Things look very different from the stage; part two. I don’t know your name.

I wrote the first one and I’m still not exactly sure for whom I was writing or what the goal was. However, folks seemed to like it and I was told I should continue it.

Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten any of the other two series. This is just something fun. I don’t know how long it will last, how frequent I’ll make these entries, but I have pretty much decided I’m going to try to share what it’s like from the other side – albeit from a very small-scale music professional.

I’m sorry, I don’t actually know your name.

Those that have been keeping up know that I’m recently re-engaged with music as a performer. Yes, I’m back on the stage – and I’m truly enjoying the work. Sure, I suck at being retired, but there’s so little time and so much more to do.

Thus, I’ve undertaken to give instruction to some kids (20 to 35 years of age) who are eager learners, excellent musicians in their own right, and absolutely fantastic to work with.

They only lack heart. They have zeal but they’ve not yet once even gone, “Holy balls! I’m a rock star!” And then, promptly vomited and passed out.

Having much experience in the industry, I’m at a loss. Part of me hopes for heart, but these kids are consummate professionals. They had free booze at our last show – and didn’t even get shitty and smash anything on stage! Not one drunken tirade. Kids these days… None of them appears to even be using illicit drugs on a grand scale!

But, a few things have been noted and I’d like to touch on some as we go along.

In many of the bands I’ve played with, I kinda new all the “groupies.” I knew the folks who’d regularly show up. I even knew many names. Hell, I passed out on half their couches and possibly had sex with their sisters. I might had sex with their mom. Oh, have I got stories!

This time, I’m a little face-blind (I think, it’s not diagnosed but I’d have issues picking my own children out of a crowd of faces), I recognize the faces (sometimes) and I see the body language that says they’ve seen us before. They’re pointing and you can see ’em mouth your name, that means they probably know you.

But, I don’t actually know you. I may have signed something for you. I may have given you something. I may have even stopped to talk and shake hands or pose for a picture. But, I don’t remember your name and I’m not actually sure which, if any, of those events are things I did.

On top of that, woo… Throughout my history, there’s a whole chunk of detail missing. I get people telling me they know me – in areas I’m pretty sure I’ve never been to before. I was out in a national park and in a canoe. As I approached a bridge, up on it was a guy and his lady friend. They waved. I waved back. They said, “Hi, TheBuddha.” They asked how I was doing. They obviously knew me, because they’d seen me play before. I know they did, because they asked where I was playing next.

This was years and years ago and I live in a totally different life and location now. It’s already starting again.

I don’t know you. I’m sorry that I don’t know you. I’d probably love to know you. I’d love to have a beer with you, shoot some pool, and fuck your sister. Alas, I have a different life now.

So far, we’ve played just three shows and we’ve already played for about 5,500 different people. The last show had a dozen people who’d already seen us (small community). This coming Saturday, we’re going to play for a crowd that varies per year (based on weather) for 10,000 to 20,000 people.

I don’t know any of their names. I wish I did.

I wish I had time to get to know each and every one of them. They’re the ones who enable me to do what I am doing. I am sure they’re all very wonderful people and it’s obvious that they have good taste!

Truly, I wish I knew your names, what was going on in your lives, why you come to see me, why you give us your hard earned money, and why you are so much nicer to us than we deserve? You’re way too good to us. We’re not rock stars, so that Standing O actually meant something. Screaming out to have us play one more? That means something.

Note: Very seldom does screaming for one more actually matter. We already scheduled the encore. In fact, we might be contractually obligated to it. We got that bitch timed. (We will play longer, sometimes. It’s just exceedingly rare.)

We absolutely love it when you get out there and make some noise back at us. To us, that’s so much more than we deserve. You’re there to hear me, it’s an honor when I hear you. (Usually, don’t be the too-drunk guy at a not-too-drunk-guy event.)

That you pay us to have this much fun, that’s just awesome. That you’re paying as well as you are (I’m doing a niche market), that says something.

And, I wish I knew why. Three months ago, you could have heard 5 of the band members at your local bar – with barely a cover fee, sometimes no cover at all. They’re just as good now as they were then. If you’d given them the pay you’re paying them now, they’d have rehearsed as much as they do now.

For the first time in his life, my drummer quit his day job. This kind of scares me, ’cause it means I have to take my job very seriously. Holy balls! I don’t even trust me that much. Crazy bastard. Good, it means he’ll have more time to keep the truck clean and organized. I might go down and smash his daily driver with a brick, that way he’s forced to drive the truck everywhere and has to actually learn to drive the fucking thing!

I’m sure he’ll read this. It’s a running joke – sorta. He can not drive.

He knows a bunch of the people. He talks with the fans more than I do.

Hint: We do actually tend to give merch to the more attractive people. If you didn’t get any, it’s because you’re ugly and nobody likes you! (Not really. It’s probably that you just don’t draw as much attention.) Me? I try to share with anyone who looks like they’re a fan – when I’m doing it. My thing is throwing picks. I don’t usually hand them out. I throw them and watch you catch ’em.

That you scramble for them blows my fucking mind. You reach out eagerly, trying to catch them. You sometimes dive to the floor and retrieve them. I got hundreds of them. They’re not actually special.

That is just so much better than we deserve. You honor us, you really do. That’s absolutely amazing and something truly undeserved. We’re not nearly as special as you make us feel. Thank you.

And that’s why I am sorry that I don’t know each and every one of you. I don’t know your names. I won’t ever be able to.

Today, I want to do something else. I’m going to leave you with a song. It’s important.

Now, shut up and play us a song!

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