Monday, August 10, 2009
Music Vs Reality
Recently, the drummer in my band decided to quit, in order to go to Huddersfield for university. As well as this, our singer is more or less AWOL, spending more time with his girlfriend, his high paying job, and his nice high rising flat in the center of Manchester, and his less committal, peaceful indie type band that requires significantly less time and effort than technical death metal. On top of that, the other guitarist is about to jet off for Greece for a year to learn and teach kung-fu with the legendary "grand master" he often tells us about, who apparently ran around in vietnam without a weapon killing people with his bare hands, and has killed 2 people with some kind of heart stopping preassure move, and become some kind of Karate kid incarnate, probably in a year that will be much like this i imagine.
Even me myself, am not at my best having lost a lot of time studying my balls off for the finals, which I did infact pass, narrowly. I'm even spending a year in germany after this one as part of my course, which will be a further blow to the already severly beaten dream of making it in a death metal band.
With this, has come reflection, and the realisation that making it in a death metal band, despite being what i've wanted more than anything for the past 5 or 6 years, is actually, not that great an ambition, compaired to going to university and getting a good job. Most people in bands sacrifice their futures for a few years of glory, but no matter how big you become, you will always eventually have to return to the daily grind of mundane life, and often, it isn't all too welcoming after your time off, and musicians, no matter how renowned or celebrated, often end up in terrible dead end jobs, and grow old ungracefully, always wishing for the former glory. It was a depressing wake up call for me when I learnt that Pin from Sikth, one of my biggest influences and responsible for possibly my favorite album of all time, now works in a call center somewhere in greater Manchester now that Sikth have broken up. Even a band as huge as Motorhead, after watching a tour diary, seem to lead quite a grim existanc of constant touring in order to afford life, constantly harking back to better days. And then there's Manowar, who, as much as they suck, are undeniably successful for a metal band, and you would have thought have at least reasonable living conditions. So as much as dropping everything to play metal, go touring and maybe produce some kind of pinnicle CD appeals, I don't think it would be worth the loss of a secure financialy stable future, and secure middle class familly life with a pet dog and holidays to the south of France which, despite being repuatably dull, is actually something i'm really looking forward to.
You kind of notice that alot of people who are still into metal in their middle ages are massive loosers, and this probably scares a lot of people into growing up. I'm hoping that in the next couple of decades or so, there is a boom in the amount of normal successful middle aged people who are into metal and have plenty of faded tattoos, to prove that metalheads arn't all loosers.
This slow death of dreams dosn't nessacerily mean a loss of identity and allegiance to metal. I'm gonna be playing guitar for the rest of my life (at least untill the onset of arthritis), and going to shows. I'm still gonna be getting tattoos, and following the scene, its just not gonna be the only thing about me. I'm hoping I don't end up like this:
rather than become a quite typical dad like mine (hopefully a cool dad), albeit who happens to love death metal and has faded tattoos. I don't even want a "Metal" family, rather than a quite "square" partner and kids who find their own cultures to love. I remember at the Tuska festival a couple of years ago, I saw this tastefully metalheadish middle aged guy, who turned out to watch Emperor with his non-metal wife, who kina looked slightly hippieish. He watched the band for a little bit, but after a while, when it was clear she wasn't enjoying it, he took her further back so they could talk. That woman was probably the most out of place person there, but the fact they would go to Tuska as part of an evening out kind of warms me. Hopefully he went to some grateful dead or something gig with her too.
Its a shame though that so many people completely drop the subculture they were as they realise that musical dreams arn't gonna come to fruition. I'm pretty much the only person in my class at uni that dresses like any kind of subculture, with new era caps and devourment t shirts amoung the swarms of Akercrombe and Fitch, Horizontal stripes, and Topman. Almost every metal head I know has now cut their hair, and pretty much stopped listening to metal, as a part of "fitting in" with their new university friends. I never really hung out with other metalheads much through my teen years, so maybe thats why at uni im so comfortable keeping my identity and dressing like a metalhead/scene kid amounst other student friends. I definitely aren't treated any differently, and if I was, well, I wouldn't hang out with them.
So as reality sets in, I still am and always will be very much proud of who I am and was, and will keep the identity. Its just a shame that there are so few people in the middle, everyone eather drops all identity and conforms to middle class comfort, or keeps it up, persues their dreams, maybe with some success, but ultimately ends up a massive looser.