There’s this guy I know … met him once or twice, but I know deep feelings and events of his life because of the transparency he exercises in his art.
In 1988 he was trying to make it in the music industry, and had just decided to give up for the sake of stability in his family. He was literally putting a ‘for sale’ sign in his front yard when he received the first of two calls.
The first call came from one of the coolest bands in the world. Socially relevant, trendy, college based sound. Cooler (at the time quite a feat) than REM and U2 combined. The were heading out on a world tour and wanted him to play keyboard and percussion. He would be featured on the next album and, if things worked out, become a permanent fixture.
The second call came from perhaps the least cool band in the world. A band that had a minor hit four years prior, and had a small but hardcore, rabid group of fans. The lead singer (and sole lyricist) had abruptly left and the band was looking to fill his shoes in order to fulfill a contract. They wanted Mr. h’s heart and his brain in their sudden new path.
So … what do you do? Guaranteed money and a world tour with a hot band, or artistic control and uncertainty in a band that had assuredly passed its golden years?
Mr. Hogarth chose the lead singer gig with Marillion. Nearly 30 years later, they are releasing their 17th album in September. The music has saved and inspired my life for decades. They aren’t mega rockstars, and they prefer that. They make a comfortable living outside the conventional music industry, and still maintain a small, hardcore group of fans. He’s found bliss and love.
The band he turned down? “The The”. Also still around, the leader/ songwriter Matt Johnson is the only consistent member.
Why am I telling you this? My life has come to a similar crossroads, and I’ve choices to make. My personal life has been altered in a major fashion and one of the few upsides of the upheaval is a new freedom. I can choose my next path without having to consider the consequences for anyone else. It’s my call, my choice. There’s comfort and terror in that, but it’s much less scary that having to decide for six people.
I can do … anything. The determining factor is my will and tenacity. What do I want?
You know what’s great? I don’t know! That is fantastic and exciting. At the moment I am adrift, and waiting. Watching. I’m not leaving my craft, but I am looking for different, challenging venues to display it.
Soon, it will present itself, and I’ll choose. I will stay true to my heart and my art … and I’ll shine. Fame and money are the least of the considerations, though they play a role.
I have been given this gift, and can’t wait to share it. Stay tuned …