Looking Out My Back Window #108

Originally posted on Facebook HERE

After not doing a lot musically for several years, I feel like I’d like to start playing again, so I’ve been haphazardly looking for something that would be interesting to me and fit within my schedule. I’m so used to just being able to pick up a gig anytime that the fact I have yet to find anything is a bit different for me, but yes – I’m being picky, and the parameters I have won’t work for every project. So, I started thinking about just doing something on my own – or starting a new project on my own, either solo bass or guitar/vocals, a duo, maybe even a band. I used to do solo bass shows in the 90s. As I’m thinking about this, I’ve seen some videos posted from other players and as I watch the clips in the back of my mind I’m thinking “I’ll never be that good. These guys are way more proficient than I could ever hope to be”. I think all musicians see other players that make them feel that way. Maybe all people do in their respective industries and creative outlets. But then I realize – there are players who would say that as they watch me as well. And, I don’t need to be that technically proficient to create my own unique voice. That’s really it, right? I have a good idea what my limits and strengths are. I have an idea for a solo bass show that would be unlike anything anyone else could or would do – it would be uniquely mine. And if I focus on what I love to do and play, and put something decent together, it will bring me joy even if I never play out or record any of it. Which brings me to playing guitar and singing. Singing has always been a tough one for me. It’s an art form I would love to be more proficient at. I’m not a very good singer, but I certainly have things I can do vocally that work well for punk rock anyway. But I’m talking about really singing. Man, what I’d give to be able to do that. I’ve been so blessed to have played in bands with some fantastic vocalists.  I’ve played shows with them where they sent chills down my spine, brought tears to my eyes, and really touched an emotional center within me. What a tremendous gift to have. I doubt I could ever be even half the singer any of them are, even if I had unlimited time to work on it. But then I think about people who weren’t blessed with what we would consider beautiful voices that still became very popular: Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Johnny Rotten, Joey Ramone, etc – some of my very favorite vocalists found their own unique voice and forged ahead anyway. All four of them were also songwriters as well, which I haven’t got much interest in, but what could have been seen as a weakness – the sound of their voice, their own technical proficiency – became a strength because they were unique, and they embraced it. I took voice lessons for a while, and had I stuck with it by now I might be a somewhat pseudo halfway almost mediocre singer, but I didn’t. Singing brings up more feelings of self-doubt and fear than almost anything I do. And therein lies part of the problem. Inside the voice that tells me “I can’t” is much louder than the part of me that believes that, with practice, I could actually get better and be able to sing (not scream, not shout), with confidence. My dad was a really good multi-instrumentalist and singer. When I was a kid, my middle school music teacher begged me to join the choir after making the class do some vocal exercises. I was so embarrassed (he did it in front of the whole class), so uncomfortable, and at the time I didn’t want to be in choir… So I said no. I think he even called my parents to have them put heat on me, but I declined. Not sure what happened between then & now, but that memory has always been with me. That kid that could sing back then is in here somewhere. What talents do you possess that you gave up on long ago? Why? Self-doubt? Fear? Comparison?… Maybe we all need to be happy there are people who are blessed with fantastic ability to show us what’s possible while we find our own way, whatever that is. And maybe it’s time for me to take my own advice from my book FEED YOUR ANGEL and pull the “someday I’ll become a better singer” book off the shelf and make it an “I will” statement. Changing somedays into realities with the power of will. “I will”… start taking vocal lessons? Play two songs on acoustic guitar and vocal at the open mic by (insert date)?… put my own band together with me on guitar and vocals and play show by (insert date)?… Do you have something on your someday shelf, a bucket list item that needs revisiting? Painting? Writing? Music? Make your own “I will” statement, and use the unique voice God gave you to move forward if for no other reason than to say you did it. TODAY is someday.

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