A few years ago I looked up to find that- for several years- I had spent nearly 100% of my musical time either at my desk and piano, or in the studio recording. I know that sounds lovely to some people. Especially some hard-working gigging musicians. But for me it created something of a disconnect. I was making music without the benefit of any immediate feedback. I was writing in a resonance-free zone. I don’t think that it is a terrible way to make music or to make a living. But I really started to miss one of the key components of a satisfying musical life….an audience. An actual pay-for-a-seat appreciative, clapping audience. Yes this involves a world of difficulty that composing and studio work neatly circumvent. But the work was necessary for me. Luckily I had my band, Chaise Lounge, to fall back into. For the past few years we have amped up our performing schedule little by little. The benefits have been enormous. Firstly, I think that the more I play for people be better I am at composing music with, for lack of a better phrase, emotional impact. There are many ways to write music. Some of them are completely intellectual. And the closer I got to that end of the composing spectrum, the less satisfying I found my writing to be. The further the meter swung towards an emotionally resonant method of writing, the better it felt. and the better the writing actually was. Of course,another of the obvious benefits of playing live is…playing live. Really? where else can you get that adrenal high? Yes all the things that surround a gig are exhausting: the travel, the sound-check, lifting and lugging gear, booking agents, club owners, incompetent sound guys, the list could go on for pages. But the nut of it all, the standing on stage and playing songs that emotionally connect with the people right in front of you- that makes it all worthwhile.
I’ve been thinking about this as I juggle my life around my gigs. Tomorrow we are in Germantown MD at the Black Rock Center for Performing Arts. And this Saturday we are at The Hamilton in Washington DC. After that we will be in NYC at the Metropolitan Room. This is all difficult to do. And it is all well worth the trouble. I can hardly wait to unpack and play.