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Weed & Cigarettes & Red Bull

Lately, I’ve been changing my mind. Or, to be accurate, my mind has slowly, quietly, been changing me, and it takes waking up at 3 a.m., half conscious, half floating in space, for one part of my brain to talk to another part of my soul and dutifully report the changes. I like that I am fluid enough, that I am human enough, to form opinions on matters and then watch them evolve into something else entirely-I take a few steps back and realize my opinions on that subject are not at all what they used to be, and I’m not as conservative or empathetic or well-informed as I hoped I was.

My dear friend, Adam, who also plays drums in the rock band, likes to debate. He is very articulate; he talks a lot and he does it well. So you can imagine the number of times, on long drives across America in our 15 passenger van, watching the sun set slowly or looking for gas station exits, he would present the band with a topic he had opinions on, or questions about. “Should gun control laws be more restricted?…….Are people born gay?……Did we pass Taco Bell?”

I found myself, on more than one occasion, resenting him for his lack of clarity on such matters. “You’re 26 years old for crying out loud, shouldn’t you have figured out your stand on this stuff? Like ten years ago?” It bothered me how…watery….he was. He’d say he felt one way, and then after looking up statistics about it on his phone, or a few more days to think it over, he’d have changed his mind. I felt that if he could go back and forth between how he felt about a topic, it was reduced to just his “feelings”, which didn’t really matter much in the quest for truth now did they?

I was raised in a very, let’s say, focused, Christian home. I grew up being taught that truth was found in one book, called the Bible, and if I wanted to know the truth about something, I could find it in there. If I could not find it in there, maybe God didn’t care too much either way and we were free to make up our own minds about it. For example, I thought (and still believe),  that dressing in any way you’d like and listening to any genre of music should be included in that category. My parents, unfortunately, felt differently at the time.  But some things were not in that book, but maybe God still cared very much about them. Maybe he wants us to ask him how he feels about it.

And so I am cautious, as my beliefs start evolving into questions, to measure them by the only standard of truth I have. The standard is still that book, as boring and confusing as it sometimes (ok, usually) is. But when the book is silent, or painfully vague on a topic, how do I decide what’s right? Why do I even think that I personally have any authority to decide if something is or isn’t right? Right means that it is inherently correct or true, apart from my opinions or feelings on it. RIGHT?

What I will not do, what I refuse to do, is believe that everyone has their own truth, that it is all relative. Because I’m not uncertain on that one-I know that is the wrong way to do it. The lazy, selfish way. The way that says “I don’t know how I feel about God so I guess whatever works for you works for you and if that doesn’t work for me then I guess I’ll go try something else.” No. There either is a god, or there isn’t. My lack of “making up my mind” about that makes no dent in the existence, or lack thereof, of God. How pathetically self-centered it would be to think that it would.

Anyways, now I’m gonna talk about marijuana.

I woke up last week to see it was just made legal in Colorado and Washington. And it got me wondering how I felt about that. I hadn’t really HAD to make up my mind about it before that morning, because the law had made it up for me. If there was any question in my head as to the merit of smoking pot, I didn’t even need to explore it, because it was illegal and I don’t do illegal drugs. It would be a bad example to our fans, to my little brothers. But when that invisible law is gone, society starts changing how they think about things, and the stigma slowly goes away as well. If there were no social repercussions to smoking pot, would I want to do it? 

Lucky for me, I recently read an article about pot making you permanently dumb and decided no. But more than that, I’ve seen (I bet you have too) how it takes away people’s drive, their vision, their focus. I associate weed with video games and thirty year olds in their parent’s basements. But that doesn’t take away the questions that keep coming to mind….Like-Didn’t a ton of writers and poets way back in the day do a lot? ….Wasn’t it a lot weaker back then? …..What’s the difference between weed and cigarettes and red bull? 

So, you can see my quest for truth in this matter is a bit blurry, and it is quite difficult to make up your mind about anything at all, because a few minutes later you’ll be presented with some new fact that challenges what you decided to believe. The challenge comes in deciding which matters can stay fluid, where you can painlessly change your mind as new information is brought to your attention. For me, gun control and plastic surgery probably fall into that category. I am not informed or passionate enough about either of those those subjects to dig my heels in and take a definite stance. But there are other subjects that I know are important, and I suspect there is a right way and a wrong way, only I don’t with full certainty know which it is.

And as I write this, it occurs to me that my precious opinions on subjects mean very little if they are not backed with measurable action. I can recognize that human trafficking is 100% wrong and decide that no new amount of information will change my mind on that, but if it stops at an opinion, it just sits in my head and does nothing. Action is required.

That’s enough for today.

I love you.


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It’s sunny and I’m eating a salad!

August 31, 2012

I stayed up too late last night writing rap songs and watching stuff on youtube. I came across a recent interview with Amy Lee, in which she discusses her hiatus from the music industry, in between album number two and number three. It had a profound impact on me. She said that in the midst of the fame, she was getting so many reminders of who she was everyday-pictures everywhere, fans that adore her, over the top hair and make up all the time, that she sort of forgot who she was at her core. She wasn’t sure if this giant personality that is Evanescence was really her, or was being imposed on her. When somebody expects you to be who they think you are, the lines blur and you can’t clearly tell if you’re just being yourself, or just being who everyone wants you to be. She was smart enough to take a break, which gave her some space from all the expectations, and she came around full circle, realizing that, yes, she really was this person. The fans/record label/media had not created it, she had. Once she realized this really was who she was, she felt free to move forward and keep making music.

I don’t know if she really said all this or of it’s just what I got out of it. But the point is, I was reminded once again how much I’d rather be happy than famous. I think about that all the time. How I’d rather make a record that I really love than one that means our nashville A&R agent is rich for life. How I’d rather be honest than well liked. 

And this made me realize why I have been scared to blog lately. Or to tweet, facebook, etc. Because I’ve been getting a little freaked out lately over all the 50 year old dad supporters we have. The ones who come up to the merch table and say we’re having a great impact on their 11 year old daughter and encourage us to keep it up. And I think about that, about how Jim needs me to be a positive example for sweet little Sara and how if I mess it up and say the wrong thing, Jim will be pissed, Sara won’t have a role model, and I’ll be disappointing the whole Johnson family.

The problem, of course, is not the fact that we have 50 year old fans. My own father is in his 50s and to my delight is a hardcore fan. The issue is that the only way I wont piss a lot of our fans off is by always being safe, by never saying anything that means anything. I think of Taylor Swift. She is such a sweetheart, and probably has never said or done anything intentionally offensive in her career. And that’s awesome, I admire that. But maybe the world doesn’t need another Taylor Swift, you know? Maybe they need someone willing to say the stuff no one else wants to, to call the world on it’s BS. Not promoting controversy just for the sake of being obnoxious, mind you, but a healthy regard for truth instead of comfort.

And I’m not proud to say it, but sometimes I’ll stare at my phone, trying to think of something I can tweet that won’t upset anyone. My best friend, the fans, my parents, the haters, my mentors, I want to make them so very proud with every set of 140 characters, and the only way to do that is to pretty much discuss the weather or what I’m having for lunch: “It’s sunny and I’m eating a salad!” It reminds me of a conversation I had with a musician who felt reluctant to tweet anything at all because she knew the power of her influence and didn’t want to waste it. That was a few months back, and I thought it was an irrational fear. And yet here I am.

I sometimes share things I care deeply about, like my stance on abortion, or how Icon For Hire never has been and never can be a christian band. And it used to make me sick, the reaction I’d get from our listeners, saying things like “I used to have so much respect for you but I think I just lost it, and you lost a fan.” This doesn’t just affect me, it affects my band members too- is it fair that my personal opinions means less people will come to our show? Adam and Shawn shouldn’t have to answer for my lack of poise, should they?

But I have learned in the recent months that if I’m not getting any negative feedback, then I’m doing something wrong. It means I’m playing it safe, I’m playing Taylor Swift so to speak, and I am certainly not being who I was created to be. So I am training myself to think in a new way. To take criticism as a signal that I am not wasting my influence, but that I am making waves and being intentional with my beliefs. I now mentally prepare myself for backlash whenever I say anything of any importance, when discussing any subject other than my lunch choices;).  And it’s great to know the boys have my back on this. We’ve decided that it’s worth loosing listeners and say what we worked so hard to be able to say, rather then just water it down once we get to a place where people are actually listening. This is hard for me. I know it’s not cool, but a big part of me wants to please everybody, wants to prove to the world that kind, decent punk kids do exist.  So ruffling feathers or alienating fans or disappointing supporters freaking sucks, but I have come to expect it.

It just sucks so much when as an artist I put my heart out there in the form of lyrics, and 15 year old Kendra from Massachusetts connects with it, and I feel like she understands my heart, and she feels a little less alone, but then she gives up on our entire band when she finds out I said that abortion is homicide. The safe thing to do would be for me to just not put it out there, to steer clear of heated subjects. To write about predictable, safe topics like how depressed I am and how I need help. To fill our next album with a bunch of FLUFF. Well guess what? I’ve listened to a bunch of emotionally driven fluff my whole life and all it does is remind me of my sickness, not help me heal up. And I’m not saying I know what to do to fix it, or that everyone in the world should care about my precious opinions. But what I am saying is that I think I need to err on the side of being too much, too raw, too difficult. I don’t ever want to take a break from making music to “find myself”; I want to never get “lost” in the first place. Our poor sweet manager can spend the rest of his life shielding mean phone calls from industry people when they realize my obnoxiously loud heart is loosing them money. But it is worth it. Even if by this time next year the only fan we have left is my dad. 

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Custom Catastrophes

June 12, 2012

I remember the first time it occurred to me that I needed to create clothing. I was walking the halls of my local mall and I saw a chick with blue hair and her punked up friend strolling beside her. Although I had certainly encountered stranger looking people before, this time it registered with me in a different way. I found myself utterly fascinated, wondering “What does she know that I don’t? What secret world does she belong to, and how do I get in?”

I rushed home and decided to utilize my grandma’s old sewing machine for more than just  pillowcases. At twelve years old, I began pouring my meager babysitter’s earnings into fabrics, and visiting every thrift shop I could with big dreams of turning $2 finds into magical creations. The “secret world” I was stumbling into was no secret at all; it was the addicting art of self-expression. 

I’m amazed at much that encounter changed my life. It transformed me from a wallflower to a walking billboard for homemade chaos. You begin carrying yourself differently when you wear something you are truly proud of, something that you know nobody else in the world will be wearing because you made it all by yourself.  I don’t pay much attention to fashion trends, but my eyes have been trained to lock like magnets on blue paint splatter knits, 4 inch safety pins, and corset lace up anything. The journey of combining the old fashioned with the unexpected via my sewing machine is one of the most rewarding ways I’ve found to spend my creativity. It doesn’t really matter if the piece is cool or hideous, well made or falling apart; it is art and it is all mine.

Since then, I’ve made it a priority to never stop creating. I feel most empowered when I’m decked out from head to toe in my creations, every angle something new and fascinating to explore. I don’t think this is because I’m an attention starved ego maniac, I think it’s because I love embracing the freedom I’ve found in wearing whatever the heck I feel like. Something that reminds me to enjoy my life all day long, something that makes me grateful to be alive. It is a wonderful thing what a difference wearable art can make.

 Deciding to venture out and sell my creations has been a process for me. Ideally, everyone would just make their own stuff, and the world would be a much cooler place to look at. But realistically, not everyone has interest in sewing. Not everyone has access to supplies, or time to make clothing. Am I stealing from the creative journey that someone could be going on, but are not, because they can just buy my clothes instead? 

I’ve decided that the risk is worth it. Because I know firsthand the power of slipping something on that makes you feel strong. Beautiful. Confident. And I know how life changing it can be to wear something that somebody made with love especially for you, and put thought into every detail, right down to the envelope it’s mailed in. While I desperately want my customers to go on a creative journey for themselves,  I have hope that I can help show them how to do that by sharing my story and, yes, my clothing with anyone who will listen.

If you’d like to take a look, I’ve made my creations available here:

I love you.


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buy a yacht instead.

May 8, 2012

….I am like the old person in the movie who is always suspicious of being drugged by the nursing staff or left abandoned by family who never call, terrified that around every corner somebody is trying to kill me.

I, like you, am obsessed with MYFREAKINGSELF and thus reviewed some of the entries on here to date. Now, I journal as often as I please but it is a rare entry that actually gets posted on the bulletin board that is the internet, and it is often not the entry that I am most proud of or honest with or happy about that makes the cut, it is always the most desperate and frantic one. And the common theme in the beloved Internet Entry is that I am scared I am dying and I need to document my death. So that way on the morning that I wake up Dead, I can easily find that path that lead me there and trace my steps back to when I was alive. Or maybe, and more likely, I want it documented that I didn’t go down without a fight.

I just really think the internal death is inevitable, have you ever met an old person who was still really alive? Mother Teresa maybe?

Anyways, I’m tired of it. I’m in a hotel in PA, air conditioning cranked, stomach full of chinese food, and a head full of thoughts so loud and competing each other for space that I doubt I’ll do it all justice.

As of late I’ve been writing much more about this musical journey than my concerns over the girls being raped in Greece or the moms watching their babies starve to death in Sudan. And tonight I wonder why that is. Have I become numbed out, misplacing my youthful zeal, distracted by the glitter of the music industry?

Hate to disappoint the haters, but nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, I have taken it so far that I am currently crazy unbalanced, absolutely tormented.  I feel so incredibly guilty, almost every waking minute. I flush a toilet and think about the city that needs that water to survive, and here I go, flushing gallons away a day. I put on eye liner for that night’s show and wonder if my seven bucks could’ve gone to liberate a human trafficking victim instead of support Maybelline. And I eat 5 dollar ceasar salads and feel the guilt rush me because I could’ve eaten canned tuna for $1 and fed kids for a month with the difference.

….and it is TORMENTING.  As noble as it sounds to think all this stuff, it doesn’t move me to action anyways, so why do I let myself be miserable? It pisses me off, the wasted energy, the inner dialogue that takes me nowhere.

I was backstage last night at one of the coolest venues we’ve ever had the privilege of playing, hanging out with POD/Red/Head and other people that are slowly becoming friends, and all I could think about was how spoiled rotten I am and that the people in India have nothing. Tell me, if you were hanging out with rock legends backstage, eating catering and sharing stories, would you waste one second of worrying? There is something wrong with me. I am being robbed of this incredible experience, and I am allowing it to happen. 

I am living my dreams, and probably some of your dreams too, and I’m letting my thinking rob me of enjoying it, because I’m afraid. I’m afraid I’ll get too comfortable being happy and make a ton of money one day and forget about the starving kids and buy a yacht instead. I’m afraid the constant tormenting thoughts are actually maybe a good thing because they keep me grateful….

Grateful & Miserable. What a great way to live. I feel like I constantly fall on one side of the ditch or the other, and in this area of my life I’ve become seriously unbalanced. I don’t really know what to do. A part of me hates this american dream bullcrap and wants no part of it. But should I let my passion for justice and equality ruin my life?

My favorite Minneapolis rapper boy, Atmosphere, was right, it’s all about building a balance. My head “knows” the answer-love, care, pray, give, and don’t let the world’s various issues torment me. Blah blah blah, easier said than done.

So with that said (and nothing done), I’m gonna go sleep in my queen sized bed with the six pillows now. Maybe I’ll feel better in the morning.

Good night baby.


26 notes

Make rent check out to “Starbucks”

Feb 8, 2012

I live at Starbucks. Not by choice, mind you, but because it’s the only place that gives you free wifi, hot water, and a place to lounge for hours on end. It’s like a YMCA drop off center for bored adults. 

I woke up in a Walmart parking lot this morning, the van ablaze with sun from every direction. I do love sunlight:) We’ve tried sleeping in parks, mall parking lots, etc, but have found Walmart will guarantee us the longest period of uninterrupted sleep. The other locations result in a rent-a-cop (or an actual cop) banging on our van window at 7 a.m. asking us to leave and if we’re carrying drugs or weapons on us.

We’re in Maine today-which is a first!- and it is a brisk 11 degrees. I went to bed around 1 last night, comfortably curled up on my van bench. Josh had to sleep on a bucket seat, which is much less comfortable. The previously mentioned sunlight woke me up around 10. Nine hours of sleep is something to be thankful for! Even better? Waking up to see a Starbucks across the street. And that’s where we are now, all moved in with our laptops, phone chargers, and books. I just asked Adam when we’re leaving, and he said since load in isn’t until 3 p.m., we’ll be here for about 4 more hours. There are certainly worse ways I can think of to spend the day. Starbucks employees are usually very gracious and never say anything implying we’re not welcome; I think it’s because many of them are aspiring musicians themselves. Our worn skinny jeans and matted scene hair must be the give away that we, too, think we’re musicians. 

I used to feel a little bad “wasting” several hours of the day away sitting in one setting, not really interacting with human beings, just dialoguing with a computer screen via journaling, emailing, watching podcasts and the like. I also used to feel guilty for waking up at noon to find the day is already halfway over. But I am learning that thinking like that will drive me crazy and certainly not allow me to enjoy the parts of the day that I am awake for. 

If you think about, we’re just like anybody else who works 2nd shift. We load into the venue anywhere from 2-4, do sound checks, do our hair, set up our ridiculous merch display and all that. Doors open around six, and the party begins! Shake hands, make new friends, see old ones and thank them for coming out. We’re on a hardcore tour at the moment, which means every night we listen to at least like 4 hours of screaming. The way that affects us that that most of the audience is male, and most of them want to throw down. Not sure if you’ve heard our music, but there are not nearly enough breakdowns to keep a hardcore kid dancing. Which means we work very, very hard every night to deliver a great show in other ways. Our goal isn’t to make you like us, it’s to get your respect regardless of if we’re the kind of music you’d normally listen to. I find myself more “present” on stage than usual lately, putting every single ounce of myself into every moment. It is so rewarding to begin the night with a sea of blank, skeptical hardcore kids waiting to be impressed, and ending it with those same people coming up to you, shaking your hand, and telling you that you put on a sick show.

…But that’s not what’s been on my mind lately. Here’s what I’ve been focusing on: We have 13 dates left on the most difficult tour we have ever (and probably will ever be) in our entire life. No days off, just night after night after night. In a way, such a tightly booked tour is a dream come true, in another way it’s a nightmare. I cannot not afford to get sick and loose my voice so I bundle up like an eskimo in this 11 degree weather. But what I’m most concerned about? My heart. Keeping it alive, soft, and open. Not letting myself get numbed out to the beauty of meeting new people, not let myself become a robot on stage, doing the same routine night after night. 

I have to make much effort to remember to “re-center” a million times a day. It’s so abstract that I can’t even describe to you what that means, but I know it involves me glancing at Jesus and smiling at him and feeling him smile back. It involves me remembering that I am a person, not a performer. It involves me taking a breath and refocusing on what is important. If I remember to do this enough times a day, I look back at the end of the evening and I still feel intact, and not like the numbed out, hollow shell that I’m so terrified of becoming. It’s a matter of maintaining my soul, and I am hoping that this can become a way of life. If I can stay alive on the road, in the dead of winter with a schedule that would make any hard working musician grimace, I can probably do it for the rest of my life. You probably can too…

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Postcards & Shotglassas

October 23, 2011

I didn’t come to write to share any particularly deep thoughts or new revelations. I am seated in the parked van on Yale University’s campus, in New Haven, Cinneticut. Did you know Yale is in New Haven? I had no idea.
We’ve been on the RED tour for a few weeks now, and this morning as I woke up in the CVS parking lot, thirsty, needing to pee, and desperately wanting to crack the van window to let in some fresh air, I was running through all the different places we’ve slept in my head. It’s all just a collection of cities, new states and towns that nobody keeps track of. If we were proper tourists, we’d have a map and put little stars on the places we’ve visited, and keep a record of each city’s highlight. We’d buy shot glasses or postcards with the state bird on it from the gas stations we so often frequent.  And being as I am the girl-supposedly the responsible, organized one-this record keeping should probably fall on my shoulders.
What happens instead is the kids at the merch table ask where we’re playing tomorrow and I have absolutely nothing to tell them. I scramble trying to remember which town we’re in that night and look for one of the boys, to ask them of the next day’s destination. I share this with you not to brag and let you know how often we travel, but rather to point out the fact that when you spend only 12 hours in a city, and six hours go to setting up/playing the show, and the remaining for sleeping (and the other 12 hours of the day for travel), it is rare to have the opportunity to actually enjoy any given city, even harder to remember it’s name.
But I do love cities. For the past 3 ½ years, we’ve been playing random venues in random towns. We’ve played libraries, fields, garages, parking lots, and a variety of settings in the middle of nowhere. But this tour has been the first run that has consistently been in the heart of a city, so that means each venue is surrounded by new-to-us coffee shops, restaurants, book stores and the like to explore…if we can find the time to shove those little adventures in our day. There are also interviews, phone calls to home, alone times, books to read and all such things to occupy our time.
Anyways, this morning I had the rare opportunity to enjoy New Haven. It is lovely, like something out of a movie. The weather is perfect, the leaves are turning, and all around me are giant university buildings resembling old catholic churches or midlevel castles, with statues of unicorns and gargoyles all the way at the top.  This little city is alive, bustling with smart Yale students, local clothing stores, and Thai restaurants.
I am romanticizing the whole thing, I know. But why not? I’d rather enjoy this little part of the country for the precious hours I’ll actually be in it, and file it away in my head as a lovely spot to possibly visit again some day. I’ll remember it like I saw it today, and conveniently ignore the fact that this place is probably freezing in the winter, it’s hard to find decent parking, and I’d get sick of being around all these people my age who know so much more than me. I’ll let New Haven take it’s spot among The Greats in my collection of cities, accompanied by such towns as Duluth, Breckenridge, and whichever part it was of Kansas City we played at last Sunday. And then the next time we take a few days off in Decatur, IL (the not so lovely town where we’re based), I’ll be able to sleep peacefully knowing there are enchanting, story-book like cities only a few states away.

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October 8, 2011

I am sitting on a towel laid out on the bathroom floor. It’s about 11 and I’m grateful that the Macbook we prayed so hard for and finally got, is fully charged and ready to listen to my gloriously overrated musings. I am in the bathroom, you see, because my band mates think i type loudly and it keeps them awake. i am on a towel because the bathroom is full of invisible germs and i don’t want to get my nice black pajama pants contaminated. It is 11 and I am not at a show trying to sell t-shirts to drunk RED fans because we have the night off. So that is why the band is actually sleeping at 11 pm for once, you see.

There, now that i have sufficiently explained and justified my current positioning, i am in the business to tell you what it is that kept my head from falling asleep along with the rest of the band. I am thinking about…..organicness, a lot. I wish there was a more brilliant and less cliche way to say it, but I’ll say it anyways: I don’t care….what….you….think.

There. That sounds harsh and bitter, doesn’t it? If i were to read that on some musician’s blog, I’d think “Surely they just read a bad review of their album, or saw a nasty comment about them posted online, and are trying to feel better about themselves.” But no, that’s not the case. I say the phrase kindly, warmly, with a content smile on my face. I love not being bothered by what you think, and I hope you have the courage to say the same for yourself. It is lovely.

I was watching the first 20 minutes of SLC Punk on Netflix (it was our day off remember) today, and I saw the scene with all the passionate, terrible, young ‘80’s band playing in the club, and all the punk kids were moshing and pushing and having the most wonderful time enjoying their secret gem of Salt Lake City on stage.  And i caught myself thinking, “Aw, I wish our band was like that. Just a bunch of crazy fans getting together to enjoy the music with us, nothing but shared passion and teen angst.” And then I remember, it did start like that. Sometimes I forget that our band wasn’t put together by a bunch of middle aged white guys in business suits up at Sony or something.  I love that at first glance, we look like a gimmick; a buff guy, a mohawk dude, and a pink haired chick pretending to be in a band? Surely our flashiness is to compensate for our crappy live show or the fact that we don’t write our own songs or something? Sure, at first glance that’s exactly what I’d think of our band, but the beautiful reality is that none of us knew what the heck we were doing when we started this, none of us had been in bands before, and we put one foot in front of the other and somehow figured this thing out enough to quit our day jobs and go on tour. The fact that we started from nothing, just completely clueless kids, I love that. I love it so much more then some instant success story, even though this way cost us everything. It makes it so easy to not care about coming across like some phony, talentless wanna-be band, because our story is the most organic thing that a band could ever have, you could’t write it any better if you’d tried. You know how you can tell if someone is insecure about something because they’ll get really defensive when you bring it up? Kinda like if you tell your boyfriend he spends too much time on his hair or something-if he’s secure in that, he won’t think twice. If he’s insecure, he’ll be like “What do you mean? I do not! I have to spend time on it to get it to look like this! Would you rather is looked like crap?!” And you’re like “Wow, sorry, I was just saying…” It’s like that. 

It is so exhausting trying to keep up with everything, to put out enough accurate information to combat the inaccurate information that well meaning but un-informed fans post on our Facebook wall and what not. So if I choose the much free-er, quieter path and lovingly decide not to care what you think, it’s nothing personal. My mom knows we’re not a christian band. My mom knows I’ve had pink/purple/blue/red/green hair for over 10 years. And my mom knows I sew all my clothes so I don’t have to shop at the over-saturated punk store at the mall. So who cares if you don’t? :)

….It’s this concept of being “all things to all people”. There is a place for that (seated nicely in first corinthians if I dare say), but I don’t want to give it too much of a place in me. I can’t ride some imaginary line to make sure I don’t offend anyone, or try to make the whole freaking world like our band. The more vague and broad you are, the less you tend to alienate people…. But tonight I don’t care if authenticity looses us a few listeners.

I feel much better now, after sharing that, and am going to bed. I love you. Ariel 

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You have no idea. I am on a brown couch at Tyler & Jess’s house, probably one of my favorite places to be. We are *supposed to* be in Franklin, IN at The Gear right now, setting up merch and chatting it up with the rest of the Fire w/ Fire tour bands. But our lovely blessing of a van is just being a punk and won’t run for more then ten minutes at a time and after four days straight of trying to fight it, we are giving in and GASP cancelling a show! It feels amazing. It feels like waking up on a Friday morning and realizing the snow has piled up high enough and you simply will not make it to school today.

That probably makes me sound like an ungrateful soul who has been worked to hard and is eager for a break. That’s not the case at all….we’ve been on this particular tour for a mere month and had far too many days off in my opinion and I have nothing but passion & desire built up in me-i could probably tour non stop for at least 3, maybe 4, more years. So its not like the summer heat and touring exhasution has  left me thankful for the unexpected day off, i am simply thrilled to have spot to myself on the brown couch, typing away while Jess does the same on the seat across from me.

…..So no lie as I am reminiscing on how good it feels to back out of shows you have dutifully been committed to for a month, I just got a phone call informing me the show has just been cancelled. Wellwellwell….Now we’re not the bad guys backing out of the show on the last day, no- we’re tucked safely in a home with A/C and good company, instead of turning our broken van around and driving the three hours home. Thank the Lord :)

We’ve been sorrounded by Tooth and Nail bands (Nine Lashes, I am Empire, Write this Down, The Letter Black) for 30 days straight and it has been an amazing blessing of a tour but I didn’t realize how grateful we really should be until we arrived at The Melvin Theater on Friday night and headlined a show for the first time in a month. We played with a bunch of locals, which is always awesome, and had the chance to diologue with some new faces. I realized I had fallen into a routine and had forgotten how a few months ago, this joke of a band called Icon For Hire was ‘just’ another local, and we would KILL for the chance to be on a freaking national tour. And that’s the way those local bands looked at us. They went on about how we were living their dream and we had (wait for it) “arrived”, and we’re looking around like “Are you talking to us?!”

See, on this tour, we’re one of the unknowns, an opening band that no one cares about yet. It means we have a lot to prove- and we enjoy this part of the process. In our heads, we’re just a bunch of punk kids nobody has heard of….and yet at Friday’s show we remembered that just a while back the thought of being on full time national tour was the most amazing thing ever. And now we get to do that! Wow!

You’ve probably heard someone say something like this (usually while making fun of it): “If only I get out of college, then i’ll be happy…..if only i get married and have kids then ill be happy…if only these kids grow up and move out then ill be happy…if only i move up in the company then ill be happy…if only i can retire….” all the way till you’re dead.

Bands have their own version of this scenario, and it looks like this-

When you’re just starting out, you enviously eye the local band who has the opportunity to play in front of fifty people tonight, and decent enough equipment to pull it off. You think “If i could just find a few musicians who want to do this as much as I do, if I could just get the chance to play my songs in front of my friends and family, we’d be a real band and that would be so awesome.”

It happens, you start playing a few shows, and you start setting your sites on headlining, being the big name on the poster and the closing band at the coolest venue in the big city where you saw _____ playing a few years back.

Then it starts sounding something like “If only i could quit my job and get to play music full time, that’s all I want. I don’t even need to be making a lot of money, just enough to drive around and play shows.”

Then pretty soon it’s the record deal thing, and this may be the hardest bridge to cross because its not something you have any direct control over. You just have to….wait. We waited for a year for our first offer, turned that down, and then another year before Tooth and Nail started talking to us. Looking back, two years is not that bad, but at the time, you don’t see the timeline playing out, you’re just thinking “My gosh how long till somebody offers us a freaking record deal and gets us out of this tiny town?!”

And now that we have the relationship in place with them, it’s “If only the album actually sells and we get to do this for a few more years.” ….But I really want to be grateful for the fact we even got to make a record! Who cares if the general public likes this thing or not, the fact that we got to spend months in the studio crafting our vision on somebody else’s budget (for the time being at least-it all gets paid back), what more could we want?!

It’s as if the second you meet your goal, you quickly make a new one and just keep eyeing it, completely oblivious and un-appreciative of the goal you just achieved.

I am only blogging about it to document the numbing out so if i wake up rich/famous/ungrateful I will know how it started happening:)