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May, 2005

"Physical Demands of Performing"

by Webmaster

I've been known to pack as many as 6 gigs into one weekend. By the end of the weekend, I'm useless. I spend the next day or two just being a vegetable. It takes energy from an outside source to get me up and moving again. It felt like depression or illness. It worried me.

I discussed this problem with various friends and bandmates.

Michi Regier said she goes through the same thing and thinks it's a need for attention. The more we get, the more we want. She e-mailed me, "I'm feeling the same need for attention. I told [a friend] what I told you - a little bit of attention just makes me want more - and he said, 'you realize you just described addiction, don't you?'"

I'm sure there are people who get high on the attention and get addicted to it. I just don't like to think of myself as one of those people. I spent 25 years happily in a career where the only attention I got was when I did something wrong. Dead silence was a standing ovation.

So, I decided to pursue this further. Bill Barwick suggested I need to learn to take care of myself—develop a routine that is self-nurturing and will sustain the demands of performing. It's good advice and probably applies to anyone in any profession.

But, I don't have a routine—it would bore me. And it didn't address the "addiction" side of the problem.

So I kept asking. I talked it over with Christy Wessler. She told me that performing is an adrenaline rush. Performers sustain that adrenaline rush for hours on end. It depletes the body. Performers should plan for the down-time afterward. The more we perform, especially in new situations, the more down-time we should allow ourselves afterward, and we should make time in our schedules for it.

Now, this was an explanation I could live with!

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