do with the recordings since we had no way to play live. The band was shattered, and having been through 4 other bass players since conception, I don’t think any of us had the patience to find and train another one.
Nowadays, when someone asks me if I’m still playing, I jokingly say, “I’m trying to quit music.” That statement usually earns a hearty chuckle, but it’s actually a legitimate statement. I’m trying, with all my power, to suppress the urge to try and pursue music as a career, or money-making opportunity.
Music is like a drug. Once you’ve had it and experienced it, it’s a hard feeling to shake. You play in front of family and friends who tell you your music is great; “You’ve really got talent and you can go somewhere with it.” You begin to see the possibility of making enough money playing music full time. I mean, it’s gotta be easy, right? Just look at all the people that have done it. Turn on the radio and you’ll hear bands that you’re better than and you really feel like, “I can do this!”
You spend all your free time practicing and booking gigs. You spend your weekends making up flyers and hanging them up around town. You invite all your friends and family to the gig and then, when only 10 people show up (if that), you play your heart out as if the place was packed. As you’re packing up after the gig, the few inebriated folks who have remained feed you the same compliments. “You guys are great! You’ve got talent. You can make it, just keep trying.”
I’ve grown to believe that there’s a point where you have to stop trying. Call me a quitter if you want. But, how long do you knock on a door (that’s said to be practically impossible to open) before you start to consider that there may be other doors you’re missing out on. You know that the only ways you can get in that door is by knowing someone who can let you in, have something overly extraordinary to offer, or simply get lucky. I’ve taken a look at myself and realized that I know no one, I don’t have anything significantly unique to offer, and I’m not a person that’s prone to good luck.
Please don’t think I’m having a pity party for myself. On the contrary, I feel quite liberated saying, “I’m trying to quit music.” I don’t want to be the 45 year old guy still knocking on that door.
I said earlier that music is like a drug, and that’s so very true. Almost everyone I meet in Nashville is a singer or songwriter or musician or engineer, or someone who just started playing recently. I’ve found there’s something all these people have in common. They have this dream in their mind and they can’t get away from it. And they’re willing to do almost anything and sacrifice almost anything in order to achieve it.
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with these people, and I’m not saying they won’t achieve that goal. I am saying that music has a strange hold on people unlike any other art or profession I’ve seen. And I’m saying that the odds are greatly stacked against them that they won’t achieve that goal.
I also ask that you not take my comments as me trying to dishearten someone who is trying to make it in music. I’m only saying what I feel and what is right for me. I don’t think any musician would disagree with any statements I’ve made about music in general. They may, however, have a problem with my perspective.
So, here I am. After owning this recording equipment for years; hanging on to it with the slightest hope that my band will someone rejoin and thrive again; I’ve finally decided to sell my recording gear. I’m keeping my guitars and amp and stuff–the basics.
I’m selling this stuff, and some of my current camera gear, so I can upgrade to a better camera rig. Photography, like music, is an extremely saturated market. And it doesn’t help that anyone can press a shutter button and take a halfway decent picture, but not everyone can hit a bar chord on a guitar.
Photography is more efficient for me. It’s something I can do on my own and not have to rely on anyone else. It’s a creative outlet that is all mine.
Don’t get me wrong, I had a great time playing in the band and I often miss it dearly. I’m simply aware that the flow of my life is leading me in a different direction, and I’m choosing not to fight it. Instead, I want to embrace the new direction and hopefully have experiences that are just as good if not better than those I had in the band.