When is it time? Playing out vs. staying home

     The title says it all. I've started asking myself this question a lot more frequently in the last year or so. When IS it time to sort of retire from gigging life, spend more time with the family, sell off some gear and play for my own pleasure at home when I feel the need? I'm mostly thinking out loud here but I know that time is coming sooner than later.

     I've always said that the real reason I perform is because of the people I perform in front of. It's not so much the band I'm playing with or the money I make. If it were, I'd be playing out much more than I do. I still enjoy it but I also enjoy spending time with my family. My kids are getting older now and even though I'm very lucky to be able to be around them much more than most dads, I still feel like I'm missing out on some things from time to time. Add in the usual music business drama and stupid stuff that seems to never go away, common sense sometimes tells me the headaches and aggravation aren't really worth it in the end.

     In the past 11+ years (since my oldest daughter was born), I've bought and sold so much gear that I could have opened my own music store if I had kept everything. It leads to the question: why? The answer seems simple....because in order to perform at the level I'm comfortable with, I need these certain tools like a carpenter needs his hammer or a doctor needs a stethoscope. That may sound funny, but other musicians reading this know what I mean. If I were to sell some of this stuff, I'd probably have a decent down payment for a new house.

     That also leads me to the recording side of my life. As some of you reading this know, I released my first ever solo instrumental album last year, Voiceless, which proceeds are being donated to Hasbro Children's Hospital to help fight Crohn's disease.  It was a great experience and I have a ton of people to thank for helping me out with it. I'm currently writing with a couple of friends of mine to hopefully release a new full band album. While I enjoy this, it's also time consuming and comes with many of the same downfalls as performing live does. With everything I do, I can't go at it half-assed or take my time, I need to go at it full steam and with everything I've got. I can't sit and relax until I'm satisfied that things get done. And as with performing/booking/practicing/tone chasing, not everyone is wired the way I am. Sometimes I have to step back and assess things to reel things back in. I guess what I'm saying is that it's not easy for me. To be honest, it does cause me stress that I really don't want or need anymore.

     What I've written about in this blog is something I'm fighting more and more, every day, every time I load my gear into my car to head to a show or sit down to lay down a guitar track. The end for me is not close but I'm much closer to the end than some of you reading this may think. It's becoming a constant minor struggle of "is it really worth all the time and money I put into it? Or would I be happier just picking up my guitar, in my home, and playing what and when I feel like playing?" I've been blessed with a great family, friends, opportunities to perform and record and I'm thankful for all of that. There just comes a time when it IS time. A time to just decompress from this whole business and try to relax and enjoy life. If there are any other musicians out there reading this that have had these same type of thoughts, I'd love to hear from you. After all, music will always drive me in life, but it may be getting to the time when I need to get behind the wheel and steer my path.