Two days and all of this will come to an end. By this time next week, I will be back at my job. That is not a pleasant thought. I somehow miss Philly, New Jersey, home. It’s as if I have a newfound appreciation for where I am from. You take the place you live and the things you see everyday for granted. You expect them to always be there, to never change. Maybe I will explore more, do more upon returning. There are many people I’ve neglected, a community I ignored. Do I want to be a part of something anymore? I don’t know.
The show last night was another in a final stretch of tepid shows. The next two shall be little different. Pittsburgh and Allentown on weeknights? But that is OK. Despite my debilitated body, I enjoyed playing the past two nights. In large part, this is due to me not worrying anymore. It doesn’t concern me how many kids come to the show or how many T-shirts we sell. I just want to play. Finances are a constant concern. When I return home, I will have bills to pay. Some can argue a band should tour on $60 a day. That may hold true- if the van doesn’t break down, the band never stays in a hotel, you are independently wealthy or independently supported by your parents, or if you steal a lot. I understand what is needed to tour like we are touring. But I don’t enjoy worrying about affording it. The most we’ve been paid is $270. Last night we were paid $50. Most nights, the figure hovers around $80. In merchandise, we sold over $1,000 at a fest in Virginia. Last night we were lucky if we pulled in $30.
And when I am home? My boss won’t be enthusiastic when I tell him I am touring in July and then most of the fall. How do I balance it out and not feel like I am either on the precipice of bankruptcy or selling out?
One band played last night. I know, many did. But this one included older dudes, you know, mid-to-late 30s or older. Some members did time in more prominent DC area bands of yore. Their singer Jason introduced one song commenting on how he, like others in the room, was addicted to the sound. Those addicted need to play music, they need to listen to music; they need to actively create it and live it. I am 28 years old. I can never foresee a time when I am not making music. I think I forget the basis of what I am doing out here sometimes. It’s easy to allow the crap and the business to cover what lays at the heart: love of music, lust for performance.
Yet we face the constant battle: the Real World vs. the Ideal. Who wins? Should that be a question and are those opponents genuine? I will tour Canada in July and Europe for 36 days in autumn. How will I afford it? What will I come back to? Will my girlfriend tolerate this? I feel like the opportunities are now, the time is now, so I must do this now. Sometimes I feel too old to do this, when other bands are 19 and living at home. But I also feel too old to start a new career, er, a career. I may pass for 20 but I don’t live the life of a 20 year old. Actually, I do, and that is the problem. Is it too late to do anything? What “real” job would hire me now? I have no choice and nothing to lose. Except everything.
Last night after the show we retired to Ramsi’s. I sat with Greg, Matt, Ryan, Jason and the bassist of his band. Jason was genuinely friendly and magnanimous. He just played a show to maybe 30 kids and he was happy to be there. His attitude is unfortunately novel. So many other band dudes would have been distraught and crestfallen in the face of such a turnout. Jason clearly is down here for the love of it, not money, not a career, not fame. Ryan offered stories of bands he has done shows for who balk and complain when “only” 100 kids show up. I don’t want to be in that band. I want to play my heart out to six kids, like I did in Bloomington. I regret not talking more on this tour, and instead hiding and craving solitude over hanging out and communicating.