Spicy’s bachelor party had derailed for reasons I won’t even get into here. Nevertheless we had to do something to celebrate his last days of bachelordom, and so a jam session was called.
We got together at my studio in Hoboken and played. We played old songs that had not been played in many, many years. And I was amazed at how easily they returned to us. It was truly surreal, like a time machine took us back to my mom and dad’s basement exactly 10 years ago. And there we were. Fresh, young, excited, open-minded, and hungry.
Do I sound old? Sometimes I feel old. And I don’t mind some parts of being older. In fact, I quite like the perspective aging brings. I think it’s done a lot for my music and my overall happiness. But time is something you can never get back. And there’s something bittersweet about getting the perspective now. It would have been so useful 10 years ago.
That’s not to say I have any regrets, because by and large I don’t. And I find that I’m meandering now, so let’s get back to something more concrete.
The time machine. The “bachelor party”. Something happened that night that had not occurred since those days in the basement. It was the feeling of being truly in awe of the music you’re making.
Anybody who plays in a band, or even plays guitar, can attest to the sheer delight of hearing yourself play a famous riff for the first time. For me, it was Sweet Child O’ Mine in Ricardo’s basement over on Upper Brook Drive in 1995 or so. It’s like magic. You’re in disbelief, saying to yourself “Oh my god, I’m making the SOUND. I’m actually making the SOUND.” And if you’re playing in a band in those early teen days, you’re saying the same thing. “I can’t believe we’re making the SOUND.”
Rock music is so powerful, and loud, and COMPLETE, and when you peek behind the curtain and learn that by simply adding guitar plus bass plus drums, ANYONE can make it, an entire new dimension is opened to you.
The thing is, if you stick with it and you’re any good, this feeling dissipates pretty quickly. The awe fades away and you jump into the study of music. And this is an insatiable beast. You can never learn enough, you can never feed the monster enough songs, chords, sounds, techniques, lyrics, performances, YouTubes, artist interviews, magazines, catalogs, and dreams. It just goes on and on. I’m still in the grips of it to this day. I’m hopeless.
But again, I derail.
On that night, the long lost purity returned to me. I felt like a teenager again. It was so overwhelming in fact that I am afraid to get together with the guys again. What if it’s gone? What if it was just the magic of that one “bachelor thing” night? We came to the table with no expectations, and therein lies the secret to success. Now, when we return, it will be with expectations. That’s just how it is. There’s no escaping that.
And so, I remain tortured. I want that feeling of freedom so bad. It’s rock n roll in it’s purest state. The kind that makes you shake and shout. The kind that drives your mind to strange places and summons a freakish energy that you cannot get from anywhere else.