The power of music

Finally decided to watch the Jason Becker “Not Dead Yet”-documentary last night. Maybe not a party type of film, and maybe not your natural choice for a New Years Eve party, but we don’t always have time to get together and watch something, so it was a time as good as any.

I’ve had it for a while and wanted to watch it several times – but much like with a new album that you’re excited about, you want to wait for the exact right moment – because it’s like with any other first experience, you only get one shot at leaving a good first impression. And with some albums or movies – you WANT it to be just perfect.

Anyway, unlike most, I didn’t think of the Jason Becker story as a sad one – not necessarily. For obvious reasons I suppose it is sad that he was robbed of a career, of a life as a rock star and in a way even his youth.

But the main thing that I got out of that movie, is that the love and lust for LIFE is not based on what most think makes life worthwhile. It goes way beyond the superficial.

When they told Jason that most people die from his disease he responded “Well, I’m not”. Asked the question “Do you want to live?” his answer was “Hell yeah!”. And with the love and support from his family and girlfriend, friends and people all over the world, he kept going. He was stuck in a wheelchair, unable to do anything without help, but he was not about to surrender to his disease.

But most of all, I think that what gives him the strength to want to be around, is his love for music. It’s a force stronger than anything, and I can so relate to that. When you’ve got something to live for, that you’re passionate about, that you love so much your whole heart is filled with it… it can move mountains, and in Jason’s case – it can even give death the middle finger and a big “FUCK OFF!”

I guess that’s why I’m drawn to people who share that passion, because “regular” people just don’t get it.

FANS will do anything for their music.

MUSICIANS will do anything for their music.

Musicians nowadays aren’t in it for the money, for the fame and glory – because all that has pretty much been stripped away. It was a thing of the 80’s, when rock stars were larger than life and made tons of money. That lifestyle is long gone. If that is the motivation for getting into the music business, well – forget it. You ain’t getting that NOW.

Now, musicians have to put up with long tours in stinky tour buses, bad food, small clubs, very little money compared to what they have to endure. You give everything and you get little in return.

At least if you’re only looking at the financial side of things. But there are so many other things that are far more important and inspiring than just money. Musicians get to travel a lot, and experience different countries, even if it’s just at the venue or at the gas station.
I envy them for that. Yes, I travel a lot too, but it would rock if somebody was paying me for it. :)

Fans will stand out in the rain for hours, they will freeze their asses off waiting to see a band, they will walk in mud up to their knees, get crushed against the barriers, or pass out in the heat in the summer…. ALL because they love the music.

We’re all in it for the same reason, we love music. Some love to create music, others love to listen to it. But the fire and the passion is pretty much the same.

I’ve had a fantastic life so far and I owe it all to music. I could get hit by a truck and die today, and have no regrets, I can easily say that I’ve loved my life and eventhough I always have new goals and dreams, it’s still all good. And feeling that way is worth more than anything.

In Jason’s case, the passion for music keeps him going, where most regular people would have given up because they wouldn’t have had anything to live for. Jason does.

I’ve chosen to dedicate my life to music and the only people who could possibly understand what that means, are those who feel the same way.

I’m not burnt out, I’m not bitter, I’m not living by anyone else’s rules or expectations, I’m not being who others think I “should” be. It makes a difference,

All I need is my fix of a good concert or a great album – and the freedom to go anywhere I want to go, at any time, for any reason. Even if it’s just to see a local gig or say hi to a friend.

Years and years ago, I drove for 10 hours straight in snow storm to see the band Bad Habit at a small pub in Stockholm, The Anchor. Their set was maybe 40-45 minutes. After that, I drove all the way home in the middle of the night. So, 20 hours for 45 minutes and I still think it was fucking worth it! A “normal” person would never understand that.

A musician can spend weeks, months, rehearsing for a show that will only last for an hour, but it’s easy when you truly love what you do. I noticed that recently when we were in the studio working on that one song… I forgot all about time and space. We were in there ALL DAY and it felt like we just got there. It’s that creative environment, the excitement – just seeing something grow from nothing to something you think is great, it’s a kick beyond belief!

It’s not like a regular office-job where people are out the door the minute the clock strikes five. When you’re in the middle of doing something you love doing, you forget all about time.

I think music is like a religion, if you have faith in it, if you love it, if you live it, it will work wonders, it will even trick death and fatal diseases.

Jason Becker’s strength is fantastic. I don’t think of him as a victim, I think of him as an extremely inspiring and strong person, with a will of steel. I have nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for him both as a person and a musician. He had no power over what was happening to him, but he did have the power to decide how he wanted to deal with it. And he’s proven that when you truly love something, nothing can stand in your way. Not even The Reaper.

Get the movie – just get the movie for gods sakes. :)  

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