Inspiration – A Reflection of 2009

It can come from anywhere.  As Miyavi once said, “I get inspired by music, my life, and my bathroom.”  This has been a rough year, so as we head towards the year MMX, it’s time to reflect on the good things that inspired me to continue on in music and in life.

Most of these inspirations happened late this year.  In fact, many of them have just occurred in the past few weeks!

If I had to pick one thing that truly inspired me for music this year, it was research for my thesis.  I wrote about Sugizo’s use of violin in rock music, particularly how he makes the violin sound like a guitar and the guitar sound like a violin.  What I never realized, though, was how influenced he had been through the music of David Bowie, JAPAN (the band – look them up, they’re pretty cool!) and Yellow Magic Orchestra.  I researched and learned how they all changed the course of music at the time, Bowie and Y.M.O. in particular, and how their innovations made for new paths and new sounds.  After listening to their music, then going back to Sugizo’s, I could hear what he had learned from them, and how he adapted it for his own work.  He has also gotten to work with many of his influences, except for Bowie, so that gives me hope that one day I can work with him and my other influences.

Back in April, Cinema Bizarre made their first solo stop in America.  These guys are young, but they have a stage presence and charisma much more experienced than most bands today.  Even though I was one of the eldest members of the audience who was not a chaperon, I only felt slightly out of place as I watched the band command the Knitting Factory’s (R.I.P.) stage.  Their opener, Tadahisa Yoshida, also left an impression on me.  I had not really known about him before the show, but I love his EP and listen to it frequently.  He’s also a fantastic live performer, which means more than anything.

Speaking of fantastic live performers, Dir en grey, my favorite active band, came back to the U.S. this past November and toured smaller venues than in the past, meaning I got to see them at the House of Blues instead of the Wiltern.  I got to stand in front of Die, my favorite member of the band, whom I had only watched from an obscured distance the past four times I’ve seen them.  The second night’s pit ousted Versailles’ concert as the craziest pit I’ve ever been in, as I had to fight just to stay upright!  After that show, I got the chance to meet the entire band during a meet and greet session.  I got to tell all of them how much I love their work, and when I told Kyo (in Japanese) that I love his voice, his eyes lit up and he beamed a huge smile and said, “Thank you!”  It brought me to tears to see that a sincere compliment from a fan can and does move even a seasoned musician.  As always, I can’t wait until they come back to the states!

Watching all of these performers on stage makes me yearn for the days when I get to do the same thing.  The biggest dream come true for me in 2009 was becoming part of Avery Watts’s live band.  For one night in Vegas, I got to live out my dream of being a rockstar, but miraculously the dream will continue as I will play the NBA Trail Blazers halftime show and a headlining concert at the Roseland Theater in Portland, Oregon, this Thursday and Friday night!  The months before getting connected to the band were some of the hardest I’ve had to face.  I felt uninspired and unimportant, and due to financial troubles and the horrendous unemployment rate, had to take on some jobs that I have never wanted to do.  Then this one opportunity came about and for once, IT WORKED.  There’s something about standing on stage with a small group of people who all have a common goal, who all have worked hard to get where they are.  Even though I don’t know the entire group very well yet, I know I will after this Portland tour and I really cannot wait for it.  I can’t imagine a better way to close out the year than to play for thousands of people, be a rockstar, and then go home to spend Christmas with my family.

In thinking about all of this, I think about the people I’ve been able to share not only these experiences with, but all the people I’ve met along the way who have shaped me into the person I am today.  Whether it was inspiration or motivation they thrust upon me, I know that everyone I’ve met means something to me.  It’s like I’ve been given one giant family to cherish, and that is the biggest inspiration of all.

Merry Christmas and Happy MMX to all.  May you find inspiration in everything you see and everything you do.  Love and cherish everyone you know.  And do everything you feel passionately about from the heart.

~ by violarockstar on December 14, 2009.

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