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Finding Yourself Again

Photo by Daniel Wong

Some times the most unexpected musical evenings are the ones that turn into the most inspiring. Something happens when you begin to get involved with any “scene”—you find out what you like and what you’re not so fond of. Then you start acting on those likes and dislikes. In the world of music these inclinations begin to define and if you’re not careful, limit your potential to fall in love with music all over again.

People always talk about music being a drug. Chemists talk about the rush of dopamine that triggers in heightened moments of elation or when we connect to something bigger than our selves and how upon this chemical cocktail being mixed, handed to us and then slammed down through our system makes our emotions say “I’m happy”. Musicians talk about the high they feel on stage when that oh-so-sweet bridge hits and the crowd is screaming along every line and an overwhelming sensation of something other than human takes your body and mind over and then…the lights go down and the PA is powered off, you pack up your amps and drums, loadout and sleepily crawl into your bed for the night, just to wake up and get ready to do it all again.

We all get something from music. It drives us home at night, tucks us in. It gives us something to look forward to on the weekend, something to make love to in the moonlight. We sneak it into moments of silence and some of us carry it in our wombs, birth it, dress it up and share it with the masses. We love music.

One of the best things, however, is finding and sharing music when you least expect it, or at least when you didn’t expect things to be so great. A couple of weeks ago I went to a house show in Santa Cruz. I didn’t know any of the bands or any of the band members. I didn’t know anybody who lived there. I didn’t know anyone there. Hell, I don’t think I knew myself that night. Anyway, I showed up and found myself a nice spot standing on an old crusty yellow chair from the ’70s and posted up on the outskirts of the living room/stage. The place was packed and as the first band began to play the place became alive. Everyone became a part of the music that night. There was no casual sipping of the beer at the back end of the bar or standing awkwardly by the merch table. There was only a front and center main stage.

I rocked back and forth on my own cushioned stage popping more and more springs out of the dilapidated chair until it looked more like an art experiment gone wrong than a place to sit. As the night wore on and the bands changed and the room filled with that nasty mass of human breathing and while dopamine rushed through my body, my lack of expectation turned into reverence and I remembered who I was. I remembered all of the bands, the people, the peeling paint on the front door, the smell of bodies with currents charging through them all set to the sounds of, what was that band called again? There I was in the midst of it all and I fell in love again.

You see it doesn’t always matter what you like and dislike, what Pandora thinks would be a good compliment for the track you just listened to online or what your friends, cousins, boyfriend says is cool this week. Sometimes you just have to embrace the night and the concept that music is music and it’s there to experience and enjoy more than categorize and choose.

Go out and find yourself at a show, in a living room, on the street, in the woods, in a neighbors kitchen. Go find yourself where you least expect to go and find music where you’d least expect to like and enjoy it.

-Doug

On a very different note. My group Buckeye Knoll is looking for musicians. Take a look and listen and if you know someone who might be interested get in touch. My email is buckeyeknoll{at}yahoo.com Thanks.

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