I have been in New York state for roughly two weeks and will be here for roughly two more weeks. Needless to say I have been doing lots of driving and plenty of road trip music listening. As I get older and grow up with fellow musicians who are also getting older and moving on to other interests in their lives I feel like it is more and more important for us to support one another. Many relationships I have with folks started because we played a random show or two together. I have moved past just being music friends with many people into relationships that continue to add substance to my life. This could not be more true than with the fellas in the Pink Balloon band, especially their front man Ian.
I actually cannot recall the first actual moment that I met Ian. I know that it was at a show that one of our bands was playing and I know that I loved PBB from the very first time I saw them. The point of all this lead up is to stress again the importance of taking time to listen to what I am going to call small music. Guys and gals with jobs that are somehow for the life of all of them finding time to practice, write, record, and play live shows in the very little free time that I know all of us have access too. Realize that all the guys in PBB and all of us in TDR and all the other guys in so many great small, local bands have other jobs and other obligations. The facts are that even though we would all love to write full time, it isn’t the reality. What makes it worth the time for bands like mine and PBB? I do not mean to speak for PBB but I am sure they would attest to the importance of peers really enjoying what they are playing and how they are playing it.
I realized this during maybe the 100,000th conversation about music that Taylor and I got into about writing songs and lyrics the way that we want to hear them in our own songs. I realized that we are not writing for anyone other than ourselves, for the moments we get to sweat those songs out in my “band room” upstairs or on stage with all of our friends who continue to support us. But this is what makes the songs mean so much to anyone who gets a chance to listen to them. I remember hearing Dan’s band, Big Money and The Spare Change, long before he became a member of TDR. The one line I will always remember from his live shows is, “God damn, take it like a man.” Does anyone write a line like that if they are writing about something someone else is going through? Would it had been so captivating watching Dan sing that line if it wasn’t coming from a hard time in his life that somehow was able to be wrapped up in seven simple words? Maybe as listeners we are able to be faked out, to be swindled into believing a story that is not personal, but I give us all the credit.
I don’t think anyone really cares that California girls are unforgettable in their daisy dukes. I think that for a brief moment in our lives we want to cut loose, not think about what we are hearing, and party to top 40. Take it from someone who has had many dance parties letting loose to top 40 pop jams. It is important to seek out music from individuals who are still writing because sometimes writing a song about a great time or a terrible time is what it takes to get over it or re live it. I know that when I have heard, “Two Dollars Only” play over and over and over again through my car speakers I believe what Ian is saying. There are so many bands writing music right now that means so much, it helps that some of them are my friends and that we are going through the same things together, even though much of it is extremely personal. I know that I have been experiencing a whole new world and a mess of new faces and personalities in my time in New York and believing that Ian wrote this song with care and passion has helped me get through with inspiration.
So I will leave you with a link to just one PBB song and this is because I realize that it is difficult for anyone to listen to a whole album anymore, even if it is only seven songs long.