I frequently revisit a video that I saw on TedTalk a few years ago called The Art of Asking. Amanda Palmer talks about her time as a street performer and what she learned by laying out a hat for money. It’s a very vulnerable position to be in. You never know if someone is going to throw you a dollar or throw you an insidious glare. I know the feeling. There was a time when I could never be seen doing something like this. I was taught that you had to earn your money. Work hard and you will eventually be able to retire then do what you want to do.
I lived this way for a good part of my life. I went into the Marines directly out of High School. After I got out of the Marines I got a good job. I had the wife, the house, the dog, the yard tools. I did everything that I was supposed to do as a member of society and yet I was still miserable. Why?
I was miserable because I wasn’t following my heart. I was in denial of who I really am. I would often question myself, saying, “Why couldn’t I be born loving Graphic Design?” I would say this to myself because I’m great at it, but to me, it was just a ‘job’. A way to distract myself from what I was really put down here on this planet to do and I would feel guilty for not loving it. Now, had I recognized my passion and pursued it right off the bat, I wouldn’t be in this predicament that I put myself in. I would have set myself up in a career that would accommodate my passion. But I can’t change the past… I have no choice but to move forward with the tools I have.
Anyway, that brings me to what I’m here to talk to you about…
The Art of Asking. This ties into something I learned while I was taking classes at The Agape International Spiritual Center in Culver City, California. My coach reminded me about the Yin and Yang of Giving and Receiving. She told me that one cannot exist without the other. The Dark cannot exist without the light, Good can’t exist without Bad, Love can’t exist without Hate, etc. It’s a balance. It’s a very simple concept but one that many people, including myself, let fly over our heads. The Art of Asking, or Giving and Receiving, exists because of the flow that is created between the two. You cannot give unless someone receives what you are giving and Vise-Versa.
For example; If I was to give you something and you didn’t allow me to give it to you, then you are depriving me the joy of giving. The light bulb lit up for me and I got it. I understood now what I had been doing for so long. You see, I had a hard time receiving because I didn’t think that I deserved it. I didn’t stop to think about how the other person might feel by me turning down their gift to me. It was as if I was rejecting them.
I did this a number of years ago when somebody asked me for an autograph. I looked at them in shock, “Me? You want my autograph? Why do you want that, I’m nobody.” Well, that person never asked me again… and mind you, they never came to see my band again. I had lost a fan because of my own insecurities. I didn’t realize then what I know now. It’s not about me. It’s about the other person’s experience and I had deprived someone of their experience. How hard was it for that person to come up to me and ask me for my autograph? How nervous were they? And how hard will it be for them to ask the next guy after experiencing this humiliation with me?
Well, here I am. I am now in that person’s shoes. I am asking for help and every fiber in my body is saying to me, “You don’t deserve it. Who do you think you are? Get a job you bum!” I just have to remind myself of everything I’ve learned. Everything I believe, and most of all everything I tell everybody else. Who am I to preach if I’m not walking the talk?
I leave you with this… lyrics from a song on our new album, the song is called ‘A Re-Imagining’. A reminder to myself of who I am and who I believe we all are…
Live your dreams, make them real. Know they’ll come. Don’t look back, don’t stand down. Know you’re strong. Free your Mind. Free Yourself. You are a star, shine bright your light.
With all of that in mind, below is a link to my GoFundMe Page. If you cannot give financially, send good thoughts and positive energy. I will gladly accept whatever gift you can give.
Ok… I just took a most vulnerable step and created a GoFundMe for the upcoming tour, CD, Merchandise. I can honestly say that this is scaring the crap out of me. Why? Because I’m afraid I will be laughed at, ridiculed… all of the other things that go along with putting yourself out there. But after selling everything that I have for pennies on the dollar I’m still coming up short.
I recently did an interview for the new Kill Ritual tour and the last question let me talk about the expenses of being a musician. I wrote this…
“Support local music! Buy CDs! Buy shirts! Go to concerts! We are not self-sustaining entities with money falling out of our pockets. I think a big misconception of being in a band, of being a musician, is that someday we’ll grow up and get a REAL job. I’ve HAD a real job. I did what I was told by society to do and I was fucking miserable. Seriously… if you’re an accountant and you love accounting… then by all means, follow your passion. But, if you hate it and you do it until your dying day… are you going to say, “I wish I would have (fill in the blank)” or are you going to say, “Fuck! That was one hell of a ride!” (Mic drop)”
I meant what I said in all sincerity. I don’t want to go to my grave saying “I wish I would have followed my dreams.”
If you would like to donate to this GoFundMe I would greatly appreciate it.
I am back from Hawaii. Two weeks of walking the dog, hiking mountains, seeing an active volcano, walking the beach, swimming and eating a half ton of Poké.
A lot of my friends have mentioned to me that they could never live in Hawaii. They would get bored too easily. I can honestly say, especially after reading this article (link below) on being an introvert, that it would be a welcoming change for me.
I can already tell what you are thinking. You’re a front man in a rock band… how can you be an introvert? Well, being an introvert doesn’t mean that I am shy of people, nor does it mean that I don’t like people. Introverts need alone time and solitude to recharge. That is what makes us feel alive. Extroverts, on the other hand, need people around them to recharge. It doesn’t make either of us ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ (Read my blog post on what I think about right and wrong) So… I could easily live out the rest of my days in Hawaii.
While I was in Hawaii I was fortunate enough to have a time difference of 10 hours between Hawaii and Sweden. I would wake up in the morning and have tracks off of the new album in my email. Andy LaRocque and Steven Rice were working diligently on perfecting the sound for our next album, ‘All Men Shall Fall’ while I slumbered away in the perfect Oahu nights. I’d wake, have coffee, and listen to them while working on the CD sleeves and inserts. Getting all of the lyrics, credits, etc. in order. I can’t wait for you all to hear this album. We’ve already shuttled it out to labels, reviewers and select close friends to give you the best of it all. If you would like to write a review of this new album and you have blog that you regularly do reviews, hit me up.
All Men Shall Fall has been a labor of love for months now, and now that we are done we can sit back and enjoy what we’ve brought to the table. Not only have we completed this album, but we are also touring with Raven and Hirax in Europe starting in June. Raven were also invited onto the Monsters of Rock Cruise for 2018. Who knows… maybe you’ll see us on there too. 🙂