The Indie-Rock Attitude

I spend a lot of time surrounded by music. I really do. I am most at home with tunes from some form of speaker drifting toward my awaiting eardrums. It’s not that I am afraid of silence. Honestly I love silence (awkward silence in particular). However, given the option, I will choose music. Chord structure, tempo, harmony and melody make me move.

As I write this, I am in a local club, listening to some local talent, waiting for the band I manage to take the stage. I have worked for years, honing my own skills, singing and playing in a handful of bands, almost making it to coveted status of “national”, but coming up just short when the band I was in at the time, decided to defect from our style and negate the negotiations we had with a large record company and forcibly retire me from their ranks, effectively extricating them from the deal. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not bitter. In many ways, I’m glad it happened. I say this to catch you up to where I am today. I now focus my musical efforts and energy into others.

I lead worship, which is first and foremost not about me. I’m not singing about things, or myself, or a woman. I’m singing to and about the Creator of everything I can and can’t see. The other way I have refocused myself is by using my knowledge and experience to make others’ way in the industry a little easier by partnering with them in things that I wish I had had help in and being a sounding board for ideas.

Being on the other side of things has made me appreciate the position of people who I used to label “too old”. It’s funny how growing up and getting exposure to better music and more talented artists. The mere thrashing of heads and scraping of picks on distorted guitars doesn’t impress me any more. Granted, I do listen to some heavy music to this day, but it’s the polished, thought out kind. The “high lonesome sound” is something that takes maturity and a growing palette for unique sound.

Recently, though, I’ve found myself becoming somewhat of an elitist. I never sought to be the guy who inwardly laughs when he hears, “Have you heard the new (insert band name here) cd?” My first instinct is to correct. “Actually, it’s an album. CDs are a form of media. And no, I haven’t heard their new music, because it sounds exactly like everything else you hear on the radio. Oh, and to preempt you, I don’t listen to the radio much anymore, so I probably haven’t heard any of your other favorite bands either.” What is wrong with me? Why do I feel the need to belittle others musical taste? Just because they prefer their music less cultured and lyrically immature, doesn’t mean that they are wrong. It’s music and I’m getting full of myself when I get to a point where I think what I like is the only good variety.

I think a lot of us in our mid to late 20s are fighting this. Whether we realize it or not, we’re imposing our indie lifestyle on others and belittling them for not adhering to our dress code of thick framed glasses, beards and plaid shirts. We see a guy with makeup around his eyes, or super huge pant legs and assume we’re better. More mature. Keener of mind. Smarter. Of better stock in our friends and surroundings.

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We are wrong. I don’t have much more to offer than that, because I don’t think I’m quite there yet myself, on the road to humility. I can however point in a direction. Straight up. When we begin to meditate on our actions, even if in hindsight, we will start to understand things about ourselves, and how we can model ourselves after Christ more effectively. Only after we know our shortcomings, can we begin to ask for refreshing by the Spirit in those areas.

Music is my passion, and so I know my place is to reach people through it. I’ve started keeping a firm latch on my tongue, and simply letting people talk, when I’m tempted to begin forcing myself on people. And I’ve noticed more people are asking for my opinion. What other parts of your life could you be doing the same thing? How many things to do cherish that you could let go of, to ultimately save someone from something so much worse?

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