there's something about playing music for someone who's hearing it for the first time. even if it's a song you've heard many times before, you hear it differently. the first time i remember noticing this was in the high school parking lot in my old jeep wrangler that would stall whenever you put the clutch in. i loved that car. anyway. i had just picked up the counting crows live record across a wire with the vh1 storytellers on one disc and the mtv 10 spot on the other. and i had been blown away by the version of 'round here' on the mtv disc. so i had listened to it about a million times, and i wanted to play it for my best friend dave, who hadn't heard it.
and i remember sitting there blasting music out of my parked car, hearing the song in a whole different way once i realized that in playing it for him this way, i was showing him a part of myself. it was like saying "this is something that moves me. this represents me. what do you think?"
and i started to hear some of the imperfections inherent to a live show that i hadn't heard before. and i started to think the lyrics were maybe too pretentious. i started to wonder if i really wanted to commit myself to this song, or this song to myself.
i have come to love this feeling. which is why i'm a dj now. it helps me to really listen to every song i play when i remember i am playing it for people who maybe have never heard it before. it helps me to remember why i love rock and roll. it makes me feel like everyone who listens to me on a regular basis could actually be my friend if we ever met. but i never play my own music. never ever.
because when it's yours, it's a whole new ballgame.
last night i played my new song for someone. and i couldn't even look at her while it was playing. and it's not like i didn't think she'd like it. i was pretty sure she would. and even if she didn't she'd find a way to say so really gently.
i am terrified of being present when people hear my music. this is why i don't perform even though in new york city i could find an open mic somewhere any night of the week. this is why i love these sites that i can put my music on for you to hear and i can see how many times you've listened to it and you can tell me what you think of it but i never have to look into your eyes and you never can see straight through me while it plays.
this fear is why i'm not cut out for rock and roll.
but it's also something to fight.
i'm happiest when i've got something to fight.