Ok, this is a post I've been meaning to do for a while so bear with me and strap in; it's gonna be a long one.
If you asked me what my favorite movie was (and people often do), my answer would be a slightly evasive "It depends on my mood. There are so many." And that's true - at any given time it might be Seven Samurai (if I'm in an action movie phase), The Godfather (if I'm feeling drama), Malcolm X (because he's the coolest person ever) or Schindler's List (I have my reasons). But whatever my answer, there is always an asterix attached. One of these ---> *. Without a doubt my always and forever favorite movie is Almost Famous (in addition to one of the above). Every time I watch it I find it means more to me than the last time. Now, I'm not going to defend it as the best movie ever made; Cameron Crowe is really just John Hughes for the late nineties, and his movies are in much the same vein. But no film speaks to me more than this one, and here's why:
Most everyone who knows me understands that I've always been in bands since I was about 12 years old. I started playing out in bars and clubs a couple months after my 19th birthday, and I continue to do so to this day. The exact number of bands I've been in is a subjective question. If you count the numbers of different people that I've jammed with over the years with the intention of starting a band only to have it fall through after one or two practices, than...probably between 50 and 80. If, however, you only count the projects that got off the ground then I would have to say I've been in around five bands (two of which played out semi-professionally). I've been a musician since I was 12 and through my teen years and into my twenties that was all I wanted to be. The story of why that's no longer exactly true is a longer one and definitely for another day. But, during those years I focused on nothing else. I went through junior high, high school and some of college having never played any sports (save for one half-hearted year of football during which I never played), dated ANYONE or been a member of any type of activity. I just wanted to play in bands and, I hoped, be semi-successful at it. I could write an entire book about all of the ins and outs of this, and how and why it made me who I am for better and worse. Instead I'll move on.
Bands, you see, are alot like a bad relationship. Everyone goes into it thinking that it's the best thing ever. You'll have a couple practices where everything seems to gel, and everyone will be getting along so well. You'll know in the back of your mind that every previous band you've been in started in just this same fashion, and they all invariably ended up a mangled corpse of bruised egos, stupid ideas and frivolous anger. "This time, though, it's different" you'll tell yourself. "This is the ONE." And, to all appearances, it is. You'll master a few songs, put together some of your own, book some shows, and maybe even get some recognition. Things have never been better. Then slowly things start to crumble. People who were perfectly happy in the limelight will start to demand that their ideas be heard. Women will start coming around. And bit by bit everything ends up in the same public toilet as your last venture.
I was always left holding the bag in these situations because, and stay with me here, I had the purest motives.
"Bullshit" you say, and you're right to do so, but let me say this. I won't deny that it's nice to look out onto a sea of people and know that they came to see you (at least partly), or that it's nice to have praise heaped upon you, and it's certainly nice to get the attention of women you wouldn't even dream of talking to otherwise (and I must interject here that sex is almost NEVER a factor here. Don't let movies fool you into thinking that small local acts get more ass than a toilet seat. That's for the big guys.) But I was never in it for those reasons. I was in it because I LOVED music and how it allowed me to express myself. And that's the secret. If you do something for any other reason than it makes you truly happy you'll never stick with it. You'll elope with the first pretty face that comes your way. And everyone always did.
But I digress, and I fear that I've lost you, or at least that I've gone completely off topic. Forgive me for that, this is a sensitive subject for me. So I'll leave you with this one final thought.
Watch it please and watch it all. If you somehow managed to get inside my head (no pun intended) this video would be playing in a constant loop. I guess I've said enough. I'll write more if it's seems warranted.
Thanks for reading.