Crushing Silence

August 2003 (I think) at J Rags in Tewksbury, MA as a member of a (mostly) cover band called Break Even.

Three years ago I started a band. It was Mike on bass, Kevin on drums, Steve on guitar, Dave on vocals, and me. We started playing in my basement in November 2011 (I think). By February Steve and I were both gone. At some point after that Dave was gone too. Mike and Kevin kept it together with a new guitar player and a new singer. They got a few gigs and were having a good time until last Spring (I think) when their guitar player left. Mike, who has been one of my best friends since elementary school, asked if I wanted to come back. I said no. Then I said maybe. Then I said okay. That was in October.

At one of the first practices I asked if they had any thoughts on playing original music. This is where I have to throw in some back story…

Ever since high school I have really gotten a thrill out of writing songs. I don’t do it particularly well, but it is a serious blast when a song that didn’t exist yesterday suddenly exists today. Through the 90’s I refused to play cover songs. Mike and I had a couple of bands, one of which was actually pretty good, but no covers. Better to play bad originals than great covers. The last band we had together split in 2000 and I was pretty much done. It was three years later when I was asked to try out for a cover band. I broke my no-covers vow and tried out and got the job. That band did end up doing a few originals written by various combinations of four of the five band members. When that bad split in 2005 I was done again. I gave it a go in 2011 as mentioned previously, but I just didn’t seem to have it in me anymore. I’m better now in terms of desire, but my confidence is shot. I’m pretty much afraid to say anything at all and I feel like an asshole every time I open my gob.

During the years that I was out of the band thing I still wrote songs. Every February since 2007 I’ve done the RPM Challenge or FAWM. I’ve done a few other internet based writing/recording challenges as well. In 2012 and 2013 I tried to keep writing and recording throughout the year without the internet support. I managed to get some things out of me, and finished a bunch of songs that had been lying around unfinished for years. I was pretty pleased with myself. This year turned out different though.

I did RPM/FAWM in February as usual, but when February ended I just started over. There was an album worth of Music started in March, another in April, those two were both finished off in May. Then there was another album in June. I spent July, August, and September cranking out songs at a previously unheard of rate while working on the 50/90 challenge. In October I slowed down a bit and wrote and recorded only about half an album before getting back on track in November and finishing off the National Solo Album Month challenge. In 2014 I have written and demoed 107 new songs. That’s unreal.

So back to the story at hand, I asked the rest of the band if they would like to do some originals and told them that I had a lot of brand spanking new stuff, along with a nice pile of other stuff that’s been collecting since 2007. They were into the idea and asked me to pick a song to start with. I felt really good leaving rehearsal that night. I felt almost confident.

Then I got home and started looking at the mountain of songs that no one I know had ever listened to and… the bubble burst. I just reverted to my usual confidence-free blathering idiot and I couldn’t bring myself to even think of what song to send them, never mind actually sending them anything.

Tonight I just couldn’t take my stupidity anymore and I sent the rest of the guys four songs. One from 2007, one from 2009, one from February and one from July.

Now I sit here writing this. It’s after 11:30pm and I don’t expect any replies any time tonight. It’s late, right? It doesn’t matter. The crushing silence is devastating. I know my stuff sucks. I shouldn’t have said anything. I should have just let them dictate what songs we should cover and just been a good little soldier. Why did I have to open myself up to rejection. I’m too old for this shit. I have blown them all away with my stunning mediocrity.

They are probably going to fire me now.

Shit.

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