This weekend, I found myself standing in my old bedroom at my parents’ house, staring at the walls, still covered with memorabilia from my touring days. Keepsakes left for safekeeping while I pursued a different path. I surveyed the room and my eyes were drawn to a particular section of a wall, where my old tour passes are hung. Feeling nostalgic, I looked them over and began thinking about the bands I've known. Bands like Four Years Strong, with whom my band first toured the U.S., Boy Sets Fire, who acted like big brothers to us while we were learning the ropes, and bands like I am the Avalanche who inspired us to be better at our craft.
In my last post, I mentioned the camaraderie that touring musicians share. On the road, this sense of community can be a driving force that keeps you going. But off the road, it can leave you feeling segregated from your would-be peers.
In the winter of 2006, The Fully Down was preparing to tour Japan. We spent our time off beforehand working whatever jobs we could, to save money for the trip. I worked as a janitor at the very college that I now attend. One evening while I was sweeping the floors, I ran into a girl I had gone to high school with. I could tell she felt superior in her assumption that my interest in music had amounted to nothing but a career in the custodial arts. But being quite self-satisfied in those days, I brushed it off and thought Fuck her. She isn't leaving for Japan in a week. I didn't realize it at the time, but my response to her haughtiness was equally ignorant.
Today, I see my past as a point of inner contention. I’m proud of what I've accomplished, but I realize that, for many people, being in a band stops being cool when you hit 25. Now, at 28, when I tell people what I've spent the last decade or so doing, I still, occasionally, feel a bit judged. But now, my response is subdued. I was part of a club once, but so was everyone else. Sometimes I wonder if it was mostly pride that kept me hanging onto that lifestyle for so long. Most of the people I grew up with have degrees and careers by now, and I'm just getting started. I’m not a member of any club anymore, but rather somewhere in between.