Oh, musicians. Sometimes I just don’t know what to do with you.
I’m a bit confused, because while you might call me a stay-at-home musician, I practice too. I write and I sing and I play and I’m fairly decent – I just have terrible stage fright (with the exception of Fall 2008, when I had a brief resurgence in wanting to carve out a music career, I haven’t played out in years [and singing at my sister’s wedding doesn’t count]). But I’m already off my point. Enough about me, because this is about you (ok, ok, more about me, but whatever).
I don’t understand this peacock-ish “display your feathers” thing that I’ve witnessed lately. A couple weeks ago, I was on the bus, listening to my iPod (you know, as ya do). This guy is sitting in front of me and he keeps turning around to try and catch my eye. I’m trying my best to ignore said guy (*note: I do not mean this to sound conceited. For some reason, all the weirdos want to talk to me. I think I have a “talk to me, weirdo” sign on my forehead. I don’t get it. And this guy? … Well, he was weird. Continue reading).
So we finally do the eye-contact thing despite my best efforts and he says, “Excuse me. Do you like Steve Vai?”
The only reason I know who Steve Vai is due to a college boyfriend. I am lukewarm. I think, “Ok, so he said ‘excuse me,’ at least.” I tell him I’ve only heard a little bit.
He holds up what looks like possibly an 8-track machine and goes, “Well, I have him on here. You want to listen?”
“No thank you,” I say. I start to put my headphones back in my ear.
“I’m a musician too,” he offers. But I already knew that. He had black nail polish on one hand (which, I believe, is easier to see in black light at shows or something when you’re playing). His hair was in a ponytail. He had a jean jacket. However (as much as I do love me some music, and, on one occasion, fallen for a guitar-playing lad), love this was not.
“Um, cool,” I manage. I go back to my music; he goes back to Steve Vai.
He then does this display of “rawking out” as he’s sitting there. Shaking his head vigorously, air drumming, air guitar-ring, air seizur-ing? I’m not quite sure. All I’m certain of was that it was not pretty.
I thought this was a one-time deal. But no, the same thing (different guy) happened last Sunday. He was playing his guitar while waiting for the L (maybe public transportation affects your brain. Like cell phones. And microwaves). He wasn’t doing so obnoxiously, and he was actually pretty good. But, once he got on the train and had that iPod on, the rawking began. And again, not the most beautiful sight I have ever seen.
Pete Yorn told me once, “If you listen to classical music, there’s no lyrics, but if you listen to certain pieces, there’s just so much emotion. You could just envision so many scenes. And so, if I have a melody or a beat that’s moving me…” and seriously, I get it. I have many dance-a-thons and air-guitar sessions… in the privacy of my own home. I rawk out like nobody’s business. And, very rarely, I will forget I’m in the public sphere and do some little movements. Rarely.
Maybe this is why I’m also a stay-at-home musician.
But I think you can see that emotion as someone’s playing on stage. You can see it, and feel it, if they get into their zone. It’s tangible. I eat it up in the venue. I don’t need to be visually disturbed outside of it.
Eh. What do I know. Musicians, keep doing what you do. Just keep the hardcore rocking to a minimum, mmkay?