Thinking Out Loud 19: Not Age Appropriate

THINKING OUT LOUD is Drooly Dog’s Advice Column in which we talk about creative process and what might be holding back that voice of yours – whatever form it might take. Send your questions to:

Dear Drooly Dog:
I am in a band, and we are straight-up punk. We get political, we use language, our music is honest and brutal. And that’s really important to us.
What bums me out is, I can’t really invite my school mates to my gigs. It’s just not really appropriate. And I don’t think they would like it either. And their parents would refuse to ever let any of them speak to me again. Shoot, that happens now just based on how I dress and how long my hair is.
And my family, forget it. They’ve got no use for any of this stuff. Except maybe my grandma. I think she would like it, but she can’t come to the shows. They are just too loud. The noise would give her vertigo for days.
So it’s like I live in two worlds: one that’s the everyday, and the other that’s my music that’s so important to me.
How do I keep this from becoming just kind of depressing? Every other artist I know shares what they do with everyone in their lives and it means a lot.
Sincerely, Not Age Appropriate

Dearest (Not)Appropriate:
Truth in art can be tricky this way. I too am a great fan of punk and go to many punk and metal shows. And no, they are not for everybody. But for those of us who go, they are like medicine for the soul.
As a creative person, it is gratifying to share what you do with people you care about. It sucks when there’s a rift there, or you can’t come up with much to talk about.
I’m also a huge First Amendment and free speech fan, so I would never advocate that you “clean up” your work. That would wreck it. But I wonder: do you think your grandma would enjoy an instrumental version of some of your songs? Or a photo album of you performing on stage?
There’s more than one way to talk about what you do. There’s the venue, or people you have met, or maybe things about your playing or technique. Pieces and parts that could give you something to share with people, without going all into the straight up political or expletive stuff.
Families are proud when people they care about make things. The ones that do care about you, will be proud. No matter what. I’ve seen grandparents show up at punk shows just because they wanted to be there. They didn’t care about the “scene.” And isn’t that pretty much what punk is about, anyway?
So maybe you can share a bit here and there, a guitar solo, some photos, stuff like that, and give folks a little glimpse. But stay honest, do your work. The world needs it.
Sincerely, Drooly Dog

Drooly Dog offers creative advice only. Nothing legal or medical, please follow of your own accord. It’s up to you, man.

Is THINKING OUT LOUD helpful to you? Please consider tossing in a few bucks to keep it going (and pay for postage on the Zine – about $45 an issue!) Make a one-time contribution or heck, subscribe for $1 a month (cancel whenever). It’s all good. Your support keeps the good things coming to you and everyone else too. Rock on!