In a recent podcast I discussed a running injury I sustained last spring that changed my life. In a lot of ways for the better. In particular how it allowed me to get back to my musical roots. I have been playing guitar, signing and writing songs since I was nineteen. In 2008 I made a career move and became a food service manager for a large retirement residence corporation. It was the end of music for me. Prior to that I had been very serious. I had a expansive home studio, including most instruments and recording equipment. I had a great crew of friends to jam with. I lived in Niagara Falls and spent my days off from my low stress cooking job busking, performing at open mics, strumming at bonfires or just playing the downtown streets in the evening. I love music and I loved my life.
Then I started working 60 hours a week. I was single and earning a huge salary. I bought Pro Tools (the industry standard recording equipment), a beautiful hollow-body guitar and everything else musical that I ever wanted. Problem was I had less than zero time to create. The toys began to pile up faster than I could learn to use them. In the end I sold most of it back off over the next couple years. I kept only my guitars and basic recording equipment hoping that one day I would revisit my past life.
I quit my illustrious career in serving cheap food to cranky old farts and became a carpenter. I loved the work. My boss is another story. We got along as much as we could, but cultural differences were among the least of our issues. After 3 years I parted ways and began yet another new career in retail. During this time I fell in love with trail running. This was my passion until "the incident" last May.
I suddenly had more time than I knew what to do with. Actually that's not entirely true, I knew exactly what to do with it.
I took on the daunting task of relearning 2 albums worth of songs and a phone books' worth of covers. It was soul crushing to realize I could barely remember a riff or lyric, never mind lacking the finger strength and callouses to play for more than 5 minutes at a time. I was determined to bring music back into my life. I played shyly at first, barely able to control my nerves even playing for my wife. I had played new music night at big club in Toronto and now I was scared to play for my shadow.
Fast forward seven months of hard work and practice. I finally had my shit together enough to play live again. I packed up my beloved six-string sidekick and headed out for a local open mic night. When Chris and I arrived the place was packed. Signups had only been open ten minutes, but it was full. I looked around and realized the entire place was filled with Beard-sportin', guitar-totin' singer/songwriters. They were all me, I was all of them. Nothing special, nothing unique. A guy with a clipboard said "hey you can hang out until 11pm and play the open jam". What? It's ten after seven? What the hell am I going to do in a bar for four hours?? You see I don't drink, I don't stay out late and I don't hang out in bars. This is when it hit me... I have no place here. I used to drink, hang out in bars and I used to stay out late. I was trying to step back into a life I had no business being in. Rock 'n' Roll is synonymous with many things as we all know and it's for a reason. I realized that I wanted to play live, but only on my terms. It doesn't work like that. That's selfish.
The dream as I had envisioned it was over.
But... Then again it could be reborn another way. Thanks to the digital age there are now endless options. I have a home on a website called Bandcamp. It's a free place to put your music up for an audience. The thought hit me, "why couldn't I play live there?" I don't mean literally live broadcasts, but I could record live set lists and put them up for anyone who wants to listen.
So begins my project called "Live At Hohme Studios" My goal is to post a "live" show each week. Sometime dreams come true, but most times it's not how we expected.