The Red Zone #4 – Go To Distance

This week’s article is inspired by an interesting post on Facebook that caught my attention. As I was scrolling through the endless piles of shit exposed to me, making my brain melt faster than a nuclear fuck meltdown, I was saved by a curious little post. So in advance, I’d like to extend my thanks to Karl Riley (drummer for Carcer City) for giving me something intelligent to think about, for a change. I guess Facebook isn’t all that useless after all.

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Pardon my pretentious douchebaggery here as I philosophize for a second, but let’s break this down into small, minuscule, short, tiny itty bitty parts. I don’t want to get ahead of myself here, but for all I know you’ve got the mental brilliance of a 5 year old trying to fit a square shaped object into a triangle shaped hole. Assuming that’s the case, then we’ve got to take this REAL slow. Yes, that means longer than it would take a grandpa to get a straight up boner. Anyway…

Life is a cycle.

Big idea. Big revelation. I know and you’re welcome. While you’re busy letting that sink in faster than the Titanic, let’s take it one step further. Your life is a cycle. My life is a cycle. Your neighbor’s dog, who shat on your morning newspaper, also has a life cycle. We’re all following different and separate cycles. At the same time, we’re all living within the Earth’s life cycle. Don’t even bother trying to figure it out, let’s just say that it’s a lot of cycles.
Regardless, we all came out of a vagina, feel hungry, want to get down and bump uglies, drink tea/coffee, play crocket (just kidding, who the fuck really does that?!), and eventually bury our faces in the ground and bite the dust. As if that wasn’t already enough, we also get ups and downs to deal with along the way. Lots of them. Unfortunately for you, you don’t live alone in the world. You selfish prick. Yes, that means dealing with your bloody cycle and those around you. Sure, it all gets quite messy at times, but you assume that eventually things sort themselves out. One way or another, you find a way to keep moving forward.

In the words of Michael Bolton, you have to “go to distance”.

… Sorry, I had to. It was literally right there. Ahem. Pressing on…

Being in a band isn’t all that different. The question really is: how much can you take before you break? Being in a band truly is an endless cycle of obstacles. You are constantly going to have to find your inner Hercules (damn it, I did it again) to overcome the odds. If you want to go to distance, you just can’t allow yourself to get stuck in the lows. You’re going to have to fight your way through to prove you’re worthy of praise.
There is a certain naiveté that comes to younger and older bands alike, and it comes with the idea of entitlement. Many bands fall into the stupidity that they’re somehow special and deserve recognition. Dear friend, please stop trying to blow out the magic candles on the cake, cause those flames don’t go out. Stop wasting your breath. That’s just not the way it works.

You just released your first EP? Congratulations. It was a lot of work and it made you want to shit your insides out from the amount of stress and pain. Well spank a giraffe and call me Sugar Pie. Big fucking deal, kid. You know what they call that in the industry? A greeting card. That’s it. You’re not going to get any special treatment for it. The best you’re lucky to get is a few people willing to give your EP a spin and see If you’re worth following or not. A few extra Facebook likes here, some new twitter followers there… great job. Now that you’ve had a whole 5 minutes to celebrate, get your ass back in gear and write an album. Once you’re done with that, maybe you’ll get lucky with a few more shows per year, a festival slot there, and again, some new people following you. And then do it over, and over, and over until you realize that this is the life cycle of a band.

How much is enough? Well, let me put it this way. You’re not going to get a breakthrough first album that’s going to put you on the road to success. You’re going to lose money. A lot of it. You’re going to be in debt. For a LONG time. Even if you do get a label contract, make sure you read the fine print before you sell your soul to the devil. The world has changed. Digital music being accessible to all means that there’s an ocean of bands to chose from. It means our attention spans have dwindled down so badly that music has become a commodity that people no longer fully appreciate. How many people do you know that start listening to a song and go “oh MAN! I love this song!” and yet will change it 40 seconds in? Right after the breakdown, obviously.

That’s exactly what I thought.

The world we live in does not give a shit about your band. The best you can do in that kind of a world is to put all your hopes and dreams in one basket, and hope with all your heart that the Easter Bunny doesn’t come and drop a big one all over it, and then wipe his ass with your face. No, being in a band is not for the faint of heart. Just like living, being in a band means you’re going to have to keep popping out albums like you’re a slave goose trying to deliver the golden egg. You’re going to have to get back up every time you take a punch to the face. And just know, that if you ever for a moment even start to doubt yourself, the fight’s already over.

“Defeat is the secret ingredient to success.”

Conor McGregor

If Leo can put in the years and wait until he gets an Oscar, you can put in the time for your goals too. Keep fighting. Learn from your mistakes, and keep moving forward. Make it clear to everyone around you that you’re not going anywhere. Sooner or later, there won’t be a choice left. People will have to pay attention. Go out into the world, accept your cycle, and give people a reason to believe in your dream. Maybe one day you’ll convince enough people and find your happy ending waiting for you along the journey. In the end though, the only measure of success that really should count is your own level of satisfaction.
Do it because you can’t imagine yourself doing anything else. Do it because no one else can do it the same way as you. Just do it because it makes you happy. Sometimes, it really is just that simple. Philosophizing douchebaggery now over.

Thanks for reading and until next time.

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Nabil
I spend a big part of my time venturing into the realm of free-writing, and challenging myself as a writer. In that respect, I hope to to contribute whatever experience I may have acquired in the music world, and give you a different perspective from the point of view of a musician. I enjoy a wide variety of music, though my preferences lean towards metal, post-rock, and pop-rock. I’m a relatively easy going and simple person, with an awful sense of humour (I love ‘knock-knock jokes), and I hope you’ll enjoy my writings!

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