I’m standing on the terrace of this fabulous house overlooking the ocean, the sun sinking into the blue horizon on a perfect Spring evening. I’m playing my guitar, wailing out some tunes to no-one and nothing but the scenery by way of a rehearsal for a forthcoming gig and I’m feeling pretty good about it. I’m floating away on this pink, fluffy cloud of romance halfway through the second chorus of Fire and Rain, when a guy from the house next-door steps onto his terrace and asked me if I can keep the noise down because he’s trying to get the kids to sleep.
It would be different if I was famous. If I was famous the neighbour would have blustered and apology, called his wife, got the children out of bed and they’d have all stood there, videoing me on their phones and tweeting their mates. But I’m not famous. I’m just that irritating bloke with a guitar they have the misfortune to be staying next door to on their holiday. When it comes right down to it famous people are a statistical anomaly, this is the reality musicians have to deal with.
It’s been my life from the age of ten when I saw A Hard Day’s Night and wanted to be a Beatle. Driving my parents mad thrashing out chords on my first guitar, loud rehearsals with school friends in our garage obsessing about how many watts our PA could deliver, pub gigs, bad demos, bad hair, dodgy studios, disappointments with record companies, accidentally shagging the drummer’s girlfriend, road trips, tribute bands, folk clubs, working man’s clubs, weddings, bar mitzvahs and the occasional embarrassing media exposure.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t reach for your dreams but it might take a while so it’s better to enjoy the process than suffer from it. And here I still am; still writing, still playing and still loving every minute. I’m not famous but I don’t care.
Of course some royalty cheques would have been nice.