The following is a blog post from almost 4 years ago (July 31, 2009), just before I left on my LDS mission. I stumbled across it on my Facebook profile and decided to post it here. It’s amazing how it still is so applicable. A follow up to inform what has happened since to be written soon:
"I’ve never been so positively certain. I’m leaving."
Here I sit, 5 days away from leaving on my religious mission for two years, claiming to be a musician. But do I have the right to such a claim? After countless attempts of starting a legitimate musical act, and thinking I came close to that dream with Tell The Grass and possibly even closer with the current project of Season’s Extreme; after changing my solo name from The Artful Dodger to Waldo and back to my rightful, given name and writing song after unoriginal, heartbroken or love sap song and performing them in front of strangers hoping and praying that my dream would take off that night. Can I really call myself a musician?
I mean I wear the scene-style with pride with my tight pants, band tees, the occasional beanie, thick framed glasses, and a triplet note tattooed onto my left ankle. I listen to Death Cab For Cutie, The Rocket Summer, Relient K, Third Eye Blind, Metro Station, We Shot The Moon, The Format, Sherwood, etc. I have local favorites of The Brobecks, Neon Trees, The Vibrant Sound, Joshua James, etc and claim them all to have influenced the music I write in one way or another. I’ve played countless shows telling the stories behind my songs. I live in downtown, indie Provo, Utah and volunteer much of my time at The Velour Live Music Gallery. I spend hours on myspace talking to my bands “fans” trying to leave a mark in their brain about Season’s Extreme, and not let us fade, while finding new acts and music to listen to. All roads point to living a musician’s lifestyle. But can I claim such a prestigious title? Have I even come close to doing for someone what Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel, John Lennon, Brian May and so many others did for me?
“It’s taking a lot out of me
To tell you how long it will be
Before I can spend some sweet time with you again.
I’m hoping I’ll be finding success
You know that I’ll be trying my best
The thousands of miles will not make me love you less.”
The above quote was written by the ever-talented Alex Goot and can be found in his song Asleep At The Wheel (which you can download for free @ myspace.com/goot from The Progress EP, so do it!) and it might as well be describing my emotions towards music and how I am expressing myself in this very blog just before I prepare to leave the country teaching people about something that I believe very strongly in. My musical journey that I have created for myself the past 8 years has been a long one but I have loved every step of it. Being the first promoter to bring The Summer Set to Utah, promoting possibly the most popular artist in Utah known as Allred, drawing over 300 people to one show in late January, selling every single copy of The Silent Laughter EP, managing the mind-blowing Jonathan Bryant from The Foreground, all in attempt to get one step closer to living my dream and passion, and enjoying every single step I ever took towards it! Haha and I call myself a musician. I haven’t even scratched the surface of my dream.
I still remember ever so vividly the day I got my first acoustic guitar, exactly 8 years and 2 days ago, on my 11th birthday. I remember my first guitar lesson, my first chord strummed. I remember my first song learned even the struggle I had being an 11 year-old with growing hands trying to stretch for that C chord. Oh my, the good times. I quickly taught myself tablature and learned many covers. The first song I ever played with a full band, Down On The Corner by Creedence Clearwater Revival, classic despite the fact it was played only in front of 20ish spectators at an intermediate guitar recital under the band name Rekkage. What? Where’d that name come from? The next full band performance was the same band, a bit more tasteful name; State Street Diner, different song, That Thing You Do! and in front of my entire Junior High at age 14, that was when I conquered stage fright.
The road has been paved with so many incredible memories that I can never forget. At a young age I had developed a fetish, an obsession, a love, a passion for music, it’s lyrics, it’s dynamics, it’s healing power, etc. Simon and Garfunkel, like so many others, was my first taste of the true meaning of music and the capabilities that it had. As the guitar of Sounds Of Silence pierced my bathroom and the two muttered the words “Hello darkness my old friend…” I must admit, I wasn’t very pleased. I mean come on, it wasn’t Backstreet Boys or N’Sync with their pop voices singing their unoriginal lyrics written by a money-driven producer. Oh was I so naïve.
Weeks later, when my brother was spinning a Simon and Garfunkel vinyl on our old turn table, was when I decided to give them another chance. That night I sat in my bed as a lost 13 year-old boy and as the sounds of the two remarkable musicians filled my ears I found it, my passion, which has now shaped my life like I never thought before. I quickly started turning my nights in bed into late listening parties partaking of the tunes that shaped me. Simon and Garfunkel, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Queen, Jim Croce, etc. My ship in which I was sailing my future in was being released from the dock.
But as I close and leave you with these words for two years I assure you that I will reach this dream. That I will one day influence and inspire someone the same way Simon and Garfunkel did for me. I’m not sure how, I’m not sure who, I’m not sure where, and I’m not sure if it’ll be through my music, but if it happens to be through that pure, sweet art, that’ll be the day that I can truly call myself a musician.
“For once in my life I can say I am right about something.
I’ve never been this positively certain.
Goodbye friends. I truly do love you, and pray that we pick back up right where we left off when I return. But I’m off to serve my Savior, my Redeemer who has blessed me with the passion, knowledge, resource, and love of music and it’s healing. He’s asked me to sacrifice two years of my life for Him, two years without my pop, indie, Americana music and I do it gladly and proudly. Music can never die, and will be here when I get back. And my music, with help from best friends Devin Moore and Corey Furr, will be alive and better than ever! We’ve only just began to tap into what music can do for us. Trust me.
Those of you supporting the HRC and posting their newly colored logo, I get where you are coming from. But realize that by doing so you are also supporting an infringement on state rights. The Supreme Court is not deciding whether or not gay marriage will be legal or not, they are deciding whether or not it will be up to the states to make that decision regarding their residents. Basically if they come out against HRC, things will stay the same and some states will have gay marriage and others will not. If they support HRC’s petition, then gay marriage will be allowed across the entire country, which imposes on that state government’s right to govern their state on issues that were set aside for them by the Constitution. This ruling, in my mind is more about state rights than it is about gay rights.
Mike Jensen in The “Mormon Effect”
The above quote states perfectly why I decided to become a Libertarian. I normally don’t like when people bring religion into politics, but there comes a point, that when deciding your own political affiliation that your religious beliefs must influence you. In my own personal opinion, knowing what we know, 100% of us Mormons should be Libertarian. As stated in this article, to limit the choices and agency of others is what Satan had planned for us. The Government should not have the power to do exactly that. The liberties our founding fathers fought for were originally fought for in the pre-earth life and we need to continue fighting for them today.
I loved this article. Please take the time to read it.
This is the best news I’ve heard in a while.
The LDS church is adding 58 new missions this year! Look out missionaries who are called to Guatemala Coban. Chances are you won’t be speaking Spanish. The church is true.