It has been a hectic, but amazing week and I have loved every second. From last weekend’s May Day Festival Of Solidarity, through the trip to Dublin, and to last night opening for the truly wonderful Grace Petrie up in Durham, it was been a week of highs and by far and away the best week of 2018 so far.
Yet with the highs come the inevitable lows, and this being the week we heard the terrible news of Scott Hutchison‘s death, it is worth dwelling on how tough it is to deal with life after the spotlight has been turned off.
Life on the road is like nothing else. There are immense highs onstage, and long periods with very little to do, coupled with a lot of time behind the wheel of a car. If you’re a solo musician that can be pretty lonely. If all you have, once the smiles and the slaps on your back have gone home, is an empty hotel room night after night you can quite easily find yourself in a downward spiral of one-night stands and mini-bars just to keep the black dog at bay. And ultimately the emptiness in both makes the problem worse.
And that’s when the times are good!
If you have tasted the dizzying heights of success and find yourself on the inevitable slide back into obscurity, EVERYTHING is a struggle. You doubt your own abilities, you watch on helplessly as the good-time crowd desert you for the next big thing, and knowing you face an uncertain future, the past can eat you alive.
A life lived entirely in the stage persona for long periods of time eventually leads to a difficulty in separating that from your everyday self, and when that is coupled with a faltering career, the result is a self-loathing that is hard to escape. It turns you in on yourself and you spend days, weeks, months, staring into the black hole of failure.
This happens A LOT.
Most people live life on an even keel, with minor bumps in the road if a car breaks down or they miss a mortgage payment. Musicians live a life of extreme lows and highs with very little time in between. Over time it can become toxic.
I’m lucky, I see it coming, and for the most part I can head it off at the pass.
Some are not so fortunate.
Look after yourselves musical brothers and sisters. Much as it might not always seem it, you are loved x