Thank you @tractortavern (at Tractor Tavern)
Tonight! My Birthday Party and the album release show for SweetKiss Momma!!! Only $10 at TractorTavern.com or at the door #seattle #seattlemusic #beer #music #leather #boots #whiskey #happybirthday
I get asked quite frequently about songwriting. “How do you start a song, Ben? Do you hear a melody first? Do you feel a beat first? Do you write down a thought and then go from there?” and so forth. Lots and lots of questions about songwriting, style, genre, feel, etc. Truth is, I’m hardly ever the sole writer of any of my songs. And sidenote*, if you’re curious about how I choose topics to write about in my blog, I blog, most of the time anyway, a lot like Michael Scott from “The Office” talks, and I quote him, “Sometimes I’ll start a sentence, and I don’t even know where it’s going. I just hope I find it along the way. Like an improv conversation. An improver-sation.”
I’m here in Portland, sitting in the studio just watching Rob Daiker work on one of my songs (creepy, huh?! Yea, he better sleep with one eye open ;P ). Either way, my songs start off pretty good, but Rob is able to take the songs to a whole new level with his own creative inspiration and genius. I liken it to two architects building a huge structure only, of invisible sounds, floor by floor, going with certain feelings and instincts that we have in the moment. Krazy.
Just like with anything else in life, two things are certain; 1) there is no overnight success and 2) no one ever became successful without a lot of help from many others. Really, success is earned by working together with others. It’s easy to be a control freak with your own creativity because it’s dear to you, but if you’re going to be successful, you’ve got to allow others strengths to complement your not so strong points without trying to control them. You’ve also got to ask talented, successful people in your profession what they think of you and your craft and what you need to work on. But you have to make sure that those people will tell you the truth. If you ask them what they think, you have to bite your tongue and honestly look at what they say, even if you don’t agree on the inside. Sometimes the ideas I like a lot in one of my songs gets cut out. That usually happens when multiple people that you trust are saying the same thing. Other times, even when everybody is saying the same thing, I still have to live with the decisions and I’ll disagree with them. Ahh, the joys of being “in charge”. Sometimes, there ain’t no way to win. I leave you with this confusion…
June 1, we will headline ROCK THE GAP in Yakima, WA! Tix and info at http://rockthegap.danielwriter.com #beer #yakima #auction
I was at a birthday party last week. Whilst sitting around chatting with the adults and having a drink, the grandparents of the birthday child showed up whom I hadn’t seen in quite some time. They’re very pleasant folks as far as I’ve experienced and they mean very well. Having known them from way back in my church days, they’ve always seemed to be a very devoted and religious couple, quite innocent in their old age. Now they’ve seen me on and off over the years and they keep tabs here and there on my music, FB posts, etc. That’s the extent of our relationship. As this couple were leaving the party, the gentleman stopped to exchange a few words with me before he left…
Before I continue with my story, I must say, I have a weakness. My weakness is that I’m rrrrreally smart… I really am. But sometimes I’m a little too smart to the point of being a “smart-ass”. With that said, from having waded through the dismal, erky waters (so to speak) of denominationalism and the politics of past organizations, I came out on the other side of my experiences understanding a lot about people from ALL walks of life. Everyone has an angle. It’s rare to find someone who doesn’t (I found one but she’s so rare that I’m keeping her to myself..). Another weakness of mine (as I pointed out in my blog from 4 days ago) is that I’m judgmental. But the main problem with that is that I’m right in my pre-conceived judgments 90% of the time… so I DON’T ALWAYS KNOW WHEN I’M WRONG. Which is also why I ALWAYS give folks the benefit of the doubt. I simply file seemingly negative information away in my brain that I reference when I’m around that person the next time… any-wah-hoo…
This gentleman from the party started off with a rather non chalant “How’s the music and band going?” to which I replied “It’s going great, thanks for asking.” Then he said “Are ya having fun with it all?”. I responded, “Yes, I’m very happy and having lots of fun…” (I don’t know if this is all verbatim but it’s pretty close). He then started off into a different direction that isn’t all too random to most folks seeing as that’s where their minds live but to me it was as off the wall a type of comment there ever was. “Well, ya know..” he started. “.. you’ve got to make some money at some point”, a sentence accompanied by the most patronizing eye roll I’ve ever seen. He said some things after that but I had already shut down in my head. I guess I could be wrong, but the words he spoke stank with a patronizing tone that I knew came simply from naivety. As he was carrying on, I pictured myself again, at the top of the mountain looking out (not neglecting to mention the taller mountains around me that I have yet to climb) and he at the bottom of the mountain looking up, trying desperately to tell me what it looks like from where I’m standing and getting it all wrong. He was moving his mouth but the words were bouncing off of my head. All the while, I had a glazed smile over my face from the drink that Jared had mixed me (“what the hells bells did he put in this thing? What is it? Did he rufey me? I didn’t even taste the alcohizzy..) And “blah blah blah blah” from the older gentleman. Money. The man asks me how my business is doing, asks me if I’m having a good time, both questions to which I commented positively, and then he ties that into MONEY???
First off, I don’t give a rats ass about money. Oh, I like it, don’t get me wrong. But I’ve lived with quite a bit and I’ve lived with not quite enough, and let me tell you, it doesn’t have ANYTHING to do with my happiness.. which is why the man’s segway from happiness to money didn’t make any sense in my mind.
Why am I sharing this story with you? Well, here it is… “PEOPLE. WILL. NOT. UNDERSTAND. YOU.” Especially if you dream big, think big and act big. They don’t know how to do anything big. They don’t even know how to believe in somebody else’s dreams. So many times in my short life, I’ve experienced nay saying and doubting that’s come from people who mean well but have no business telling me anything. They haven’t been on the journey I’ve been on. They don’t know what I know and they can’t see what I see. For me, it’s music that I chose as my career. That simply blows folks minds. Could I at some point change my career? I guess it’s possible but highly improbable. I’m HAPPY, damn it. Didn’t you hear me?! Turn your hearing aid up. I don’t know why people want to keep you down. I don’t know why they feel the need to throw a wet towel over your dreams. I don’t even think they realize they’re doing it. It’s more of a habit, a way of thinking.
I love being around children because they are excited about EVERYTHING! I dropped my lady off at her place the other morning and as I was pulling down the alley, I saw a small boy building a rocket type experiment with his elderly grandparents. It was hot outside and my window was down. As I rolled past them slowly, I waived and said hello. Well, that young boy ran up to my car (I’m sure his GP’s were a little startled, especially at my chi-mo mustache I had at the time not to mention my moving car with tinted windows) and he started yelling about his experiment with more joy than I’ve seen on just about anyone’s face ever. The grandparents started telling him to quiet down. Why in the hell should he be quiet?! He’s giving me joy and he’s showing excitement about life! He’s doing more than your old asses are doing for anyone. I’ve had kids tell me that they want to be astronauts. Do I tell them “Well, you have a lot of competition on the way to becoming an astronaut so maybe you should take a path of less resistance?” Nope. I believe they can do it. Genuinely. Bands out there have told me of their dreams and aspirations and that they wanna headline the Gorge. Do I think they can do it? Not all the time with everybody, but do I understand what the human spirit and a lot of hard work can accomplish? You bet I do, so I encourage them in their pursuits. I get it! Even if I don’t see it, I get it. But most will never see it. Most will not understand it. That’s what I think when the Bible tells us “caste not your pearls before swine.” Just work hard, keep your head down, keep your mouth shut, and prove the swine wrong with your successes.
“You’ve got to make some money at some point.” said the grandpa.
“I am, grandpa. Thanks for the advice.” :)
My birthday show is this Saturday at @TractorTavern and you should be there. Tix at TractorTavern.com #happybirthday #birthday #whiskey #cigar