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Friday, August 12, 2011

Musicians: A Rare Breed Indeed

Rockstars... As children, we were all in awe of them. To us, they represented the wild life, the untamed dream. The words they spoke and the clothes they wore inspired us. Surely these legends, these gods of humankind, were the epitome of cool in their day to day lives as well!

Now, some of you reading this blog realized at a very early age that the rockstar life was the life you were meant to lead. Others stumbled into it and fell in love with it. Either way, though, you grew to see this world from the inside out. The mystique it held became your life. Those of us who approached it without any background in the art of musical composition, however, had quite a different experience. For many of us, until we began to befriend successful and talented musicians, be they rich and famous or those still in the starving artist phase of their careers, we didn't see just how much we all have in common with each other.

During my early forays into the local music scene, I made a few very surprising discoveries. First and foremost, I learned that musicians were cool in quite a different way than I had come to expect from books and movies and magazine interviews. Most of them were deliciously awkward, in only the best way possible! I could totally relate to that. They communicated their true thoughts through their music just like I speak through my writing. Being a rockstar means that those quirky actions and inappropriate phrases that place the rest of us firmly under the label of "inexcusably awkward" become cool and gain intriguing depth. The moment a musician steps onstage in front of an impressionable newcomer to the scene, they become larger than life. It is truly a magic like no other.

Secondly, I discovered just how much work is put into the tune-making arts. It is truly a time-intensive career. All the fun and games that we, the fans, see are the product of hours and days and weeks of practice, scheduling meetings, and slaving over promotions. That CD the band just gave out for free? That took months to record, day after day of spilling their souls into layers of tracks that they compile to form each song. Let us not forget about all the frustrations of apologizing for cancelled shows, playing to empty rooms on tour, and waiting around for hours to rock a six-song opening set for that big-name band only to be booed by the impatient crowd. To all you musicians out there, I salute you! You hide all this work from us so well! For us, your shows are just amazing, joy-filled parties. Your dedication to this illusion is just awe-inspiring.

But that's not to say that the rockstar lifestyle is lacking in fun, of course. My final discovery was that of the curious nature of the relationship between sex, drugs, and rock and roll. In the beginning, I began to wonder... Was it all just a stereotype, a rumor, a misconception? Well, from what I've seen, this one is right on the money, in some ways at least! Not every musician chooses to embrace this aspect of the role, but for those that do, even movies do not quite do them justice. It is a fascinating life the aspiring rockstar leads, even those who live in our small town of Athens. Some of the things I've seen or heard... well, let's just say that the life of a musician is just simply indescribable!

These are my people, and I truly love them. I'm ridiculously proud to be as involved in the Athens music scene as I am, and I'm so glad it's picking back up again now that August has arrived. Let the madness begin again!

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