So in case you missed it, here’s part one of this 2-part blog about my musical journey thusfar: Music to Me – Part 1
I’ll be continuing here with part 2, so let’s move on…
After the family band?
- By the time I was about 16 or 17 at the latest, the family band had also run its course. Truthfully, Rocky had become a little to cool to play that old music anymore, and I was growing tired of it as well (though I think I had slightly more patience that he did at the time), so our dads decided to call it quits, and Rocky and I began our quest to form our own band – this one primarily rooted in Metal. During that time in our family band, Rocky had also started playing guitar. He wasn’t very good, but about the time that band had run it’s course, he was really picking up some chops. We decided to go with the two of us on guitars, and look for a drummer and a bass player to give us that old Metallica-style setup (hey, what can I say, we dug ‘em, ok? :)). Finally, I met drummer Andy Emerich in my English class one day senior year, and, after talking with him a little bit, invited him to jam with us. That first jam was friggin’ magic, and we all agreed we’d start up a band. Andy brought a bass player he knew, and the 4 of us formed the primarily cover-based, 4 Alarm. In other words, not only did we create a band, we created the best band name the world had ever seen. Period.
The 4 Alarm Experience, and Post High School:
- Rocky, Andy, AJ, and I rocked 4 Alarm the rest of our senior year, that summer, and until we all went to college. Surprisingly (looking back on it), we didn’t break up! We only had the 7 or 8 months together, but really at that point, we were all quite dedicated to the band, and felt it was something special worth continuing. So, we decided to keep on rockin when we could, and that first winter (2006), we recorded a short demo of our only 3 original songs, and I used that demo during the spring to get us booked for the summer of 2007 – and that I did. The summer of 2007 was great; and it was awful. It was great because we played what seemed like a lot of shows (probably about a dozen, really). But it sucked because personally, Rocky and I were having some issues, and he was just dealing with some really tough personal battles at the time that made it tough to continue on. As a band we ended the summer in high spirits though, and again, felt determined to stay together, and make more music. Andy and I had continually grown closer musically, and, though I’m nowhere near on his level of playing (look for future posts to document that), I really felt like there was some great chemistry forming there, and neither of us wanted to let that go. I should take the opportunity to note, however, that still was it nowhere near my mind that I was going to be a professional musician. I mean, really, music was fun, but I think my dad had done a “good job” of instilling in me the fact that music was fun, it was a hobby, but it was not a career choice. I was going to school, and I was (believe it or not) intent on going to med school and becoming a doctor! So, while “4 Alarm” was fun, I worked hard at it, and definitely wouldn’t have minded if we caught a “break”, I certainly wasn’t ever counting on it, or music. I had a passion for music, but just didn’t realize it yet - that is, until some things changed…
Music, at the Present:
- In a nutshell, 4 Alarm had an uneventful first part of 2008, thanks to Rocky coming off a hard 2007, Andy touring most of the summer with the Boston Crusaders Drum Corp, and me and my wife, having just had our son Remington that March. What we did manage, however, was to write a few songs. Late in 2008, the four of us (yes, unbelievably, the same 4) changed our name to Life Stage, and went into the studio with 5 fresh songs to record what would be our first EP – Stage 1. This was the first really serious step the band had taken towards getting something out there, and consequentally, this big step did two things: 1) Provided the final straw for both Rocky, and AJ (who was always fairly distant musically to what we were doing), and they left the band early in 2009, & 2) After having invested so much time, effort, and money into the production of our first EP, I started to realize the passion I had for what we were doing, and for the first time, I started seeing the potential in using the web as a viable tool to turn my music passion, into a music career. So what did I do? Well, I did what any rational person who had already completed 2.5 years of their degree plan would do – I dropped out, and started pursuing my passion! I had to make a choice – Med School would be demanding, and with a family, the first thing to go would be my music. I decided my passion for music (which I was realizing I had all my life, but it had been suppressed), was far greater than my desire to be a doctor.
Now to wrap up: basically I’ve spent the last year and a half since this decision, totally immersed in music, the industry, social media, and the power of the web. I’ve certainly come a long way in my understanding of everything, and I feel like Life Stage, though we haven’t broken through yet, has come so far towards setting ourselves up to reach our future goals. The band (now a trio with Chris Miller filling in on bass) and I still have a long way to go, but I’m excited about our future, and feel like things are just getting started. I have have an extreme amount of patience towards my career as a musician, as I know it’s not going to happen overnight, and really, if you feel passionate about something, you should be willing to wait for it. The end result, in my mind, is not me making millions of dollars living the rock-star life – but rather, to make a living and support my family doing what I love, and that’s making music. I’ll continue to learn, grow, and perservere in this passion of mine, and hopefully one day in the future, some small amount of my diligence will be rewarded – that’s all I can ask for, and all I would want. But stay tuned on my progress, I’ll be updating you every step of the way, right here!
So that’s it! Thanks for hanging in there through my musical journey thusfar - I hope you’ve found some form of entertainment, or possibly encouragement from this post. Let me know what comments, insight, stories, or encouragement you might have of your own, I look forward to hearing from you.