A Musical Journey . . . Only the Beginning
Where do I begin answering the question? What does music mean to me?
I am Isaac McCormick from Peterborough in the UK. I am 16 and love music. The internet is like a limitless sweet shop for music, and I like all the flavours. Gladly, I can’t say I favour any specific genre, but I do play a fair bit of modern and classic Punk, and also alternative Jangle-pop. I do turn my hand to pretty much anything, as it is about playing to the audience and not just what I think I want. I can say this with some personal experience where the band I am in, “Petrol Boys,” have played a couple of gigs at my college–and recently a local night club in Peterborough–with much success. We loved it…all the crazy mad rushing of the gig in the first place, just to get there. We had to decide our set list, find a bass player, teach him the set, source all the stage equipment, and get transport to and from the event. We are all 16 years old and we had 36 hours from being initially asked to make it work. Sorry but there was no way we could have done this unless we were serious about this, and if we could get even close. Good news is we did the gig and we smashed it! This was my first real taste of the music industry and I loved it.
I didn’t know it at the time, but music has been with me all of my life. My dad used to play the guitar (a few basic chords) to me in my crib to get me to sleep sometimes. I occasionally now gig with the same guitar, a Fender Squire/strat’, but I do love my Orange Gretsch 5420, I got for my 15th birthday. I call her Gretchen. Yeah, imaginative I know. My dad calls his guitar Brenda the Fender.
The one big thing that has made music sweeter for me is that 4-and-half-years ago, I got diagnosed with Tourette syndrome, a neurological disorder that makes me do uncontrollable movements and sounds. I have a severe case of it, too, as it makes me swear and use offensive gestures (that’s just a small part of the tics that I have). My school didn’t get it as a whole. Some teachers did, but not many. One particular teacher told me I would never amount to anything or get a job with Tourette syndrome. Imagine how those words impacted me. My confidence was at rock bottom. This made life very difficult for me. I was a 13-year-old kid with this thing that I couldn’t control; I didn’t know who to ask about it, or anyone with the condition for that matter.
The one thing that kept me going and gave me back my confidence was my music, and playing it. It became apparent very quickly that playing my guitar would stop my tics in their tracks. Writing music also gave me a platform for expression and respite. With controlling techniques I taught myself–and lots of playing with Gretchen–I have found my toolbox to help control my Tourette syndrome for now. Thus, playing the guitar is literally a lifesaver for me. I also play the drums (self-taught) which I have a great time playing.
In my band “Petrol Boys” Joe and I change between the lead guitar and the drums during the gigs, and we have a dedicated bass player to complete the ensemble. We play Punk, both new and classic as well as some of my own songs when we get the chance. Gigging is something I get a real high from, but that’s not to say I don’t get my fair share of nerves prior to going on stage. I get so nervous I usually throw up! However, I’ve been on a 4-gig streak of not throwing up!
Song writing is also a big part of the whole musical experience for me. It is a way for me to vent my feelings about anything and everything, from my deepest darkest feelings, to what I like to get up to with mates. It’s like music is the ultimate therapist. Cheesy and cliché, I know, but it’s true.
My journey with music has just started and is far from finishing, although people tell me I’m very good at it. I am humble enough to know that I’m far from mastering my art because I’m only 16.
I hope I’m lucky enough to spend the rest of my life gigging and making music, and if not, I will work hard to make sure it becomes a success. Thank you for reading what I have to say.
— Isaac McCormick
(Guest Gretsch Blogger)