Sunday, October 14, 2012


Here I come from Lausanne, Switzerland, on the north shore of Lake Geneva. As I reread that sentence, I'm struck by something Tyler asked me while we were setting up the stage in Zurich two nights ago.

How it was in Zurich.
He looked right at me and said, "Did you ever think you'd actually get to travel this much?" (An aside: when the year 2012 concludes, I will have spent more than one-third of it on the road, and about half of that here in Europe. That's a big deal for a travel hound like me.)

I told him what I'll tell you: I always wanted to, always hoped music would be the vehicle that would allow me to do so, but never thought I'd be able to without a major label deal or massive distribution and radio play.

I've thought about this fact a few times in the last handful of days. I hope I never allow myself to treat playing drums in a band that I love on stages in places like this one as routine or usual. Even in the world of professional music, what we've all gotten to be a part of here is special.

To say that I'm not worthy would be an exercise in redundancy.


There are aspects about this dream that refuse to let me fly too high. By that I mean that a dream job has no power to save me from the realities of life, harsh as they may be from time to time.

This tour has had enough of its own unique obstacles & difficulties to accompany the usual retinue of aches, pains, soreness, sickness, and frustration that are just part of the job description of a touring musician. I've documented some of them here on this blog. But along with all that's happening over on this side of the pond, there are some things going on back at home that help to keep my feet firmly planted right here on terra firma.

A couple of personal tragedies that I have no power to do anything whatsoever about are weighing pretty heavily on my mind and heart during this tour. They serve as an ever-present reminder that a dream job is not a dream life: life is still life for us touring musicians, mountain tops and deep, dark valleys alike.

The Louvre - more than a photo op.
There is a certain temptation for musicians fortunate enough to tour to believe that the tour itself is an escape; that it is a secret hatchway away from all the crud that occurs in the day-to-day grind of "normal" life. And while there are certainly fantastical aspects to getting to play rock 'n' roll in dozens of different locales over a few months' span, the truth is that life and all its God-given lessons simply do not stop simply because you're on the road. And I've been forced to face this reality head-on this time out.

One blessing of it all is that the hard stuff is just as much the essence of what makes for great music as is the happy, smiley stuff. Pain, frustration, loss, hurt, and anger have as much power to fuel creativity and passion as anything else. And they should. If I'm not feeling those things, I'm not alive, and you can't be a great artist if you're just going through the motions.

But I wish I could play in a way that was worthy of those that I can't be at home to grieve with or support. I wish I could feel like what I was doing was as honoring to them and to what they're going through as I would want it to be.

Alas, as it stands, all I can do is all that I can do with everything else in life: lean hard into the God that gave me music in the first place and the opportunity to play for people all over the world. This is no small thing He's asked me to be a part of, and I'm beyond thankful for the chance. So, in honoring Him, perhaps I can bless those hurting back home. I can only hope, I suppose.

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