This Is What Growing Up Feels Like (And Why It Kinda’ Sucks)

nadas.jpgI’ve spent a fair dose of my twenties and thirties clinging to adolescent joys like making records, playing rock shows, and drinking beer, all while holding down a semi-respectable day job.

For a while there, I had a pretty decent balance. Between October 2003 – December 2005, I released three LPs and two EPs, and logged roughly six weeks of touring. This, of course, in addition to my gig at MTV News.

It wasn’t perfect; my former-boss once interrupted a rowdy pre-show, back-of-the-bus party (I believe PBR, Templeton Rye and Roman Candles were involved) with a series of questions about the Video Music Awards which — on that sunny, Lenexa, Kansas afternoon — seemed impossible to fathom. There have been countless hung-over news meetings since.

Generally, though, I’ve been able to have my cake and eat it (which, when you actually look at in a sentence, makes perfect sense, but you know what I mean).

Lately, though, there’s been a disturbance in The Force. The purview of my job has increased. And I’m no longer the sole member of my household. I have responsibilities to someone else and something bigger than myself. I’m managing a career, and building a family.

I knew it was happening; I felt it coming. Today, though, it hit me like a ton of bricks. This is what growing up feels like (and why it kinda’ sucks).

Now, you know The Nadas are not only my pals, they’re one of my favorite bands. And you may know that frontman Mike Butterworth turned me on to another great band, The Damnwells. And you may also know that I went on to befriend a guy, Chris Suchorsky, who directed a documentary about The Damnwells. And now Chris is working with my brother and me on our documentary, “Mister Rogers & Me.” (The plot goes one further: Damnwell front man Alex Dezen is currently matriculated at The Iowa Writer’s Workshop, the esteemed MFA program my father’s been lobbying me to attend since high school.)

So get this. My friend, Tricia, emails me yesterday morning to tell me that The Damnwells are playing The Nadas big holiday benefit show, Nada Silent Night — a show I played with them back in 2005. Shortly after receiving Tricia’s note, Mike emailed me. And my prolonged adolescence came to a painful end.

Benwa Balls,

Jason mentioned you were interested in coming to DSM for Nada Silent Night. We can’t get you a set this year but he did mention playing on the 4th for the Crossroads music fest and we could figure something out for a guest appearance during our set. Not sure if that warrants a trip here. Thoughts?

Love, Mike

Mere moments later, I replied thusly:

You’re a good man for asking, Mike. Thanks. The prospect of taking the stage with TWO of my favorite bands for even one second is too much awesomeness to consider, hence my repeat inquiries (in jest and otherwise). Likewise, the prospect of MISSING two of my favorite bands together is heartbreaking.

So you’re sweet for asking. And I can’t conceive of missing it, truly. But I’m supposed to be in LA on Wed/Thus. In fact, I have a meeting with Universal Pictures at 2pm PT on Thu. So I can’t make the math work to get to DSM in time for Crossroads. And since I don’t add to your NSN draw, am not really local, don’t really move units, and don’t warrant the set — understandably — I don’t help you much. That’s what I get for selling out and becoming a corporate VP. Damn. DAMN! :( I dunno what else to say, except thanks for trying to make it work with Crossroads, and offering a cameo.

XO, Benjamin

So that’s it. That’s what it feels like: the sound of a rock show happening without me twelve hundred miles away.

Which is to say: the sound of silence.

Related Posts