Intimidation Of The Heart

Ever been to Clinton’s Tavern? It’s a vital Toronto intersection as sooner or later your creative path will draw you there. I’ve performed there a couple of times as a spoken artist. Black turtlenecks and all. (No bongo drums).

Tonight I’m among the civilians, on the other side of the stage. Much less pressure…all I have to do is put up my metal, liberally toss out whoooooos and just have a good time. I’m checking The Jilted Lovers Club. Fun, sassy hard working musicians who will be the first to put up their music on The SampleBank once the nerds have fine tuned the uploading process. (We are so close plus I suppose it’s a good way to learn patience, figure that’d be a skill that’ll come in handy down the road).

The JLC are just rockin it tonight. Lots of energy, toe tapping. Clinton’s is a hard place to dance which is unfortunate. We never do get enough opportunities to dance do we?

As the band plays on I’m mulling the conversation I had with them a few weeks back. One of the questions I asked was: What do you want out of this music game? I’ve been asking lots of bands that question lately as I meet with them to discuss The SampleBank. Do you want fame? Enough money to pay the bills? Do you want to be a bigger band than U2? Or keep your indie street credit like Fleet Foxes?

The artists’ answers are all over the place. Some do know what they want. Some are letting the game surprise them.

I keep my eyes on JLC. You can tell they’re having fun and it’s infectious. Suddenly my throat goes dry and I take a sip of my cranberry vodka. It doesn’t help.

The weight of it all bears down on me. I feel it deeply.

I’m  worried, ok fine freaking out. What if I can’t deliver? This amazing band has put their trust and faith in me and what if I suck? What if I let the team down? I take another sip. Still doesn’t help. Nor does it address my fretting.

I’ve established expectations. I have to find a way to meet them.

I’ve made promises. I have to find a way to keep them.

I close my eyes, exhale and then inhale slowly.

When it comes to the future I alternate between panic and hope. I know what The SampleBank offers is good. I’m certain of it…with the same certainty water is wet and the Sun is warm.

I refocus…back on the band, I open my eyes. I haven’t let the team down…I haven’t faltered on those expectations. I haven’t broken promises. The coach hasn’t even drawn up the play for me to take a shot in the 4th with time winding down. I’ve just been drafted. I’m getting ahead of myself.

The pressure will always be there. Worse it will increase with time (and especially with success).

For now I haven’t failed. I take comfort from that. Head scenarios are always worse than real life scenarios. So back to the real world I go.

I exhale just as they finish a song. As the crowd erupts in claps and cheers, I join them, getting rid of all of my nervous energy.

Pressures aside…you know what? I am committed to enjoying the ride. This is gonna be an adventure so I may as well enjoy it.

And if I fail? I’ll Indiana Jones find a way to cross that bridge. I clear my throat.

And wait for the band to launch into Sick Tomorrow.


Also published on Medium.

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