It’s 4:30 in the morning, and I am awakened out of a sound sleep to have my own lyrics running through my head?!
I have been listening to my new record Disarm the Descent non-stop (yes, I know…kind of lame listening to my own music, but I need to really get all the lyrics in my head and rehearse the few songs we are playing off the album for our upcoming tours). So now I am wide awake, sitting here in the dark with Alice in Chains’ Dirt playing quietly in the background and just thinking about the past year of my life and it all hits me.
Things happen in life because of self determination or simply because they are “meant to happen.” Or, perhaps you believe in chance? I look at my own life and can’t help but feel like I was in the right place at the right time.
I am not saying I didn’t work hard, struggle and have serious doubts about my career and even my personal life. Hell, if I didn’t suffer and struggle I wouldn’t have written the past three albums of my career. I know everyone for the most part can relate to struggle. These times we live in, it is not easy to keep your head above water with relationships, bills to be paid, family issues, career issues, corporate takeovers or perhaps keeping a personal business a float.
I know! Up until a year ago, I had been a “working man,” holding down various jobs to make ends meet. Last year, I was behind the bar at a restaurant in Manhattan, working as a bar-back and a bartender/mixologist in training. I worked long shifts — sometimes until 3 or 4 in the morning. Let me tell you if you have never worked in the service industry in New York City, it can be brutal and very fast paced! However, there are these moments in life when everything seems to be in its right place. Amidst the chaos and struggle there must be gratitude.
Gratitude, to me, is the realization that you are blessed or “lucky” or just simply having a sense of thankfulness for what you have. Often times, people find it so easy to complain; don’t get me wrong, I get it man — it feels good sometimes to just vent and let it all out. When you really stop and count your blessings (even if they are few), it is a good feeling.
Simple things, like the fact that I am in a warm apartment with food in my cupboards and a beautiful woman (my wife) in my bed get me through the day. How easy is it to forget those “little things” that, in the long run, are huge things that we take for granted. There are a great deal of people with no place to call home and feel the pangs of hunger even now as you read this column…think about that.
Feeling any of that gratitude yet? Well, you should.
So in closing I just wanted to say a personal thank you to all of you for reading my column, supporting my music, giving me encouragement in person at shows and sending me messages on Facebook. I am so blessed to have anyone care about what I do as an artist. I know I could just as easily be back behind a bar or be taking your order for food.
If we don’t take time to feel that gratitude we are missing the whole point of why we have trials and tribulations or why we are alive!. So I hope if nothing else, the words I write give you a moment (even if it is brief) to stop and be thankful; things can always be much worse.)
On the eve of the final release day of my/our new album Disarm the Descent, I just have to say…Thank you.
Thank you to God for his grace and love. Thank you to my family and friends for having my back, encouraging me and having faith in me when I was out of faith. Thank you to the guys in my other bands — The Empire Shall Fall and Times of Grace — for being a great support system and inspiration (as well as their willingness to work with me and all of my projects). Thank you to the guys in Killswitch Engage for being my true friends and believing in my abilities as an artist. Thank you to my friends and managers at Strong Management for steering me in the right direction. Thank you to Chris (GunShyAssasin) for wanting my thoughts and perspective on his Web site. Lastly thank YOU, reading this!
I hope you dig the new record and come out to a show or two; we will be doing a great deal of touring over the next year or two!
“Gratitude,” by one of my all time favorites, The Beastie Boys, from a great record which so happens to be the name of my column Check Your Head.