I’ve been thinking a lot about ‘old art’ lately. And by that, I mean art that I made in the past, be that writing, music, or anything else. I can’t speak for every artist, and I’m sure there are some (lucky ones) that this isn’t relevant to…but for me, I’ve always had kind of a “hide it all away” attitude when it comes to things I made in the past. The mere suggestion of people looking into what I’d done before I was “professional enough to share” is usually enough to make me clam up with anxiety, because, as with any craft or skill, if you stick with it you’re always progressing. Don’t judge me by that old stuff—it’s all garbage compared to what I can do now!
What a toxic mindset! The truth is that I’ve always had kind of a hard time sharing my work. Maybe out of fear that it’s not good enough, maybe out of perfectionism. Partially both, I suppose.
A couple of weeks ago, my father came to visit my wife and I for the first time since he’d gotten vaccinated against COVID. He brought a box of stuff from my old room, since he and my mom are painting it to turn it into a better guest room. I don’t know if your parents do this sort of thing, but it’s a running joke among my siblings and I to groan about it whenever it happens, because 99% of the time the stuff in the boxes is junk that we thought we had thrown out, but our father had somehow saved in a rare fit of sentimentality.
Yet nestled among the inevitable junk that was in this box were also some treasures. Namely, old videos from bands I was in during college, recorded at our student TV station. My bandmates and I had all assumed the recordings were lost, so it was kind of a blast from the past to find them. One of them was from my main late teens/early 20s music project, a hard rock band called Gravia, and I was so pleasantly surprised to find this lost recording that I literally shouted out loud.
I put the disk in my computer, planning to digitally archive the show…which, to my surprise…was actually not bad. This led to me listening to Gravia’s sole release, a 2010 EP called The Battle. And, to my even greater surprise…it was actually pretty good. We were barely into our 20s when we recorded it, and obviously looking back it’s easy for me to spot all the imperfections and things I would have done differently. More than a decade has passed since I helped write those songs, and obviously that’s a lot of time to hone a craft.
But really, it was so long ago that I can’t even nitpick it. It was something I was a part of making when I still pretty much a kid. Despite that fact, it’s aged surprisingly well. Well enough that it still might actually be one of the best and most cohesive releases I’ve ever been a part of.
I guess that’s the funny thing about art of the past. It’s easy to feel like it was crap sometimes, and who knows, maybe some of it actually was. But sometimes, enough time just needs to pass for you to be able to look back on things for what they were. And with that more objective view, can come a more peaceful acceptance. The Battle was the culmination of my music career up to that point—a fact which only makes me prouder looking back on it because we totally produced and recorded the damn thing ourselves.
All this has led me to re-evaluate the bio section of the site, which previously had hardly mentioned Gravia or my other main band project, Sacred Ash. It does mention them now, with links and such, because they were a huge part of my development as a creator. To not include them would be to give you a dishonest picture of how I’ve come to be the musician I am, and what would be the point in that?
There are links in the bio section as well, in case you want to check any of those old projects out.