37 Comments

I love this! Thanks for sharing your story, Kevin. I can't play a lick, but I can write. So I relate.

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Apr 10Liked by Kevin Alexander, Jen Zug

I love music stories. Back in my gap year between high school and uni I was offered a job as a gofer on Chris de Burgh’s (lady in Red) tour of Germany - that after I showed I could fix things and I was flunef in German as well as English.

I said no because I had a plane ticket in my pocket to go to Australia a few days later.

Life could have been very different.

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That gap year job sounds fascinating!

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Jen. My gap year was indeed fascinating, I worked in a factory for the first part making engines for Bosch the German engineering company and then as a bellhop or porter in Stuttgart’a then plushest hotel.

That got me in touch with all kinds of people and certainly helped my German practice.

Only at the end did I run into that particular musician and it was just too late for me to go with him rather than off to Australia.

Actually, it is fair to say that at the time I did not understand some cost accounting. I was very focused on the money I had spent for the ticket to Australia and felt that not going would be a big loss.

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Apr 10Liked by Kevin Alexander, Jen Zug

It takes a lot of courage to admit that what you thought was a dream was actually a nightmare. When it gets to a point where your body starts screaming, there’s only one call to make, and this was the right one. As a huge fan of Kevin’s writing, while I’m sorry for the suffering this saga may have caused, I am so glad writing was his true passion, because it’s a win-win for all!

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Thank you, Andy!

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Apr 10Liked by Kevin Alexander, Jen Zug

Great story! Thank you for sharing. 🥁📝

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Thank you, Nicole!

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Apr 11Liked by Kevin Alexander, Jen Zug

Combine the best of both and take a shot at writing song lyrics Kevin. Or maybe you already do????

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Not yet! I like it, though. :)

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I just returned from an artists retreat where I attended a few workshops on songwriting, and it's super hard! I aspire, though!

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Apr 11Liked by Kevin Alexander, Jen Zug

I think we have all been there. I was a horrible singer. I remember being on stage in high school during our Concert Chorale final practice when the director called me out. I still feel my skin became hot and I started sweating profusely. I must have been beat red. Now I only sing when there’s nobody else around.

It was great seeing your photo. Now I know who resides behind the pen of On Record. I always get so more out of your column than I add. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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Thank you Margaret! I really appreciate that. We're all pop stars in the shower and/or car, right?

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"It was great seeing your photo. Now I know who resides behind the pen of On Record." I didn't even think about how he doesn't show his photo much (at all??) in his essays! What fun.

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I thought it was time to change things up a little bit. Plus having an avatar that says "Well, Shit" might not be the best for landing other writing gigs. lol.

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I adore this story Kevin, thank you for the vulnerability. I own two guitars and can't play either of them. Since they live in the office where I write, we have silent arguments every day on whether or not I should sell them so they can be appreciated by someone who knows what they're doing instead of acting as expensive decoration for a music writer who can't play music.

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Thank you, Jami! "Music wirters that can't play music." I love it. We hsould at leastget cool jackets or something!

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"We have silent arguments every day..." Oh my, I love this phrase and relate to it in many areas of life.

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Apr 11Liked by Kevin Alexander, Jen Zug

Great post! Stage fright is real and it ends the careers of many an aspiring musician.

Kevin's a great writer and I love his newsletter.

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Thank you, Billy! I As someone who *is* a successful drummer, I really appreciate your perspective here.

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Thanks, Kevin. I've never thought I was very successful at the drums since I've always thought success was like beauty; it's in the eye of the beholder 😁

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He *is* great! Thanks for hopping over here to read his story!

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Apr 11Liked by Kevin Alexander, Jen Zug

I LOVED ALL OF THIS SO MUCH!!!! I know you are being brutally honest in your assessment of your skill, but percussion IS HARD. There's a reason why it's called the heartbeat of the group, and fucking that up is lethal. You put yourself under so much pressure BUT...if you hadn't stuck it out and kept going, you would have spent your life wondering. Quest Love writes in his book, Creative Quest, that sometimes finding where you belong and what you're about (creatively) is actually recognizing what you're NOT about. I think I broke out in sympathy performance hives....I'm glad you landed on the page stage :)

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I am too, and thank you for the kind words! Fucking it up sure felt like death...

Note to self: Pick up Questlove's book!

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Apr 11Liked by Kevin Alexander

I used to do improv….so…like others on the creative Oregon Trail-have died many, many times. Quest’s book is awesome! Will definitely lift and inspire 💥

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Ohhhh thank you for the reminder of Quest Love's book! I've been consuming music documentaries and memoirs, so I'll have to add this one to my list.

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It’s fantastic! A lot of gentle wisdom and great writing. Dig in for an inspiration boost!

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Apr 11Liked by Kevin Alexander, Jen Zug

Thank you, Kevin! I've moved so many times and know all about those extra charges from the moving company, hauling around the supplies of who I was, until I finally figure out who I am, and can let them go. I'm learning—like you—that this is not loss, but gain.

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100%.

Letting go was drvien by financial (and space) limitations, but it was something that had needed to happen for awhile.

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Yes, this. I moved so many things around to multiple dwellings and am finally starting to get rid of things. I have a fear of leaving a big mess for my kids to sort through!

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Apr 11Liked by Kevin Alexander, Jen Zug

Great mini-memoir here, Kevin! I really enjoyed being in bands, although the interpersonal stuff could be a drag sometimes. And I may yet play bass again. But at a certain point I realized my gifts were more as a listener, which I melded with my lifelong love of writing to do what I do today.

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Thank you, Jeremy! You definitely have a gift for what you're doing.

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Ah, I know that dilemma; been wrestling with it my whole adult life -- making music vs. writing about music. I finally decided to do both. Thanks for sharing, Kevin. Rock on!

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Thank you, Dusty! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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Apr 18Liked by Kevin Alexander, Jen Zug

Appreciate this so much, on so many levels. I actually had a "semi-career" in music: Put in tens of thousands of miles in shitty vans, went to Europe and Japan a couple of times. But ultimately I had to let it all go. I was so bound to that identity that I began to resent music itself, believing it owed me something, when really it was the other way around. Thank you for this.

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Apr 29Liked by Kevin Alexander, Jen Zug

Wow, great, GREAT post!

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Thank you, Rebecca!!

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