Just a Show – inspiration

The lyrics for “Just a Show” are here.

I love being a performer; I love playing music for a living. I love that every day my job is different to the day before: no two gigs are ever the same. The venue will be different, the audience will be different, the weather and mood will be different. I love being able to share a bit of my soul with everyone through the medium of music. I love the kick that I get when I see people smiling, singing along, tapping a toe, nodding to the beat, dancing, or even tearing up. I love being able to touch and reach people in that magical way that only music can. I love performing with amazing musicians, and I love it when we push each other onstage to create never-again-to-be-experienced moments that are unique to the art of live music. I love, love, love my job.

But MAN, there are parts of my job that stink. I don’t like wearing makeup or high heels for one, but it kind of goes part and parcel with being onstage and looking professional. Often I’m preparing for a gig and performing the gig during what should be my dinner time, so finding time to eat nutritiously when I’m on tour or have a busy gigging week can be a challenge, and I sometimes end up hitting the fast foods (which I really don’t like) to get myself fed. The unglamorous part of setting up for and packing up after gigs doesn’t bother me. Having to be my own manager and shamelessly promote myself does bother me; in fact, I’m often very internally conflicted by it. And I absolutely HATE getting sexually harassed by audience members. But one of the worst things is when you’re doing what musicians often call a  “background music gig”. You’re the entertainment at a private function or party. No one’s really listening, and no one’s dancing. You’re just providing an atmosphere, a warm or classy mood for people to relax and socialise in. You could be singing from the bottom of your heart with all your soul, with gallons of emotion and intent dripping from every inch of your being… and nobody notices, nobody cares.

I was probably thinking about that very situation when I began to pen this song. As I got more into it, I began thinking about the darker side of the entertainment industry. It’s a big industry that’s very diverse in its output, and not all of it is rosy and fun ‘n’ games. I began thinking about how sometimes, in the name of entertainment, we are consuming something that is produced at someone else’s expense… and I guess the most extreme example is how gladiators fought in ancient Rome. So this song is jaded and perhaps a bit depressing, but I hope that it makes you think twice about what you’re watching/ listening to, and where it comes from. Who is the gladiator that is being slain in order to service your amusement?