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Posted on 05/22/13 by Clint
Airports and life
Sitting on a plane on the way to Baton Rouge. Swear it seems like we were just there. Airports suck the spirituality right out of me if I let it. There's a strange limbo state people go in when they come to an airport. It's as if their patience, manners, consideration and sense of humor go into a hibernating state. Everyone has a 1000 yard stare with their destination being the only thing they see. You basically have a cattle call line of strangers forced into these quick awkward transactions. In the lines, the "Zones" and the actual flight where we all pray for a tolerable neighbor that resides very close to us in the next seat for the duration of a flight. I personally don't request much, just someone who has bathed, brush their teeth and doesn't force conversation. 9 times out of 10, people just want to do their time on the flight in peace and not engage in small talk.
I've learned that my perception has been off most of my life and that we can experience positive things in very negative environments. If our perception changes, the world changes. People watching is one of THE most entertaining things a person can do at a busy airport. If you can just sit back and observe others you can learn so much. People are interesting and the fact is, despite how "original" we think we are, we re all very similar. People's daily events are different and those events influence us differently. For example, the woman who was completely rude when I ordered my very exspensive breakfast sandwich, she could of had a very stressful single mother type of morning, abusive husband, sick mother or father, who knows, but her attitude had little to do with me. When I practice patience with people like that and "change my perception" then it's a way easier pill to swallow when people say or do inconsiderate things.
I think most people are in a very emotionally sensitive state when they fly, they're either leaving someone they love, going to see someone they love. Going on vacation, for work, the reasons effect our moods greatly. Rarely does someone say "I'm bored, I'm gonna fly some where for no reason" all though I sure that happens. Point being, we re all on edge at the airport and we act out accordingly. I know for me in the past, I used to be the nightmare walking in airports. I would either be drunk, hungover or trying to get drunk as soon as possible. Put myself and others around me in a very tense state. I would say things that were so mean and condescending that it would take someone a few minutes to process it. I'd verbally abuse strangers. I remember one time being very drunk and was told I missed my flight(probably because I couldn't find my gate) walking down a terminal and a nice gentlemen that shined shoes asked me very kindly if he could shine mine. I stared at him, walked over and asked him with a very angry glare "why do you think I need my shoes shined" I actually took time to go be mean to this guy that was doing his job. He looked at me and called me a jerk and I walked off. It bothers me till this day. I guess my point to all that was my particular daily events and life at that time were based on active alcoholic behavior. I was incapable of being apart of society and airports were my china shop and I was a very drunk bull That guys he saw a chance to make money and was faced with me and my personal nightmare of a life at that time.
All that being said, today I try and think about others, I try to give people space, when someone wants to have friendly conversation I do it, if someone's drunk and being obnoxious I try remembering how I was in the past. If someone cuts in line, over checks me at security, over charges me, discriminates, shoves me, kids kick my seat, adults kick back of my seat, etc- I try and remember that it's temporary and this too shall pass and how I respond to it defines me. This is way easier to write that than practice in real life. But when I make an attempt at all it makes those situations a little eaiser to navigate. I can't let my emotions dictate my responses to people because we all have our issues and things that are going our way or against us. And rarely are we all gonna be having a good day on the same day.
I'm thankful I can live in a way that allows me to make living amends. I removed alcohol from my life and it's amazing how much smoother life is. I used to lose wallets every 3 months and haven't lost one in 5 years. Coincidence?? Probably not. I've been blessed with the willingness to realize this simple fact- "The word doesn't revolve around me" my way isn't always the best way. When I was taught that then my life got better. I found peace and compassion for others. I realized I had been selfish and inconsiderate most of my life. Does that mean that still aren't nuts, rude and down right evil sometimes?? No, but their human. Good and bad.
I have no right to judge others, I can observe and accept. That is the only way I can live a peaceful life. Because I have zero control over people places and things. I used to think I could control certain things. I was very mistaken. I chose to pick a path that doesn't consist of drinking or drugging. Doesn't mean the world gets sober because I do. Majority of people can have a few beers and shut it off. I never had that type of governor. I never realized the point in drinking a few beers. I had to drink all of them. That's my reality. When I hit enough bottoms to realize that I started repairing my life. And prayed sincere prayers for to put it down for good. Well for today I'm just happier when I love others, help others and even when I wanna closeline others I don't, pray for patience and bite my tongue.
Well, plane is landing. Time to face another group of strangers and finish out the rest of the 7d tour which is a whole other level of patinence and tolerance but I love it and wouldn't change a thing. I get to go home from time to time to a beautiful, sweet, funny and kind wife and two amazing children. Those are the events that surround me
To new bands
Posted on 05/19/13 by Clint
Blog(advice to new bands)
Getting ready to board a plane after a good show at the annual Rock on the range festival that host some of the biggest metal/rock/alternative bands today. Always a interesting show. The band has been out a very long time at this point so it's kinda hard to tell how the show was. We played early, second on main stage, sandwiched between Sick puppies and Steel Panther. Kind of odd blend. Steel panther could possibly be the best band of the entire weekend skill wise. The guys are wrapped up in a 80s glam rock package but make no mistake, they can play.
It would be very difficult for me to think of starting a NEW band these days and glad I don't have to. It seems to me there its extremely hard to make a real living at this game. I mean, when I started out for years there wasn't any real money coming in. For a lot of reasons, bad record deals, poor management, addictions, etc. I don't harbor anymore resentments over that because at the end of the day, we signed everyone of those deals, allowed people to steal from us. We didn't focus on any of the details it takes to run a business in the early days and make no mistake about it, whether you choose to accept it or not its a full on tax paying business.
One of the biggest mistakes a band can make if they are approached with a management contract, record contract, production deal, 360 deals, which are basically artist giving away 50 percent of everything you make for the duration of your contract, the biggest mistake is (NOT KNOWING WHAT YOUR SIGNING AND NOT KNOWING WHO YOUR SIGNING WITH). So many bands are eager beavers and are so desperate to get out there that they sign anything. Labels and managers know this. They use that. And if you are lucky to have a few people within your band to ask questions and not jumping to sign without research these people will probably be labeled "the difficult ones". Your lucky to have one of these party poopers simply because it could save your career later down the road.
If someone is interested in you the way you need them to be they will allow you time to look over any agreement you receive, if they pull some kind of "we are only gonna offer this for a limited amount of time" crap then let them go back to where they came from. At the end of the day, if you have a serious band that's making some noise, packing local shows, selling music on your own, creating a real buzz, then you have the upper hand. Too many times industry people act like they're doing the band the favor when in reality 90 percent of the language in a contract will be in their favor. You will end up doing the real grinding on the road, you will rough it for years to come, you will say goodbye to your family. And they will get the lions share of what you earn unless you make adjustments to the deal. ALL first drafts of contracts come stack heavily in the labels favor. And you what? That's good business on their part. It's a bands responsibility to read or have an attorney read to you the details of the deal so you know what your getting into.
The fact is, you are a vessel to generate money for them. There are people I've met in the industry that actually become close with the bands, appreciate the music, get what their saying and want to help bands achieve a connection with fans but they only function on money. They have to make a living too. And if a bands willing to sign a crappy deal then that's on them. The most painful thing I ever heard was after I went on a rant about how bad I was being screwed over and wondering where the money was, an attorney simply pulled out the contract, highlighted the details and said "you signed this" it's in black and white. So how could I possibly blame anyone but ME.
So for what it's worth, if you get a contract thrown your way from anyone, go through it with a fine tooth comb, if you don't understand it, get a lawyer to use a crayon and explain it to you like a child. That's what I do. Because let's face it, we didn't get into this business to be knowledgable on contracts, the "withstanding the foregoing" stuff you see on these deals. Just find an attorney you trust and dig in. If the other party is annoyed by this then that's a clear indication that something isn't right within that deal. And they should be totally willing to work with you on this. After that's done you can get to what's important, recording and playing music. The foundation of it all. The concrete underneath the entire complicated, frustrating, yet satisfying business. THE MUSIC.
One thing I believe is that the power exist in the song. You can move mountains with the right song and presentation of the music. If a band steps on a stage and has the right chemistry, vibe, talent, progressiveness, desperation, sincerity, creativity or even simplicity you will captivate any audience and win them over immediately no matter what. People want to be entertained, they wanna be swept away emotionally. They want to escape. They want something fresh and they want to discover a new band to tell their friends about. Nothing is better than being able to tell a friend "YOU GOTTA HEAR THIS BAND". You want to be the band that people say that about. And to do that you have to hone that sound in a garage, basement, wherever it is you do your thing.
Too many bands rely on protools to edit them into perfection. It's truly diluting the fountain of talent when you allow it to be the crutch of the creative process. WOODSHED!! Play songs over and over and after that??? Play them again. Be honest with yourself and ask yourself "would I buy this" would I want to see this live. Develop your sound, if certain players aren't as into it as you, lose them and find others. If someone isn't able to play to the level the others are you may have to replace them. It's a tough business. There are countless bands with very talented players and singers out there gunning for a place in the music business. You HAVE to have something that stands out. So many bands ask me "how do we get signed" my answer "be amazing" be so good that people have to see you play. Unfortunately, with a few exceptions you really have to have a product that people want and throw down on a stage to a level that is off the chart to make a real living.
That's what my point is, you can form any band you want. If its only to have fun with friends and you enjoy it then more power to you. But if you think your gonna start a band, sign with the machine and start making money right away your crazy. The chances of that happening are extremely rare and you better be the second coming of Zeppelin if you think that's happening. And when bands have something special, they know it. The people going to their shows know it. There's only so many ways to become a successful rock band. You can get investors and try buying your way there but eventually you will be faced with having to win people over. If you want to have a real career in this, you have to be great at it or willing to work until you are.
When your young you have time to starve and spend a little time grinding it out. Typically you don't have kids or bills so you can sacrifice time to perfect your band, make no money and pray that your band starts breaking and building. So many variables in this game. Luck is a huge part of this as well. 7dust was accidentally discovered in Atlanta years ago. We just happened to meet luck with skill. We spent a lot of time grinding it out with no money coming in and when the right someone finally saw us we were ready and local fans were there. The break can come when you don't expect it. My advice though, become the band that you want to be. Find your thing and develop it. The people will sniff you out and support it. They always do. And if you can win fans over the need to run out and get a deal doesn't become a necessity. Build it as much as you can on your own and that way when you are offered the right deal you can have more bargaining power because you had proved already you have something people want.
Well my rant is over. I love playing music and love connecting with the people who support us. But we have a duty to keep our game fresh and focused. When we start slipping the people sniff that out easily as well. There's too many good bands out there to slack up. You have to give people their moneys worth or they will find another band that will. It's constant work and you better be willing to do it. Or you'll see less and less people, you'll get worse and worse time slots, and start making less money. So get it together!!! Haha.
Going to see my wife and kids. Love you and God bless
ROCK SHOW REUNION
Posted on 05/12/13 by Clint
Sitting in a hotel room in Sioux falls, a day off today after a very successful show at Rockfest in Kansas city. This show was good because it was a family affair. I had my wife and son with me(Evies a little too small for rock concert) my brother Corey's band Eye Empire was there. So many bands that we know well and have for many years. Too many to mention. The day was cool and windy but sunny and perfect for the people who attend this festival type show all day long. I always have so much respect for the fans that brave the weather to these things to experience music from bands they love. I used to go to shows when I was younger with that same thirst for entertainment. But anyways, it was a very emotional day for me for a few different reasons.
First off, the friendships that we have built over the years, the other bands that we have bonded with and the ones we've toured with, just really has a reunion type vibe. Bands like Papa Roach, Halestorm, Seether, Device guys with David D and Will Hunt(Dnd) drummer, Of course Eye Empire, All that remains, and new friends Aranda that tour a small run with us and others, I mean we've known most of these bands our whole career. So good to still be running into them all. Everyone a bit older and wiser But here we are still making a loving at this. The whole mood was positive yesterday.
My wife and son were with me and that is always the best of both worlds, when both my road family and home family are existing together. I'm no longer torn, I have the things I love together with me, the supportive fans, my bandmates and my loved ones beside me. It's a satisfying feeling that reaches deep in my heart and feels it with peace and gratitude. I felt the presence of God, my father's spirit and best of all I was experiencing all of this sober. So many times in the past I would have these gifts giving and I would dilute it all with tremendous amounts of alcohol and dope to help "enhance" the experience?? Ironic how it was robbing me of it. To see all these things clear and buzzing naturally off the fresh air, the awareness of my surroundings, my REALITY did not need any assistance. I was complete.
The show was great. My son Harper started crying as we walked on stage. He was in his stroller and I think he wants to stay close to me and doesn't quite understand what the hell daddies doing. First off he has the shot gun headphones on which he hates and to him he sees Daddy screaming at the crowd and them screaming back. My wife gives him a lollipop as a last resort to keep him happy, it wasn't exactly working so my brother Corey saved the day being the funny uncle and making him laugh until he was able to enjoy the show. I was loving looking back to witness that. All the other bands side stage in support. Then we did a new song off the new 7d record called "Got a feeling" which I sing on with Lajon, Morgan and John. It's always interesting to play a song like that right in the middle of our aggressive set. Lajon sets it up so good that people open their mind to what's coming. I get so nervous before I sing lead that my mouth gets dry and my knees get weak. All up until the first line is sang. Then it becomes warm and comforting. Seeing some of the people sing back the words. There is no other better feeling than a crowd singing your lyrics back to you. No band will disagree with that.
So much more touring ahead for us. We have been out since March 15th and will end May 27th. I was absent for three weeks of this for the birth of my daughter Evie. Wouldn't miss that for anything. But it has been a long one. Long enough to put ANY band in danger of flying off the handle. If there were some type of physiological test you could do on 12 guys being in a metal tube for 2 months I'm sure there would be some interesting findings. First off, people think the tour bus is glamorous. Let me clear some things up real quick, and BTW- this is gonna be a long blog So turn off your grammar alerts and lower your expectations while I rant Ok- YES the bus is cool for people who step on it for the first time. At the beginning of every tour for the first week when we have a new bus we're all excited about our new home. Then we start discovering all the defects, the smells that come out. There are no words to describe the smell of 12 different mens urine mixed together in a very full tank riding underneath the bus. It's a different type of Rancid. God forbid someone has a guest on bus that puts toilet paper down the fragile plumbing(bus drivers favorite to deal with) that usually clogs the plumbing instantly bring the smell out more. Then throw in the smell of feet, farts, weird food, old and new, dirty clothes, old beer, green corn, bad breath etc. I don't care what kind of bus you have, if you stick 12 guys on it for a few weeks it will smell very bad I promise.
That's not the end of the world though, totally used to that. I'm the bus mama and I obsessively clean the bus, which again, if a therapist analyzed me they'd say that was probably typical recovering alcoholic behavior, to clean like that. Either way it balances out the nastiness. There are those who clean and those who do things to keep the cleaners busy. You have "collectors" people who accumulate odd things on the road and eat up all the extra storage space. The "real estate takers" the people who leave their big bags in the common sitting area. The "food thieves" The "drink all the milkers" the list goes on. If you have a lot of pet peeves then you will not survive touring. The bottom line at the end of the day is this. LIVE AND LET LIVE, that is the key to surviving. Because whatever you don't like about someone, there's 20 things the other 10 guys don't like about you. Give and take and mutual respect and even with that, we all have bad days, we aren't on the same schedule or time line so friction will be there. It's going to happen. We have just learned to exist with each other. But anytime a tour goes past a month it gets dicey. And God forbid your fans hear you complain about it. On the outside it seems like a very fortunate musician living out their dream complaining over trivial things but until you live in those conditions it's hard to understand. The complaining is a way of relieving some of the pressure and stress. Is it the hardest thing in the world?? Hell no, is touring in a van with 10 years harder?? Yes it is. But you have to remember, we've done that type of touring as well. I've been touring since I was 18 years old. A van for 8 of those years, a few Rvs, we earned our stripes in those beginning stages so you kinda earned the right to complain if that makes sense.
All in all I have found gratitude in this life more and more. The longer we exist the more we have beaten the odds and survived. We hear rumors of this being last 7d touring cycle, today, I don't think we're close to being down but you never know when this will end. I know thatI've been able to pursue other projects which fill my soul and scratch some musical itches I have which aids in me appreciating what 7d is and what it helps me do in terms of providing for my family. I want to make my family proud, I still enjoy playing. We're older now, we know it. But we have a lot of fight in us. I'm glad we didn't follow any trend or style that we're embarrassed of. I mean there's a few things out there I wish I could erase. Well, a lot actually but overall we haven't done anything that wasn't us musically or dressed like robots or demons. We just play aggressive music.
I have some time off in June and I'm think seriously about recording 5 more acoustic songs under the HDMS name. I feel like it's time for that and it doesn't take a huge production. Its simple and from the heart. I have a lot on my mind and that's an easy vessel to use to do that lyrically. It doesn't conflict with 7d and I enjoy it. I'd like to one day do a solo project under my name but to be honest with you, singing is tough for me mentally. Very hard on myself in that world. I respect Lajon and other singers so much more after CMNO. But I know like anything, the more you do it the better it gets. I try to quite myself and follow signs that direct me on what to do first. If I get out of the way things usually work themselves out and happen naturally.
Lastly- our daughter She is the new apple of my eye. I never thought I could love a human being as much as I loved my wife and son, then comes Evy. I spell it that way so people pronounce it right. Her full name is Evelyn after my grandmother and mother. EV-e Not EEEveee drives my wife crazy but we knew that would happen. She's an angel and I know we all say that but she really is. I stare at her and I know God exist. I have evidence. Even if God was simply the love between a parent and their kids then that is enough for me. God is love, our short time on this planet is giving to us to experience unconditional love. As corny as that sounds. I truly believe God gave us these children, they will have problems, they will have gifts, they will have issues and will find solutions. They are perfect by design. They are meant to be loved and will make mistakes. Forgiven and forgive. If loving them is all that I do right in this world then that's fine by me. I want them to be loved. And they will be. A day at a time. I get to be sober for them, I get to provide for them. They made everything that I thought was a big deal in life shrink to the size of a BB. They are my world. My family.
Thanks for reading this long winded entry. I felt a need to share tonight and thank whoever that has supported me, the bands and projects and the people who have recently had kind words to share with me at VIPs or in passing. It makes me feel good that there are so many people out there that care about family type stuff. I mean it's cool to not try being so "rock n roll" all the time. That gets old. And there are times I wanna scream brutal screams and get crazy on a stage and curse and do those things that get us going live. I feel that's as spiritual as anything. God gave me all these emotions and instincts to guide me. I just got a little better at balancing them.
Much love to you and your families. And if any of you struggle with substance abuse know that if this guy can get sober, anyone can. You just have to really want it.