Written by Tony Housh (Seasons After)
“My Rock and Roll Journey”…I really like that title. Naturally, I was intrigued once I heard that several of us rocker types were going to be sharing our personal experiences that helped us to become who we are today.
I can’t imagine what my journey would have been if I hadn’t made the choice to follow that shiny thing glowing at the end of the (sometimes) dark and creepy music biz hallway. It’s like a high that you chase. It’s irresistible to the budding musician. You want to reach out and have that shiny object that is fueled by your passion. You simply can’t stop yourself once you have been bitten by the bug.
Some people have to go to rehab for gambling, some for substance abuse, and some for other things in life. I have never heard of a rehabilitation center for people who want to “kick the musical habit.” I can say that there have been a few times in my life when I wished I had not been bitten by the proverbial music bug. I would have gladly gone to rehab for my obsession with music, and my determination deep inside to thrive in its environment. In other words, at times, I would have rather kicked the habit and marched to the 9 to 5 gig. Hey, I’m just being honest. It can be a rough ride, not only for the artist, but also the artist’s family. At times, I’ve thought that my life would have been much simpler had I never taken that first “musical crack hit.”
I have been spun out on music (and the surrounding lifestyle) for years. I absolutely cannot imagine not having my daily fix of writing, recording and touring. There’s something special about playing live, seeing your music compete in the market and connecting with people through your words. It is highly addictive, and the overall excitement that it generates in a musician’s soul is irreplaceable (at least that’s how I feel about it).
Sometimes I wonder if all musicians and artists are just a bit crazy. I think that you have to be a little nuts (in some way) to walk away from the traditional structure that society has to offer. When everyone was talking about college and their future, all I could think about was jamming out!
I have a feeling that all musicians have approached that door at some point in their lives. Some walk through it, while others choose not to roll the dice. It’s really that point when you make that decision to open the door and walk through it that the rock and roll journey starts to take place. The moment you say…“this is what I love, and I can’t let it go!” At that point, you begin searching for a way to become sustainable through your passion (which is no easy task).
I stepped into the dark hallway of the music business almost immediately (at age 16), when I joined my very first rock band – Noisy Minority – in my hometown of Cisco, Texas.
I was working at the time at Dairy Queen as a cook. I was just doing my thing in the back, you know, flipping burgers, making french fries, grilling onions and probably jamming out to some country tunes. I looked up to see my meal tickets as the front door opened, and saw Clay Lorence (a local musician) entering the front door with a long-haired dude that I didn’t recognize, but the long hair had me curious.
I insisted to my coworker…“There is no way that you’re delivering these burgers sister! I have it covered!” Away I went with burgers in hand and approached the two rocker dudes. As I recall, I nervously placed the burgers on the table in front of them, and introduced myself as Tony. I said to them…“I think I may be able to sing. I have never been in a rock band, but I really want to give it a shot. Are you guys, by chance, looking for a singer or know someone who may be?”
I later found out that, as I approached their table on that afternoon, there was a comment that was made from one of the guys to the other. I believe it was something along the lines of…“Who is this Marky Mark looking dude rolling up with our burgers?” That comment was made by the long haired guy, Brandon Bennett.
Brandon eventually became a very good friend of mine, and my first real guitar player. I have always shared a special relationship with my guitarists over the years. He was the first one, and the beginning of a lifelong need to have a guitarists around me that I relate to and connect with. Brandon was the first person to sit down with me to write songs, not necessarily always for our band, but just to write a song on a Friday or Saturday night.
I will always view Brandon as that musical drug dealer that gave me my first real “musical fix.” I was never the same after that first fix. He even gave me my first guitar and small amp to play on before I knew how much I loved the instrument itself. He more or less completed the waking-up process of the musician in me. He is kind of like a vampire that bit me and changed me forever by the way he touched my life, filling and nurturing a habit that will forever be with me. It exists in my musical journey to this day.
Sadly, Brandon passed away, but his impact lives on. He helped nudge me toward the opening, and took the first steps with me through the dark and scary hallway of uncertainty that the music business sometimes presents. He pointed out the shiny thing that glowed at the end of the hallway. Because of his music, his influence, and the person that he was, he is missed by everyone that knew him.
Clay was the first guy that I had ever met that could build entire songs on a computer with a keyboard via the midi controller and all that jazz. I had never seen that before, and I was blown away by the recording process and the potential that it offered. Clay was the first person that allowed me to witness the beginnings of our current world (as far as the way we record and make music). We did some of our first gigs together, and made some of our first musical memories with one another. He is still making music and working in production and sound engineering to this day.
It wasn’t long until we had written, tracked and recorded our first song. It was the first time that I had been able hear myself singing over music. I must have jammed that song a thousand times, but I had no idea if it sucked or not. What mattered most was that it was my first musical baby, and there’s no way that you’re going to tell a parent that their firstborn child is ugly.
Eventually, that song created my first radio station experience in Abilene, Texas on one of the local music spotlight shows on KEJY (Rock 108). Hearing my first song on the radio was a truly epic moment of my journey, and I was only 17-years old at the time.
I spent several years writing, recording, and doing my very first live performances with Brandon and Clay. It truly was the beginning of a huge change that would take hold of me for years to come…
Be sure to join me next time as life sends me packing in search of the ultimate rock band in Dallas, TX. Until then…
My Rock and Roll Journey: Tony Housh – Seasons After – Chapter 1
MORE “MY ROCK AND ROLL JOURNEY” STORIES
SAL COSTA – Smashing Satellites
JOEY “CHICAGO” WALSER – Devour The Day
MICHAEL DEL PIZZO – Sunflower Dead
NATHAN COLUCCI – The BallRoom Babies
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