Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Success Is Relative

I've been thinking a lot about success lately. Mainly just the definition, and how it means different things to different people. I meet people everyday on tour who seems to think that Oh, Sleeper has "made it". I just laugh to myself, because I'm nearly 25 years old and sometimes I find it hard to do something as simple as pay for my cell phone. When I was learning how to play the guitar at 16, success in music meant "successfully writing a song" or "successfully playing a show where at least one person came to the show".  The longer that I do this and the older I get, I begin to realize that my concept of success has changed drastically.  Maybe that's a bad thing, or maybe that needs to happen in order to push myself to achieve future goals? I'm not really sure. 

At this point, I've realize that success has NOTHING to do with how talented you are, nor how hard you work. I play in a band with 4 of the most talented and hard working guys I've ever met in my entire life. They are my brothers. And my best friends. And I'm constantly seeing bands form and become "successful" literally over night. Not that these bands aren't talented or hard working, but it seems to be more of a fad than anything. I'm one of the most competitive people that I know, and I'm starting to realize that worrying over album sales and plays on MySpace only make me jaded and resentful towards music. I don't wanna become that guy, but with my personality it's nearly impossible. I'm a "numbers guy". I'm constantly trying to think of new ways to sell MORE merch, and to get MORE kids at our shows, and to sell MORE records, and to get MORE MySpace plays. But I'm afraid this is a battle that I can't win, because like I said before....none of those things are based on talent or work ethic. Which leaves me with the question, "WHAT and WHO determines those things?" 

I have so much respect for bands who can consistently draw large crowds of people all across the country. That is a very difficult thing for us to do. It seems to almost be effortless for some bands to sell out shows and to sell tons of CDs and merch. I don't believe that Oh, Sleeper is a trendy band, and we certainly aren't a MySpace hype band. We've literally had to work our ass off for every album sold and fan we've ever gotten, which rules. I think we also appreciate our fans more than most bands because of that. We have a very real and personal connection with our fans, and I wouldn't trade that for any amount of money in the world. It's just discouraging sometimes, because I've put my entire life on hold (family, friends, relationships, jobs, money, etc.) to play music for people, and sometimes we'll be driving in the van and look at each other and ask, "Are we forcing this?" 

A recent example....on 3 different occasions, we were booked a show in McAllen, Texas. The first two times, we weren't able to make it due to unforeseen circumstances that were out of our hands. We got tons of emails and messages asking us to PLEASE reschedule a McAllen show. So finally, this past week we make it to McAllen, Texas. It's a Saturday night, so we're all thinking it's going to be a great show. MAYBE 50 people paid that night, and we played for a hand full of awesome people in a room that holds 1,200 people. I'm not trying to sound ungrateful or downplay the people who DID come to the show, because I met a ton of great people that night who I will remember forever. But it blew my mind that we played a show on a Saturday night in the same state that we live in, and very few people even seemed to care. But it's not just McAllen. I'd say we get those same emails from places all across the country, and the same thing happens nearly everytime. I'm just confused, I guess. What are we doing wrong? What's the secret to drawing people to shows and selling records? That's obviously not all I care about, but it makes things tricky when you're nearly 25, living at your parents house, and simply trying to afford to live!

I apologize if it sounds like I'm complaining. This is why I made this blog, though. For the dudes in this band to spill their guts. And there mine are! All out in the open for everyone to see. I guess I said all of this to say, Success for me is being remembered for doing something great. If Oh, Sleeper is remembered in 10 years for changing someone's life, then please just disregard this entire post. And if you made it this far, thank you for reading my ramblings. :) You guys keep me afloat and I love you for that.

Lucas Starr

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ryan's Farewell

Hello Everyone,
This is Ryan and I wanted to let everyone know a little bit of whats going on with Oh, Sleeper as of late. There has been some very big decisions made regarding the future of the band and I wanted to let everyone know the new developments before rumors start circulating. First of all, I have decided to step down from my position in Oh,Sleeper, this has been something that's been in the works for a long time and I'm very happy to say that my relationship with everyone in the band is just as its always been. I love my brothers in OS and will always cherish my time with them and the band. We have had some wonderful fights, held eachother together through tradgedy and heartbreak and I've had my 4 best friends for nearly anything that might have come up in my life, we've worked together as a team and I've got no regrets for the long hours that we've all put in together. Music/touring has been what I've done since I was 12 years old and I'm so happy to have been able to tour with all my favorite bands and be apart of a record that is motivating and inspiring. I've never wanted to do anything that was a waste of time and I can honestly say that I feel we put out a record that helped kids push through problems and gave them strength and perseverence. Given that this is probably my last time to be able to impact people in this way so I wanted to leave everyone with a few words:
We believe in all of you, I believe you are all capable of great things and have it in you to accomplish what you set out to do. Whether that be college or highschool, getting through a divorce, kicking an addiction or pursuing a dream, we want you to know that OS is on your side and thats why we do what we do, WE believe in you and know that we're in the trenches with you, lets do this together, lets not survive, lets conquer, That's how we were made; to brave the waters and attach ourselves to something greater than what we know. Having that said, I want to be clear that my choice to leave is nothing more than a pressing interest and/or calling that requires 110% of my focus and have no other choice but to remove myself from the band. Our tour with Norma Jean and Haste the Day will be my last tour, please come out and tell me goodbye.

C. Ryan Conley