This blog is written in collaboration with my sports/music blog, QUINTET :
I've been thinking a lot about the illusion/crutch/phenomena that is expectation.
Right now, I added this blog to this website. I'm writing, and people are going to read it.
But how many?
When I decided my website should come locked and loaded with a blog of my dumb random thoughts, I had this really irrational vision, that all blog writers likely have.
"A blog! That'll be great. People will think I'm funny, like high school, like MySpace, like I am when I'm with my best of friends."
That's all weird, why have an expectation? So far, you're still with me. You can't do tricks to keep people's attention, you just have to do that truthful thing in the moment.
I started cranking up the amount of gigs I take. You'll see it in the schedule, I want to play a lot. A lot. Why? I'm trying to figure it out.
Things I know: I love music, I love MY music, and all the folks that play with me are seriously great as musicians and human beings alike.
So in NYC, I was told a lot that the thing to do was play a gig, take two weeks, do another one. Space Em out, so your "fans" can make it and aren't coming out to see you all the time. (A frankly hilarious notion at this point, seeing as how I live in a city where every awesome performer I know lives here too.)
When people share strategies like that, it creates an expectation, of fans. Which are very different. People who knew you in college? Not fans. Anybody who's seen you completely drunk multiple times, not a fan. People who know you just as well as they know your dog, not fans. They're your acquaintances and friends. Support system. They will believe in you, and fear telling you about how you could improve.
(Checking in, by the way, I'm so happy. This all sounds kind of sad, I'm not. This is all good.)
Fans are incredible people I've found. When they show up, I freak out, in my heart. I've had these few people see me, and come out to see me again. Me and the band, me solo, whatever. I just think it's nuts that there are people so connected with the actual world in 2016 that they seek to support, as a primary objective, a duty. I wish I supported as many true things as these few people who know my work at this point, that don't actually know me.
So back to expectation.
I don't really have fans, not a bunch. I don't think at least. It doesn't feel like it, but then again, what the hell is that supposed to feel like? What does it represent in the grand scheme of things? In sports (WHICH IM HOPELESSLY OBSESSED WITH) the teams that do best are the ones who play the best version of their own game, as opposed to teams who analyze exactly where they will succeed or come up short against any given opponent.
There needs to be a constant awareness of strength, truth, and I guess, calling? Someone once described it to me as "believing your own bullshit". If I doubt my abilities, my stories, my context, the audience, my band, if I apologize for messing something up that no one would have noticed, then I'm losing.
So, that being said, I'm ready for any gig anywhere. Always. The weird thing about when I don't enjoy myself is this: I played last month in Queens, solo. The group before me plays a set for the release of their record. They're a fine group, and they brought an army. So many folks.
So they play, and they finish, and it's my turn, and the room gets so loud with the whole record release posse, as I, the lone white boy singing and playing guitar, try to compete with 40 millennials screaming about how their friends are going to be the next Mumford or whatever.
Couldn't hear myself, started counting doing the minutes until it was over.
And I get offstage, I grab my free beer, and the sound guy comes up and gives me $85.
So then my thoughts change. For going through hell/the motions for 45 minutes, $85 is not bad at all. And it hits me.
Just because some people suck and came into this world with an iPhone attached to their palm and don't get how a performance space works, doesn't mean everybody sucks. If they didn't think you were worth anything, the sound guy wouldn't have given you any money at all, because you're whole act would have been a lie, and everyone would have known. They know. They always know.
So I'm done with expectation, and I'm relying on what I know, to the best of my ability.
I know I work too friggin hard to let my emotion blow my cover.
It makes me think of David Luis.
David plays left back for Brazil international futbol. YALL call it soccer. And a lot of you probably don't give a shit about soccer, so I'll get to the point.
2014 saw Brazil hosting the FIFA World Cup, the grand daddy of all futbol, and Brazil's favorite sport. Their national passion.
They weren't the favorite, Germany was. By a good bit...
An interviewer asked David Luis what he thought about his teams chances in the cup.
In Portuguese, he answered. He thought they had been destined by God to win.
Brazil has won the World Cup five times. 58' 62' 70' (Pele Pele Pele) 94 and 02. All time, forever, they're considered the 3rd most consistent international side in history, according to some weird rankings system I just found online that I basically agree with.
It should be said however, Brazil hosted the World Cup in 1950, also. They did not win....
So when David Luis starts talking about destiny and GOD, I think, you're done, and not because I'm a nihilist.
Did his team deserve to be there? Totally. It's Brazil, a GREAT team, and you're hosting the party. But just because you own the place doesn't mean some rude guests won't raid your fridge and eat all your Nutella. And all the guests at this party were very hungry.
Brazil, for lack of a better description, survived the entire tournament. Until the semi final, four teams left. Brazil vs Germany.
David Luis and his bros were beaten 7-1, which is a pounding, the worst defeat in their countries ENTIRE history. At home. On the biggest stage imaginable.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, no one can secure anything on your behalf. Not God, yo mama, or your best friends, or your fans. If you set goals for your success, you have to gently accept the fact that it's ultimately your job to see it through.
Destiny is fictional. Work is fact. Expectation is unnecessary.
Life is beautiful. Your gift is yours and yours alone, respect it.
At least that's what I've concluded for this last fifteen minutes.