The closer it got to stage time, the less I could talk. The anxiety used to drain me of words the way a gambler drains a bank account. Bankrupted and staring blankly at my friends as they asked me what was wrong, I’d simply stare through them and head to the bathroom.
Being a lead singer wasn’t easy. Not in my head anyway. It’s a complicated place my mind. Still, I’d find myself sitting in a cubicle staring at the back of a closed door. I wasn’t frightened but this space offered me respite from the anguish. Often through years of self medicated borderline mental collapse, a cubicle offered me a safe haven to collect my thoughts from the unrolled pile they had become on the floor of my being.
The familiar bass line of our intro song would start and I knew there was no escape. I hated this moment yet it was as alive as I would ever feel. The band had literally started playing the first song on stage and I was seated on a toilet in whatever Sydney live venue was gifting us an opportunity that evening.
Once I moved I knew there no turning back. Like that moment when you’re paddling for a huge wave surfing, and you commit and push the nose of your board down the face of a wave, no matter how late you are, you’re giving yourself away to fate and whatever the energy of this world decides to do with you next..
The latch would go and often the door would slam hard as I opened it inward against the wall. I’d gain half a foot on each step and give myself that last sideways glance in the mirror,
“yeah boy, lets go”
Sound travels based on the concept of air. If there’s no air there is no sound hence why space is silent. As you swing open a door from a bathroom and hit a room full of live music, the decibels of perception jump instantly like taking out earplugs as the air hits you like a sheet. I like the smell of bars. Alcohol mixed with smoke, leather and whatever the kitchen dished up to satisfy their liquor license.
You couldn’t of stopped me if you tried. I once grabbed my mate by the shoulders and pushed us both to the front of the stage from the back of the big day out arena at a Slipknot concert. People splayed off left and right as a human battering ram drove a wedge thought their waving arms and spite filled protesting like an ice breaker at full speed. We didn’t care.
This is how I felt as I literally stormed the stage through the crowd and jumped up next to the microphone.
Our intro lasted around 2 minutes with no singer but once I gripped the Shure SM58 microphone off the stand that most of these venues had, you best believe I had something to say.
And so it would begin..