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The Road -- Part 3 (The Creativity Abyss)
"It's 3 a.m. and I must be lonely." Those are the words from a famous Matchbox Twenty song that was a smash hit in my late teens, early twenties. The truth is, it's currently 2:38 a.m. on a Thursday night and I am completely exhausted.
We just played a show for about five thousand fans in downtown Kansas City in an area called the "power and light district." Afterwards, we were invited by the promoter of the show to go to the top of the venue to a hony-tonk called the PBR. Of course they had a mechanical bull (which probably goes without saying for a true honky-tonk), free booze and BBQ ... what can I say, the invite related to me in a nostalgic sort of way. When we were kids after a great ball game Coach would always take us to Dairy Queen. I guess I equate our midnight rambles after a great live show to a Mr. Misty or a Chocolate Dipped Cone after a Little League victory.
Nowadays, after a show in Kansas City -- or any other city for that matter -- I won't be going to the comfort of my parents home to catch an episode of Nick at Nite or a weekly rerun of 'Salute Your Shorts' as a post-game ritual. Instead I will be hopping onto a bus and crawling into a bunk for a nine-hour haul to northern Wisconsin or wherever.
This morning, after waking up in Fresno, Calif., at 4:30 a.m. PST and flying to Phoenix to catch a connecting flight into Kansas City that arrived at 1:30 p.m. CST, we still muster up the energy to soundcheck, take a jog, write a set list, do a meet-and-greet and perform an 80-minute set for our fans in the heart of Kansas City. "Quit belly-aching Jonesy," you may say to yourself if you are reading this blog. But the truth is that this routine is one day of the week and the other six days aren't that much different.
I labeled this particular blog post "The Creative Abyss." The definition of an "abyss" is a very deep chasm or hole. I must admit as a songwriter/artist the road can become an abyss for creativity. So, I can say without hesitation that with the perpetual routine of ping-ponging across the country, sleeping on planes, standing in lines, eating fast food, sleeping on a bus, fighting colds, social networking, checking into hotels, checking out of hotels, standing in more lines, waiting on cabs, sound checks before shows, working out, vocal warm ups, tweaking the set list, standing in more lines and finally performing for a live audience every night ... I don't even want to call my own mother; let alone sit down and attempt to be creative.
The road can make or break you. When you are run down, luckily your body's autopilot kicks in and you learn to routinely react to the things that happen around you throughout the day. The problem is that "creativity isn't a reaction, it's action fueled by inspiration."
I will say it again, it's 2:38 a.m. on Thursday night and I'm beat. But within the grind, I have found the inspiration to write about the lack of creativity due to the grind, which is ironic to say the least.
I can only imagine that when Rob Thomas wrote the words "she thinks that happiness is a mat that sits on her doorway," he was well-rested and in the comfort of no such routine that the road sometimes has to offer.
As always ... Signing off and singing on.
Joshua Scott Jones