For the last 22 years, I’ve had a dream. One that I’ve passionately pursued. It has taken me to over 15 states, plus an open mic in Tokyo. It has left me fulfilled in more ways than I could ever imagine. It saved my life after my mom passed away. It challenged me constantly. I’m thankful for every moment I’ve had, and I’m not done making music, but I don’t see any more heavy touring in my future. I still love performing, but I don’t miss the lonely drives home at 4 a.m. when it’s 10 degrees outside and my only company is Spotify (though Spotify is much better than when my only company was terrestrial radio).
This has left me at a bit of an impassable crossroads for the last year or so. Music is the only thing I’ve ever loved that wasn’t another human being, and it’s in large part because of the human beings that have shown me so much love. I’m not ready to let go of it, and don’t expect to ever let go of it, but I have accepted that it’s time to take a different approach. Sleeping in my car in Walmart parking lots in Connecticut while touring the northeast was a tremendous experience, but I cannot relive those experiences going forward.
I have wanted to perform at alternative music venues (ones that don’t depend on alcohol to survive) ever since I started performing in 1998. The most obvious ones were coffeehouses, but universally when I played at coffee houses, they told me to turn my music down, and it really wasn’t loud. It just wasn’t the acoustic guitar soloists they were used to hearing. When I put together the idea of a video game arcade and music venue in my head, it made complete and total sense. Music and video games have always gone together. Ever since then, I’ve had a singular focus, which is to get The Music Arcade open.
I’ve tried running an IndieGogo campaign, but that clearly isn’t going to work. Now, I’m working as much as possible to save money to open it with my own money. I just finished a 65 hour week between my two jobs, and tomorrow I start another one. Because the IndieGogo campaign isn’t going to be successful, I have decided to open the Music Arcade in my hometown of Oxford, Ohio instead, and sometime this week I will begin talking to the city about what it’s going to take to get it open here. It may open in August. It may open in January. It may take 2 years of working as much as possible and saving as much as possible, but I am determined to open it.
I know it can work, and I believe in the concept very much. Many people have told me I should serve alcohol, but then I’d just be opening a smaller version of Dave and Buster’s, and that’s not really my goal. One of the driving forces behind opening The Music Arcade is my desire to have a music venue that isn’t supported by alcohol. One where mothers and fathers can perform for children. One where uncles can perform for nieces and nephews (my nephew just saw me perform for the first time last year because he was always too young to get into venues where I performed). One where 13 year old music prodigies can perform for 80 year old music aficionados. Music is ageless, and I have never liked the age restrictions that alcohol has presented. I want to remove those restrictions.
Music is also emotional, and I will be on a special look out for music that brings people happiness and joy. Listening to an upbeat band performing live while playing my favorite video games sounds like a personal heaven.