Do you ever find it beneficial to put down the damn guitar and get out of the house?
Usually, my answer is “no” — I like hanging out in the studio, and am immensely grateful that I get to do something I love most days. But after a long stretch of over-work, I was hankering for a nice, long road trip, and decided to go on a photo safari of remote ghost town sites in Northern Nevada — something I’ve never done, and a serious change of venue for an effete urbanite like me.
The plan: explore by day and play with my mobile recording rig in the evening. Crank out a few posts on small audio interfaces and recording via GarageBand for iPad. So I tossed my Hello Kitty guitar into the back of my rented 4×4, figuring I could prop it in front of disintegrating shacks and abandoned mine shafts for maximum photo fun.
And then right before departure, I unpacked all the music stuff and left it behind in San Francisco.
I just had a last-minute hunch that it might be beneficial to not play music, or even think about it, for a few days. I didn’t even listen to the radio much — just a couple of audiobooks. (Holy cow, I forgot how amazing Heart of Darkness is — and I only just realized that title of that great Gang of Four song “We Live As We Dream, Alone” is pilfered from Joseph Conrad.)
So now I’m back home — and while I can’t claim I’m bursting with magical inspiration, the guitar necks feel fresh in my hands, and think I’m a little more mindful about choosing and shaping notes — or at least more relaxed about the process.
Anyone have similar experiences? Instances when temporarily fleeing your musicianship improves, or at least refreshes, it?