Friday, July 29, 2011

Battle of the Band

I stumbled upon an old song the other day as I was skimming through the CD collection at my local library. As I held that old, scratched-up case in my hands, it got me thinking on the topic of dreams. Not the kind we have as we sleep, but those associated with where we hope our lives will end up. Have you ever dreamed of achieving something big, only to see that dream realized but then turn into something else? Something draining or negative or confining?

The CD that got me started on all of this was from a group that achieved their dream of writing songs, performing their music to sold out arenas, and being adored by a world-wide fan base. They even won a Grammy for best new group back in the early 1970s. Within just a few years, the trio of members who were all in their early 20s, when from a garage band to superstardom. They rode this wave for about 5 years and then their popularity began to noticeably wane. Within 10 years they no longer even had a recording contract.

They have been trapped in this mode ever since. Now some 30 years later they survive by touring as an oldies act. Gone are the private planes and limosines. Gone are the groupies and cultural relevance. 100 shows a year at small local venues and state fairs. Promoters requiring them to play the same set of a dozen songs night after night after night. Sure they put on a smile as they play to those small crowds, but I wonder if they feel like they are living out a real-life adaptation of Groundhog Day. I wonder if they are sick of the rut they must live in to pay their bills and whether they consider their careers blessed or cursed. I wonder if on any given night they ever feel that they can still do magic?