Hell of a year, huh? 2016 has been a doozy on most of us, but that’s the way of things. While 2016 was certainly difficult for me, I also welcomed unprecedented change: I successfully carried and delivered my daughter, Ayla. I rejoined Crowd the Airwaves in early November and have since played two shows. I’m passionately enjoying being a mother, and also being a musician. Even with all of the bullshit, I count my blessings this year.
Bullshit is what we are discussing today, and why not? I think 2016 has taught me that there is ALWAYS something happening to or around you. But what 2016 has also taught me is, even though there’s always something going on, it’s how you respond to it that makes all the difference.
Being in a working band means having to wear a lot of hats, especially in the DIY scene. You are the artist, manager, agent, image designer, director…the list goes on. It’s easy when you live in a vacuum, but since no one does, life is always throwing a curveball, trying to knock you off your game. We only had two full band practices this month due to band members being sick, for example. Two weeks ago, Christina was being treated for a bad throat infection; this week, Heather has what sounds like an upper respiratory infection. My car almost broke down on the way home from our annual holiday gig. I have to take Ayla for regular doctor’s appointments, especially now since this is prime time for those routine, necessary vaccinations – and sometimes she gets a fever after the shots, so that necessitates lots of snuggles and baby Tylenol. But I digress.
The point is, when you’re in a working band with people that need to keep themselves afloat with day jobs/or have other huge priorities, accommodation and understanding are absolutely paramount. Heather decided it was best to bow out of yesterday’s practice; it was the right decision, as she could’ve risked vocal damage. When you’re not healthy, you’re not very useful to your band and your job and your aspirations.
I used to be someone that operated in absolutes, meaning, if you weren’t utterly live-breathe-die something, you weren’t serious enough. Life experience has changed that opinion. There is certainly a time and place for that mentality, but once other commitments, like ekeing out an existence, managing a relationship, paying down a debt, etc. come into play, it’s a recipe for disaster. It’s a matter of time before you mentally burn out, and sometimes physically too. Add the fact we all live in New York City, and the necessity for balance compounds!
I guess this blog post is just a long-form meditation on work-life balance and being kind to yourself. The world isn’t out to get you, but expecting perfect conditions to exist for long periods of time simply isn’t realistic, meaning, there is ALWAYS going to be something you or a bandmate has to deal with: bullshit at work, a sick child, low funds, you name it. But music is eternal, and is a space that should never be affected, regardless of what is going on.
So, as we turn over a much-needed new leaf in 2017, try to respond, not react, to the bullshit happening in the world and in your band or project. Respond kindly and proactively, and give space for the other aspects of their lives, whereby embracing them wholly.
Happy New Year, all.
Our first gig of the New Year is on Thursday, January 19th at 9pm at a sweet new lounge in Park Slope called Salzy. We hit at 9pm. We’d love to see you there!
Below: One of us broke Heather! Send halp! :p