Great thinkers, great movers and great artists all had to begin somewhere. That place is often far from the top of the charts, hidden in a neighbor’s basement or garage. Atop the musician food chain lies bands like U2 and Coldplay, and further down the road you see up-and-rising artists like The Fray or The Format. But before a band makes it to “up-and-rising” status (let alone full-on rock-stardom), they are unheard. One of these bands struggling for recognition is AG Silver.
You probably haven’t heard of AG Silver before. Their album isn’t at Barnes and Noble, they have no video on MTV, and they have no record contract. They cut and mixed their own album and released it a month ago at a C.D. release party.
The struggle of a band trying to make it in the world isn’t unlike any most people’s personal struggles. Part of AG Silver’s struggle is merely continuing to believe in themselves. The struggle to maintain identity is a battle that we fight everyday. We live in a place between heaven and hell where people can be both liberated to be all of the person they are intended to be and repressed into giving up on their dreams. People that stay true to themselves and persevere through doubt often go on to do great things.
I met with AG Silver and heard a piece of their story. They are the conglomeration of an accountant (Steve, bass), two men in instrument retail (Chris, guitar and Craig, drums) and a concert promoter (John, vocals, guitar, keys). Though outwardly normal in appearance, these men have something undeniably amazing beneath their surface.
John, the lead singer of the group says, “When you tell Joe Shmoe you are in a band they don’t take you seriously.” Steve chimes in and says, “Get a job!” Everyone in the room laughs, but the seriousness sets in and John says, “We really do have that dream though”.
Something big happens at their concerts, something unexplainable and something awe-inspiring. Christians might listen to their music and call what they experience worship.
Though they have shows in the evenings, all of the group members have full-time jobs and practice during the week when they aren’t practicing at night. Some of the members lead double and even triple lives. John explains, “Working a full time job, working on what I want to become a full time job and then having a normal life and pouring into my wife is a lot to juggle.” Chris adds, “We are trying to start a new business, quite possibly one of the most difficult businesses to start, and struggling to maintain that key relationship in your life, that with our spouses.”
Steve wakes up at 6:15 a.m. to get to work as he has over an hour-long drive ahead of him. “I’m constantly tired. I drink a can of Diet Coke along the drive just to stay awake. Since taking this job, the creative ideas don’t come to me as easily anymore. You would think that during the drive I’d think of beats and lyrics, but I’m still worn out from yesterday.” Steve continues, “I’m burnt out from the cycle. At the end of the day I watch a couple TV shows, catch up on sports and fall asleep and then start all over again the next day. I wish I had more time for everything.”
John explains their situation as an unknown band, “Sometimes it feels like being on a piece of drift wood in the middle of the ocean. I ask myself, ‘What’s my next step?’ and I have no clue.”
Despite the stress they encounter trying to make it, they manage to remain firm in their belief in their talents. Craig says his friends and family are sources of his strength to keep going. “The more people I’m around and the more I like being around certain people the more energized I will be.”
Chris explains, “Just knowing that I’ve got things so good in this life and that it doesn’t really matter what happens right where I’m at right now because I’ve got it better than most of the people in this world by living in this country.”
John derives strength from looking back on previous success. “I think we were created to create. That’s the most exciting thing in my life to look back on something we created. Remembering history is important. When you’re writing a song and it’s just not flowing it’s good to remember what we have already accomplished.”
The struggles encountered by the men of AG Silver aren’t so different from anyone else on this planet. Sometimes our dreams or ideas get laughed at and crushed, and sometimes work leaves us too tired to build into relationships.
It’s hard to keep going when your strengths or deeds go unnoticed. It’s hard to not see yourself the way other people see you. Sometimes it feels like life has been sucked out of us, and we don’t even know how or when it happened. When the daily routine becomes more draining than life giving, we need to re-prioritize, remember our dreams, and run after them.