Know this as 100% FACT: All I want to do in life is play the guitar. It's been a blessing from God and I live for playing every day. All I want out of life consists of the obvious: a home again, health, great food (i.e. Pizza), love of family and friends, a new German Shepherd angel in my life, maybe a few cool material things (a bunch of music & guitar gear, of course), the ability to be able to pay my bills and not be in debt, and to be able to enjoy playing the guitar every day. Period.
I believe the "American Dream" has two versions: the regular and the deluxe. The regular is that you get to do what you love to do while doing what you need to do. Meaning, you have a nice job that you like but mainly it affords you the time, money, and opportunity to do the thing you love, like fishing, painting, traveling, whatever.
The DELUXE American Dream is when you get to do what you love, but also be able to have it be the way you earn a solid living.
My dream (and I mean dream - I think about it all the time, I go to sleep and dream about it, etc...) is to play and/or teach guitar all day and every day and make a decent living at it. I'd love to be on the road as someone's guitar player. Whether it's a solo artist, or as the extra guitar player in a band, whatever. But if that's not where I'm destined to be, then so long as I'm able to make great music with my friends in all the bands I get to play with now, awesome. :) Now, for that promise....
The money (outside of the funds I'd need to pay bills and save up for more gear) and 'fame' or 'success' don't mean anything to me. NOTHING. So much so, that I have a promise to prove that. It's based off the St. Jude Children's Hospital/Danny Thomas promise...
(From the St. Jude Children's Hospital website) "...he (Thomas) was struggling to take his career to the next level. Once again, he turned to the church. Praying to St. Jude Thaddeus, the patron saint of hopeless causes, Danny Thomas asked the saint to “help me find my way in life, and I will build you a shrine.” The result of Danny Thomas keeping that promise is the St. Jude Children's Hospital.
My promise is this: as soon as I'm able to make enough money in my life that I can put enough away in the bank to live off the interest (and not life on a grand scale, if anything, a small scale), then other than what I need to live (mortgage, food, utilities, guitar strings, etc), I'll give all that I make for the rest of my life to my family and friends (for all they need, in thanks to all the love and help they've all graciously given me over the years) and donate all of the rest of it to charity.
(Read that last paragraph again if you have to, I'll wait.)
Done? Great, now read on...
So there it is. If you think I'm kidding or running a scam, call my bluff - say a prayer for me or give me a guitar job that will set me on the path to solidifying this promise. You have it in writing here for literally all the world to see. And if you have any questions about it, feel free to email me:
My friends and family have known that this has been my promise/dream/prayer of mine for literally decades. Parts of the dream have changed or been omitted from this page, like my dream of going on the road professionally as someone's side guitar player. Don't get me wrong, I'd still love for that life-long dream of mine to come true. But, over the past few years with things I've been through, I've grown to realize that maybe that's not where I was meant to be and I now know how great life could be even without it. I live for playing guitar, someday being able to be one of them crazy philanthropists, being able to have all the free time I could ever want to spend with family and friends, enjoying life with a great dog, and playing music every day.
Playing guitar and music every day means so much to me that if...WHEN I am able to be financially 'free', I'll forfeit my pay from ALL gigs I get to play to be split with the rest of the band members. Again, the money doesn't mean anything to me - the guitar, music, and great times mean EVERYTHING.
Oh, and think about this: if...(scratch that, gotta think positive...) WHEN this prayer gets answered/when this dream finally comes to life, if I don't make good on this promise, I will seriously become the biggest douche bag in the universe. And I'd like to not be known as such. I've done enough tremendously stupid things in my life, I just want the chance to do this something good - as I've been praying I could get the chance to do so for over 25 years.
Well, that's the plan. Now wish me luck - there are a lot of people and worthy charities out there praying for the help that can come from the money I won't need.
-Dave Benziger, 2012
Copyright 2014. Dave Benziger. All rights reserved.