Guest POST: CMJ, Or Why the Hell I’m Doing What I Do

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Ofer, and I’m the singer/guitarist in a band called Velo. Marcus Brown, the esteemed host of the Make My Day podcast, and recently the esteemed editor of the eponymous newsletter, is our bassist. He is much funnier than me. At a show, I do everything i possibly can to make people feel things or something like that. Marcus saves the day by being infinitely charming while I desperately try to figure out why the hell my guitar has ceased to emit audible sounds.


Actually that exact thing happened at our show on saturday; my guitar cut out, and for 2 or so minutes I was desperately fumbling around with my gear. When I looked up again, the crowd had pushed right up against the stage, and was much thicker than it had been when I had last looked beyond the mass of cables and blinking lights in front of me. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but when I looked into the smiling eyes of every front row babe I knew that Marcus had set me up to knock everyone out of the park.


Sometimes when I play music, I don’t feel like I’m at the bottom of the canyon anymore. I feel like a part of me has been transported to a ledge high up on one of its sides. I stand there breathing in the cool air, staring at my physical body, a thousand feet below. I laugh the kind of laughter that comes out of your body like a scream. But then the show ends and the feeling dissipates. I am left wandering a venue full of people who seem to exist on a plane a million miles away from that vantage point i had so recently been. I want to form a connection with them but ..words become.. hard.   


I am absolutely, resolutely, in love with life. But for years I’ve been involved in an adulterous relationship with despair, and in moments of tired resignation life can begin to feel like hiking through the bottom of a very steep canyon. On either side of me are daunting cliffs, and in front of me is a path with no end in sight and I am so tired.

It used to be that I wasn’t even hiking through this metaphorical fucking canyon at all. I was just frantically looking for a way up the sheer rock face but I couldn’t find one. Now I’ve got my head down, and I’m moving forward. A step in the right direction. It seems to me that as things stand, my only choice seems to be to battle through the tiredness. To get home from a long day of work and say ‘fuck it, time to go play a show’. To wake up in the morning, prop myself up on coffee and tacos and do it all again. Keep on trudging.


In keeping my head down I sometimes fail to pay the slightest attention to the things around me until I have literally walked straight into them. For instance, CMJ. We’re flying to New York tomorrow to play an official showcase at CMJ. Not even this dumb canyon metaphor can isolate me from that fact. Tomorrow I fly to New York to do what I most love in the world in front of people who could potentially help me build my life around it.  


But right now it’s today, and I’m still trudging. Today, if you were so inclined, you could find me gathering together a procession of PA systems at Rock n Roll rentals ‘cause today is Wednesday. And come next Monday, I’ll be there again, but maybe my head will be tilted just a fraction higher, because I know that if I can just keep trudging long enough, those high cliffs shorten, and their angle will lessen, and I’ll find myself calmly strolling out that beautiful ravine, wind on my face, the world completely open as I breath.