Music

On The Road

Syracuse musicians, Jess Novak and Brian Golden, are on tour for one month. Read about it here.

It’s hard to believe we’re almost into single digits on the tour. The time warp I talked about in the first blog is in full effect. On one hand it feels like we’ve always been out here, like this life is normal, every day is 100 years long and “home” is a drifting concept. On the other, it feels like it’s only been a moment and when we walk back through the doors of our houses and into the arms of people who love and missed us – it’ll feel like no time has passed (though they will disagree!).

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My mom texted me yesterday and asked if my perspective on life had change once again and quickly laughed at herself saying, “of course it has.” And yes, of course it has, but in ways I hadn’t predicted.

Time and space also allow perspective. Often when you’re staring at things too closely, you’re not seeing what they are at all. Like a painting, there’s something to be learned from the tiny strokes of details, but also from the whole, layered product.

I’ve learned that artists are exceptionally weird – duh. Artists are weird because they have to put their heart on the line in their work – whatever medium it is: dance, theater, visual art, music – there is no room for shame as an artist. That means you’ve got to be a strange and somewhat fearless bird. But on top of that – artists often don’t have conventional bosses. They don’t have quarterly reviews. They don’t even have concrete standards to follow. Art is a completely subjective thing. That said, an artist is often extremely hard on themselves, always striving for whatever their definition of perfection or success is. We’re also forced to interact with people and be outgoing (we have to self-promote), but our art comes from a very personal, internal space, so we’re also introverts.

Sometimes this makes artists selfish. You have to be so keenly aware of yourself at all times. You are always representing your brand, your art and yourself and unlike someone who works for a company and lets loose on the weekend – when you are your company, you are your brand – you never get away from that. Your songs are about your feelings, your blog posts are about your perspective, the interviews you do are about your experiences.

As a journalist – I don’t always like that. I’ve spent a lot of time in my life telling other people’s stories, realizing that while sometimes my selfish side wants to shout and tell my story – the stories I’m telling about others and their accomplishments, creations, successes need to be told, shared, celebrated and that by doing that, I’m doing something so much more important than telling my little story.

How does this bring me back to where I sit now (at a Travelodge in Lakeland, Florida)? Artists get selfish. We get pissed at our bandmates, we get self-congratulatory when we write a new song, we get egotistical and think the whole world wants to hear about us and our story and our songs and our experiences.

But when you’re an artist – unless you create purely for yourself, in your home – you don’t exist without, literally, everyone else. You don’t exist without venues to display your work, people to listen, look, admire and/or buy it. You don’t exist without the support of a team, whether it’s a booking agent, manager and record label or your mom, dad and boyfriend. We think that band breakups are the end of the world and that facing our weaknesses is the most impossible thing. We think someone not liking and celebrating our art is devastating.

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What I’ve learned on this trip is that for every person who loves what we do, there are far more who will never hear, see or care – and that’s fine. The more we get outside of ourselves and notice and thank and appreciate the people that make this whole creative world go ‘round, the better off we all are and the more art will fill our ears and eyes.

Being jealous is stupid. There is something for everyone in this world and plenty of space to share it. What I’m directly trying to say is – support each other and love each other. Stop staring in the mirror and start staring out the window. I’ll try to do the same.

So, here we are, 800 words later, and I haven’t told you anything about our actual experiences on tour. You can read some here  thanks to Golden, but in a nutshell:

We met incredible people in Orlando who made our show at Dandelion Communitea Café and Sanford’s Little Fish, Huge Pond unforgettable. They greeted us with such open arms and didn’t just listen to the music – they really interacted with it and became part of it. They were the type of people who instantly felt like old friends and reminded me of some of my favorite people I already know.

The Jacksonville World of Beer show was unreal. The staff at that place deserves a medal and I’ve never had so many women come up to me with kind words. I’d like to think women are out there hangin’ with the men in music, but it still needs to happen more. Big shouts to the whole staff there (from the door man who used to do security for B.B. King, to the waitress, Jess, who had an anchor tattoo for her dad in the Navy – just like mine) and our new friends at the bar (one girl was from Baldwinsville!).
In the past few days, friends have changed everything for us. We were taken on a yacht on the ocean off of St. Augustine (thank you Marian and David!) and got to sit down front for a Tampa Bay Lighting/New Jersey Devils hockey game (the Devils won!! Thank you, Emily!). We played a killer brewery (New World Brewery) in the super-hip Ybor City and were greeted like rockstars at Sacred Grounds Coffee House. We got to see, meet and help out an amazing artist from Ireland (Warren Attwell) who had his luggage lost on the way and we even found a moment to rest in between.

And throughout all of this, I’m trying not to lose perspective – what I do is cool. But I wouldn’t be doing it without an army of people behind me – all of which I love and admire. This is just a post to say – thank you.

Follow the Golden Novak Band on Facebook!

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