An agonizing reappraisal of myself.

I now know that the judgments I have about others have masked my ability to see my own shortcomings.

Here’s what happened yesterday that lead to this revelation.

I was going through some old hard drives and I found audio files. I listened to productions of mine that I did over 25 years ago. And some of it was great. Great recordings, great bass playing, great songs, great keyboard parts, great arrangements, great mixes. My work. All done analog, no DAWs, no computers, just a hardware midi sequencer and a sound module or two aiding my production. Finished mixes that were captured on DAT and transferred to wave files at some point.

After my initial enjoyment, I became very sad. I realized that back then, 25 years ago, I was top notch at a wide array of studio skills. Yet, here I am just another local guy who plays the bass in a cover band and occasionally participates in a cool recording project.

I began to think about some of the talented musicians I have known, and how they never got the ‘big break’, and how I thought I saw something about them that I reckoned was the reason why – some psychological quirk or something that limited them, and thankfully I was not like them. After all, I’ve been in a successful band for 20 years…

I then looked at my career, and hiding beneath the twenty years with Groovethang, was something that I did not want to face – that I am just as much an underachiever as those I speak of. And this made me very sad indeed. Why?

I was a one man gang back then and even more so now, gaining tons more knowledge and experience over the years.

I do have something to show for it. I have a nice mixing room, a nice instrument collection, and I am respected in the community for what I do. And I love that.


I want more. More money, more prestige. I don’t want to work in the IT world again. I want to be like Alan Parsons or Steven Wilson, sought after and well paid for what I am, an audio – musical expert, par excellence. There, I said it, and what an ego I must have.

I identified the source of the psychological quirk which limits me. As a kid I was the recipient of a thorough brainwash campaign. For ten years, practically on a daily basis, I heard how music was a worthless pursuit, and this was conveyed to me with intense, vicious anger. This took a toll on me.

In spite of this, I excelled in my music studies, getting college level music theory together while in tenth grade, for example. My hope was that I could overcome the negativity about the music business that I was slammed with by learning and gaining experience. And this turned out to be partially true, thankfully. But only partially.

Here is the lesson. Success and skill are not related. Success requires instincts for success. I do not have these instincts. I have plenty of skills. Skills are not enough to be successful at the level I want. I’m hoping that unwrapping these old wounds will allow them to heal, and that I will someday re-calibrate my instincts for achieving success doing what I love so much.