Hi and welcome to the fifth episode of The Spark & The Art podcast. I’m your host Tucker.
Last week’s episode was an interview with singer-songwriter Jonathan Ferguson. The interview got cut off because when I was recording it I hadn’t removed the previous recordings and I ran out of space. I thought I had cleverly addressed that in the beginning of the podcast with my quip about how the recording quit as soon as we brought up Beiber. Some people wrote in that they were sad that it cut off and weren’t sure why. I should have also put a little outro explaining what happened. Yay, more lessons!
Not long before mine and Jonathan’s conversation got cut off by Beiber I had mentioned that George Harrison was 27 when the Beatles broke up. With the huge impact the Beatles had on music and culture I asked the question “How do you follow something like that up?” It was a bit of a smart-ass question but the reality is that regardless of the amount of success you have, whether world changing or dismal failure, you just keep doing it.
I’m going to assume that George Harrison realized that he wouldn’t possibly be able to replicate what was done with the Beatles. I’m going to assume that they all knew it but what did they all do? They just kept going. They just kept writing songs and putting out albums.
George Harrison did go on and continue a great career. He worked with Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty. Had hits with The Travelling Wilburys and was ranked #11 on Rolling Stone magazines list of the top 100 guitar players. Let imagine he didn’t do all that though.
Let’s imagine for a second that after the Beatles break up 27 year old George Harrison said “Well, that was fun. But I’m almost thirty and I should really grow up and get a real job. I think I’ll work in a bakery and sell fresh breads and cakes for the rest of my life.” Do you think he would have stopped playing music? I doubt it. You don’t dedicate that large a portion of your life to one thing if it wasn’t something deep deep inside you.
After a few years of making his bakery success, at the end of the day he would have swept the bakery, turned out the lights, swung around the ‘Closed’ sign and walked to pub on the corner to join in at the open stage. He’d wait his turn while listening to the other folks play their songs and he’d hum along because they’d played them before at other open stages. When it was his turn he’d play a couple new songs he wrote. Then he’d play guitar for one of the regulars who doesn’t play their own instrument but loves to write and sing. One day he’d do While My Guitar Gently Weeps. When people smile and say they liked that he’d learned an old Beatles song he’d smile knowingly. Then hand them a Harrison Bakery business card so they could get a cake for their friends bridal shower.
He would just keep making music. He would still be part of the musical community. He would just keep doing it.
The drummer for Def Leppard lost an arm in a car crash and rebuilt his drum kit and learned to play with one arm.
Here is where you get to do some thinking:
That thing you want to do. That passion you have. That art you want to make. Would you keep doing it regardless? What is your measure of success?
Thanks for listening and remember you won’t get the art without the work and you won’t do the work without the spark.