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Posted on 03/30/13 by Clint
New life- march 30- 2013
I'm writing from our hospital room where my wife and I are awaiting the birth of our daughter Evie. Been here 12 hours already and still a ways to go. The gratitude I have in my heart is overwelming. This will be our second child and for someone like me who could easily be 6 feet in the ground from one of the many days and years of alcohol abuse and "bad choices". I feel a peace and appreciation for life I never knew would be possible when I was out there living that life.
On top of that the new 7dust record came out this week. A longtime friend of mine Troy Mclawhorn, who I literally grew up playing guitar with in NC, is filling in the west coast run for me while I'm here for the birth. Cant think of many guys that I'd feel good filling my spot. Kinda like allowing one of your buddies to live with your wife while you were away. Well not quite that extreme but taps into some of the same feelings I suppose. Just as long as he doesn't make my "wife" band happier than I do then l be good He's an amazing musician and good person all around and honored he was able to step in.
Overall it's been a very impactful week emotionally, spiritually and physically. The response for the record has been amazing. 7d has been at this since 95 and to still have the support of fans and family and to be able to tour with a attentive audience is very rare in this business. Long term anyway. I've seen a lot of bands come and go, a lot of the industry has changed. The entire landscape of the music business has changed and yet here we are, making records and surviving and still growing I'd like to think.
After taking a year off I think it helped our band in many ways, it helped us on a personal level. I think anyone that does a job long enough no matter how good or glamorous it seems, needs to step away from time to time to gain perspective. It's very easy to start taking advantage of things, start feeling entitled, forget where you came from and why you do it. When that happens egos come into the fold, bands start forming clicks and each person starts believing they have the answers, resentments that pile up and aren't resolved start bursting out during a small argument over tooth paste or eating someone else's bread.
Taking a step back allows you to appreciate things again, to process resentments and to well, grow up.
Also it gives the fans a break as well. To miss the connection. The community of it. The gathering experience, strangers cramming into a room to bond over music and lyrics and feed off that energy from the live show. It's very much a type of church. I gain the same positivity from it.
Being a father and husband is no longer the second priority in my life. It's number one. I used to live and die to play music and everything else was on the back burner. I think it's necessary in the beginning when your younger to do that to compete in the music world for some. Now I play music to live and provide. The drive is just as strong if not stronger because my motivation is to take care of my family. Making the people who support our band happy is very much high on the list but at the end of the day, as long as the focus is there the music has a good chance of not suffering reguardless of the motivation.
I honestly don't remember life being this good for this long. I've had many ups and downs and feel very awkward in happiness. I've always thrived off of darker times to write about. I wouldn't say I was negative, just drawn to that darker place for creative purposes. When things are good I always look around the corner and think "ok what's getting ready to happen"
Life will always keep coming at me, there will be very hard times ahead, but today things are good and I can accept these days and live in these days and keep it simple. After losing my father last year I gain a whole new appreciation for music, family and life in general. My dads last gift to me.
I'm gonna rejoin the tour mid April depending on my wife's recovery and after I have a little bit of time to bond with my daughter. The band has been supportive to this and most of them didn't have nearly this much time to spend with their children and basically hit the road again after a few days. So I'm fully aware of how lucky we are. I think this year is gonna be good. I try not to project, or set expectations on the future. Just do what's directly ahead of me. And tonight I'm right where I should be and the rest of the guys are pushing forward the only way 7d knows how to.
I remember after my son being born, I wanted to take on the world and I'm sure my daughter will have the same affect. It will be hard leaving another loved one behind but again I take that as it comes. My wife is amazing through all of this. She is by far the heart beating in my chest. She supports me through good and bad. Great mother and faithful wife. She's grounded and accepts the quirks that come with being with a musician. I don't ever lose site of the fact that if I live right, things turn out right. I want to have character and make some sort of difference in this world. I've done my share of damage, been selfish and dishonest. Been careless and thoughtless on all levels. So I dare not judge or put myself above or below others. I changed that behavior drastically based on my faith in God, love from family, fellowship and fatherhood. I don't want to just take from life I wanna give something from time to time.
I'm gonna wind it up and wait for my wife to wake up and have this baby girl ( Evie). I guess to wrap it up ill say I may not deserve these blessings but I certainly will accept them and try to do the things that merit them. I want to be a good father, husband, friend, band mate and musician. I hope you have peace in your heart and I plan on doing these every week to mark periods of time in my life and to share with my kids one day. And to give you very bored people some very scattered, random and mushy things to read from a grateful guy who escaped a bitter end, for today
Much love and respect
Well hello there-
Posted on 01/05/13 by Clint
Well, its been so long since I've done one of these I'm not sure where to start. Let's see, a lot has happened since my last entry. A new 7d record, found out I'm having a daughter, moved my family into a house. Life's just moving right along. Few 7d shows here and there. Played Ship rocked with some other bands we're friends with. Produced a few projects, did some co writes with some bands and artist. Sounds busy and guess what, it has been. But that's life.
The beauty in all of this is that I've managed to stay sober and somewhat sane. For me, staying sober and clean gives me a chance to absorb reality, to live in today, be present for my family and band members. To take whatever life dishes out good or bad, instead of hiding behind a mind altering substance which I did most of my life. Being in the music business has been a huge blessing and rewarding but has it's share of obstacles which I've shared. I like to keep it honest these days and this blog will be just that. I like to think I'm becoming a realist. That can be a good and bad thing. On the negative side it can mean a diluted ambition or a limited expectation and have a lil less of the childhood dream. When you play this long and tour this long you see the patterns of each cycle play out in a similar way and you start making adjustments. When I say that I mean that you start cutting out unnecessary energy spent on hoping and relying on labels or managers to make miracles happen. On the positive side, you start to find a deeper connection and reliance with the fans of the music.
There's a predictable formula labels and industry people use to deliver music to people and I think people are starting to get tired of it. Band does record every couple of years, band releases single, band does interviews for the record, label hypes up record for two months leading up to release, puts together packages and bundles to get the early buyers, if the single does good the label will actually keep promo up after the release of the record, but if it doesn't they quickly pull marketing and then it comes down to touring to keep a band alive and out there in peoples faces. Touring for us, is the single and most powerful tool we have and is the heart of our survival. We have never made any real money from record sales, and now that record sales have become less of a factor in our existence and people don't buy as much of it, we're are grateful we have a solid fan base built on touring. In the labels defense though, bands have started to make safe records that have little to do with being real and raw. It's starting to fit in a formula. We've been guilty of a few of those songs let's be honest
Not sure why I'm talking about this, I guess it bothers me sometimes to see the music business change and struggle but sometimes I get excited. Because every decade or so things burn out and people get annoyed with the system and this always gives birth to a new age of music and pioneers are born. Bands and artist that complete change the way the game is played, creative industry people come up with ways to deliver music to the listener and actually develop bands instead of build them. I always say theres a 15 year old kid in a garage playing some instrument in a completely different way or singing about new things and is getting ready to take over and that will spark someone else to think outside of the box and behold an actual musical revolution.
Over all I'm happy to be a musician, I genuinely enjoy creating music still, I love playing shows. The elements that surround it, the party lifestyle, the time away from home and grind of it all, that gets old but it's the price. I think it's a silly cliche to think you have to raise hell to exist out here but to each his own right? And any musician that complains about being on tour gets called out for being a crybaby and has no right to complain. I get that too. A lot of things I hear band guys say I can't believe. The entitlement and self centeredness is unreal but not everyone. I'd like to think 7d is a band of the people. We're some normal guys that got a very lucky and significant opportunity to make a living at this. I don't think we have after all this time absorbed the fact that we have done what we've done. The thing we've heard our whole career is, "you guys should of been bigger" well of course we wish certain things happen but think about it, we have had a solid career. Some bands have certainly done more, sold more and had a higher peak but some of them are gone. I think for the type of guys we are, the mild success train was exactly the one we needed to be on.
I'm excited for the new 7d record, I'm excited to learn more as a producer and do more co writes with bands. I've made my living this year producing and co writes. It's been a challenging and rewarding experience for me. Working with new bands reignites my own ambition and blind faith. Some of them have been not so great of an experience. Some bands and artist have issues with taking outside advice on they're music or they already know it all. Which is funny and I always think, why am I here, if you have the answers why not just make it happen? But those are few and far between. I'd say 85 percent of the people I've worked with are amazing and a pleasure. It's about doing the work. A lot of people want the benefits but don't wanna do the work. My response, there's a million people out there that are dying to make it in this business, you compete with that so if your not willing to sacrifice then someone else will. That goes for our old asses too If we aren't willing to put work into our show and presentation live then we will see a weak result. People who pay money want to see a band that actually delivers a show and cares.
I'm blabbering and coming off like I know more than I do. The fact is, I don't have all the answers. I have more to learn, more stones to turn. I have made my share of mistakes on this earth and will make more. Today though, I am a happy man. My wife and son have giving me the deepest happiness I could imagine. My family has supported me. My mother, father(RIP, )brothers, sisters, cuzins, friends, band members, fans(friends) wow, how lucky am I to have so much love in my life. To wake up knowing that the most important thing is family. The fact for me is music is my job, it's my career, it's a part of me. My life is family, they both support each other. Without the other they can fall down. I played for many reasons but the main one now is to support them, I just happen to love doing that. I'm excited about the future, my lil baby girl that's coming soon in April. Hope you have a great 2013. Whoever reads this, thanks for indulging in my long winded blog and hope peace is in your heart.
We all deserve to be at peace.
Posted on 08/14/12 by Clint
Sitting on a plane, just leaving the first call me no one tour ever. So many different emotions. First one is a true feeling of accomplishment. In the beginning of this project there was a whole set of challenges, the getting approval to do it from 7d camp, the money to do it, the label choice. Then the internal doubt, can I sing a records worth of material and it be interesting enough to hold people's attention. Will it be musically different enough from 7d to justify doing it? Well I believe some of the challenges have been met but it has been a very humbling process to do so. Nothing about this has been easy but nothing ever is.
Because this is what people in the industry like to call "baby band" its kind of a thorn in the side of people who are used to working for 7dust, which is easier in every sense of the word. It has a loyal following of fans that we have worked hard for over 15 years. So if your a label or manager it's what I personally like to call a "auto pilot" career band. It's easy to book because we've played everywhere and have a certain number we reach, we release a record and the word of mouth from our amazing fan base and social media sites let the fans know the records out. So the label basically has one job, make the records available to you. With iTunes now that's as easy as clicking a button so now real work there. It's the fans that keep us alive. Of course there's more involved than that but the real work happens for new bands that don't have this history and exposure older bands have. You have to hit the concrete and tour, the label has to do promo and create awareness. The managers have to filter this, make big choices on the development, hustle tours, work magic. Its the real work they get paid for. So if you had a choice, would you wanna work with a band that's been around and has a built in fan base, built in crowd and built in record sale.? Or a brand new band that needs tons of money, resources, hours of phone calls and tons on discouraging Nos, and inching and clawing your way on tours only finding yourself not making the commissions the well known band can make for you. You basically have to work less for more money so of course you pick the big band.
Well CMNO isn't well known so doors do not open so easily. Which is fine but very annoying when all you want is a chance. To compete with other bands. After battle after battle and being told you will lose a ton of money going out on tour, what do we do. Embark on a two week test tour with NonPoint and Eye Empire. Morgan and I pull in two amazing guys Alan and Rek and basically cut our teeth for 13 shows. Every night, learning the songs while performing them, me having to handle playing guitar and singing songs that aren't exactly easy to sing live. Finding a flow with the crowds, trying to create a atmosphere that goes with the music. We collectively enjoy the darker moody vibe on stage, the minor key world, the cynical views of the world.
Now comes the after tour depression, when you have a good time on tour and you feel like your making headway its tough to say goodbye to the tour family. With me it's a Lil easier because my home life is amazing. My relationship with my wife and son are strong and I cherish my time with them. I still adapt to being gone to survive out there and it takes a day of two after getting home to stop missing my tour family. I had an amazing time with this band, the bands we were out with. The crews we worked with. Everybody. Blessed.
Now it's time to put CMNO on a small hold to do the new 7dust record in Sept after a much needed break of course. It's hard to switch musical gears but the 7d formula is solid and we've had just long enough of a break to be excited about this. Well I'm excited. I think the others are too. But I will be thinking about the great experience I had with CMNO and hopefully retain that excitement for 7d, that new energy and hope that maybe this record will be the one. This hopeful feeling is what most bands lose after a few years. Not me, I'm gonna be a dreamer till the day I die. I will always feel like there's something we can try to push us to the next level. Otherwise, why make records. For money? I'm not rich, not close. I'm as blue collar as you can be in the music business, I operate on humility because it's that humility that keeps our feet on the ground and our faith alive.
I'm ready to transition back to the easier path that is 7d but it's still hard reinventing your band after years and tons of records. But I'm ready for this. It's a self produced record we're doing and damn it, it's gonna be intense and solid at the end of the day. After that, who knows, hopefully a lot more CMNO dates and music. I wanna keep doing this until I can't do this. It's all I know.
God bless y'all and see you on the other side of the 7d record.
Well maybe I'll see you before