I was a Teenage Ballboy

My own progression as a creative expressionist (do you like that terminology?… I just thought of it today… I might change my calling card… Chris Falson, have creative expressions, will travel… but enough of that… back to the blog)….
I started off as a guitar player with a secret desire to be in a band playing my own songs. From 19 years of age to about the age of 30 I worked as a touring, gigging sometime studio guitarist in Australia and over the ensuing 5 years, in part through chance, then much trial, error, blood, sweat, tears and other lifetime movie channel cliches, I added songwriting and (very nervously)… singing… to my CV.

And while the study, practice and performance of guitar continued, the career of songwriter soon took precedence… and more through necessity than desire I became a ‘singer-songwriter’. 

I used to be so nervous before I sang before an audience…and in truth, while I dreamt of being a front line singer, I never had the confidence or internal permission to be one. 

Outwardly I would say that I preferred to play guitar and write songs for others to sing. But this was not the truth and in a way, the financial pressures of a young family of four, forced me to evolve into the creative expressionist that I was born to be…  a singer who writes his own songs and accompanies himself on guitar.

However… I do have some horror early-days, character shaping ‘singing stories’…like the time… an agent hired me to put a trio into a supper club… I assumed we were to play jazz/pop instrumentals for this dream come true 6 nights a week gig, walking distance from my apartment. But the morning of the opening night the agent called to say that he had good news… that we didn’t need to bring a Sound System because the club had just installed a new Bose system. This is strange, I thought out loud, “why would we need a sound system for such a small venue”… at which the agent replied… “For your vocals of course… you do sing don’t you?”.

I spent the rest of the day scouring the apartment for lyrics to any of the instrumental pieces we performed and somehow, sweating buckets, I pulled off the first night… or so I thought. But as we were packing up, the agent pulled the bass player and drummer to the side and said (just loud enough for me to over-hear)… “You know, you guys could be really something with a real singer”.

We say “in a perfect world I would be this or that”…  but the perfect world we so crave does not produce the blood diamonds of our creativity… no… these are discovered under immense pressure or stumbled upon by chance.

That I became a singer at all is a kind of miracle. But I did learn to adapt and at some point decided that I was not so much a singer but a story teller… and that the audience’s need to be entertained or loved was ‘right up my alley’… and this took all the pressure off my bony shoulders.

Or as Bob Dylan so ably said:

“All I can do is be me… whoever that is”

Or as David Raven so aptly points out in this short interview below:

“Artists Adapt”

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