About being a little dead inside
Much has been written about the cost and unrealistic toll — both physically and mentally — of being a professional touring musician. In our most successful years as a band, we spent close to 300 days a year traveling, performing, rehearsing, and marketing our music on the road. We did this to live, but also to unlock marketing dollars from our record label; to earn commissionable income for our managers and agents; and to build, nurture and grow an audience into a thriving community of fans and supporters. Even though we approved of these grueling schedules, it somehow felt required and not always under our control.
Whatever qualms I had, I mostly suffered in private. I worried vocalizing them would make me seem ungrateful, spoiled, and weak. But what disturbed me most was the feeling that unlike my touring peers, I was unable to consistently connect with the higher power of performance. The flow I felt when writing at home was rarely achieved on stage, and a consistent, dull longing nagged me for decades.
I should like this more. I should love this more.
During the pandemic, the disorienting relief of no longer being on tour, or anticipating an upcoming tour, was so unfamiliar I initially mistook it for grief. I was emotional and exhausted, drowning in an abundance of free time and mental space. Sitting at my desk each morning hitting refresh on my different email accounts, I suddenly realized there was absolutely no point to any of it. I was my own boss, my best employee, and the unrelenting timekeeper of the clock waiting to be punched again and again.
So, I shut off my computer and I started walking for hours a day, then jogging, and finally running miles on the streets around my house. What would my life have been like if I’d quit music in 2003 when I moved to Montreal? What if Neil Young’s manager, Elliot Roberts, had never offered us a record deal in 1998? What if instead of making a pop album in 2013 we’d just quit? What if I’d had a baby in my 20’s instead of my 40’s?
What if, what if, what if. \
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