I'm not anxious... oh, fuck, I'm anxious.
As far as I can recall I've always been a fairly easy going person for the most part. I go with the flow, and don't worry much about other things that might happen. But lately I find the more we play out, even if it's somewhere we've played before I find myself feeling something I haven't felt in quite a while… I felt anxious. Anxious to be performing, anxious to be interacting with people, and anxious to be outside of my comfort zone. I have a feeling that maybe this is because this is my first time putting myself out there as a songwriter at the front of the stage with a guitar, and not behind the drums where I feel most at home musically.
When we we were practicing with Charles for our show at The Trocadero we had multiple conversations about how each of us are affected by anxiety around a performance. Heather would feel anxious almost the entire time leading up to the show. Charles would start to feel anxious the day of the show, and I would start to feel anxious in the last 20 minutes before the show. Recently we've had to do a handful of shows to our recordings, and I began to realize that without the safety net of other musicians the success or failure of the entire performance was almost entirely on my shoulders.
In turn I found myself feeling a deeper sense of anxious dread, which began well before the 20 minutes before stage time. It was from the moment I arrived at a venue, and in some cases while packing up go to the show. It's the knowing that it's too late to back out… I can't leave, I can't drink my nerves away, and having to be sociable and outgoing is almost entirely out of the question until the end of the show if it all.
I mentioned before that I am pretty easy going, but this is not the same as being outgoing. I've never been good at that, but now it has become more important than ever for me to break down that barrier. While at a house show last weekend I found myself talking to a friend of ours about the fact that we were there to make new friends, but I was too nervous to talk to anyone who I hadn't already met before. I asked my friend if he ever felt that way… If he would look at all the people talking, and not have a clue how to be a part of their conversation. Yes. I told him that it was why I always stand at the furthest end of the crowd so I won't be the lingering guy who hovers around too long with nothing to contribute to the conversation. Me too. Does that ever make you feel like an idiot? Not really… (Damnit.)
I guess everyone is affected differently by whatever form of anxiety they experience, and that is something that can change at any point in someone's life. I never used to get too worried when I was in my comfort zone as a drummer. But this is new for me. This is important to me, and I feel there is a newer potential here that didn't exist in other bands I have been apart of in my years as a musician. And it is for that reason that I feel more pressure now than I have in the past. So if you come out to a show of ours and you should see me at the end of a bar, or the edge of a crowd, or in a corner seat looking like a miserable fuck... Please know that I am just wanting to make the best impression I can so that you will like us. I want nothing more than to feel comfortable interacting with everyone in the room. So help me out, and just say hello or some other encouraging words. Oh, and come out to The Fire tomorrow night!! It helps to have an audience there to make a good impression on.
Until next time…