Look to the Horizon: Staying Afloat in a Sea of Doubt
A few years back I used to work on oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. It was during the horrible market crash in the 2000’s and my mortgage finance company went under, along with my first marriage, but that’s another story, for another time. But anyway, if you weren’t lucky enough to get a helicopter ride out to your location in the ocean, you took a crew boat. A smaller boat that felt every bump in the ocean. The smaller the boat, the more men going to the oil rig got sick. Green faces everywhere. I was told while working in San Francisco on tugs ( I tried to train myself before going to the gulf by being a deckhand on tug boats) to look to the horizon, and that would help with the motion sickness. After a while, you get better at handling it, but for some reason these guys just couldn’t stomach the longer boat trips. If they weren’t doped up with anti-motion sickness meds, then they were leaning over the side of the boat, looking and sounding like death warmed over. That always baffled me. How people that have worked in the offshore industry for so many years, some it was generational, they STILL got sea sick?
I bring this up because, for whatever reason, no matter how hard things get, and right now THEY’RE HARD, I feel like there is a goal I’m seeing ahead on the horizon thats helping me keep the LFADM ship floating and headed in the right direction. As a serious, touring band, we’re in our 4th year. Not a long time, considering we’ve been playing a few shows with people that have 20 plus years in the business as bands, but an important year. The other night we went to see some friends of ours that we’ve played all over with, Sit Kitty Sit. Similar set up, 2 people guy and girl, so we have a lot in common, and they are just generally good people (not to mention talented). Chicky was talking to their fellow female vocalist, Kat, and she was explaining to us that this is our “rough” year. The 4th year. She was explaining that it usually takes a business 5 years to start really turning a profit, and that the 4 year hump is where most fail. I think most fail because doubt really comes into the equation for success. The older we get, the more our peers and family members stop looking at us as an emerging international touring band, but as a bunch of lazy bums who don’t want to get a job. You know, get a house, shit out some kids, start “living the dream“.
The dream, we’re realizing is different for everybody. For most, it’s to accumulate stuff and wealth. Can’t lie, I was all about that too. And for a short while I was able to live it. The houses, the fancy cars, Ikea shit everywhere, you know truly living the dream. But I felt stressed and empty. Basing my self worth in the things I accumulated, the fear of not having the car, the house, and all the other trappings of consumer based happiness made me an empty individual. Having finally shed that skin, I feel a bit more free and connected than ever before. We recently played a show in San Francisco, CA at the DNA Lounge with the legendary March Violets. It was good show, and as we were loading out we got in a conversation with a city worker who happened to be doing his job near where we were parked. He was curious about who we were loading up music gear, so he started asking us questions about who we were, and if we had ever toured, etc. We informed him that we had toured, and seen a few different countries and such and he started grinning. He told us that used to play music and at one point felt he had a band that was really about to do something, but chose the comfort of routine and got a job, spit out some kids, and the rest is history. At that moment I understood why people follow our adventures around the world. They get a chance to live through us. And we’re realizing that and embracing it.
We try to explain that the live isn’t glamorous by any stretch of the imagination, but they don’t seem to care. True hand-to-mouth living. Often times scrounging for food, sleeping in a van. But we’re doing it. We haven’t fallen victim to the negativity thrown our way, more often than not, by the people closest to us. At some point, the naysayers, the doubters, their words start to beat you up. The cries of the American Dream become dull and inaudible as you start to wake up to find true peace and happiness. As long as you listen to the chant of conformity it becomes easier and more acceptable to just give up the thing that makes you happy and do something the public at large tells you is realistic. You know, “plan b”. Often times I get with my other artist friends, even the ones that are successful, and they echo the same sentiment. People that have chose “plan B” will shit on a dreamer. We don’t have a plan B.
As of right now the hard part for us is just stay afloat until the next record. It should see the light of day in the spring of 2015, and there are some announcements that we can’t talk about right now, but some good things are happening. We got added Pandora Radio, about to embark on ANOTHER tour across the United States that will take us to Canada and Mexico. We’re editing a video for our song, “Love Song”. It’s a song that talks about our love for not just each other, but our love for this crazy lifestyle we’ve chosen. Everyday we wake up in the van, we question ourselves if we’re doing the right thing. We hear the sinister cackle of the masses telling us to just give up. You’re too old, you’re too different, etc. Then, I look to the horizon, see whats ahead of us, see the accomplishments behinds us, see my lovely wife, think of the people that follow us, and sail on.