Did you know that playing music and learning to play an instrument boosts cognitive function, and enhances the brain’s ability to master tasks involving language skills, memory, and attention?
Music can also help reduce stress, and even lower blood pressure.
We’re only starting to understand the benefits of learning, playing, and listening to music, and today we’re here with a fellow-musician friend, Chase Barron.
Chase is a self-described geeky, artistic computer nerd from Pittsburgh. He’s a highly-caffeinated, bike-commuter with an affinity for alternative rock music and a slight obsession with health/nutrition.
Chase is a designer by day and rocks out with his band by night, and they actually just released their first studio album.
On this show with Chase Barron we cover:
- Tips on mitigating the effects of heavy screen time
- Why music is good for your mind, body and soul
- How to balance the mental stress of a day job and passion-driven side job
- How to get a decent meal at a gas station
- And tons more…
Let’s hang out with Chase.
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Chase Barron: How to be a Rock Musician and Stay Healthy
Alright folks, please welcome to the show Chase Barron, a self-described geeky artistic computer nerd from Pittsburgh.
Chase is a designer by day, and then he rocks out by night with his band. And they just created their first studio album.
Thank you so much for being here, man.
Yeah, thanks so much for having me. With that bio there, we’re going to have a lot to talk about today.
Abel: I think you’re right, but let’s start where our relationship started.
You reached out to me and said you’ve been a listener to this show for a while. How come, and what’s going on?
Yeah, I guess to start the journey through health and nutrition, I’ve been involved with working out and interested in what I’m eating, probably, since about second grade, which is about the same time I started playing piano.
I have a crazy dad—you know, him and a couple of my uncles have a basement they call “The House of Pain” where everybody works out, and that kind of started the train.
And at the same time, I think my mom kind of grabbed a different side of me and said, “You need to take piano lessons.”
Those two things—music and being involved in fitness and nutrition—have kind of evolved over the years, until I found myself getting involved, watching health documentaries.
I mean, for a period of time I was a vegan, and then I was paleo. And then I was at the point where I would look at a pack of gum and read the ingredient list before having a slice.
And then I went to college in Pittsburgh, formed a band, got involved with house shows.
In the house show community, people are drinking and eating pizza, and it gets a little hairy down there. I kind of stepped more into music and away from fitness.
And it’s not like a story of gaining 100 pounds, but when you go from ripped to skinny fat, and watching that happen and the mental battles that comes along with that.
I had stumbled upon your podcast, and when you started subtly saying that you play music, I guess it was very nice to see that represented in your podcast, and I felt like I could connect to something.
So, I felt like I needed to thank you.
By the time I came out with the album, I was in the process of getting back down the nutrition rabbit hole, and I just had to give a big thank you to you.
Abel: Man, that’s so cool. For anyone who’s listening out there, this is why I love hearing from you.
Because we could meet like this or e-meet virtually, and hopefully we’ll jam sometimes soon, too. But that’s so cool.
One of the things that surprises me, because I’m getting older and I don’t really have that much connection physically in places with people in their 20s or their teens, and I’m always surprised when I get out these days, by how many people who are younger who are listening, like you.
And how many people who are actually musicians and somehow making it all work, even though they’re younger and it seems like it’s harder than ever.
So, talk about that a little bit, trying to balance those two worlds, because I can totally relate.
The music world is pretty much the opposite of the health world, but then you find that weird situation where you can actually make it work.
Yeah, musicians are a subset of the normal culture.
And then health-conscious musicians are an even smaller subset of musicians.
Abel: We’re unicorns.
Yeah, exactly. There’s few of us.
I think the tricky part with our band, in particular, is we are a fun upbeat alternative rock band. We spent 2017 playing a hundred gigs in the city of Pittsburg alone.
And they were not your typical rock shows—they were kind of bar gigs.
We turned into this bar band, and what that puts you at is you are kind of the chaos to everyone’s life.
They live in order Monday through Friday, 9:00 to 5:00, clocking in and out, staying on their diets.
Then on Friday and Saturday, they go let loose at a bar. They party and have fun, and you are essentially the life of the party, a little bit.
And it’s easy to get mixed up in being the life of the party, and partying.
You want to be the surfer, not the wave. Which I thought was a pretty good metaphor for it.
You want to be the surfer, not the wave. @Baron_Chaser Click To Tweet
And just teetering that line of having fun, and occasionally, you’re in the bar scene, you’re getting paid in food and drinks.
And then you say, “Oh, I want to make the most of that.”
But really, you want to maintain the order of your life while you’re promoting everybody having fun. And you even want to promote a healthy lifestyle along the way if you can.
But when you turn into a bar band, there’s a lot of baggage that comes with it.
A lot of people expect you to be hungry for pizza, and they want to buy you this heavy IPA and say, “Here you go.”
It’s a slippery slope.
Abel: It is indeed a slippery slope because at least if we were playing for pizza and beer or whatever back in the day, you could sell physical CDs or whatever.
But now, if you’re paid in that, how could you not take advantage of at least some of it?
That’s another reason why I wanted to have you on this show, because maybe it’s not rare, but it seems like it’s rare to have that interest and that drive before you actually need to.
I have a lot of people on this show who were 100 pounds heavier, or they had cancer, or they almost died in some other way.
So what’s the thing that makes it worth it for you—earlier in your life and career—to stick with the health piece?
Yeah. I think I got really lucky.
People ask why I’m healthy and happy, and I just got lucky.
I got interested in health and my own personal happiness, and I became aware of meditation at a very young age.
Abel: How young?
I want to say I started meditating for the first time, probably in middle school, around that time.
Abel: Wow, that’s so cool.
Yeah, I grew up with YouTube. And once you’re into fitness at that young age, the health aware communities kind of overlap in strange ways. And you learn about a lot of different things.
So I got lucky and I got down this philosophical path at a young age. And one decision turns into 10 more, and I got lucky that I just made it a huge part of my life.
I think a lot of people can relate to me in that when you start to get off track as a really healthy person, it takes a big toll on you mentally.
And although I didn’t get far off track when I kind of left the health aside, just that subtle off-track feeling was enough for me to really pull away after six months, and evaluate my life, and say, “We got to change things around a little bit before the ship takes a five-degree turn and I wind up in a different country.”
Abel: Was there anything specific that set it off that way in your mind where you were like, “This is damaging. I don’t want this ever again”?
Yeah, I think it’s a slow thing that happens, along with a lot of the major decisions that I’ve made.
It’s kind of a culmination of the same thought recurring every day.
You wake up and look in the mirror and think the same thing, and after a while it’s like, “What? Guess I should do something about this. I don’t like being unhealthy. It just doesn’t feel good.”
There’s a couple of moments I can think of, sitting in a studio tracking the same guitar part 100 times and I haven’t eaten anything healthy, and I feel crummy.
And I’d rather be fasting efficiently, energized off some fats and being able to hang in there and not have some sort of glucose crash.
Once you’re invested in the scene, it’s hard to get out.
Breaking Down the Rockstar “Image”
Abel: One thing that I think is super damaging, or at least it was kind of for my generation coming up, is the rockstar image is so terrifyingly horrible in almost every way.
And that’s almost decidedly untrue for anyone, at least, who has a long career, right?
Absolutely. You see it a lot of times with those older rockers.
A lot of them turn into vegans and they’re doing crazy workouts. I mean, Mick Jagger now, he’s doing CrossFit training.
Abel: He is?
Yeah, he’s got to keep that form.
Yeah, which is crazy because the Rolling Stones, they’re supposed to be the big time partiers.
And along with that, I feel like a lot of times I was expected to party.
The thing that happens, when you’re identifying with labels—because there was a period of time where I called myself Paleo, but I don’t really have any severe wheat allergies or anything—if you do have a beer and a piece of pizza, you kind of turn that off switch on in your head.
That switch that says, “Oh, I’m no longer Paleo. The floodgates are open. Let’s be crazy for the next 12 hours and eat pizza and pie.”
But I’m at the point where I’m living in moderation and accepting that sometimes not everything you eat is going to be Paleo, but that’s okay.
You can still live in this template.
I’m not even saying that paleo is the way. But if you do identify with the label and you mess up, don’t abandon yourself and don’t think that you’re not good enough for the label.
Just listen to your conscience and do the best you can. @Baron_Chaser Click To Tweet
Abel: Have you seen that around you? Because it seems like labels are one of the biggest problems now.
Especially, I remember seeing this a few times, specifically with vegan Instagram people, taking a huge nose dive because they were caught eating meat.
So that’s problematic, if your Instagram account and your band name, as it were, is based around this label.
So how do you see people around you handling that identity issue?
Yeah, it’s a big identity issue. It’s almost today as big an identity as religion or politics. It’s becoming a very emotionally-driven thing, I think.
I do encourage a lot of people to eat healthy, but I avoid labels as much as possible.
I use the term Paleo because it happens to coincide with the way I eat for the most part.
And that’s pretty much what the Wild Diet is close to.
But when people attack each other for labels, it’s very unproductive.
I would say it like this: If you’re a vegan and a carnivore, the two of you could walk into a restaurant and leave an hour later, and still both of you would have walked away eating a healthier meal then 90% of people in that restaurant.
So at some point, it’s like we’ve all taken the red pill.
We’ve all understood that the modern big food system, I guess, is a little screwy, and you can’t listen to the advertising that happens, usually at a mainstream level.
And you need to start making decisions about your health, but after that, I don’t think there needs to be an argument between the vegans, paleo, and carnivores.
Because we’re all going into the dark with a flashlight and ending up on a different side of this dark forest. But we’re all taking a step above the standard American diet, which I think is the true enemy here, if there is one.
The enemy isn’t someone whose not apart of your label. The enemy is not standing up for your health.
And I think that we should just encourage each other. End of the day, we agree with each other so much more than we disagree.
It’s really sad for me to see that sometimes a vegan can’t get along with someone that eats meat. You’re both health conscious.
And usually the people that eat a lot of meat are very focused on getting it from good farms.
I actually went hunting for the first time this year, which was exciting.
And I finally have my own deer, and its jerky which I get to take on the road because it fits in my backpack. That’s been really nice.
But especially with the artist community, there are a lot of vegans out there—which is fine, you do you—but some of them are like, “Oh, you killed a deer?”
But I mean, do you know what a bacon farm looks like?
Ditch the Dogma to Find Balance
Abel: Well, we’re brainwashed into being divorced from the entire process of all of that.
But you’re right. What we have in common is what we don’t eat more than anything else, which is the standard American way of dieting.
Or even, in the last cases, the politically correct healthy way of eating, you have to realize that even that can be horrible for you, as well.
But we have so much in common. And if instead, maybe you both adopt the label of health-conscious people, then you don’t have to be carnivore and vegan anymore. You can just agree that most of the food out there is poison.
Let’s agree about that.
Yeah, let’s agree about that. I want to see a health conference where you get vegan speakers, carnivore speakers and paleo speakers.
Abel: That would be really cool, yeah.
I’ll go to that, and I’ll support everybody because there’s science to back it up.
Did you hear about Gary Taubes and Stephen Guyenet on the Joe Rogan Experience?
Abel: Yeah, I watched a little bit of that.
Now, that’s a prime example of two people that—they were civil about it, but they’re citing practically the same evidence.
And based on the ideologue groups that they come from, they’re coming up with different explanations and different reasons that their diet is right. And those guys were really civil about it.
The problem is the comments section where it’s the different diet camps, and people that aren’t as aware of the combative nature of these groups.
But I think it’s possible to come to a conclusion.
And even the Jillian Michaels stuff, it’s a step ahead of eating fast food every day.
So just take the red pill, as in The Matrix, and understand that we’re all taking a step towards health. And let’s support each other there, and let’s look at the facts and go somewhere.
Tracking Heart Rate During a Live Show
Abel: Yeah. Now, let’s talk about the show itself.
I would imagine there are a bunch of advantages to having your health, or not being wasted, or being able to do track after track in the studios. One of those things where you have the patience, the endurance, and the stamina to do that.
But putting on a live show, especially when you’re supposed to be the center of attention, requires a lot of energy.
You sent over how you’ve been keeping track of your heart rate during the show, so I’d love to hear how that’s going.
Yeah, it’s been really interesting. I highly support getting a heart rate monitor that you wear.
We played a lot of shows where we have to bring our own PA system.
And just even the load in and load out process, I’m like, “Wow, this is a better workout than the cardio I did earlier.”
Because you’re carrying these heavy speakers.
I have a Fender Super-Sonic tube amp which is ridiculously heavy.
We’re talking like a 60 pound thing, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you’re lugging it a couple hundred feet, it gets tiring.
Abel: Those things are not the most convenient shape either.
No, you’re going to really bruise your legs after a couple hundred gigs.
But yeah, the actual stage performance is really fun to track, as well, because you can see where the punk-rock song was because you were jumping around, and you can see how the sets are timed.
We put a lot of thought into our set order, but they exist in a way that is kind of an emotional roller coaster with a heavy start, kinda dies down a little, then goes back up and then dies down one more time, and then goes up higher than it’s been the whole time.
And you can see that we achieved our set list goal by seeing the heart rate go, “Wow, that’s the start of the show,” then it dips down.
And yeah, that’s an experience I’ve had. I actually share it on our Instagram story.
Sometimes after a show, I’ll be like, “Well, that’s where we played We Lost Our Jobs.” We have a punk rock song that ends the album called We Lost Our Jobs.
Abel: I saw that one on YouTube, yeah.
I’ll put an arrow and I’ll say that’s where We Lost Our Jobs is, because it’s that really upbeat song.
Abel: Dude, that song was a lot of fun for me to watch, I got to tell you.
Thank you, thank you so much. Yeah, it’s based on a true story.
Abel: Very Cool. That’s fascinating because, at least for the musicians out there or the people who put on shows and entertain, that’s what you want to do with a show when you’re making a set list.
It’s kind of like drawing a graph like that, but I’ve never seen it visually on heart rate monitor results.
Yeah, it’s exciting. I didn’t really think about it until I got into the monitor, then I kind of became obsessed with it for a while, while we were playing shows.
Over time you just start to be like, “Oh, this is the 3 hours we played.”
And here’s the funny part, is that loading equipment out is equally as high on the graph.
Because we just want to do it fast and you’re a bunch of guys running around with heavy equipment. “Let’s get this done.”
Which is another reason to behave all night because that load out can be a real pain, too, if you don’t.
Abel: Yeah, and getting home.
Abel: But okay, so you kind of need to be the weirdo though, don’t you? Good thing you’re used to that anyway, being a musician.
But speak to that, maybe a little bit. Because I know that there are a lot of health-conscious people coming up, but it seems like the norm isn’t quite like that.
You probably get ribbed a lot just for doing the things that you know will keep you alive.
Oh, I can give you 100 stories of weird things I’ve done to fuel my body in a pinch.
It’s tricky because I’m getting a lot better at it, but there was a period of time—and I will say this about when I told you my history about me getting off track, a lot of it does have to do with that internal shame you feel about being a health-conscious person.
Because you worked really hard to acquire that knowledge, and I think it’s easy for other people to think that you think that you’re better than them because you’re not eating the pizza.
There have been a lot of situations where we go to important events, and it’s like, “Oh, Chase doesn’t eat carbs.”
And I’m that guy and there’s a stigma attached to it.
But I think if you attack it with confidence and no shame, you can really make a stand for the way you eat and even encourage other people to eat healthy, too.
Rather than criticize somebody for eating that McDonald’s cheeseburger, just say, “Oh, I’m eating a kale salad I packed, have you ever tried one?”
There doesn’t need to be this combative nature or shameful talk around food. @Baron_Chaser Click To Tweet
I’m in a pretty serious relationship, and I have been for a while, and I’ve even gotten my girlfriend pretty hooked on things like kale.
She’s told me that she’s gotten a hard time from her friends about, “Oh, she eats kale now.”
And it just seems like a very damaging thing.
Abel: It’s a political thing.
Yeah, it’s like these people are drowning and kind of trying to pull you down with them, when you’re trying to save them with healthy food. It’s a really weird thing.
I never hear the end of this one story where we went to a Mexican place. And I knew that all of the dips like guacamole and salsa were pretty in line with what I was eating.
So I just ordered a dip trio and ate as much dip as possible on as few tortilla chips as possible.
And to this day, I get crap from the whole band like, “Don’t order any dips around Chase.”
But you have to embrace that and be proud of it, and be like, “Yeah, I’m a guacamole monster, come at me.”
Just be proud about the way you eat.
Even if it’s some stinky sardines or whatever, just put a smile on and just ask, “Have you ever tried these?”
Rather than shame people or let yourself get shamed, just put on a smile. I think that gets you pretty far at the dinner table.
Abel: Yeah, adults just become so constrained in their own ways, and so fickle when it comes to that sort of thing.
Kids make fun of each other all the time for what they eat or what they don’t eat.
I think one of the biggest realizations I had, is that we never actually get out of high school.
We expect that the world grows up and we grow up. But no, maybe we never get out of junior high. And so, we need to adjust accordingly.
Yeah, that’s exactly right.
There’s a lot of people sitting in their office with a green smoothie and a thermos that’s really stinky and has garlic and ginger in it, and you just gulf it down when no one’s looking.
But just don’t be afraid. It doesn’t matter.
If someone didn’t grow up from high school and they’re still going to judge you for something that you’ve put a lot of time and effort into cultivating, I think you need to be proud about the food decisions that you’re making.
And I’m talking to myself when I say this. Don’t think I’m any kind of health guru.
These are lessons that I try to instill in myself every day, because I’m the guy with the garlic and ginger smoothie.
Actually, on the way to gigs, I often drink out of a thermos so that I can make a smoothie hours ahead of time and drink it later because you’re on the road.
There was this one instance where somebody thought that I actually had just let something go rancid in my car.
And then I’m like, “Oh no, I’m about to drink that. You might want to crack a window.”
Abel: When Alyson or I break out the sardines or the salmon, it’s like, “Who’s eating kitty food?”
But to all you college kids out there, specifically about sardines, it used to be kind of like a guilt food.
I used to try to eat them when none of my roommates were around, because you don’t want the whole house stinking like sardines. But it’s okay.
Abel: It’s true. It’s a real thing.
It’s a real stink, so that’s just courtesy, I guess.
Managing Stress and Sleep as a Musician
Abel: What about the crazy hours that you have to be involved with when you’re playing shows, especially on the road or when you’re playing a bunch of them in a row.
How do you manage that, but still try to keep your stress in line, your relationships, your sleep, and the rest of it?
And not like you have all the answers, but this can be aspirational. What do you try to do at this point?
Oh yeah, certainly aspirational. Yeah, getting enough sleep is hard, but crucial.
That’s another thing in the community—your expected to eat like crap, you’re also expected to sleep like crap.
People take so much pride in sleeping for three hours a night or four hours a night and getting up and going.
I’ve been trying to sleep a lot. I do a lot of screen work, so I have these blue light-blocking glasses that I wear when I do the social media or computer stuff.
And yeah, just dealing with the crazy hours, you have to kind of pack your food ahead of time, or just know how to hack a gas station if you want to be able to really prepare for those meals accordingly.
I always travel with ear plugs in my bag, and you’ve got to have some vitamins.
That’s why the green smoothies and thermoses come in handy. How are you going to remain on track when you don’t have a kitchen handy at all times?
And my band, we’re currently going to day jobs, going home for a second, going to practice, going back home late at night. And the weekends is when a lot of the gigging happens.
It’s a pretty hectic schedule, so you have to optimize your time and really analyze your decisions.
Abel: Does it feel like you had to give up the partying side, does it feel like you’re giving something up, you know what I mean?
Is there joy that you’re missing out on because you’re choosing to be healthy?
I really don’t think so. And this is a moral dilemma that I’ve been thinking a lot about.
I think if you really listen to your conscience and want to be happy in the long term, it comes at this higher level of happiness. This delayed gratification.
Because if I want to be pretty happy now and still be happy in the morning and still happy the next day, you have to delay this gratification to where your whole life is just on a whole other level that you didn’t even know existed.
That’s where I decided that I had to get back on track, that next level of constant energized happiness.
Because the inspiration and motivation was kind of seeping out of me, and just disappeared over the course of two years of gigging and putting health aside.
You realize that your baseline is a little lower than it should be.
I think when you stay on track, your baseline, it just shifts up a little higher.
And I don’t have any scientific terms to put behind that statement, but I really think that’s true for me at least.
Abel: Yeah, I mean I was aging normally, according to the people at work when I was putting on weight and my thyroid was crapping out, and I was at my lowest of health situations.
That was “normal”, right? And it’s strange to think what we do now is abnormal.
And it’s so backwards.
Abel: Yeah, but there is the idea that you can stay out all night and party like a rockstar, and you don’t want to be that for other people. You don’t want to sign up for that. It’s an easy trap to fall in.
You have to realize that you are, in fact, stealing a little bit from your own future, whether you’re talking about years from now or even just like how you feel tomorrow morning.
If you’re hitting it hard and you’re not sleeping enough, it’s going to add up.
And you see how the bad rockstar stories go, right?
Yeah, absolutely. But hear me out. You do need to occasionally celebrate those victories you have.
Like, after our release show, we had a big release party. And what that entailed was like a lot of people storming a gas station before going to the party location.
And you have to know how to navigate a gas station, as well.
I’ll fuel up on a sub-optimal burrito bowl, but it’ll just be rice and avocado and salsa and all these things that are somewhat in my sphere.
And just know how to let loose without hitting the off switch on who you identify with every other hour of the day.
You know, you’re not an on/off switch, you’re like a parabola, and just kind of come out of it, and then get back on track.
Abel: Yeah, that is such a great point. My friends will say that I’m not someone who runs away from partying, although I do more these days.
But it’s important to see it more as a spectrum. And the things that really add up are the invisible ones, like the ones you’re talking about.
It’s really easy to have a beer every night that turns into a few beers.
And you’re just going band practice, because everyone drinks beers at band practice, and everyone drinks beers at shows.
And it’s really easy for that sort of thing just to creep up in your life.
That seems normal, right? Because it is. And you’ve normalized it.
But if you take a look at those things, then you can kind of pry a few things out and still get to enjoy, I think pretty much the best parts of being a musician, without actually numbing yourself.
Yeah, it’s that divide of being the life of the party, but not being the party.
You have to figure out that alternative way to inject as much positivity into this crowd as possible without thinking that I myself need to let loose and subscribe to the hedonistic nature.
You’re actually going to have much more energy if you don’t, and it’s counter-intuitive to the image of a rockstar, but I think it’ll get you a lot further along the long haul.
Abel: This is one question I get a lot from shift workers and people who just can’t really sleep at night because of the nature of their jobs, and a lot of performers also fall into that category.
I know for me, if I was playing shows at night, a lot of times it would start after 10:00pm or even after midnight, and I wouldn’t get home until 2am, 3am or maybe even 4am.
And then you’re all hyped up on adrenaline.
Is there anything that you’ve found that helps kind of get you out of that state, where you don’t want to come home and then party for another few hours until the sun comes up. You know what I mean?
Oh, yeah. I fight that a lot. Last year, I had a show where we didn’t get home until about 3am, and we had to leave the next morning at 7am.
I was unable to sleep, and then I had to get up and just live out the entire next day of my life.
But luckily I hadn’t drank, I’d been eating pretty okay, so I just had to get up.
And I was like, “I’m going to push it to the limit here, but I’m going to drink about five cups of coffee and survive.”
But in dire need, I do have a few things that help. I find, since I live in the city, I get a lot of ambient noise.
A lot of times ear plugs do help with that, although I don’t like to use them often because I just don’t trust clogging up your ear holes all the time. But tossing in some of those, it just really calms me down.
I use an app called Headspace for meditation, and they have some really good sleep cycles. They have some really good calming talk-throughs.
I even have taken L-Theanine, which can be a good alternative to melatonin.
And if it’s really hot out, I’ve even tried glycine, as well, which kind of lowers your body temperature in a way, which is a huge issue for me sleeping, especially in unfamiliar places.
If I’m hot, I can’t hang with it.
Through a concoction of, I think just laying there. If you’re on your friend’s couch or something, I toss in the ear buds.
And although it might be weird, listen to something calming and try to zonk out. It’s tough.
There’s not really a clear-cut solution because that’s one of those problems that keeps you up all night, literally.
Abel: But what about the fact that you have to do so many things today especially, as a musician, just to get by.
A lot of times that includes working another job.
A lot of people, especially once they’re adults, say they can’t start playing music because it’s too late. They don’t have enough time for it or whatever.
You’re kind of a walking example of not that. So why and how do you make that work?
Well, I’ll start with the why.
Music has been a huge part of my life for a long time, and everyone in this band sees it as this outlet for creativity, and this way to have a positive impact on the community while also earning something for yourself, which is fulfillment.
And now we’re actually making a little bit of money, which is great.
Seeing that your passion can be monetized and can sustain you, potentially, is very rewarding.
And it’s really hard to let go of. It’s really hard for me to see how far we’d have to go before we make this thing, before we have to call it quits, because it’s a part of what we do.
It’s just what we feel like we should do.
And balancing it requires relentless bookkeeping, I guess.
We all take roles as different types of band managers, but you have to always be ready to take calls. You have to always be ready to do the booking.
We are a business, so we have to worry about taxes and keeping track of all of that.
And I just am a relentless list-maker. I kind of live my entire life off of lists.
I’m always writing down short and long term goals, and crossing them off.
And it’s like, “What all do I need to get done today so that I am able to be on the phone tonight with three different people that want to talk to about gigs?”
It’s just looking at all these different avenues of your life and saying, “How can I optimize these parts to allow me to pursue this side project that hopefully some day isn’t a side project?”
Abel: What is the thing that makes you and the people around you not give up?
You’ve probably already seen some people who were really good or really talented, or should have kept going, who gave up.
What’s the thing that’s keeping you guys alive?
Well, I understand why people stop. It’s hard to keep the motivation up when you are working on putting in your 10,000 hours.
There are definitely days when I pick up a guitar, and if me writing my best song is a 10, maybe I’m feeling like a one, and it’s like, “Why am I back here?”
But you’re doing it every day, and at times you feel juvenile. It feels a little selfish to be pursuing it so hard and to be putting so much of your time into something.
But for me, we play a lot of charity gigs and we play a lot of things for the community, and we try to give back in all of these ways that make you feel less selfish.
Because you have to be looking at that internal philosophical thing while you’re doing it.
If you’re just going to do it all for yourself and be an artist, it can take a mental toll, and I understand why people go crazy doing it.
So I try to keep the community at large in mind. I try to keep, obviously, rent paid.
And I actually have a dog. Me and my girlfriend got a puppy recently which is another thing in the system that you have to worry about.
It kind of woke me up and it’s like, “Wow, this is way more important than my band. This is a living creature.”
Taking on more responsibility sometimes pushes you in a great direction. @Baron_Chaser Click To Tweet
Abel: Yeah, getting a dog was one of my favorite things.
Our dog is seven now and we got her about the same time that we got together.
It’s an amazing way to make a relationship grow, forces it to grow in so many different ways.
Music and it’s Power for Good
Abel: It’s great for you. But another thing, because we’re coming up on time, I want to make sure we get to talk about, is music and its power for good.
A lot of people, just by default, if you follow the herd, you’ll wind up listening to the worst junk food music that has ever been created for the purpose of just distracting your brain and keeping you hooked on Candy Crush or whatever.
There are so many things about it that are kind of stuck there. Whereas I find a lot of people who are musicians are drawn into it because they realize the power of music for good or bad.
So maybe you can just riff on that a little bit.
Yeah, while you’re saying that, something needs to be said to musicians.
If you are a musician, this is a philosophy that I’ve been kind of molding.
You said that a lot of the music that people consume is kind of like that fast food-type music that’s just there to get you hooked.
When you look at the pop charts, you might think that a lot of this is fast food-y and it is, and it’s designed in a way to keep you engaged, and it’s peaking at all frequencies all the time.
It’s like this hyper-indulgent music.
At the same time, the mainstream food, the places that sell the most food, are these hyper-sensory things.
A lot of times musicians can feel bad that they’re not peaking on the charts, they’re not streaming on Spotify as much as such-and-such artist.
But really, it’s a lot cooler to be that five-star restaurant in your town that everybody talks about because that’s a product worth selling, and worth consuming. And people are talking about it, and it’s not just a mass produced thing.
I think those two worlds coincide a lot.
Abel: That’s a profound point.
Yeah, I had a conversation with someone recently about that, that it’s kind of like being the, you know, whatever restaurant in your town that you love and people praise, and you’re like a hometown hero.
For us, it’d be nice for that restaurant to branch and do a couple more chains.
Spread across the country a little better without becoming, you know, a McDonalds or something.
Abel: Well, that’s a really fascinating thing. The world that my dad told me about, with these small towns.
I grew up in the middle of nowhere in New Hampshire, and these small towns had the town doctor, and they had these Mom and Pop shops, and they had the one restaurant.
Like, we would go to George’s Diner in the morning, and it was like, you knew George. You got to meet the people in your community, and it mattered.
They didn’t want to let you down, and you didn’t want to let them down.
You wouldn’t stiff ’em on a tip and they wouldn’t give you a bad meal, if they could avoid it. Because it mattered to them as members of the community.
And also, if George ran that diner for his whole life, he’s doing that as a service in some ways to the community, but also making his living.
How could it be more successful than that, right? Like, build a bigger McMansion and a bigger car? That’s so silly.
Abel: But the perceived value of that it seems has gone away, and you’re exactly right, the same is true with musicians.
I think it’s even maybe more so with performance arts because they happen so much within that community and with people from that community. It’s so important.
Well, music is a communal thing. I mean, it’s really dawned and grown alongside nutrition.
I mean, tribal music was one of the starts of gatherings and getting together and eating and singing.
And it dates back so far, where I think music used to be just a birthright.
Everybody was musicians. They all grew up singing and hitting drums.
For some reason along the way, it got associated with being an artist and it’s separate from humanity.
And it’s up to musicians like us to kind of push that message of, “Hey, let’s get together. Why are we in this venue together rather than just being home listening to music?”
There’s something going on when a lot of people get together and hear that band and just forget about the world and get lost in the patterns and let their mood be manipulated.
There’s something to be said about it that’s very primal.
Abel: Yeah, I love that. Well, we’re just about out of time, Chase. I can’t believe it, because we could talk all day.
Where to Find Chase Barron…
Abel: Thank you so much for coming on the show, and getting in touch in the first place. And congrats on your first album.
Where can people find you, listen to your music, and all the other stuff that you’re up to?
Yeah, well, thank you for having me. You can find everything about the band, we’re on all of the social medias, although I’m currently trying to look at the social media less.
But any time we do something important, you’ll find it on social media @chaseandthebarons, we’re on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. And our website is ChaseAndTheBarons.com.
And that’s Chase and the Barons with one ‘R.’ Then if you want to keep up with me, say you’re from Pittsburgh and you want to talk health with somebody, I’m everywhere as Chase Barron with two ‘Rs.’
So that’s the distinction to make on your search, and I think you’ll know who I am when you see me.
Abel: Right on. And we’ll put some of your music on at the end of the show.
Sounds good. Yeah, the new album’s called Live Wire Bed Fire. It’s available everywhere (Spotify, Amazon, YouTube, etc).
And I think we’re going to put a track called Meditation Song at the end of this interview, because that means a lot to this discussion.
Abel: Yeah, and watch the other one, too, We Lost Our Jobs.
Abel: Check that one out, too. Chase, thank you so much for coming on the show, man.
Thanks for having me, Abel.
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