THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 2009
My band nearly broke up yesterday. Not the way that one might see a band breaking up, over an ironic cacophony and yelling and depedancy driving bottles of booze, but over a simple truth. Life goes on. In the world that we started “Rather than Dream” within, it was the 1990’s, and we were still basking in the glorious accomplishment of a walk across a platform where a sheet of paper was handed out denoting that we had arrived at the adult side of life. We graduated together, though I schooled as far away as i emotionally could from my fellow alumni. The relationship that ultimately became our band wasn’t a fraternal follow-up to the highschool experience, nor was it the post adolescent dream of three artisans on a quest to be the next Iron Maiden, Tom Petty, or even Rather than Dream. Our band was formed from the realization that we needed to make music. As cliche as it may sound, it’s the truth. As Luke and Joshua soon found out in College, highschool band just wasn’t the same familiar experience as the college band. My foray into the highschool choir left me with a distaste for choirs, as well as a mistrust for the ability of an entire school to recognize the difference between pitch and key. Joshua Cook asked us to try making music together and the rest is history. In one night of unadulterated symphonic passion, my poetry was brought from the static form of the page to the fluid form of the air by Cook’s piano and Lucas’ guitar. We wrote the song that would later be named “Coffin Doorway” with seemingly swift abandon or recognition that we were three guys who’s only musical training lay in the hands of a public school, and God. Yet, the music poored out. Not simple three chorded melodies, but masterful blends of elemental harmonies drawing upon three very different tastes and musical preferences. Where Luke brought a simple rock progression with Tom Petty into the band, Cook fused an appreciation for 80’s classic balladiers like Billy Joel and Air Supply. My vocals often were inspired by a bizarre amalgam of Freddie Mercury in the tone of Alanis Morrisette and the three together became an unpredictable always original tonality which became our first and to date, only legitimate LP. Recorded by overlapping ourselves in narcissistic and monotonous harmonies, we captured the raw sound of a powerful and equally raw time in our lives… a time which forced us all to grow out of post adolescent mazes into open and endless adult hood. The band became our public sketchbook, a storyboard of the life we had lived, and had plans for living. Within the album and the recordings you find sketches of prophecies self-fullfilled lurking about each corner. We gained momentum, respect and even a mild following. But somewhere along the way, the need to make music began to turn into a need to make ourselves. This I believe is a natural part of growing up… the stage of adolescence where in a child realizes that he has a specific part to play in the world… that he is important beyond the roots that had grown him. Rather than Dream began to grow beyond its parts. This was a reflection at its core, exhibited in the changes of jobs, marriages, births and other benchmarks in the term “adult.” This played itself out in the band with a number incarnations bringing the band multiple guitarists and a bassist over the last decade… but in that time, when all is said and at least for now done… The original Rather than Dream became the original three. We had come full circle, and in trying to make sense of the spinning motion of the ride had to ask ourselves… what now? Last night, we sat as the original Rather than Dream and asked ourselves… what do we have to show for it? Where do we find our purpose and our self worth? Is the sum of our existence quantified in the number of guitarists we have gone through, or the lack of our bassist, lost to this countries own adolescence? When a man stands at the middle of his hundred years upon this planet and asks himself these same questions, he ultimately has to live with the story played out in the lines under his eyes and the gray in his hair as he stands before the mirror within the home he’s built for himself. Does he find that he waisted his time in his pursuit of money or fame? Does he see in his face the eyes of his children and the face of someone who has been loved? As we an artist stares into this mirror, the story that speaks back to him is his art. His emotion plays out on whatever canvas he has chosen and the tail it tells him ultimately decides the future of his path… does he return to where he came from and find a renewed spirit and the knowledge that he was right in the way he accomplished his vision… or does he break his gaze from his own tired eyes into the abyss of a lack of follow through and pipe dreams. For us, we saw that what had brought us to where we are at was a noble pursuit… the pursuit of expression. We remembered the value… the pride and joy that we gained when we first loved our music… when our songs were born. And from that moment we cannot help but remember how good it was to be Rather than Dream. Last night, we almost ended the marriage that is Rather than Dream, but instead we chose to remember. We played the song that makes my friend cry, the song that made my friend wonder, the song that took my tears and channeled them into rage and passion, we played the song that drove our friends to move to the beat that we set before them… we played, “Song for the Peoples,” “Blue Rain,” “Chasm,” and “Knightfall,” songs that meant something to us… we remembered that they mean something to us. Sometimes, when life changes we choose to follow suit and forget the things that weigh us down. In doing so, it is easy to mistake those things that are inconvenient, take up our time, or challenge us to grow as weaknesses in our future. We treat them like an annoying child, and neglect them or thrust upon them something that is unreasonable or harsh. We can often forget how much we need them, forget how much we love them. Last night the band came to the precipice of adulthood and asked necessary questions about the future of the band. We came to necessary conclusions about our identity, forged by our past. Last night my band decided to remember itself and return to our roots of writing and recording and being authentic to our relationship forged in a love for music and artistry rather than fans and fame. Rather than dream about what might be, we decided to be who we are… and that vision makes having an authentic and realistic hope for all things a little more tangible in this diluted and confusing world called adulthood.