I’m the opening act on Stevie Nick’s summer tour.
For the three months that we cross the country
I know that a two-year odyssey
Recording, travel, promotion and shows
Is coming to a close
And I’m worried.
I don’t have songs for a new record.
Not sure if I have anything to say.
Backstage at some amphitheater out west,
Maybe in San Francisco, or San Jose,
The drummer in Stevie’s band, Russ Kunkel,
Tells me I should go on an adventure,
Drive across the country,
Do anything to shake the trees.
What he’s saying is I need to
Get out of my mind.
See something new.
Go find the songs.
Shortly after that tour I go completely off the rails
With a divorce-money-career collapse
And I start to question who I am
As a man, a father, an artist.
But instead of running from the chaos, I dive down into it.
Writing, always writing.
And from those upside-down days
I find a whole new bag of songs,
A new vein to explore.
Over the next few years
I come to see that
The real adventure is inside the walls of my own house,
My own soul.
I stop hiding in my songs,
And start telling the truth.
Russ is right.
Sometimes we need to take an adventure,
Blow the carbon off the spark plugs,
Trick ourselves into seeing what’s really there.
71 East Yale Ave
Denver, CO 80210
For tickets and info
Alex Marrero, the badass drummer / singer / guitar player / voice over artist, gave a great Pecha Kucha talk here in Austin in July 2015. I’m going to do my best to summarize it here for your Independence Day reading (Non-US readers, just go along with us…).
In 1962, Alex’s parents left Cuba because they wanted freedom.
Freedom for themselves, freedom for their children.
They left all that they knew behind so that they and their kids might have the opportunity to make the choice of how and why they spent their days, how their children moved through the world.
Think about that for a moment:
They left everything, and started over, for freedom.
They landed in Virginia, and it was weird.
A few years later, the family moved again.
Mexico City, where Alex grew up.
They started over, again.
In his twenties, Alex moved to Austin.
To play music.
He’s Cuban, grew up in Mexico, lives in America.
Alex’s says that when he was a kid, his parents made them read the Spanish and English language newspapers. He insisted that they be bilingual. Alex understood what they were doing, but only later did he appreciate that what they were doing was giving him one more chance at freedom — freedom to navigate a bigger world, to be who he is without restriction.
Freedom to choose.
All the dislocation his parents went through,
All they put their kids through,
Was in pursuit of a very simple concept —
The ability to have some say over the way you live your life.
Alex told us that because his parents had the guts to leave everything behind, he now has the freedom to play music (which is a bit of a ball and chain in itself, but let’s don’t go there).
If you’re in the US, you have certain freedom.
It’s not perfect, it may not be all glory and silver linings,
But you do have the ability to make choices.
It’s possible to change direction.
So, on this Independence Day
Think about what the people who came before you, your family,
Your bloodline went through so that you have this luxury.
What did they give up, leave behind, overcome,
So that you can have these freedoms, big and small?
Freedom of choice.
Alex told us his story that night, looked us all in the eye, and asked us, as I’ll ask you now:
What are you choosing to do with your freedom?