“This is the year I do it.” I said to myself on New Years Eve 2012, among hundreds of tourists on the Brooklyn Bridge, waiting to celebrate the change into a New Year,
“This is the year of 100 performances.”
I had dreamed of being a famous musician in an indie rock band ever since I first heard The Beatles (like so many rock and roll aspirations begin). But my musical journey hasn’t been easy: I’ve been in groups that have had promise and fallen apart, shows that have been booked and missed, and I have seen weeks of disregard for my craft and dozens of songs left unfinished. In spite of this, I when I closed my eyes at night to go to sleep, I saw this same vision of myself as a rock star, and I saw my future self on stage, surrounded by thousands of fans, living a life playing the music I love. It would all happen one day soon. One day soon…
That “one day soon” was never coming. After an argument late November of last year, someone sent me a text that said “You are never going to be famous.” It hit me hard, and I sat around and thought for a while. I had a feeling in my stomach that this person was right.
Why couldn’t I find the focus to become the person I wanted to be? Was it because of laziness? Was it because I talentless? Was I deluded?
I found out it was because of fear. I was severely afraid of many things, and made excuses to avoid facing them. I was afraid of humiliation, criticism, neglect, and failure. Most of all, I was afraid of losing my little vision I had at night after I closed my eyes–my comforting fantasy–of myself on stage with my thousands of fans. If I set out to make myself famous and got shot down, that consoling dream would die.
So as I looked out over the bridge on New Years Eve with all these thoughts of failure circling my brain, I decided to take the chance and become part of something real. My solution was 100 performances in the year of 2013, a test of will and endurance, a coming of age, to see if I could make it, or if my nighttime delusion would shatter forever.
It is now August 2013 and I have performed 81 times.
What I have seen in these last 8 months has been a journey, to say the least. I have played in grungy bars with my indie rock band, ritzy West Village cafes, unpredictable open mics, sunny outdoor festivals, and dark New York City subway stations. My fears of humiliation, criticism, neglect, and failing have all happened to me at one point or another. But I’m still here, and my dream is too. But my dream has changed: instead of comforting myself with that fake image of the stage and thousands of followers, I instead think about my next move, the next gig, next step in becoming who I was meant to be.
Ricky Demetro fronts an indie rock band, and will be contributing to the ‘Year of 100 Performances’ series throughout his journey. You can find his music here and purchase a CD or buy concert tickets here.