• Jimmy Mrozek

There's a song by Ray LaMontagne called "You Are the Best Thing". In the chorus he says "You are the best thing...that's ever happened to me". I love this song because it immediately makes me think of my family. Often times I wonder what did I do to deserve them? I must be lucky, or like that 1956 movie starring Paul Newman called "Somebody Up There Must Like Me", somebody up there must like me. As I mentioned in my last post, sometimes it's rough leaving them to go play a gig. Especially on a Friday night after a long week when all I really want to do is just be with them. It's for sure not easy. There are plenty of times that I've been late leaving for a gig because of giving a kid a bath or putting them to bed, or eating dinner as a family and trying to spend every second that I can with them. Family comes first. Like I mentioned before, my wife is amazing. Supporting me while I do this.

Going to play at a bar isn't exactly where I want to be. If I didn't play music then you'd probably have to pay me to get me to go to a bar.....so the funny thing is that....in essence, I'm getting paid to go to these places, but, to play music. Obviously these aren't places for families. This is why I've really tried to book jobs that my family can come to. When they are able to, I get so excited to play. There's no better feeling than looking out and seeing my son or daughter singing and dancing. In fact, earlier today I played a gig with the band and my wife and kids were there. A huge part of me wishes that I could step outside of my body and be with them....but obviously that is not possible. It's still so cool to be able to share something that I love to do with the people that I love most. Like any father/husband, I want to give my family everything. I want to work hard for them and I want to be there for them.

That's the tough part about being a musician. It's not a normal 9 to 5 job. In fact, I already have one of those (I'm a teacher). Music has become a second job. It's so hard to say no when somebody wants to give you money for doing something that you enjoy to do. It's not work but it is work (if that makes sense). I mentioned before about the competition in the "music world". This is the part that makes it "work". More on that in later blogs.

Back to the family...My kids LOVE music. My daughter likes to sing and my son dances to anything. It's usually hard to play when I'm at home so when I do, I try to play kids songs for them. Recently, I've been asking my daughter what songs she would like me to play on guitar. "If You're Happy and You Know It" is at the top of the list. (Could a children's album be in the works? Perhaps...) Bottom line is that I just want to do right by them. There have been times when I seriously thought about stopping playing out because it would be easier on my family. My wife doesn't want me to do that though, which is amazing. I just continue to get offers to play at places because my name is getting out there more and more. Like I said, she's always supported me. No matter how crazy or difficult it seems.

Somebody up there must like me because they are the best thing that's ever happened to me.

Peace and Love

-JM

  • Jimmy Mrozek

This summer was crazy! It seemed like I was constantly leaving my family to go play gigs. I'll be the first to admit that it was a lot. Hence the "crazy". Here's the thing though, I must've been doing something right! The band, solo, duo, you name it. I can only think of like one weekend that I didn't play. I just counted, over 25 gigs. To this point in 2019, I've played about 55 gigs and we are moving slowly towards September. That may not seem like a lot to somebody that is makes their living as a musician (lucky for me I'm a teacher...more on this is later entries) but it is a lot for my family to endure. My wife, Heather, is an angel......or is a saint better? Also, it is a lot on our two young children. I'll have more to say about my family in later entries so don't you worry. But I digress.

One more show remains in the summer (at least in my mind) and it is the day before labor day. The Dear Jimmy Band will play a Sunday afternoon gig at a local winery called Debonne. At this point, I feel accomplished but also a little sad knowing that the gigs will slow down. Trust me, I need some breathing room but the one thing about playing a lot is that it helps you to figure yourself out more and more as a musician. That's the one thing about the band as well. If we play a lot of gigs in close proximity, we are tight, if we have long stretches without a band gig, we usually leave some things on the table. Bob and Joel (my DJB mates) are fantastic musicians in their own right so we can usually gut out a song and to the naked ear it sounds good.

BTW it takes a lot of time, hard work, and (insert all the cliches here) to build a name for yourself. I think that was another point that I wanted to bring up about why I was grinding. DJB is pretty well established in the area but Jimmy Mrozek isn't and that had a lot to do with the grinding. Running and marketing for a band and for yourself as a solo artist gets tiring. That's always been the tough part about playing music. I had a friend tell me the reason why he never wanted to play live (and mind you this guy is fantastic, he can sing, play guitar, you name it) because he didn't want to resent it. I never knew what he meant and I kind of always scoffed the comment off. But I think that I'm beginning to understand what he means now. Not that I resent playing, I love it. However, the extra crap always seems to creep in. It's competitive out there and you are always looking over your shoulder to see who is taking what gigs where and wondering why you aren't getting a gig at the same place. This is another part of the grinding. But guess what......I started taking the approach of supporting my local musician brethren and all those uneasy feelings left me and my god it is freeing.

The one question remains......does the grinding ever end? Who knows!

Peace & Love

-JM

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