The Slow Decline of Kings
As it is with all great undertakings in life, it begins with an idea. Most would attribute this idea to a later portion of their life, a moment in time when they met another wanderer along the same path, but, of course, they would be wrong. Not a wrong of ignorance mind you, but a wrong steeped in the absence of youth and the progression of time.
This love, this desire, this yearning, begins the first moment an emotional response is called forward from deep within. As if fate took a skeletal finger and gently moved from lower back to brain stem, exciting the nervous system in ways untold, forcing the mind to comprehend the power coursing through the body. It is this moment in time when the seed of dreams is planted deeply within the psyche. Each consequential moment of destined ecstasy nurturing the seedling into a powerful maturity.
For years this glorious idea filters through new experiences, coloring them with the dreams of youth manifest in exuberance without explanation. Then, it happens. This course of predestined natural selection meets a traveler of similar curiosity. No words are needed to understand the same dream has taken hold within this individual.
In a dark, damp basement, amplifiers are plugged in with professional care. Kits are set up to exacting specifications. Guitars are tuned with the most powerful of riffs trembling through each pluck. Mics are warmed and leveled in preparation for the revelatory nature of release.
The first chord is struck in harmony and all are left paralyzed in the powerful wave of relief emitted by the seedling let free from its primal cage. Imagine cresting the swell on a roller coaster, the physical properties of the world cancelled for the briefest of moments, held at bay by the anticipation of greatness and the reaping of repressed physical desire.
Here marks the first flight. Here makes the truest high.
"What I want is to be needed. What I need is to be indispensable to somebody. Who I need is somebody that will eat up all my free time, my ego, my attention. Somebody addicted to me. A mutual addiction." - Chuck Palahniuk
For months, years even, the mind expanding nature of this first flight remains a constant reminder. Each practice session, each back alley bar gig, each frat house failure, all held aloft by the possibility of burgeoning success. Every hand shake and word of encouragement a wind beneath the wing, holding aloft the dream, granting invulnerability to the hope that one day, just maybe, the grand stage will be achieved.
All the road is not smooth though, dear traveler. In these moments of the coming down, hopes and dreams run headlong into thoughts of failure. It is here that heroes are made. It is here that perseverance and a will of steel make the god. It is here that the mortals are left behind in the pursuit of the dream, in pursuit of the seedling made whole.
The night then comes, a stranger in the dark casting a haunting pallor over the crowd. Something is different. Something is larger than it should be. There is a portion of this sea of faces different than the others. A portion reacting, or not, to some stimuli greater than the music, as though this blank space heard potential, not reality.
The packing, robotic in nature. After so many shows, how could it not be? This van is home. Why does this stranger approach our home? So powerful. Hold out hand, accept card, agree to call in the morning...shock and awe...
Here marks the second wind. Here makes the sustenance.
"But I'm not a saint yet. I'm an alcoholic. I'm a drug addict. I'm homosexual. I'm a genius." - Truman Capote
The pomp and circumstance feel artificial. Eyes wide with puppy dog innocence latch onto all things familiar with immediate urgency. Look at this studio! Look at that board! Look at that! Look at this! Look at them! Revel in success not yet achieved.
The pitch is effortless. The choice made, doubly so. Five albums, touring, promotion, sponsorship, an entire lifetime of dreams set down on paper, the achievement of which is possible with the squiggling of lines. Welcome to the show kids. We start tomorrow.
Day long sessions. Month long sessions. Time without a face, studios have no windows. Like the first time with the pen, watching the work come together is mighty, it is powerful. We created this! We are gods!
Listen guys, we love the album, we just want to make a few adjustments. Drunk that night. A piece of the blossoming seedling withered and died, sacrificed to the glare of stage lighting, the promise of worship. Asked to put faith in that which is, at best, a passing gaze. The air becomes heavy upon this flight.
Here marks the first dip. Here marks the yearning for more.
The Lonely Road
"When you're an addict, you can go without feeling anything except drunk, or stoned, or hungry. Still, when you compare this to other feelings, to sadness, anger, fear, worry, despair, and depression, well, an addiction no longer looks so bad. It looks like a very viable option." - Chuck Palahniuk
The album done, a long and lonely road awaits. Crowds of screaming faces riding high on the new sound await in blank anticipation. Glory awaits. With perspective bathed in this anticipation, the uphill battle that lay ahead scratches but a surface of this dream's reality.
Let's play the album straight through, give them what they want. Let's throw in some covers, mix it up. Let's rock, doesn't matter what we play.
Tuscon, Denver, L.A., Seattle, Seattle double, Detroit, Grand Rapids, New York, Tokyo, Toronto, Berlin, Dublin, and on into the fading sun. Song after song, signing after signing, cramped bed after cramped bed, lonely faces yearning for meaning.
So much hope placed upon the shoulders of this dream. You speak to us! We look to you! Guide us! The power that comes from this worship, the hands raised in exaltation, pumping furiously in line with the life created. We are gods! Why else would they love us so?
The lonely road ends, but home can no longer be called as such. How could these normal beings ever understand the power we wield? Did they not see us command legions? Did they not see us call down thunder from the skies? Did they not feel us shake the very ground they tread? From out of the woodwork they scurry upon this time of rest and recuperation. Simple beings, below and beneath.
The studio calls, as does the road. The power calls. The music calls. The next album festers like a virus, waiting to be spread to eager minds.
Here marks the search. Here marks the search for more.
The Slow Decline of Kings
"Alone. Yes, that's the key word, the most awful word in the English tongue. Murder doesn't hold a candle to it and hell is only a poor synonym." - Stephen King
Normal no longer holds sway, for we have held this power and yearn for more. There can be no 9 to 5. There can be no 401k. There can be no settling. We need this, it was what we were made to do.
Take this man, it will help. The seedling scorned...replaced by the slow decline of kings.
Here marks the end.