Tuesday, January 16, 2007

"Playing things safe is the most popular way to fail"

I got this letter from a close friend of mine right before I quit school to pursue music. I forgot about the letter, I was going through some of my old notebooks from college and I came across it.

"personally, i do not enjoy this decision. but i think that it is because school has always been drilled into me as the most important thing to do. before marriage, before anything. I know that the majority of people who leave school or "take a semester off" never go back, thats just how it works. and a college degree i everything in the job market now. so what if you don't make it? what if you tour around for 2 years making mediocre amounts of money, not enough to save up or get anywhere with. then when one of the guys decides to settle down and get married..your left with nothing. not much money, no college degree, and all your friends will be graduating college and starting thier lives and you'll be stuck. you'll be 23 or 24 when most of your friends will have started their leves and your way behind them because of a childhood dream."

Haha, well, first off, this isn't all of the letter, it goes on to say more and it is a lovely letter from a friend who I was very close with in college and she meant well, she was merely looking out for me..and in a way she was right. When i left school for music, I was in another band and that band did indeed tour for about 2 years and then I quit to go back to school, but then I joined MAE before I ever went back. BUT, if i hadn't left school when I did, I would not be where I am now. This letter made me laugh just now, it pretty much sums up what everyone was saying, except my brother. My brother was always supportive of my decisions and I can't thank him enough for that. I love him to death.
It's funny, quitting school was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. Both of my parents worked in public education and the one promise they made me make to them was that I'd finish school. School is the one thing they wanted me to do...but lets face it, timing is everything. So I remember the day I told them, I was in my kitchen and my mom was totally pissed off. My dad took it better than I thought, but it was this very bad vibe. I was touring for about 4 years before I started making money, it was hard. Every cliche story you've heard about sleeping on floors, breaking down, not getting paid, 5 kids showing up, snow storms, value meals, blah blah..all of it is true. I could not of stuck to it if I did not want this more than anything, and I got very lucky. But hey, as I write this blog, I am on MY bed in MY house (that I own) on MY computer listening to MY records with MY car parked in the drive way. I would be lying if I said this wasn't somewhat satisfying. Don't mistake my vindication for cockiness, I have by no means "made it" or any crap like that, and I am still a vulnerable kid. Although, this letter just made me think about the last 10 years of my life and where I would have been if I had listened to others and went the "secure" route. I was watching an interview with Elliott Smith one day and he said this, and it's very very true: "Playing things safe is the most popular way to fail."
I love you dave, mark, jacob, rob and benj--thank you.


Anonymous Zach Anderson said...

I'm real glad that you made a journal entry regarding this. I've been in kind of a dispute with my parents involving the same issues. My friends and I are all musicians and that's pretty all that we care to do. I'm going to school for music, but I would much rather be involved in a band in some form. I know it's a tough road to drive on, but I would much rather do that than turn out like my folks who wake up, go to work, come home from dinner, etc, etc. And c'mon now, as far as I see it you, and Mae as a whole, is definitely "making it" (and I know there are variations of this term). You six dudes are doing exactly what I want to be doing for a living. I myself have had an extremely small taste of what it's like, and I just want more. And not that I'm trying to suck up or anything like that, but I do use your band as an example of "They're making a living off of music...why can't I?" I hear people all the time telling me it's not going to happen, and it just motivates me more to make it happen. I dunno, that's all I have to say for now. Thanks again for sharing.

5:10 PM

Blogger .kate. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:08 PM

Blogger .kate. said...

I read this, and the first thing I thought of was Robert Frost's 'The Road not Taken"...

"Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."

....a hard but great decision. It's tough going against the grain and not taking the safe road... what can be more perfect than waking up every morning and doing what you love for a living?

You and your band mates deserve all of the success, and soak it up Zach, try not to be so modest- you deserve to say you've made it.

9:16 PM

Blogger yoori said...

YAY for you Zach! I really admire that you followed your dreams even when you knew it was going to be hard and your parents wouldn't be happy with your decision, because I am going through the same thing, in a way. My dad wanted me to major in education and become a teacher, because its a guaranteed and secure career after college, basically taking the "safe" route, so I claimed that as my major, though what I really wanted to do was fashion. He was dead against it, and threatened to cut me off, so for the past year and a half I've done what he's told me to do. But the more I did this, the more unhappier I got, so I applied to a fashion school out in California last month, and got accepted and also got an internship on top of that. Like you said, timing is everything, so I had to take up on this offer. My dad hasn't talked to me for the past three weeks because of this, and all my friends and rest of the family are against it as well. I have no one in my life right now supporting my decision, and I don't blame them, I understand where they are coming from. California is very far, expensive, and I don't know a single soul out there, so of course they're going to be worried about me. But despite all this, I know that the hardships that I'm going through now and still continue to go through in the future is going to be worth it because I'll be doing what I love most! So for the first time in my life, I'm leaving my comfort zone, and moving across the nation all on my own, and your story just gave me a lot of hope :)

10:30 PM

Blogger Grover said...

Well I must say Zach, I am SO thankfull for the decision[s] you made!
I am sure that MAE wouldn't have been this great if you whern't in it..
It would have been diffrent, and that would have sucked.
My favourite band ever, you're part of it. Thank you.

4:09 AM

Anonymous Michelle said...

it was strangely fascinating to read about this from a real person. only its just, this is the kind of thing, like you said with stereotypes of sleeping on the floors and whatnot, that you read in fiction books. its nice to know that dreams can come true off the page and in real life :)

11:25 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a great post. I followed my heart and my dreams to a place far from home, and maybe not the most practical decision. I only received criticism. I love the fact that you did what you wanted, it means you are an inspiration to everyone, and that is so valuable. I try to tell my friends who get sad and discouraged that they can do whatever they want to do, because maybe if one person tells you you can, it will change the course of your life. You definitely are heroic, and never think of yourself as otherwise.

1:51 AM


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