And so the pendulum swings

Time just keeps marching on, doesn’t it? Wheels keep turning.

And that pendulum swings…

I’ve spent most of my life

[since my early teens at least]

in slow oscillation between the twin poles of music and writing. And, of course, distracted by the work I have to do to give me the space and means to do both.

I never really stop doing either of my artistic pursuits, instead it’s a question of main focus

[and identity]

For the past year and half, since the publication of ESCALATION, I’ve been leaning towards the piece of me that happily, joyously in fact, knows himself as musician. There’s been some fun stuff in that period – my record, Sparse, of course, the two Rock Lobster Band-o-matics, getting to know a new circle of musical friends, my lead guitar gig with Anne Castellano & The Smoke, just lots of happy stuff.

A long period of recharge, then. Proven just recently as I began to dip my toe back into story-telling:

  • A slow ramp up back into the new novel, RUFUS
  • A revisit to all my screenplays to date, tightening, making sure they hit the right notes at the right time
  • A new script for a short film, ASYLUM, which I’ll also direct – going out for KickStarter funding soon

It’s all good, I know these cycles – and there’s a very, very pragmatic piece of this that is about my spending time, energy and investment on something which has at least slight chance of return on investment – music, unlike any other art-form, is considered free now, after all. For the sake of my family, I literally cannot afford to spend the amount of time and attention I’ve been spending on music.

Still, even though I know my reasons, I can’t help but feel melancholy knowing that music will head further into the wings, onto the back burner, into a quiet resting place for a little while. It’s a sense of disappointment, I guess. I love to make my music, and am lucky enough to get feedback from people that they like it, but the truth is that in this geographic area, the audience

[and venues]

for the music I make naturally just isn’t there. People that I’ve asked, or who have offered, to help me build audience, haven’t been able to do so. That’s not their fault – it’s just a fact of the music I make solo.

The choice I face is simply this: make, and enjoy, the music I make naturally, or start making music to make other people happy, while it slowly erodes my core energies. While that’s reductionist to the point of an A-B choice, it really is what I face every time I pick up an acoustic guitar.

So, I’m going to give it a rest. I’ve tried to make it work as a performance draw

[i.e. to entice an audience]

but it just hasn’t. I had more luck with a one-off gig, pulling up my studio-recorded backing tracks and playing electric! Great fun, and the door-opening to a return to band format –  with the addition of Craig to my live band, Monkey68, I won’t exactly be idle on the music front

[I said back burner, not dead-end!]

So, for those who have been kind enough to listen to my solo acoustic show, you have my profound love and thanks. I’m sure I’ll be playing every so often going forward, I just won’t be focusing on it as a main outlet.

Those wheels keep turning.

And so the pendulum swings…

Vince Sig 131x89

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5 thoughts on “And so the pendulum swings

  1. One can put music aside for a time, but our creative nature is never satisfied. I put music away for nearly 20 years, and have had times even now when I question if what I have to say is anything the listening public would be willing to hear. It is with the heart that we write and to compromise that would ultimately be the death of our muse. I write for myself to remove the stories and melodies that just won’t seem to leave until they are written down. I believe in what I write, I am my worst critic. If I can satisfy that worst critic I have done something credible and commendable. I believe that you operate in the same spirit that I do, and it is with the hand of friendship that I make this final point…. In the twenty years I put music aside I wonder how many really great songs that could have been written that were not because I became discouraged…. Peace Carl

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    1. Carl – as ever, we are of the same heart and soul. Keep singing, my friend – you heal the world each time you do. For my part, I couldn’t give music away… Ever!

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  2. Hey Vince, a good read. Something I’ve been fighting with for five years straight. After composing some of the best songs I’ve written in my life, and seeing them sit idly by while the world continues unknowingly, it’s gotten a lot harder to summon the energy to complete the new songs we have written. I think it’s both due to a lack of energy and a lack of desire to go through the entire recording process again, but whatever might be the cause I feel the drain. Music is my first love, but I too am tiring of the one sidedness of our affair. Of course I, unlike you, have no backup plan. After 25 years eeking out an existence from music I’m not sure I know how to do anything else, and quite honestly I don’t know that I’d care to. For the first time in my like I fully understand why they describe an economic downturn as a depression: the hit to one’s self esteem from lack of ability to support oneself is indeed depressing. Suicide seems to careen so near during the dark moments. And still, there is the desire to create something wonderful, something exceptional. Something that will outlast us all.

    If your next option is to put emphasis on writing words then you have one up on me! I am starting to fear that music is meant only for a hobby and a pastime rather than a source of income or vocation. We began this year with karate kicks and loud “fuck you’s” but I do hope we’ll be ending it with happier karate kicks and a few “thank you’s” at year’s end. Gotta create and do the very best we can. You know it, and I know it, and we need the courage to commit to it.

    And hey, writing screenplays, or novels is way better than digging ditches, or fighting overseas in pointless wars! Chin up and all that. Let’s chat soon.

    M

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    1. MRH – I hear you. The latest stuff is a) cool as anything; and b) beginning to break-out. As it does, people are going to discover this body of work and feel very, very lucky!

      And, as soon as I get to making movies, I’m hiring you as music supervisor!!! 🙂

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