I question many of the paths i've taken in life on a regular basis; i'm about as self-critical as Nyjer Morgan is delightfully batshit. That criticism has been cranked to Code Orange levels in recent weeks due to my current unemployment. Is my 1997 BS degree in radio-tv-film worth anything? What if i had studied something more marketable and not concentrated so much on rock 'n' roll? Would i be flailing about looking for writing jobs that i'm not even confident i'm qualified for? Have i failed in my attempts to balance band and job?
The grass is always greener, right? My sister and her husband have put together a steady, stable family with a house they'll have paid off in no time, awesome kids, and what i can only assume is more financial security than i have. I have, to this point, traded that in for tours and nights spent on floors in remote American cities.
And then there's the stereotype of "band guy" that i always imagine that i'm fighting against (which may be one of those self-imposed standards that this article warned me about not long ago). Whenever a friend has made a joke about old dudes in bands, as if someone over 30 who still plays music is automatically clinging to some sort of childish dream of fame and fortune, i bristle, because that's not me. On the other hand, i've spent enough hours promoting us and trying to get as many people as possible to hear us, that i can't deny that it's thrown my life out of balance on several occasions.
The response to Elliott's accident, however, has served to remind me that i'm still on the right path. In the last day and a half i've seen an emotional outpouring for him that includes friends that he's met in all corners of the country and across the pond. I defy anyone who hates on social media to dispute the impact of dozens of get-well wishes, spanning pages upon pages of a Facebook wall and an EA Forum discussion thread. If it doesn't thrill Elliott upon his awakening (and it will), it has comforted his family and friends while he sits in an induced coma in an Austin ICU.
I touched on this briefly during the NAP JUSTICE recap, but this is what this silly indie rock thing is all about: community and family. We don't tour the country playing our music in front of indifferent drunks in Denver in order to get famous. We do it because the quest to find like-minded souls is its own reward in so many ways. That Elliott has so many brothers and sisters spread across the world who love him is proof that he's on the right path as well--even if that path is what led him to his accident. If there's one positive thing i can take away from this goddamn tragedy, it's a reminder that community is everything. It doesn't matter if it's indie rock, indie wrestling, Dungeons and Dragons groups, midnight basketball clubs, or even furry conventions; whatever crew you run with, that crew will be all you have left when everything else goes away.
Much of Elliott's circle of family and friends overlaps with mine, and knowing that we all are behind him on this one gives me a lot of solace in his current situation, as well as my considerably less significant trials. I know that there are a lot of people out there who love me too, and that means more than anything record sales could ever provide.
Tomorrow, Elliott wakes and we find out what he's going to need next. I am confident that we, in some configuration, will see that he gets it.
We've got your back, brother.