It’s nice to see you again after a summer break for the PRSD people. I hope you had a nice time what ever you got up to and managed to catch some of the lovely sunshine we had.
I think it’s safe to say that my life has changed dramatically since we last saw each other. In fact as I write this now I’m sitting on a British Airways flight heading for Baltimore, USA. At the moment it still doesn’t seem real, but I’m hoping when I arrive it’ll all start feeling a bit more normal!
A few months ago I was sent an email from a very nice lady called Sonia. I met Sonia at the Frankfurt Musikmesse last year where I was demo-ing products for Schlagwerk and Logarhythm and she was playing on the Shubb Capo stand.
For those of you that don’t know, the Musikmesse is a ma-hoosive trade show filled with pretty much every musical company you can think of. It’s split up into different areas (so 1 would be brass, 5 would be drums/percussion, 6 electric guitars etc etc) and for each main section they have a sub section (5.1, 5.2) and it takes bloomin’ ages to get from one section to another!
Both Sonia and I were in the same Acoustic hall and I just happened to be walking past when she was playing. Some of the peeps at the Musikmesse can be a little serious, but I loved that Sonia was absolutely oooozing with happy vibes which couldn’t help but put a smile on your face. I stopped for a while and checked out a few of her tunes and really enjoyed what I heard. So I asked a lady who was standing at the side of the stage (she’s called Terry btw) if I could have a flyer. We then got chatting about all sorts of musical stuff and we did a CD swap which was really cool as I love listening to new music. And well, that was that…
…until about two months ago when Terry dropped me an email asking if I’d be available for a Skype chat as she wanted to chat about touring stuff. I said yes that would be great and automatically assumed that she’d be asking me about some venues to try in the UK and Europe, so I dug out all the info I had and logged on, only to be asked if I fancied touring around the US for 2.5 months playing drums (I know, what to do…).
So after making the very easy decision that I would do it, the difficult thing was obtaining a working Visa – which (as I discovered) is not only a real pain in the arse to obtain but also outrageously expensive. had to fill out a ton of paperwork and go to the US Embassy in London and be interviewed. Back in the US poor Terry had even more paperwork to fill out than I did. We also had to fast track the application to make sure it was done in time, as it normally takes around 3-4 months to process, and we had, well, no where near that length of time.
So I found out around two weeks before I was due to leave that everything went well and my Visa was approved – hurrah! I then had to get really stuck into learning a whole ton of tunes I didn’t know (90 mins worth). I had the set on repeat in my car and also practised before and after work everyday.
And after all that, here I am on a plane to Baltimore. As I said earlier it’s all very, very weird, but also extremely cool. It’s also amazing to think that if you’d said to me 10 years ago that I’d be travelling to America on my own, meeting up with a bunch of people I’d mostly never met before and staying here for over two months I would have never believed it. Not many people know that I used to suffer with extremely bad bouts of depression along with anxiety and panic attacks. I used to get attacks so bad sometimes the thought of leaving the house would set one off. I couldn’t be a car with anyone, couldn’t eat in front of anyone and shopping or being in busy places was almost impossible. And then on the opposite side I’d also get depression so bad that I couldn’t get out of bed and I could barely talk to anybody. But, with the help of music my life has turned around for the better. Don’t get me wrong, I still have bad days – but the difference between then and now is I know how I control it and it doesn’t rule me, I rule it. And to be honest, I’m very grateful for all I’ve experienced as it makes me a much better and stronger person.
So right now I’m happy… feeling nervous, but it’s all good. And for the next few months my articles will be from the US – can’t wait to tell you more!