So you may wonder, how is it that this mild-mannered introvert with love of melancholy and deep thoughts get into rock n roll? Well let me tell you….
Rock n roll represents life energy. Rock is the most intense and forceful music there is (variants like punk and metal are among the most extreme). You can’t play good rock n roll with restraints on. You have to be all in, 100% committed, surrendered to let the music pull everything out of you. With rock n roll there is no hiding, you reveal everything. Rock n roll expresses unabridged passion for life.
I remember there was this one magical gig with the very first band I played in, Dirty Bath. It was at one of the bigger venues in town called The Grand, and was well-attended. The audience energy was so intense, it really boosted me to give extra. Afterward I collapsed on stage, totally spent. People thought I was drunk but I had not a drop of alcohol that night. It was exhilarating.
I need the intensity of rock n roll to pull things out of me because my natural tendency is to withdraw and restrain. Rock n roll is the most demanding, challenging music because I can’t hold back. It is so demanding, however, that I can only tap into when I’m mentally in-shape enough to pour out that kind of energy. If I’m at all down, depressed or compromised, I can’t really make or listen to rock music.
Rock n roll represents an ideal. It’s the state where you have so much life in you that it overflows. I can’t think of a more life-affirming, uplifting thing.
Yes, lyrically I’m drawn to introspective, poetic, vulnerable, and that may seem a counter-intuitive match to this fierce and furious music. But in my mind it symbolizes the relationship between mind and body. The mind may feel vulnerable, fearful, insecure — but the body, or the foundation of our being, is full of life, it wants to live. The words say “I’m not OK” but the music says “but you are.” It’s also a safe haven for feelings that have a hard time finding other outlets, like rage and grief. Rock n roll tells me “it’s OK to feel everything.”
So what about you? What are you passionate about? What gives you life? I’d love to know.