While scrolling through Facebook, a post from Bryan Stars came up. The first line in the post? "The reason I quit BryanStars Interviews."
Now I had realized he basically stopped uploading any interviews, and only really uploaded skits and challenges on My Digital Escape with Johnny Gilbert and others. Over all, I didn't think much of it. Everyone needs to time to themselves, and the YouTube community is a lot of fun to play around in. Come to find out, he quit interviewing all together.
Now I know this is going to sound incredibly fangirlish, and say what you will, but hearing this kind of...hurt in a way. Not because of him, being who he is, quitting. Nothing like that, it was what he said, and the history I kind of have involving Bryan. Bryan is one of my biggest inspirations. His interviews are what made me want to start interviewing bands, which lead me into full blown music journalism and photography. So, not only is there that, but there's his reason for quitting. Those same thoughts have been running through my head a lot for several months lately, but yet there's still something, somewhere in my mind telling me not to give up just yet.
Everything Bryan said on Facebook is entirely true. Getting access to bigger bands is incredibly hard and I have mixed feelings hearing him say it. On some level, its sort of comforting realizing someone as well known as Bryan Stars also has a problem getting in touch with bands he would like to speak to. On another, its sort of like, "Crap. If he can't even get to them, how the hell am I supposed to ever manage?" But that's the thing, you can't really compare yourself to others, you know? Sometimes, with enough persistence, something does work in your favor.
That's what also gets frustrating. Journalism is a lot of work, especially when you do it all yourself. There's all the promotion to get 'legit' enough to get to cover shows, there's the writing, photo taking, editing, more promotion, traveling, ect. And yes, its very rewarding in the long run, but its a very underrated, stressful job that you don't really get paid for unless you get that "big break" everyone talks about. It also really honestly sucks when you bust your ass for something, put your heart and soul into something, just to have it fall apart. Trust me, it happens. For everything that does work out, there's at least ten that didn't quite work out. Or if they did work out, didn't work as planned.
I'm about four years into Immortal Music, and have debated on and off since about April about giving it all up. The 'spark' has come and gone through out the year, and its interesting how it fluctuates. In the back of my mind, I'm going, "I really need to get something up on the website." I always need to do a review, post a news article, write a blog, request an interview -SOMETHING. And I get incredibly discouraged when I post something and get absolutely no feedback regardless of how much I promote it. It gets to feeling totally and completely pointless sometimes.
And Bryan made a good point about that too. "Bands do interviews to promote their music. But the bigger a band gets, the less they rely on press as they have enough power on their own to promote their projects. Press essentially becomes a waste of time and they are very limited on who they grant access to."
That thought comes to mind a lot -press essentially becomes a waste of time. Us journalists sometimes are burdens to band members, and trying to do an interview that's worth their time and fun for them isn't easy. I am sure there's been interviews I've done that the band was more than happy to walk away from when it was over, because I'm not this crazy, fun, wacky person that's going to ask porn star names and such. I'm not Bryan Stars, and frankly, Bryan is something I've always aspired to be.
Which is probably why his post did upset me a bit. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad he's doing something he is happy with, and I sincerely wish him the best of luck in anything he does. But how are you supposed to react when one of your inspirations moves on because of the same thoughts you've been having? I mean, fuck, he interviewed 450 BANDS IN 6 YEARS, and went on Warped tour twice. He flew all over the country to interview bands, and edited it all himself. Of course he got burned out.
I have gotten a little burned out in four years after interviewing just a handful of bands....and most not in person. It seems slightly pathetic...But at the same time, I stop and think about it. Sure, I've interviewed only a handful of bands, but I've also reviewed 165 albums, written I don't know how many blog posts, and articles, threw together graphics and web layouts, and promoted it all. Until recently, that was all completely by myself, and I've had a job outside of this that keeps me pretty busy for the last year and a half. I've worked to cover shows I didn't get to cover, saved up money I barely had to cover shows that were no where near me, made merch that nobody's bought, promoted on several platforms just to have absolutely nobody say a word, and been frustrated and stressed out to the point of tears.
But at the same time, I've also sat down with some incredible people, discovered some great bands I otherwise may have never heard about, experienced some amazing things, discovered a passion for photography, and found a sense of purpose in the world. All because of journalism. All because my best friend about five years ago showed me a Bryan Stars interview. I still remember the exact one actually, and exactly how he showed me.
It was Bryan's first interview with Andy Biersack, back when he still went by Andy Six. I went over to his house after he got out of school, and he says to me, "Hey, you have to watch this interview. You'll love this guy." He meant Andy, and at the time his ultimate goal was to get me into more music. So, we sat down in front of the computer and started watching the interview. Probably half way through the interview, it randomly hit me.
"Why am I not doing this??"
I'm pretty sure I said it out loud too, honestly. I loved music, and I loved to write. Why not write about music? I didn't really think about trying to ask for an interview for a few more months, but once I did....I kept going. Bryan Stars was my second ever interview, and I remember he started asking me questions about how I got started and all that. I told him, and also was able to tell him that I has just been confirmed for my first 'big' interview, Mayday Parade. I remember him pausing and saying, "Wow, really? And how long have you been doing this?" He seemed genuinely impressed when I said it had only been a few months. Before we got off the phone, he told me to keep up the good work, and never give up.
Four years later -I'm still trying. With life, I've slowed down, but I'm still trying. I'll know if I'm ever ready to quit, though I know right now is not the time. I am very proud of Bryan for knowing when to quit, and for doing something that makes him happy.
I don't know why I insisted on writing such a lengthy blog about this...it just got me thinking. He spoke the truth about how journalism can be, and I just had to say something. Best of luck with everything you do -and that goes for anyone who's feeling burned out right now. Know what's right for you, but don't make any rash decisions. Mull it over, talk it over, do whatever it takes to figure out what's right for you. When the time is right, you'll know what your next move is.
If you want to know exactly what Bryan said, its on his Facebook page, and I do recommend reading it. It may open your eyes a bit.
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