Managing Your Creativity: Watch out for the Ones Closest to You
Poor Yoko Ono. History has not been kind to her. Still to this day, she receives the blame for breaking up the world's greatest band. But perhaps this is unfair. Maybe there's something bigger going on here than one nagging wife telling her husband he was too good for the others and perhaps this thing going on applies to EVERY band, not just the Beatles. It boils down to answering this question which each band member eventually asks himself -- who do I play for?
Do you play for your wife (John for Yoko)? Do you play, for example, for society (Joan Baez railing against the Viet Nam war)? Do you play for yourself (Many in this category and usually ones who last longer than the others) or, perhaps more plausibly, do you play for your peers? You know who I'm talking about. That group of people whose opinion and support you rely on in ALL matters of your life, not just music. Though all of these can be valid, none perhaps is as effective as the peer group
After all, the peer group is responsible in a lot of ways for getting you to where you are. It is out of impressing your friends and receiving their accolades that may have inspired you to pursue music in the first place. It was indeed the peer group who every musician, at first, aims to please. But does there come a time when this becomes more harmful than it is good? A snicker or sneer from your peer group and you'll scrap a song you may have worked months on. A caustic comment . . . "You should get a better drummer," or . . "that lead player is not over-the-top enough" or "your bass player is an asshole." Any of these can set a band's inner chemistry spinning -- if the artist lets it. How does one keep this from happening? In essence, keep the caustic comments of peers from wrecking one's relationship in a band just like it wrecked the Beatles?
First of all, you must recognize that the so-called support of many within a musician's peer group is a facade. What do your friends really think about you up on stage while they are confined to the audience? What do they really think about you living your creative outlets while they perhaps languish alone? What do they really think about the camaraderie and the power you experience of having brothers in arms within the power model of a band that supports your creativity while they are alone, relegated to the bleachers of fandom? And finally, and perhaps most important, what do they think about you spending time with band mates at the expense of spending time with them?
Well, like all things, it depends on the character of those individuals who make up your support group. Some friends root for you in ALL endeavors. They are NEVER jealous of your accomplishments and they support you truly when you fail. God bless your good fortune if this is your case. But, on the other hand, there are others who are quick to wreck what you have.
It reminds me of the guy in the casino who has just hit a big jackpot. He sits there admiring his good fortune while everyone nearby ogles his good luck. Watch the body language of those around him. Almost all say "Congratulations" but you can see in some the envy too. Believe me, many of them wish it was they who hit the jackpot and NOT you. Some even despise you for your success.
It's wonderful if you have been lucky enough in life to have found people close to you who truly root for your success always. And don't be too harsh on those who needle you with comments which disparage your enthusiasm. After all, you were like them once. You just got lucky and found a group (your bandmates) that have thrown in their loyalty and dedication to helping you achieve your creative destiny as well as their own. Wouldn't it have been grand if John Lennon had said this to Yoko . . ."Thanks love for your advice but those guys are my brothers in arms and as long as we're making good music, I'm sticking with them and by the way, why don't you go work on one of your paintings. When I get back from the studio, it would be good to take a break and see something from the art world."