Tuesday, April 2, 2013

They Say You Can't Go Home.

They're wrong.

The simple fact of the matter is, folks, sometimes you need to do just that.

It's easy for many people to imagine that success in show business amounts to some kind of fantasy land - that it's all sunshine and rainbows and supermodels and sports cars and smiles and parties at famous people's houses. The truth, however, is usually much different.

It's never ceased to amaze me just how much people expect successful musicians to put up with or withstand. Whether it be years ago, when all of us who thought it would be neat to never have to pay for music ever again got all indignant toward Lars Ulrich and Metallica for actually having the gall to expect to get compensated for their creative work, or just a couple of days ago when I saw a young, up-and-coming band get raked over the coals for trying to shed some light on how little money bands actually make through streaming services like Spotify and Rhapsody, we as a culture seem more and more comfortable holding our entertainers to remarkably unrealistic expectations. We justify these expectations by telling ourselves that their success means they can take it. But, let's face it - even people living their dreams feel trapped and a tidbit suffocated from time to time.

Because the other fact of the matter is that success very often (not always, but often) tends to rob people of their humanity. The pressures that come along with being successful all too often isolate us and cause us to feel like we're all alone out on that island. The sheer amount of decisions that need to get made day-in and day-out, the constant emphasis on creating, creating, & creating some more even when you don't feel all that inspired, and, of course, everyone's favorite, the expectation of success when all is said and done, work in tandem to sort of squelch the spirit and steal the joy. People burn out. It happens, and you don't need to be a successful musician in order to understand this.

Which is why I was glad to see my friend get out of Hollywood and come on back to flyover country. None of us were ever meant to go through life by ourselves and it was a gift to have the opportunity to help pump some joy back into my friend's spirit this weekend. There is nothing quite like making great music with people that you love, and work stops being work pretty quickly when you being to enjoy it again.

Home is a powerful force. I've written on this blog before that one of the best parts of going on the road is coming back once the tour's done. I can't imagine what it would feel like if I was out there by myself. So, I'm glad he came back. It was great to see that his fans were willing and eager to send his way all the love they could muster. I'm thrilled to be a part of something this special and working for someone who appreciates the community and family qualities of our band - just because our name doesn't happen to be Tyler Ward doesn't mean we're expendable or incidental. There is loyalty here, appreciation, dedication, and support. We're all rooting for each other. And I don't think any amount of success or commercial expectation will change that.

They say you can't go home. They're wrong. And why would you never want to, anyway?

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