Playing at Stage Volume

Playing at Stage Volume

It’s been a while since I’ve played a gig, especially one where I was tasked with providing background music.

It was a fun and pleasant experience, though, one where there was virtually no pressure. If there was any pressure, it was self-inflicted. I have a history of over-preparing and expecting great things of myself any time I’m called upon.

Fortunately, I am able to relax more nowadays, thanks to the considerable experience I have under my belt.

I remember watching a Christmas concert on TV with my family one year. For the life of me, I can’t remember who was performing. It may have been Celine Dion.

And I remember commenting out loud, “she’s singing like her career depended on it.”

In the moment, I don’t think I realized how true that was. In a time when TV was still the main channel through which information was relayed, and entertainment was programmed, performing at Christmastime would mean having all eyeballs on you. You’ve got to sing like your career depends on it.

And that’s the way I’ve approached most gigs. I know there won’t be any A&R reps there. I know there may not even be anyone to impress. I’m competing with the toughest competitor of all – myself.

I was recently re-reading my New Year content from last year, and I thought to myself, “this is probably the best I have ever written.”

See, for example, 15 Holiday Reflections to Ring in 2022, or 5 Books I Read in 2021 That Made a Difference.

I’m up against something if I want to surpass that level of writing this year.

That’s how I think about live performance as well. I’ve done a lot of cool stuff in the past, so one upping myself is not going to be easy.

But I realized something tonight.

Playing for your friends or strumming the guitar around the campfire is one thing. Strangely it feels so ordinary. But playing your heart out at stage volume? Suddenly, you realize your playing holds up. Maybe you’re not Guthrie Govan or Tosin Abasi. But you know you’ve got something.

What You Should Know About Me

What You Should Know About Me

It has come to my attention that even some of my best friends don’t know what I’m up to, or for that matter, have the faintest clue what level I do it at.

I could talk about how frustrating that feels, having done many things at a high level – many for over a decade.

But I’m choosing to talk about this in an empowering way.

So, any of what follows is not bragging in any shape or form. Consider it informational.

I Have Written 5 Books – Not 1

I did not stop at one book.

Yes, it was exciting releasing the Kindle and eBook version of The New Music Industry six years ago, and the paperback version five years ago.

But since then, I’ve gone onto release four additional books:

I have no way of knowing for how much longer this “writing gig” will prove viable, mostly because of developments in AI.

That said, there will be more books. The above will not be my last.

And this does not even begin to cover the substantial series of long form guides and eBooks I’ve written. We could be here all day.

I Have Been Podcasting for 11 Years

I guess it’s difficult for people to conceive that I might be any good at anything other than what they regularly see (which I assume is my blog posts, but at this point, I’m not even sure of that).

I have interviewed about 200 to 300 entrepreneurs, executives, musicians, marketers, and coaches at this point – 100 of which were from a variety of industries and niches – not just music.

I don’t ever want to take it for granted that I can conduct and give a great interview at a moment’s notice, but at this point, I could roll out of bed and pull it off no problem.

Again, this is not bragging. It’s letting you know that I’m confident in my abilities, and it is more than reflected in my work.

I Can Play Any Style on the Guitar

I have always been known as a versatile guitarist.

No, I’m not the best at everything. I can admit that.

And the bar is higher than it’s ever been, with players like Tosin Abasi, Guthrie Govan, and Mark Holcomb.

That said, I have 20 years of experience behind me now. Seriously.

If you’ve come looking for a great session guitarist, you’ve come to the right place.

You name it, I’ve done it – country, folk, pop, rock, blues, punk, jazz, classical, funk, metal, or otherwise.

I Have Over 10,000 Hours In Other Areas Too

I would never call myself the best in any of these areas, but I have put in my time.

Here are just a few other areas where I’ve got my 10,000 hours:

  • Web design
  • Graphic design
  • Music production
  • Songwriting
  • Blogging

Again, I could keep beating this horse, but the whip will probably break before this is over… let’s move on.

(If you wish to continue, there’s always the exhaustive self-indulgent history I put together for you.)

Final Thoughts

I can accept that not everyone will support me. But it would be nice if you peeked at my work before passing judgment. You might learn a thing or two.

I’m not lazy and I don’t spend all day doing nothing, pursuing nothing. Honestly, I have never worked harder in my life.

I don’t pay attention to my “passive” personality. That’s not a hindrance to what I want in life. It’s only a hindrance to the people who don’t take the time to get to know me. Their loss, not mine.

I don’t always know how to communicate that to you (I’m usually busy working on my next lucrative contract and a myriad of staff writing duties and products), but if you need me to be straight with you, as I’ve done here, then so be it.

I’m not interested in working with idiots who don’t value my time. While we’re here, let’s make that amply clear.

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