"High and Low and the In-between" is a song written by Townes Van Zant. He wrote it about life, but it really struck me this is "The Artist Alma Mater". It best describes working the road. In one night you can get a standing ovation audience who hangs on every word you put out, every nuance is appreciated, and then two hours later you get boo'ed. All you can do is think to your self I was just funny- this is the same shit I did last show. The early show thought I was brilliant and now I feel I don't deserve to be up here. The in-between is the time you're not high or depressed after a show or when you take a break for a few days. I usually spend my days off in my apartment with my wife and dog avoiding large groups of people, resting and watching movies.
This is a very personal thing we do up here, we pour our soul out and open up to 20-2000 strangers a night, exposing our deepest inner thoughts, what we think is funny, sad and entertaining. We (comics musicians actors writers) have huge insecurities; we need instant gratification so badly we are willing to put it out there in front of all these people just to fight for their approval. Isn't that scary, we need that thrill that need to be loved by total strangers.
I feel this passion for the art and the artist; I don't feel we deserve anything- I feel it needs to be worked toward and celebrated.
This is why live artist tend to drink a lot or do drugs- to maintain the in-between. Numb the highs or block out the lows. The highs are great, but they go away when you step off stage, you want to keep it going right, so drink, and a lot, lets keep that high. But then the fall is really fast and hard. When you're on stage working- you work like a god but as soon as you step off you realize you live like a human. It goes away, this is a harsh reality and it affects you as a human as well as an artist.
The lows are the exact opposite; you can't shake a low till your next show, so drink it away, all you want to do is get to the in-between, you want to feel normal. This is the problem you try to numb it with booze and forget it but its part of you till you get back up and change the monkey on your back. This is an addiction too, who would put themselves through this punishment? Artists, its all we know, its what we need and crave.
As an Artist we hit highs and lows so often its really not healthy. It takes a toll on you physically and mentally. What people go through in a year we go through nightly. Imagine falling in love, and falling hard and getting dumped, most people go through that 7 times in a lifetime and its hard, we do it nightly. Some artists say it doesn't bother them but I think that is what makes artist grow bitter. They start feeling they "deserve" things because what they went through, meaning the hardships and the love from audience members now owe. You feel you deserve some sort of compensation for the love you feel on a nightly basis. I DESERVE a TV show or a film... I don't know how I feel about this. Do we deserve something? Maybe? But I don't think we are OWED anything- I kind of feel these are our training ground for when we do get something. And our compensation is "The High and Low and In-between"… We get gratification instantly, nightly. Deserving something you have to do on your own, on the side.
Don't get me wrong I want to do films, theatre and television work but do I deserve it from having people around the country telling me I should have my own show… I don't think so; I think that is what gives me the confidence and validity to continue pursuing this dream.