Have you ever put your heart and soul into something for years and yet it didn’t work out?
If so, this track’s for you.
I was on my dream job - working for a small independent record label, writing songs with the talent, arranging the music for and playing in the band, designing and executing on the marketing strategy - I was living my dream.
I still love and miss everyone on the gig and don’t regret a second of my time, but when it became apparent that I had to move on - this is the track that came out of me.
Death of a Startup
Grief is intensely personal - sure, you can experience it in tandem with family & friends but ultimately how it affects you is unique. I always thought that grief was special, that it was something reserved for tragic events like the death of a loved one or the loss of a limb, that there was some kind of "grief threshold" that you had to pass before it was OK to feel bad.
But that's not true.
Nobody died on the gig but man did I weep when I thought of what should have been, of how things could have been different, of how much energy & time was spent to pursue what turned out to ultimately be, unreachable.
When your venture fails - not only is there the loss of status, of position, of income - there is the horrendous guilt, the vicious inner voices that strip you naked and blame you for everything.
I wrote this track just before it got really bad, before the depression kicked in and I spent months barely keeping my shit together.
They tell you that when you “go for” something you shouldn’t leave anything on the table - that you need to be all in. Well - the only problem with that is when it ends, and you have nothing left, it’s practically impossible to stay out of “the hole.”
Sure you function, you maintain family relationships, you move forward, you - to quote my Father “screw it up another notch” but inside you’re falling deeper and deeper with no rope, no ariadne thread and no flashlight.
So yeah - that’s fun isn’t it!?
Grief isn’t special
I grieved for the loss of the gig - for the loss of my dream and my time and for everybody else. It took me a while - a good 6 months at least - but I did come out the other end and yes - thankfully, was all the stronger for it.
Grief can hit you whenever
Don’t let anyone belittle your grief - getting that shit out of your system is what it’s all about.
The frustration I’m referring to is not the angry, cheated emotion – it is the sad one. The frustration of not getting what you want - to be frustrated in one’s efforts.
It's the emotion that quietly grows inside of you, ignoring your pleas of mitigation and requests for more time. It's the emotion that leads you through the awful decision process which results in you having to share with people you have lived and loved with for years that you can no longer see the future.
It's the emotion that ultimately leads to loss - and that's why it is on this playlist.
Music to Grieve to Playlist on Spotify
As for the gig…
It was a Country gig - I love Kelli like a sister and no matter how you cut it - we write well together. We wrote over a hundred songs and worked up over 50 with a live band. I reckoned we had a killer album and possibly two great ones.
Kelli was always clear she wanted to sing in front of a great band. The quality of the players that came through was astonishing, cats that played for Diana Ross, Eddie Money, Ben Harper, Stirling Brig, The Clash, Serj Tankian, A Perfect Circle, Eagles of Death Metal and more, for me it was an amazing education.
Unlike founders of tech startups my product is still kicking around the internet. If I want to remember how we looked and played I can go here - but my favorite memory is a loose rehearsal right at the beginning of the project - two microphones in the room - nothing fancy - just a song and a band beginning to come together:
And now - although I still reflect on what could have been - now I remember the good times and remember what was.