As I sit in the dark and type this, it’s nigh on 5 a.m. Monday morning. To be fair though, it’s only 10:56 p.m. Eastern time, which after tomorrow is what will matter. That doesn’t help me get up in the morning, but I take my solace where I can get it.

Last Wednesday, I flew out of Newark to the Netherlands to attend the annual Roadburn Festival in Tilburg. This is the third year in a row I’ve come here; only difference is this is the first year I’ve got a full-time job that I’m shirking by being here. I fully expect a shitstorm awaits me when I get back to the office Tuesday morning. I’ve checked my email inbox and there are well over 500 emails in it that have come in since I last checked it Wednesday, and they’ll need to be dealt with, and then there’s things like doing this column, which, as I finally settled in to go to sleep after a long weekend of rock and roll, it occurred to me I most likely won’t have time to do tomorrow while traveling. So here I am.

But I knew what I was getting into. Genuinely, I did. Next week, The Aquarian puts out its annual Bamboozle issue. I don’t even know at this point how many pages the thing is (that’s usually decided last minute and largely dependent on advertising and other concerns than those of my department), but it’s huge. We’ve got a feature covering every band, and interviews with headliners, baby bands, all sorts of goodies. It’s the official festival program guide. We do it every year.

And as the editorial deadline for it passed this past Friday, I was at the 013 Popcentrum watching Voivod kick ass all over a European crowd more than willing to accept the beating they were taking. Not the most responsible decision I’ve ever made—not the first time I haven’t been around while a Bamboozle issue is coming together, either. In 2005, I went on a meet-the-PR-people trip to Los Angeles for a whole week, and that week just happened to be two weeks before Bamboozle.

Granted, that was work and this was passion, but I’m here nonetheless, and of the two excuses, I think this is the more valid. In all seriousness, there’s no reason to be in the music industry if you’re not passionate about the music. Unless you’re Jay-Z (and you’re not), the money sucks, respect is nil and you bust your ass half the time without knowing what the goal is. Sorry, but it’s the truth. The saving grace of it (and of life) is the music. As long as the music’s good, it’s worth it to keep going.

So that’s why I’m here, and not there: The music. Like I said, this is my third Roadburn Festival, and I’ve never experienced anything like it. For the kind of bands I’m actually into—and if you’re wondering what kinds of bands those are, I’ll happily refer you to a column called “The Heavy” that appears nearly every week (not this one) in this very paper—it’s Mecca and Mt. Olympus rolled into one. This weekend I saw Candlemass perform their 1986 classic Epicus Doomicus Metallicus in its entirety with Johan Lundquist singing. I saw Godflesh do all of Streetcleaner. You probably have no idea who these bands are, but understand, where I come from, those words mean something.

Ultimately, that’s what’s going to get me past this coming week: The fact that this experience I’ve had these last five days has meant something to me. Meant a lot, actually. I don’t know how much comfort that’ll be come Thursday afternoon when I’m out of my head, still not caught up and reading over the Wiz Khalifa (who?) biography for the third time, but it’s all I’ve got, and I’m going with it.

Whatever you do for a living, even if that’s not what you’re really into in your life, your passions, I hope you have room for the things you enjoy. And even if you don’t have room for those passions, I hope you’re irresponsible enough to squeeze them in anyway.

From Tilburg,

JJ Koczan

One Response

  1. kevin

    Great spirit and great wisdom! I’m envious of the Godflesh viewing (extremely envious – I missed the 92 show in Washington D.C. due to the break up – still have my unused ticket). I’m also envious that you have the ability to put work 2nd. Wish I could. Thanks for the article. Food for thought.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

*/ ?>