Trevor Dunn is one of my heroes because of how he took time out of his day to help me out. High-school days are generally the time some young adults try to figure out exactly who THEY are; I was an idiot. Band practice meant hanging out making noise and stopping for a “moment” to play Wii Bowling, $124 seemed like a lot of money and a jaywalking ticket offered the most stress a young 17 year old could take (it went on my driving record but that story will come at a later post).
One of my frustrations came immediately AFTER high school when I apparently hadn’t invested enough thought into what it was I was supposed to do or be. I just wanted to hang out and make weird music. After graduation I lost touch with pretty much everybody, especially when I picked up a couple of jobs. Getting a hold of friends to practice was likepulling teeth from a rooster. In other words it never happened.
In my desperation I logged onto Myspace (i know, right?) and surfed the pages of bigger musicians I admired and respected. Like Tommy Emmanuel, Andrew York, Les Claypool. I probably spent a few hours over 30+ names wondering if they experienced the same frustrations I felt. Eventually I came across Trevor Dunn the bassist from Mr. Bungle, Tomahawk, Melvins (for the album Houdini) etc etc. Hands down his bass work is among my favorites to hear. Trevor Dunn is my hero
I sent him a pretty hefty message, probably about as long of a read as this current blog post THUS FAR. I hadn’t reached out to any of the other names but I felt I should send him an epistle to see if he’d help a stupid post-high teen.
He wrote back!
Not only did he write back but he replied with a message equally as lengthy as my cry for help! I didn’t even read it right away. I mostly stared at the collection of words in disbelief. Once I popped back into reality I composed myself properly to read the advice. I’ll have to paraphrase because Myspace deletes old messages if you don’t log on for a while. I should have printed it. That is one of the big regrets of my life so far. But I’ll do my best to recall his advice.
Essentially he told me that my problems with finding musicians that agree with me musically is gonna take time. Don’t stop. Don’t change. He told me that when he and Patton started up Mr. Bungle it was because they went into it intentionally wanting to do the opposite of what was considered success. They just wanted to make weird music. They just wanted to see what could be done, musically. “Hang in there and keep making music and refining your craft. You will keep growing as a musician and folks with similar mindsets will catch wind of what you’re doing and legitimately want to be a part of it. Don’t give up, just keep going no matter what.”
I read his message 30 times.
I never gave up. And, in fact, I went through a good number of musicians to get to my band’s current lineup. I owe a huge amount of my musical development to Trevor Dunn. Someday I hope I can tell him in person that he is the reason I never quit and the fact that he took the time to write me such a detailed message (that I could not recall to give it the justice it deserves) taught me that he is, and I quote, “just a person.”
While I looked up to him, he is a person that struggles just like everyone else. Keeping that in mind through the years reminds me that literally EVERY person I have ever looked up to is just a person. A totally rad person that rocks out for a living… but still. Trevor Dunn is my hero.
Special thanks to Trevor!
If you’d like to see what it is Trevor ended up saving give my music a try and let me know what you think!
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