Four Stinky Dudes on their Phones

One of my clients just returned from tour.

A month on the road with three other bands. Play a show, head to the merch table, build the fan base, support the other bands, load up, head to the hotel, shower, sleep for five hours, hit the road early and all day, load in, sound check, rinse, lather, repeat thirty times.

I wasn't sure what state his voice was going to be in.

I was very, very pleasantly surprised!! He of course took some time to rest and do nothing for a week before coming back in to see me. The first sounds out of his mouth were absolutely beautiful and balanced. I was impressed and relieved!

Then I remembered the time leading up to the tour, the hectic constant stress he went through dealing with various aspects of the music industry. He would have a whirlwind of a day, then come into my studio and close the door to all of that, intending to focus on the important tasks at hand. His brain would be 99% with me, but his body still carried the stress of his life outside my studio. I remembered the closer we got to the tour, the harder the lessons were. There was tension I had never really seen before with him.

Then it was time for the road. He is incredibly smart and he knew what to do. I sent him with a warm up track and he had months of training beforehand. I told him how to cool down literally as he was walking from the stage to the merch table. I'm assuming he forgot, because I'm a realist.

Because of his stress leading up, and the stress I know from my several months in that lifestyle, I knew I might be getting back a messy instrument, and we might be starting from a bit of a backslide. But as non-stop as his tour may have been, he was living in his element through that time. Everything we had done in preparation enabled him to go there with more stamina and less stress. And tour is where he wants to be.

By the way, he joked that the general public has a ridiculous view of what a tour is. There were no women (besides the one day their wives flew out), no drugs, no alcohol in his band. If you looked backstage, you'd see "four stinky dudes on their phones" exhausted, sitting on the couches. Loving every second of that exhaustion. Grateful for it.

When I toured, I hated every drive. I don't travel well. But I loved the excitement on the stage. I loved performing. I loved bringing a party to communities who were so happy to have us there. I toured with a much smaller operation, a cover band, not a national act like my client. And I joined it because I fit the bill, which is not a good reason. I learned from the experience. I learned a lot of practical skills, but one thing I learned about me is that that band was not for me. Nothing against the band. I learned to listen better to myself and to honor the drive inside me.

But there was a much different drive behind the tour of my client. My client was taking his music and his message on the road. The ability to amplify your viewpoint to total strangers, to literally help them to feel as you feel is priceless. It's art. It's how society changes from the inside out. You'll never know who your honest, heartful work will affect in ways they weren't going to find elsewhere. You don't know the friends you'll make and the ways you'll grow. My client's message is an incredibly positive one, which I will save for another day, because his message, as necessary as it is, is not the message of this tiny blog post.

This is: there's an invaluable beauty in living a life so fully dedicated to the things inside you that matter most. It took me a long time to find this one of mine, but a large part of it comes down to my belief that every voice matters. I mean this in a social as well as musical way. But no one will hear your voice until you do. Are you listening to yourself? Or are you, like I was, doing what you think you should?

I've learned by listening to myself that oddly enough, I'm ecstatic to be the one who doesn't go on tour. The one who's ready to help you get back on your feet after a month of crazy. The one who's hopefully in your ear, telling you to "bring your headvoice down" as you walk to the merch table. The one who's closet is soon to become only band t-shirts.

Listen in. Living in flow is the best way to help people. Best for you. Best for them. Because if you have the courage to be authentic, so can they. Find your version of your drive. The thing that for you makes "four stinky dudes on a couch" worth it. Then don't look back.


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