My Band is My Garden

Skadi’s One True Diva in her garden

This past spring offered a lot of upheaval, heartbreak, survival, and replanting.

A lot has changed since my first Skadi blog.  What a strange spring it’s been.  We lost a bass player, lost a drummer, almost dissolved as a band, regained a bass player, tried out a handful of middle-aged male drummers, finally found a 21-year-old, kickass, female drummer, and booked 4 July gigs.  And how is this like a GARDEN you ask?  In INFINITE WAYS, I respond.  First, let me say that gardens are not boring or only for old people.  Gardens are symbols of learning, of home, of independence, of sustainability, and calm….TO A BUDDHIST DEGREE!  Let me explain.

I Don’t Know What I’m Doing But I Keep Doing

I decided to start a garden this year, because I read a book while in China called “Robots Will Steal Your Job But That’s OK” by Federico Pistono.  One of the recommendations for surviving the startlingly rapid automation of our jobs is to grow more of our own food, as we’ll have more time on our hands and you can cut out the middle man ($$$).  This is among other ideas to reduce our reliance on money, and besides saving money, gardening is good for our health and the health of the environment.  So while living in an apartment on the 21st floor in a bustling Chinese city, I thought, if I ever have a yard, I’m starting a garden!  (I’m also following Federico’s recommendation of working less…which is the most wonderful thing and I’m afraid I could never go back to 40 hours per week….though I work more than that if you count music practice and band rehearsal.  But that’s getting into the classic time/money/art struggle of all artists.  To be tackled another time!).

ANYWAY, my point is, I didn’t know how to garden, and I still don’t, but I’m doing it.  Because I told myself I would.  So one day I put some wood together and made raised beds.  And one day I got my friend to drive her pickup to load soil.  And one day I went to the Botanic Gardens and bought $65 worth of plants.  And so forth.  And I don’t know what I’m doing with the band, but I told myself if I move to Denver, I’m starting a girl jam band, because that seemed like the best idea.  And so one day I try out with a guitar player and drummer, and we start practicing, and write songs, and then record some stuff, and buy new gear, and ask for gigs, then high-ball venues on pay, and get what we ask for, and do a photo-shoot, and brainstorm promotion ideas, and build a website, and practice. It’s not fast and a lot of times seems to be going nowhere, which leads me to my next point.

A Leader’s Job is a Lot of Looking at Empty Soil

Why aren’t there more leaders in the world and why don’t most projects, movements or ideas last?  Because it’s a lot of time alone, looking at nothing, no results, nothing to show for your work.  It’s a lot of envisioning what’s not there….yet.  And envisioning what’s not there is a high-level human skill.  And working until your vision is there is a task involving much more patience than our society has shaped us to have.  The spring was hard because I was looking at what appeared to be an empty band, a nothingness…and a lot of empty soil, literally (seeds can be slow.  Especially carrots, carrots are slow).  But I kept watering…and when I completely gave up, Candace was there to water, to keep the dream alive.  She could see the flourishing band we could be.  And so I hope when this happens again in my life, when I’m in a space where nothing seems to be happening, I’ll remember what’s going on under the surface.  And when you’ve planted something good, and you give it time and love, the overabundance of product can be overwhelming. Summer is upon us, and things are growing quickly, and beautifully.

Erica Bisbey is a rock entrepreneur, jam enthusiast, musical provocateur, and founding member of Denver’s original jam/pop band, Skadi.  

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