On being a fan
This morning in Iowa I awoke to a box full of records falling to the floor with a thud as my summer home turned a corner made for more nimble vessels. Sound seems to shake me from various states of sleep no matter the position of the sun or the aperture of my eyelids, these days.
Yesterday, it was the chime of a message from my brother, letting us know from another coast that he’d heard a song we’d just played live for the first time, barely finished, beaming through the radio in his car. Last night, it was a fan who’d had to wait nearly a decade to hear the songs we played ring through the speakers, and whose inability to keep from crying once the first chorus hit raised the presumed dead within me.
When an apology for the tears was passed my way, it was all I could do to simply offer my gratitude for the shared emotion. What’s easy to forget no matter which side of the stage you’re on at any given time, is that in deciding on music, whether for an evening, a lifetime or some portion thereof, we are deciding together to let go, to fall apart, to embrace each other as parts of a whole, if we’re to approach it with any honesty at all.
I am such a huge fan of all of my friends, and the depth of appreciation I saw last night in a small town in Illinois gave me pause to hope that I tell them often enough how much they inspire me. To get a chance to show each other the raw emotion that we evoke in one another, during even just the performance of everyday life, a complex and daring act in itself if done right, is one of the most amazing opportunities we have at hand. If you ever feel the need to freak out about a piece of art, a song, a single syllable, something that someone made, by all means - freak out. The world needs more of us who are willing to dance, scream, shout, lose our minds and jump for joy, even if - especially if - it’s right in the faces of our friends and peers. We could all use a little encouragement to get a little weirder and wilder every day, without worrying about being cool and collected.
After a spring of working on new music with many friends old and new, the band and I have packed our things and joined the growing McMahon family, Andrew and his wife Kelly, road dog Doris Day and new baby Cecilia, for some dates throughout the country debuting material as Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness for a record I’m happy to be a small part of, with a single out today called Cecilia and the Satellite. Tonight we meet up with Matt Nathanson, and tomorrow, Gavin DeGraw, for a summer of wandering and singing, and I hope our little family band will find you along the way.
From a bus with a wheaton terrier in the driver’s seat,
Clark W. Griswold