Saturday, April 17, 2010

"Are we making history?? Or simply being swallowed up by it??"

You think you control your car when you drive?? Wrong. I was in a car in Egypt years ago when the steering wheel literally separated from the front wheel axle, sending us crashing at 60 mph into the steel median beam. That steering wheel spun like a top.

We don't control anything … we only enjoy the illusion of control.

Likewise, even as HERE II HERE's manager, in my more lucid moments I realize there's nothing I can do to ensure HERE II HERE's ultimate success … and nothing I can do to sabotage it, either.

The "HERE II HERE" music phenomenon will either become a household name and take its place among the timeless human tales that inspire countless generations as to what is possible for humanity … or it will not.

I'm writing this because I lost my patience with the guys today. I got frustrated … and I lit into 'em a little bit.

You see, our trailer hauling everything - our instruments, luggage, merchandise, air mattresses, etc. - is falling apart. It's literally bursting at the rivets. I feel an urgency to address this BEFORE our whole tour is suddenly splayed out all over the highway. Without going any further into the story of "why" I lost my patience, the bottom line is I got lost in the stressful thought that the band is not being proactive enough in support of the apparent need of this moment.

This is something that comes up for me from time to time. I'm extremely driven and hardly rest when inspiration hits me, as it did 3 years ago when I started managing HERE II HERE. I'm woefully behind on sleep (even now it's 230 AM, and the band is all sleeping).

But in the powerful discussion that followed my energy-venting temper tantrum, we all got present to the thought that none of us individually are actually "doing" anything, anyway. We little egos are not actually "orchestrating" anything, but rather playing roles in a larger story unfolding in ways beyond our capacity to even imagine.

And as we drove to Seattle (from Portland) today, I heard an amazing story on NPR's "This American Life" that beautifully illustrated that idea.

It was the story of how "homosexuality", in just a few years last century, transformed from being listed by the American Psychology Association (APA) as a horribly debilitating, pathological mental illness requiring treatment … to simply an aspect of normal human sexual behavior, warranting no more concern than a left-handed person. In fact, psychologists who try to "treat" homosexuality now can even lose their licenses.

I was struck by the complexity of how that outcome came to be … how all the players, events, and conditions along with the endless plotting and strategizing; and of course the complete certainty in everyone's mind on both sides of the argument of "how things just are" or "should be" … how all that conspired to bear an outcome none could have predicted, and in a way most never believed possible. Most astonishing of all is that some people who wanted that outcome even resisted the way in which it was created for them!

And yet it happened. In its own way. In its own time … and when the time came to flick the evolutionary switch from one ruling paradigm to another, it happened lightning fast. Both "thanks to" … and "in spite of" … everyone's efforts. As if that's what life intended all along, regardless our own silly beliefs about things.

After listening to that story, I realized all of life plays out this way. It seems a great paradox that even though the variables are too complex for one person alone to change the world, every tiny action in fact DOES change the world, ultimately contributing to its evolution.

Many of HERE II HERE's fans think it's now our time to take our music to the World Stage. Not one show goes by that I do not hear either, "You guys are the new Beatles!!" … or, "You guys gotta get on Oprah / Ellen!!" People even tell me they're going to write Oprah, and maybe some of them actually do.

Yet, after 3 years on the job, Oprah has not called. We're not doing stadium concerts right now. We have no "real exposure" beyond the audiences at our shows and people who find our videos online. In fact, in a new city we've never played before I'm relieved when our audience hits 75. (once on our tour last summer, in Indianapolis, the band actually outnumbered the audience!) … Today I got frustrated in part because I was believing that the band can do MORE … that I can do MORE … … always more … to bring about those realities. To "create" the Oprah moment and the stadium concerts.

AS IF … touring for 6 months all over the USA and Canada in a tiny Durango, playing in cities for the first time to slowly growing audiences … is somehow NOT enough ... somehow NOT the perfect experience for this moment in the evolution of our inspiring story!!


The "HERE II HERE" music phenomenon will either become a household name and take its place among the timeless human tales that inspire countless generations as to what is possible for humanity … or it will not.

So whether we take what seems to me as the proactive route to raise money for our trailer before it falls apart … or whether we wait till its guts are spilled out all over the highway and then take action … well, while both paths certainly lead to different experiences, the truth is I can't possibly know which route takes us in what direction. The route of my impassioned belief - what I see as the "proactive" route to avoid decorating the interstate with our guitars and underwear - might just keep us longer on the road to obscurity. While the other route just might be the youtube video that makes HERE II HERE overnight famous. The opposite might also be the case: proactively ensuring a sturdy trailer could bring us powerfully towards our destiny, while a broken-down one ends our magical run.

The timeless, unanswerable philosophical question: Are we prisoners of fate?

If the story is already written - and even if it is not but I know I can't alone ensure the happy ending - what do I do to fulfill on my drive to bring HERE II HERE's music and message to the world stage?

Simply let go the attachment to that outcome. I'll follow the passionate route; the one that makes my heart sing. There are no guarantees either way, so I might as well walk the path that feels good.

Though it sure seems to my little personality that a functioning, secure trailer would feel good, the Universe just might have something even better in store. Like Abraham Lincoln used to council, it's better to stop insisting God is on my side and rather start inquiring as to whether I'm on God's side.

In my more lucid moments, the way I see it is whatever the Universe ultimately has in store for HERE II HERE, "little ol' me" isn't controlling the outcome, anyway … so might as well play with my free-spinning "Fisher Price" Steering Wheel and enjoy the ride!!!!

p.s. That particular NPR "This American Life" Podcast is called "81 Words". Episode #204, 2/28/10. Available free in iTunes ... and AMAZING.

p.p.s. Google "The Chinese Farmer's Horse. The story of Maybe" for a beautiful teaching story on the uncertainty of which events are blessings, and which ones a curse!!


  1. I like how you think at 2:30 in the morning. Have faith. We (the fans) have faith in you. That's the beauty of humanity. There is always someone who can hold the faith for us when we are not feeling it ourselves. Guitars and

  2. And always remember we're only in the illusion of space & time. You are already enormously successful. Time is catching up to you. This does sound trite but stay in this second, with no thoughts; the rest will take care of itself. There's nothing to do, really. Ah, but the ego despises that idea. Hang in there, baby. You are all brilliant. It is Good. Very, very good.

  3. Bry! I have a BRYght idea! :-)

    Make a vid...singing to whoever is on the top of your list (Ellen, The Ope, whoever)...hey, write something special and personal! Then set the goal not so much on the outcome of it but of letting us fans know that we must help to get it to VIRAL status! Of course the guys will do such a good job that it will be easy to share and share and email and share. You can even put on your flyers/programs, site and things, "Help us meet (so and so) by making our video go viral" then put the link or whatever. It's happened over and over again and here is one example if you haven't seen it. :-) COULD happen... :-)

    Then when he is on the show:

    "You will see it, when you believe it."