What If? Damocles was in a Band.

The angry music of Rise Against defined much of my adolescence years. I was first exposed to them through a fellow high schooler yelling the lyrics to Prayer of the Refugee right in my face.

I always knew that if I was to join a band, it would have to be a rock band, in particular it was going to be some edgy punk rock group.

So many of the angry voices that defined my adolescent years were dominated by these iconic early 2000s bands.

To name a few off my head: Linkin Park, Rise Against, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Rage Against the Machine, Green Day, Blink-182, Paramore … the list goes on and on.

And it all started when I was exposed to a whole new type of music in high school music classes.

As some of you might be aware, I was raised on a strictly classical musical diet. This meant that I was missing out on a whole host of musical types growing up and had no idea what was popular at the time.

Part of our high school musical education was performing in front of an live audience and getting together into a band.

My piano skills became hotly in demand, so I was actually recruited into two different bands.

Because of my advanced grade and experience, I actually found performing these songs extremely easy. I could play these chords in my sleep. They weren’t complicated nor particularly challenging.

But it didn’t matter to my teenage self. I was actually playing different music other than classical and I was in a band.

I had to work together with 4 different instruments and 4 different skill sets.

It was exhilarating. I loved performing with my new teams and I found a joy in live music and improvisation that I didn’t know was possible.

When we opened the wall and played in front of the school, I genuinely considered a career in music, because the adrenaline and seamless performance merged together into a beautiful symphony of energy and muscle memory.

I actually had a strange sensation of being fully engaged with the music and when I ripped my piano solo, it was a feeling unlike anything else I’ve ever felt.

It was just fucking awesome.

As for the name of the two songs that I performed live, they were:

Blink 182’s All the Small Things

Bon Jovi’s Livin’ On a Prayer

I don’t remember everything during the performance, but I do know that my fingers have never more smoothly and confidently across a keyboard than during my live performance of Livin’ On a Prayer. I was just in sync with every band member.

I could read their rhythm, feel their pulse and anticipate tricky moments.

It was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced and I loved every second of it.

That is the power of a band that is completely in tune with each other, and they have such synchronicity, that they will outperform anything in the world.

I was too shy to continue playing with these guys afterwards.

Back then, I didn’t know if I would fit their clique and I still somewhat regret not asking to join their band to this day. They were too tall, cool and confident.

I was none of those things.

But with the power of rock, I could tap into some of those qualities.

Playing rock music just does something primal to you. It’s difficult to describe and in a lot of ways, I’ve been chasing that base experience ever since with my growing rock collection of music, that I inevitably just head-bang to constantly.

I’ll also admit that there is a big desire to jam out with my friends every weekend, just making noise and having fun. Whether we would perform, is another question entirely, but the idea of just opening a garage and jamming out for the whole neighborhood to hate or love is such an inviting one.

I already have a keyboard at home and it is something that I should tinker with more. I should probably practice more scales and learn how to read notes again, something that I used to do with such ease, but now struggle with.

If I was in a band, would I enjoy anything more? Probably. I think meeting and jamming with new people would really expand my horizons and make me more deaf than I already am.

It would also be nice to share my music taste with similarly minded people. I don’t really discuss music enough with the people around me, because in a way, it is a very private thing to me. I fear that feeling when people I know listen to the stuff I jam out to, and don’t like it.

But with a band, I guess I don’t have to be afraid of that feeling. I can just enjoy playing my favourite songs with other people and really have a good time.

Of course, I’m glamourising the experience, because in reality, it would be 80% grinding away at the same song for ages, until we get it right. That is the frustrating and slow reality of music.

Is that 20% sensation worth it?

I get the feeling it’s only valuable and exciting when you perform in front of an live audience and can feed off that energy to reach another level of harmonization.

But hey, that’s the point of a band. You sweat, toil, grind and jam away until you get good together and then you put everything on the line with live feedback.

I’m not afraid of the crowd, never have been. I would be nervous though if I didn’t trust my band members.

That is what makes it so interesting. Alone, I can tackle anything, but in a band, I need to work as a team and learn to trust others. I’ve always struggled with that … learning to believe in others and there is nothing more important in a band than that innate belief and trust in your fellow performers.

It’s what bond complete strangers together and bring them closer.

Music is a highly fundamental part of my existence. I am constantly listening to music, whether it is at work, or at home. There is an innate need in my very soul that requires music at every opportune moment.

I always need to have some sort of soundtrack going for my life and the idea of leaving the house without headphones genuinely feels strange to me.

I just can’t function with music.

Joining a band would probably help me focus on something in a strange way. Ever since I’ve stopped playing the piano, occasionally I do get these niggling feelings of performing again.

Those phantom feelings actually bother me, because I know that I have some modicum of talent when it comes to music, and that I can tell that I am wasting that skill by not practicising it.

That’s the worst part of it all, if I am honest. Feeling like I am wasting some ability, some gift that others wished they had, but I have the luxury of letting go to waste.

Ah hell, I really do need to pick up the keyboard again and let my fingers tap away again. Maybe once I feel very confident, I might actually look for a band that need a keyboardist.

No promises though, because I’ll be honest, I’d rather be writing, shooting or racing than being stuck at home, tapping away at keys for hours on end.

But it doesn’t hurt to practice an hour a day. Consistency is key after all, and I would like to rediscover my talent to the point where I can play something fun on a keyboard if the occasion calls for it.

Just don’t expect me to rip out some classical songs.

~ Damocles.

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