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The Rock Geezer's Guide To Creating And Rocking Out
By Mick Polich - 09/04/2008 - 08:51 AM EDT

What I’ve learned in Life, Love, Art, and Music:

Well, being 50, or close to it, is the new ‘30’ (so… does that make being 30 the new ‘15’??), I’ve been reflecting on a RAFTER of stuff that I would like to rattle off (well, it’s my column space, so what the hell…..):

  1. A gig is a gig is a gig, and you can be just as happy and fulfilled playing at your neighbor’s backyard party, your church, or the corner market.
  2. To quote KISS bassist Gene Simmons, “Art is art until it makes money, then it’s COMMERCE.” This is o.k., either way.
  3. Most of the time, it’s not all about you. This is actually a great self-esteem boost – a good ego check and the self-absorption is down to nil….
  4. Referencing #3., get over yourself!
  5. Art and music belong more in everyday life than on the national and international stage – meaning that, I think you should worry less about ‘making it’ in the “American Idol” sense, and present what you can when you can for art on a daily basis.
  6. No gig is guaranteed a success, but the element of success lies in every gig – the connection to your audience, customer, making a mark or impact, big or small.
  7. Art, music, it’s what you do, not exactly WHO you ARE – don’t get wrapped up in identity thing with it. Most people are so much more than in substance and style.
  8. The ’tortured artist’ routine is a load of crap. It’s all very ‘romantic’ as a notion, and great press in some areas. Just do your job, and spare the world the drama….
  9. Integrity and character means a lot at the end of the day.
  10. Humbleness can be learned, appreciated, and valued. If you feel so superior, just check out the ocean, mountains, or the Mississippi River – that should give you the right perspective….
  11.  It’s usually better to do the work than procrastinate on the upcoming process and the results –be in songwriting, performance, or life. Do the work, give it your best shot, and see what happens. Usually, it happens exactly the way you NEED it to happen.
  12. There are many people doing the same thing as you are in creating something out of nothing, EVERYDAY, all over the globe: realize you’re a part of the process, and don’t close yourself off thru fear or ego. You could miss out on some positive interactions that could help you in the long run.
  13. As my mother-in-law always says, put some lipstick on, put a smile on your face, and go out and meet the day!! (Great advice, Bernie – do you use Cover Girl or Revlon?)
  14. No matter if you’re spiritually inclined or not, your gift of the arts is a gift to share wisely and unselfishly – it’s a special gift given to you from something far greater than yourself.
  15. Ain’t no use bitchin’ and moanin’ about ‘modern times’ – the past is gone, and let’s learn from it. Besides, it’s the same old saw (“Well, back in my day…”) – you can find intelligence life out there, and you can use your experience, no matter how marginalized you feel, to help educate and advance the world, big or small fashion…..
  16.  Keep using your mind – educate and re-invent yourself when needed!
  17.  I continue to find that I learn from musicians and artists from all levels, styles, personalities, and experiences. These lessons are both positive and negative, which I garner a lot of ‘life’ from….
  18.  My family teaches me so much daily thru love and life!
  19.  Parenting is ‘music’, too, even when you have a 160 db headache and your kid and the neighbor kid are arguing and fighting about crazy stuff. You just have to sift thru all the grey matter to find the ‘melody’!
  20. When it’s time to move on, it’s time to move on, regrets or no regrets.
  21. I used to buy and listen to music, at one point, more for the sake of seeming to be ‘hip’ – now, my curiosity factor isn’t any less, but I will buy or download something more for the sake of seeking out new stuff, as well as the ol’ reissues of what I grew up with.
  22.  Your talents are always needed, somewhere, in some capacity, and for the good of others. Finding out where is part of the journey.
  23. In reference to #22, there is free will – you can be part of the problem, or part of the solution. Thing is, can YOU figure that out?
  24. Regrets? Sure – plenty – I can admit that. But, it’s old news at this point, and if you want to make amends, you can start today. Some times it works, some times it is what it is.
  25. You’ll have enemies from expected places, and friends from unexpected places. The hard part is accepting the polemic as it is – some people either make all friends or all enemies. Most have a mix of both. Can we be civil all the way around to a degree? Do YOU want to? I think putting ego aside, and seeing how healthy the situation is, and who it affects and why, plays a major role. The other tough factors are kids in the mix, and their parents. Will everyone work together, especially in the best interest of you child and other kids associated in your life?
  26. When it comes to your craft, there will be doubts at different times in your life –why are you do this? Does it matter to you if you do it any more? I think that’s a big one – does it matter to YOU? Not your friends, family, the ‘adoring public’, but YOU. Do you need to make music and art like you need food and water? My answer is ‘yes’ – you can always share your craft with people. Will you always get paid for it? No. Does that matter? It’s up to you….
  27. You can learn from any situation, good or bad, especially a musical situation. I’m constantly amazed at what my music students, and musicians I encounter from all walks of life, will show me.
  28. To automatically presume that ‘things will fall into place as they did in the past’ in life, a career, and music is arrogant, presumptuous, and plain wrong. This I’ve found out the hard way after moving around the country for14 years.  Put the work into your life, love, and craft, yes, but see what happens and shakes out, then proceed to work at molding it again.
  29. Any gig has the potential for a learning experience, fun, and musical satisfaction – any time, anywhere! So, I guess see # 27, also!
  30. Creativity happens at any degree, on any level, and at any time and place.  I could add on at this – I’ve been working on this for the past two months, but why? Yadda yadda, blah, blah. Thing is, you’ve got responsibilities to attend to as well as the creative side. As you get older, I feel, anyway, that a lot of doors are opened that strip away the b.s. and façade of  youth, saying, “Here ‘tis, if you want it.” Could be good or bad, great, indifferent. To me, it never gets boring because so much is going on. Scary? You bet. I’ve got to face up to a ton of stuff, music and non-music related, at this point. Big enough to matter? I don’t think so. Compared to terrorism, Dafur, the economy, and depleting resources, my stuff is very small potatoes (it is – I keep reminding myself). Just a small piece of the life puzzle. You just walk through and go on, if you want to or not. And I don’t always want to! But, I have to, or face the consequences.
So, in essence, quite a bit learned, quite a bit more TO learn. And as always, kid reader, I appreciate everyone taking the time to scan these ramblings and musings, especially the short time this column has been in operation. Blessings to all, and hope I dropped some knowledge in this installment!

 




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