The Beautiful Decay of Family Life

What is it like working with family?
I get this question a lot. The whole band does. It makes sense why people would want to ask. I imagine it's like a single child asking a friend what it's like to have siblings, or vice versa. And the answer is probably the same:
it's all I know... how else could it be?
That's usually my answer when I don't have time to elaborate, but that's only part of the answer and here I have time.
I have worked with other people outside of my family. Having had a few jobs other than music. I've been a teacher, a writing lab coach, a pizza maker, a waiter - the only time I've been fired so far...- a photography assistant among other odd jobs... did tile work, built a patio, etc.
All jobs with strangers and friends. I found in all my jobs a closeness bonding co-workers, whether or not I personally liked them. We spent hours grinding away together, doing our jobs, helping each other out. Sometimes competitively, sometimes cooperatively.
There are also the small moments, the lulls when daily conversation reveals more and more until you really start to know people.
But in all my other jobs, that closeness ended with my shift. With a punch-out-the-clock goodnight wave and  "see ya tomorrow," as the door closes at my tired feet.
With a band there is no end of shift. You are the band at every moment. An intense intimacy that could only be compared to a few life experiences. One of them being actual blood family, and military. On the road, at home, day in day out, there's always each other. There's only each other. And like every family, every band is different. Each with unique bonds, unique stories, unique dynamics. Forget what you think you know about the way bands operate.
I will give a secret, the image of the band you see in press or on-stage, "Lead" Members, "Support", who is in charge, who does the work, who takes the credit, is mostly a story pulled from strands of truth and woven into a web of quotable press releases and stereotypes. Don't believe it. Don't worry about it. Just listen. 
There are moments to bind together in the absolute machinery of compulsive searching, and a continual tension eating away at weak resolves of empty hearted hunters.
A knowing that goes beyond words. To feel what your band mates feel. To know what they will say before they say it. To intuit each other's playing. All of these are components of band relationships. All bands are families. Blood or no. You're in it together. And just like families, some survive, some divorce. For reasons only they know. They grow, together, apart. In the dynamic of all life. Every day. Every show. Every rehearsal. Every shared hotel room or long van ride. Every lunch stop. Every fight and laugh in the late-night, drunken re-birth. *
Sitting together after doors have closed. Gear packed. The unforgiving lights pushed off the last stragglers, and in the salty after-show sweat, sore-foot release; a night ending sigh and a cold beer. Words between soldiers. Re-affirming the fight, or a look like  death on our faces.  
I see it in other bands, not just mine. I can't speak for everyone, but I see it. The connections. All bands of siblings. Every other band cousins. It's love, wounded pride, surprise, disappointment, and all the beautiful decay of family life.

to be continued....

-rene



On a walk along the Cibolo
The Path. Bent legs extend across the green tides.
Life in-absentia.
Looking to the water for so long years grew under me.
River cut by generations of wakes. 
Weak leather souls worn down
Raised grass slid between my toes along The Gone Path.
Great white legs of the south lawn stood and left
While I wait for your return.
I want to walk you again.

*Image Source: http://www.mcapozzolijr.com/pictures/beacho.jpg