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Sunday, June 19, 2011

What a Long Strange Trip Its Been.

I know it's a little unorthodox to write the "End" of the story in the middle, but I want to write about it while its still fresh in my memory.  The decision to make music not my number one priority has not been an easy one.  I have been struggling with it for about a year now.  I still love playing music, it is in my blood.  But life has a way of making you shuffle your priorities from time to time.  I recently finished school and landed a job in a great career field, I have a wonderful girlfriend with whom we now share a house and responsibilities.  It hit me like a ton of bricks that I woke up one morning and realized that i'm now in my mid thirties.  I was eighteen just yesterday.  Most of my life has been spent in a relentless, obsessive pursuit of fame and fortune in music.  I came perilously close at one point, only to fall very hard back down that mountain.  That fueled the obsession even more.  Fueled it to the point that I burned up all the gas that was left in the tank and now i'm running on empty.  I have sacrificed so much in my life for music.  I put higher education on the backburner, a career, and not to mention past relationships.  I have lived a charmed life.  I've experienced a lot of things that most musicians can only dream about, and for that I feel extremely lucky and satisfied.  I have built quite an impressive resume over the past twenty years.

Being  a part of the Gulf Coast scene for so long, I've seen a lot of trends come and go.  I've never been one to be a part of trends, I always tended to play whatever I felt like at the time, be it punk rock, indie rock, metal, funk and even a cover band here and there.  I was a teenager when the Gulf Coast punk rock scene took off and I was right in dead center of the Little House era.  When I got a little older and began playing bars, there were many more places for bands to play than there are now.  Hurricanes on the Beach (Deftones played there when they were just a little band no one ever heard of), Biloxi House of Rock, Kirk's House of Rock, Upstairs Downstairs, Studio 90, Orangutang's, Hammerheads, Pat & Nick's, The get the idea.  The Crazy Horse anyone?  I even recorded an album at HollyHouse Studio's.  R.I.P. Clyde.  Some of the younger musicians from the Coast who may read this might be saying to themselves, "Damn J-Bob, how old are you?  Ive never heard of any of these places...and who the hell is Clyde Holly?"  Let's just put it this way,  it was the golden era and a great time to be a musician on the Coast.

Everyone tried to tell me that making it as a musician was a million to one chance, and I kind of knew it in the back of my head but life isn't worth living if you don't chase your dream.  When Fall As Well got signed to Universal Records, I had proved wrong the nay-sayers.  I did it.  I may not have a place in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but my music is in the archives and on the Billboard recordbooks.  I can actually have stuff pop up when you google my name.  I have royalty check stubs.  I got to open up for arguably one of the biggest rock bands of the late 20th century in stadiums across the country.  I did it and no one can take that away from me.  I wish I could download my memories to a computer database for safekeeping.

As I get older, that fire in my stomach to be a rockstar has started to fade, but in it's place is a fire for something else.  I want to put my creative energies into other things.  I always wanted to be a comic book artist growing up, I want to turn this blog into a podcast with my old bass player from Fall As Well, "Mickey",  I want to make music without the side effect of pushing everything else in my life aside.   The dream is still there, it's only being modified but first I need to get a little distance from it.  As of last night, June 18 2011, I played my final show with my band of the last three years "Falls From Grace."  It was a heartbreaking decision to leave the band but it needed to be done.  It's not fair to the other guys in the band that I don't have the same fire that they do.  They need to have those experiences that i've had, but as far as i'm concerned i've "been there, done that, bought the T-shirt."  I can't push aside what I have in my life right now for another one in a million shot.  I am just too happy with where I'm at and who I am.

Falls From Grace has been a great chapter in my music life.  We've played some really big shows, and shared a ton of laughs together.  I love those guys.  It was a band where there never was any drama.  I never despised anyone or wanted to plot someone else's death out of sheer frustration while they slept like I have in a certain other band.  I wish them all the luck in the world, because they deserve it.

As for me...I'm nowhere near done with music though, I still have a lot of creativity in the tank.