In closing out the topic of what drives musicians, we've determined the propellant. It's love. Artists create and perform because they must.
It's how they connect. It's how we connect. Music is one of the original binders in culture.
A few of our long-time local stalwarts combine voices to create a love song of sorts about this collective culture.
Country outlaw Ken Morrow said inspiration is found in his songwriting's connection with so many different types of people. He calls it a healing experience.
"The feeling I get when someone says: 'The words of the song gave me goosebumps or 'made me cry,' those are the ones that you play for," Morrow said. "And some of my songs that I sing and wrote actually heal me."
Though he's just recently begun his musician's journey compared to some, Morrow said that it's the dream that keeps him striving and thriving.
"The goal is to make it, and be the guy you hear on the radio, it's what every musician dreams of whether they say it or not," Morrow said. "I mean, let's get real, I want success. But you can't if you never try and I'm going to fake it 'til I make it."
Spell guitarist Wil Jones said that when you're a local musician, it's all about love. The only time money really becomes an issue is when it comes to traveling for a show. But a good night and a receptive audience is gold at the end of the rainbow, he said.
"The pay-off is when the band is hitting on all eight cylinders and you lose yourself completely in the music it's priceless and the crowd can feel that, and it's glorious," Jones said. "I suspect most of us would take a non-paying gig with a great crowd over a great paying show for a small or inattentive crowd."
A veteran of every scene Lawton can produce going back to the Hard Roxx days of the 80s, East Cache Creek Band guitarist Lynn Moon said it's the love that keeps him going after almost 30 years in the business.
"Seeing the appreciation of a crowd is a greater payoff than anything financial," Moon said. "I am usually happy if we can cover expenses for gas and equipment upkeep."
"My music is an emotional release; it is the ultimate form of expression," he said. " I have been and am blessed to have had the opportunity to get to share the stage with some of the finest musicians in this area."
A special camaraderie is formed over years of shared stages and post-show load-offs. Communities are built there. Komatryp and Deadcore each has about a decade of paying dues. That currency has been paying off with recent prestige opening shows for national acts. The experience and memories shared mine the mountain of gold for these musicians.
For Komatryp's Mike Lorentz it's a lifetime commitment. It IS his lifeblood.
"What keeps me going is the love for the music and the love the crowd gives us, that really drives me," Lorentz said. "And the recognition we're finally getting to open for these big shows that we have been blessed with and honored to play."
"Just give me some people and a place to play and let's get it on," he said.
Band manager Anthony Vallario said that payoff potential is only a fraction of what drives him to help. Through symbiotic relationships with other bands and promoters he's been able to get some light shined on Komatryp. A fan of live music in general, Vallario said his real passion is for music and musicians at this local level.
Serving in a primary managerial role as well as co-vocalist for Deadcore, Melissa Tehauno said the band has found ways to finance its seven member melee of madness. From selling a range of merchandise to holding Indian taco sales, the band has found avenues. The opportunity to perform is everything for all these local musicians, Tehauno said.
"We say 5 or 5000 you will get the same show and there are a lot of times we don't get paid," Tehauno said. "If we only did this for money, then you would see no passion out of us."
Even in a roller-coaster economy, Tehauno said the band goes anywhere to perform for their fans. That there are fans means everything. To touch somebody's life is an overwhelming feeling, she said.
"We will always keep trying because music is our passion," Tehauno said, "Seeing how people react to our music, people asking for pics with us and autographs are priceless memories," she said. "Money will fade away."
And on that note, I'd like to say "Happy Birthday" to the Acoustic Rock Coffee House, 1408 NW 15th. Along with serving a mighty cup of coffee, the wee little spot next to The Junction has been offering artists, poets and musicians from many avenues a stage to sing and spring from.