On February 16, 2013, at around 8:15PM at the Trocadero Theatre, at the intersection of 10th & Arch in Philadelphia, I knew how I wanted to spend the rest of my life.
My band, Phatboy, was playing the first song of our set, "Give And Take", at a local music showcase at one of the most iconic venues in the city, the Trocadero, in front of a crowd a little less than 700 people, and I had just started my guitar solo in the middle of the song. At that point, the crowd seemed like they were enjoying us. Our 60 or so fans were very much into us, like they usually were. The rest of the audience was enjoying us too, but in the way people might enjoy a band at a bar; they were half paying attention, half having conversations, getting drinks, or buying food. They were half interested, which I'll gladly take over them ignoring us.
I clicked on my MXR Carbon Copy pedal, pressed my foot on my Morley Bad Horsie Wah and played the first notes of my solo, a few long, drawn out notes, to build up the solo into some faster licks, and sliding into the last note, ending on the perfect chord tone. A simple solo, but still one of my favorites to play.
Now, it seems it turned from a bar crowd, into a concert crowd. Everyone was 100% focused on us, and roaring for me and my bandmates, for music we had written. We had drawn them in, and we had kept them interested for the whole 35 minutes or so we played, with cheers and applause until we were completely done unloading from the stage, at least 5 minutes after we were done.
Since the end of my solo, and the roar of the audience came over me, I knew one thing for sure: this is all I wanted to do, for the rest of my life. From the day my 15 year old self had this revelation, to the day I die, music will be the focal point of everything I do. Not that it wasn't already, I had played guitar almost my entire life, I listened to music during almost everything I did during the day, and, in all honesty, is the only thing that's ever made me truly happy.
At that point, I was going through a bit of a teenage crisis. I was getting pressure from parents, teachers, guidance counselors, and other sources of authority to decide what I want to do in my life. I wanted to go to college, but for what? I knew I wasn't good at math or science (I was working my ass off to get by with C's), so that ruled out about 90% of all majors I was being told to take up in college by the guidance counselors. I was getting loaded with homework, that would take up my weeknights from when I got home at 2:45 to the time I was finally able to get to sleep at 11:30. Some nights, I would give up. I'd throw my books down, and find music, in any way, shape or form I could. Whether it was a local show, a trip to Positively Records (the last record store in my area), or just a click onto Last.fm on my laptop, I was discovering new music everyday. Whether it was punk, indie, jam bands, rap, metal, blues, jazz, or even classical, it didn't matter. I would listen to an album, decide if I like it, and listen to more of that artist, or find something new. 2013 was already off to a horrible start, with 3 deaths of close friends and family members, my father losing his job, and many other things I don't care to mention. The music made everything better.
So with all those thoughts going through my mind the rest of the night after our show, I was set. I knew that this is all I'm ever going to do. Whether I'm playing shows like that, or playing on a street corner begging for money to get my next meal, I'll be happy and content with my life. Music was their when nothing else was, and will always be there.
Rancid put it better than anyone: "When I got the music, I've got a place to go."
Here's to the rest of my life. Here's to music.