Thursday, January 8, 2015

New Year's Resolution: Avoid Being a Cover Band

A reminder for everyone who is a year older than last year at this time. We need to keep getting better. 
Have you ever been in a talent show and performed a very famous song?
It's fun. 
There are professional bands that play the hits of the original music stars or groups. These are called "cover bands." Like Elvis impersonators or Aerosmith imitators that look, play and act like the real thing.  They "cover" or reproduce the hit songs from famous artists that we love to hear. At the end of the day, the impersonator and cover band members put away their guitars, take off their wigs and makeup to become themselves. 
Impersonators can be fun, but the original has magic that is never duplicated.
 No matter how heartfelt our performance, I will never be one of the Lennon Sisters.
No matter how great his moves, Farmer Fred will never be Grand Funk Railroad.
I don't have a photo of Steven Tyler, the lead singer of Aerosmith. I have never seen him in person, but I watched him give an interview on television. He and his band are touring again and, unlike many old rock bands, Aerosmith is singing new music in their concert sets. Steven Tyler explained that if they didn't, Aerosmith would no longer be authentic and original. They would become just another Aerosmith cover band. It is imperative for Aerosmith to continue adding songs to their catalog of music in order to grow as musicians.
Steven Tyler's comments made me stop and think.
When we are kids, we are original. We explore, pretend, and become an adult who is a one of a kind individual. We become a performer that has never existed before.
Each is authentic and original, like Aerosmith and Steven Tyler, only on our own stage. 
The process continues and we notice it at life changing crossroads. We reinvent ourselves as adults, professionals, wives, husbands, parents. We are forced to be original, because it is new. Good or bad, each is unique.
As we age, we fall into patterns. We learn what works and what we enjoy. We find what we do best and do it.
The accomplishments, in a sense, are the hit songs of our lives. 
The downside is relying entirely on our hit songs. We stop adding originality to our lives.
This year I have resolved not to be a cover band for myself. I will not just impersonate the same old songs. I will learn new things and cultivate new ideas. 
My inspiration for this is Marilyn Hagerty. She has been a newspaper writer, columnist and editor since she was young. Recently she added "going viral" to her resume. Everyone in GriggsDakota and the surrounding area is very proud.
What inspires me is that she has continued writing columns and restaurant reviews for The Grand Forks Herald when she could have retired. She has had several hits during her long career, but she continues to add original writing to her body of work. She did not expect to ever have such a big hit as the Olive Garden Restaurant Review. The success came because she was not a cover band, focused on what she had done in the past. She went to a new restaurant and wrote a fresh review. 
This taught me that if you continue to be original, you never know what might happen.
Now, we can't all go viral, and Farmer Fred is not going to become Steven Tyler. It is, however, interesting to recall that there was a day when the combines in GriggsDakota were green.
Someone made a bold decision to change.
 Maybe I need a new dramatic look.
 Or maybe we just need to sit down and find some new music.
Time marches on.
2015 is ours to live day by day. 
We resolve not to be a cover band, singing the same old songs over and over.
We resolve to add some new music to the set in GriggsDakota.

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