It's taken a long time to get here ... to this place. A place where I feel like I'm doing exactly what I should be doing in my life and with my music. There have been addictions to overcome, faith to be rediscovered, hearts to be mended, lots of purging of my old ways, ties to be severed, a band to be left and a new project started, a love of my life to be found, our little boy Austin to arrive in mid 2017 ... but I know one thing ... I'm right where I need and want to be, and it's not often that our needs and wants align ... so I'm savoring every moment of this beautiful ride.
My house growing up was like one great big drunken musical, everybody always singing, dancing, fighting ... and everybody except my father played an instrument. Dad was a painter. I always heard rumors around the family that he apprenticed with Norman Rockwell, but just chalked it up to boozy fishtails. I knew we had a couple of paintings with that "Rockwell guy's" name on them when I was really young, and that my mom had been forever pissed at my dad for selling them to get us out of one of many financial scrapes that came along. She never let him live that down. It wasn't until later that I did some research myself and saw on the internet that a couple of Rockwell paintings with the inscription, "To my pal Herb Herrick," had been sold at a Christie's auction for some obscene amount of money, that I realized the old man was telling the truth. It was one of those moments where you wish you could bring a person back for just a few minutes to apologize for ever doubting them.
"Make art your hobby" was my father's mantra, and my mother was pretty on board with the idea too. I watched my father overvalue his work for most of his life and price himself out of the market, eventually to the point where he became the starving artist and began to resent his work. I never wanted that for myself, so I listened to my family and went to college for business, then got a "real job." I played music on the sly the whole time until about five years ago, my old band sosos, was doing some bigger touring with Donavon Frankenreiter and G Love, and I literally came home from a cruise we did, quit my job and went full time music. I was 36, three years sober, and it was one of the most terrifying things I've ever done. I told myself, "I'll give it one year." I worked my ass off booking gigs everywhere and anywhere. I studied the music industry and treated music as my new business. At the end of the year, I wasn't destitute, still had a roof over my head, bills were paid ... I had even bought an engagement ring for my, now wife, Laurie.
In the past four years, I've done over 250 shows per year, and I've begun to treat my music business exactly the same as I did my former business. I don't regret not starting earlier because I got a great education before I went full time music.
Last year, I was at the precipice of leaving my former band, so I founded "Mitch Herrick and The Homegrown Sinners." It's a collection of the most talented, humble, healthy, funny, professional, hard-working musicians I know today ... and I have enjoyed every moment of it. Leaving one band that has had moderate success to start something new made me ask myself all over again, "Am I good enough? Do I have what it takes?" It was scary.
Still, I keep writing.
Since the new project began in early 2017, we've had the chance to play alongside Hoobastank, Stephen Marley (Bob Marley's son), and Oogie Wawa. I keep waking up every morning waiting for this train to come to a grinding halt, but somehow life has continued to afford me the gift of getting to do what I love for a living.
In my past, I was fortunate enough to share the stage with some exceptional musicians such as Robin Thicke, Kid Rock, Goo Goo Dolls, Cake, Ellie Goulding, Alice In Chains, Blues Traveler, Sister Hazel, Edwin McCain, The Whalers, Dick Dale, Dropkick Murphy's, Rusted Root, Sublime with Rome, Blind Melon, Pretty Lights, The Avett Brothers, Michael Franti and Spearhead, G Love and Special Sauce, Donavon Frankenreiter, Poco, Jason Isbel, State Radio, Toad The Wet Sprocket, Yonder Mountain String Band, Donna The Buffalo, Del McCory Band, J Cole, The Doobie Bros, Dirty Heads, Trombone Shorty, Inner Circle, Rebolution, Ozomatli, Tribal Seeds, Punch Brothers, JJ Grey, Anders Osbourne, Marc Broussard, Steep Canyon Rangers, Green Sky Bluegrass, Orleans, Bobby Lee Rogers, The Gin Blossoms, The Heavy Pets, & Beverly McClellan from The Voice.
All I can hope for the future is another day, another month, "another year" to keep creating and continue on this amazing road.