a musician, songwriter, and performer based near Chicago

Something New 2:54
a song about the dangers of Digital Marketing
Be Here Now 04:06
a song co-written with Matt Stankiewicz
Standing in Line 04:38
Is it better to dump or be dumped?

A co-worker of mine knows I’m a musician. This morning, she asked me if I heard about the Lollapalooza lineup that was just announced. She seemed surprised when I mentioned that I generally don’t go to concerts.

Giving you an accurate and well-rounded answer deserves a long conversation but here’s a bunch of thoughts. Basically, the biggest reason is… I don’t enjoy them. I love live performances (theater, obviously) but the concert format rarely pays off for me.  I’m not the only one, either. A guitar teacher of mine quoted a famous musician (whose name I forget) that goes, “Concerts? I wouldn’t cross the street to see myself play [a concert].”

blurry concertThere are a myriad of reasons why I don’t enjoy them as an audience member (correlation with drinking and smoking, lots of standing, crowds, waiting in lines, not being able to talk, not being the center of attention, subjecting myself to OPC (other people’s cleverness)).

The polite and true answer is I genuinely prefer to be a part of music making. The impolite answer is, in most cases, you end up judging the band for their shortcomings in skill/style/approach/equipment. If the act does somehow exceed the impossibly awesome vision a musician has of themselves, it would no doubt be a depressing experience. Of course, I wouldn’t know. It’s never happened to me.

Either way, once you’ve been the one up there, it’s kind of ruined from the other side.

I tried to deny the reality of how I felt about going to concerts for years. I’ve been to hundreds of concerts. I’ve seen big name festivals and artists I admire, even musical heroes. Spent thousands of dollars, collected ticket stubs and road tour t-shirts. My feelings about who I really am were just confirmed with every attempt. Of course, not everyone is supportive. People assume I’m agoraphobic or a cranky old man. As I’ve said though, it’s not all events. Just concerts.

I do make rare exceptions though. The size of the venue or crowd is inversely proportional to the likelihood that I would willingly attend. In other words, the smaller the better. Second, if I personally know someone in the band. I will try to support people I know within reason (and reasonable distance).

So, I’ll close this post the same way I closed the email wrote to my co-worker. I’m glad she asked and I hope my readers can enjoy an honest answer.

10 Books I’ve read and enjoyed recently (per Eve’s request)

“The Energy Bus” by Jon Gordon

“The Golden Age of Advertising: The 60s”

“What to Eat” by Marion Nestle

“The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg

“The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Achor

“Story” by Robert McKee

“PHP & MySql: Novice to Ninja” by Kevin Yank

“The Icarus Deception” by Seth Godin

“Taxi: The Harry Chapin Story” by Peter Morton Coan

“Potty Training Boys the Easy Way” by Caroline Fertleman

“Monsters: The 1985 Chicago Bears and the Wild Heart of Football” by Rich Cohen

Anyone else who’d like to recommend some books to read, please do.

There’s a little brick alleyway just off of LaSalle, north of Monroe with a few restaurants in it. The alley is surrounded by buildings so it gets very little light. It reminds me of Little Shop of Horrors, which I enjoy, so I have positive associations with it. I brought a camera today to take a picture.

Alley at 19 N LaSalle St in Chicago, 2014
Alley at 19 N LaSalle St in Chicago, 2014