The Hard R




Growth: Inside and Out

Being an artist is a rough deal. Don’t get me wrong, it’s the best thing in the world to be a creator of things, but the hardest part about being an artist is the lack of having a manual or playbook. It’s not like sports where you have a play you run or working at Borders or McDonalds where there is a set turn-key program of how the business works. Whether you’re a musician, writer or painter you make your own playbook as you create over the years and start to recognize what your voice is. Once you have your guidelines of how your art works it becomes easier to a certain extent but it also becomes more difficult to stick to those guidelines.

Take Hatebreed or Motorhead for example. They have a way they do things for years on end while establishing a hardcore fan base because they respect their general guideline for what they do. Our band is a little different. This has been our first band for the most part, so through out the years we’ve been honing our sound and changing with each album. Our newest unreleased album is the most refined record we’ve done to date because we’ve been able to establish our own set of guidelines for ourselves. Throughout doing this I’ve noticed something that this is sometimes hurtful to personal growth. When you attach yourself to your ‘idea’ of who you are as an artist it can become anchored in the art you’re doing at the time and you sometimes forget that your talent spans all types of art.

In 2002, we did a headlining tour for Determination and we brought out Avenged Sevenfold and Bleeding Through. These bands are huge now, but when we toured together none of us were well-known. The tour from our perspective was so bad that I thought about quitting the band. In those moments of thinking about quitting I latched on to writing films when we were off the road, while God Forbid was on down time. I guess it was a back up plan so-to-speak, but writing films is not any type of stable back up plan. I recognized that art is art whether you can turn an apple into a Sesame Street character or write kick ass metal songs.

If you’re currently in a successful endeavor don’t ever stop thinking about branching out and seeing how your unique talent applies to other types of art. The worst thing I see in a lot of aspiring artists is when they are so ambitious in getting that ‘one’ thing going they forget that there are other things they can and should do to add to their personal artistic growth. When Rob Zombie came out with White Zombie it was awesome. Everyone liked White Zombie when I was growing up listening to metal in the 90’s. When White Zombie broke up I was disappointed because I wanted to hear more stuff from them. But when Rob Zombie came out as Rob Zombie, something was happening for him that I didn’t see until now. When he was able to separate himself from the White Zombie brand to create his own brand it allowed him to go after the other things he wanted to do. Rob Zombie is a successful film director. Whether you like his movies or not, moving on from White Zombie to become Rob Zombie really expanded his horizon.

It’s awesome being in a band. It’s awesome to be a writer. But once your art defines you instead of you defining your art it can become a trap. I want a lot of the artists out there to think about what else they do really well. If you’ve been in a band for five years and it’s not been going to your liking, try to find something else that is exactly like playing music that you can do on your own. Music is self expression. You can express yourself in many ways as an artist. I express myself as a film writer and film junkie. I want to direct. Through learning the craft of film it’s made me appreciate music a hell of a lot more. I also realized that every artistic craft has basic principles for you to do well. If you take up something besides what you’re doing at the moment, you may recognize the things you aren’t doing in your current venture. Branching out may help you in succeeding with the project you may be struggling with. Once you’re able to see yourself as a personal artist who needs to express yourself you may see things from the outside in instead of the inside out when it comes to the project you may be struggling with.

Don’t be held down by your ambitions. Spread your wings and see what else is out there that will fuel your fire for your purpose!


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