Years passed. I still loved God and prayed for his help every day, but couldn’t have felt farther away.
I felt closer to the music. Closer to the lyrics and the people who wrote them. I began going to concerts and experiencing the thrill of live music. During one of my first concerts, I was approached by the bass player of the band after the show. He asked me if I wanted to go get dinner with him. We wound up on South Beach at a pizza joint. I had never really talked to a guy in a band before…but this guy was so casual about approaching me and talking to me that it seemed normal. We began to date…or so I thought. Well, we really did date and see each other for several months. But, as I would learn, in the world of rock music, there’s no such thing as a monogamous relationship. At the time, I had no idea. He would call me all the time…each time from a different city. Every time he was in the state of Florida, no matter how far away, we’d arrange to see each other. He’d bring me backstage at different outdoor concerts where lots of other bands were playing. I got to meet tons of other musicians who I had long adored. I became sort of superficial friends with these people. We were friends, but we didn’t know each other very well. I extracted every ounce of meaning I could from these friendships though, since it was all I had. Once I realized that we weren’t exactly in a monogamous relationship, I broke things off with him, explaining that I wasn’t like that. He said that’s part of what he loved about me. But, that was it. We kept in touch for years through email and occasionally seeing each other at shows throughout the years. His band blew up and he became incredibly famous. Now, he’s married and has a child and I couldn’t be happier for him. 🙂
Meeting people backstage during our short lived relationship opened the world of rock music up to me. All the years of listening, singing along and playing guitar…and here I found myself standing on the side of the stage, watching these various artists perform. They momentarily took me out of my prison of depression and put me on a temporary high of music, glamor and partying. Let’s get this clear right now. I never did drugs and no, I was never a groupie. I witnessed those things…rampant alcohol abuse, drug use, random sex with girls who would appear out of nowhere. When I dated the guy in the band, he warned me to be careful of people…that because we were together, he said, people would try to use me. I thought he was being silly and paranoid and all but dismissed what he said. But, I kept it in the back of my mind…be careful, don’t get hurt again.
Like I said, I learned from him that there’s no such thing as a monogamous relationship for a musician. I never got into another relationship with an artist again. I had random times of partying a little too hard, perhaps a little too much drinking and I’d make out with someone…but that was it!! I got to meet and party with Korn multiple times. You can imagine how giddy I was inside…of course, outside, I was trying to play it totally cool. They offered me weed and I said no. They countered with “but this is Korn crypt, you’ll never have anything better”. I told them I never smoked before and they responded with “Great! Even better for this to be your first hit…c’mon, you’re with Korn, man!!” Yeah, I was with Korn. But, I passed. I was told I was messing up ‘the rotation.’ At the time, I had no idea what that meant.
I loved going to concerts. It was my time to come alive and enjoy myself, if only for an evening. Every time I met one of my musical idols, I had an even better time. Knowing these people and even simply meeting them, made me feel important. It was the first ounce of importance my soul had felt in years. I went to hundreds and hundreds of concerts over the course of 15 years.
A friend introduced me to a guy who was in a local band. I heard my ex’s words ringing in my head, “be careful…people will use you”. I thought he just wanted to use the people I knew in the industry to get his band signed. As it turns out, he went to my high school…but with my little brother!!! He seemed super cool and we continued to hang out. We eventually became best friends. I’d do merch for his band at all the local shows. Doing merch means selling their merchandise, manning the table, selling CDs, t-shirts, hats, hoodies, etc.
It was around this time that I found myself longing for God. I was pining for my long lost relationship with God, my Father. I mean, I did have a relationship with him…it just felt distanced. I had no desire to go back to church, but I had a desire to fully reunite with God. I prayed a quick prayer that God would then give me the desire to go to church. I thought listening to a sermon would be the best way to get pulled back in with the Lord. But, I needed the desire to actually go.
By the following Saturday, I had an undeniable, burning desire to go to church. Well….who woulda thunk it? 😉