The A dream…and when it doesn’t come true.

I remember it well.


October 2008. 3/4 years into life as a musician and I felt I had a handle on it. McGarrigles (downstairs). Three good mates (Steve, Dave, Tommy) and I were getting ready to play a gig. We had worked hard on the set, the place was packed, and we just had a feeling we were going to deliver the goods. I remember thinking – I wish I could do this every night.

And that’s the dream isn’t it? For most musicians starting out anyway.

In the Netflix documentary Hired Gun, Jason Hook (guitarist for Alice Cooper, Mandy Moore and others) calls it “The A Dream – to be in a band, with four or five guys, writing original music – and everyone loved it and everyone wanted to buy a ticket to the concert – that’s the A dream”.

It didn’t work out for him – “nobody gave a s**t about the bands I was putting together” – so his B dream is to rent himself and his skills out to top artists who are living their A dream.

It doesn’t work out for most people. And even if it does for a while, it’s unlikely to do so forever.

So we all need a B dream, or even a C and a D dream.

A friend of mine who gave most of his 20s to writing original music, pushing bands he was in, touring Ireland and elsewhere, is now a bit older, and recently told me he now plays lots of daytime gigs in nursing homes. And is enjoying every minute. There’s great learning in it for him – he has never played much solo, so is figuring that side of things out, and also has never played many of these old time swing tunes that his new audience wants to hear – so he’s adding to his repertoire all the time.

I spent last weekend making music with a bunch of people over 20 years younger than me, and enjoyed every minute too.

There’s lots of ways music can make us happy. If the A dream doesn’t work out (which it probably won’t), don’t stop. Keep dreaming.


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