I am very confused right now.

A band that I gave my blood sweat and tears to is calling it quits. I found out on Facebook when I saw a post from one of the members about a farewell show.

I put a great deal of trust and faith in this band. We made great music together for a few years, then we had a falling out. We reconnected nearly ten years later, and we started making new music, and it was well received.

But then I told them I wanted the band to grow, and they said, ‘No, we’re not trying to grow, we’re just trying to have fun,’ and I said ‘Well, I can’t be a part of that. I’m trying to always grow. Growing is fun to me.’

That’s actually the same reason that things didn’t work out with Koffin Kats. I wanted to grow more than they wanted to grow. Our ambitions did not align. That’s been the story of every band I’ve been in. I’m tired of it.

I’ve been seeing a therapist for the last 10 months. I started seeing a therapist because I wanted someone in my life who I knew was intelligent and would ask me questions that no one else in my life would think to ask me, who is professionally certified to ask me these questions, and has my best interests totally at heart. A stranger, someone unbiased, to whom I can talk about the things that concern me most and get to the root of the issue.

Frankly, what concerns me most are my relationships with other people.

If it isn’t obvious by listening to my songs, I care about people. I care about making them happy. I care about being and doing my best.

When I first joined the band which is now having a farewell show, I knew that I was going to make them happy with my drumming. But I also looked at where they were at and asked ‘How can this band be better?’ and instantly it was obvious that the quality of their recordings needed to be better. The songwriting was on point, it always was, but they needed a better presentation of those songs.

So I talk everyone into driving to Indiana to record at a legitimate recording studio, with a producer who had worked on albums that we all loved.

Out of that recording experience came opportunities for pretty much everyone in the band: I got offered (and turned down) the drumming job for Rise Against, who at the time was first forming. Our guitarist went on to be guitar technician for bands like Queens Of The Stone Age. Our other guitarist ended up touring in a band with the producer. Our singer ended up joining a band and touring with them, and this particular band was the reason we recorded with this particular producer.

We all got to see our dreams starting to come true, and then we had the falling out, and we didn’t talk for years.

We reconnected in 2011 and recorded in my home studio an EP of songs that we had played live but had never recorded, plus a brand-new song that summed up our journey as a band. Things looked promising. It seemed as though we were going to start doing it again for real. We all seemed excited.

But everyone in the band had wives and children and lives and responsibilities, like we all do (well, I have an ex-wife and no kids, but definitely a life and responsibilities). For the other guys, the band was more about having fun and letting loose and relieving pressure from their lives than it was about moving forward, creating new things, picking up where we left off.

But we could have.

It’s easy to write new music. I do it often. And I know that one of the guitarists of the band does it often as well. He even formed another band which performs from time to time, and he’s the principal songwriter for the band, but he’s complained to me and shared with me his frustrations about working with that band. He wants more from them.

I think he wants, deep down, what I want. But I don’t think he believes that he is allowed. I wanted him to be part of the new band that I’ve been putting together, a band that is excited about where we’re going to be in 10 years, not just in 10 days or in 10 hours.

There’s part of me that regrets certain things that were said or done within the context of the dissolving band, but ultimately we are all where we are today because of the decisions that we made yesterday. It really pains me to see that a band that I put so much faith in is calling it quits, and not only am I not a part of the last hurrah, it’s not even a conversation that the rest of the band felt needed to happen with me, and that makes me sad, because some of the best memories I have as a musician involve being in this band.

I love these guys like brothers. I’m very confused.

 

John Kay
blog@therealjohnkay.com

Twitter: @therealjohnkay
Instagram: @therealjohnkay
Facebook: /therealjohnkay

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