Welcome to my inaugural blog post! My name is Ryan Phillips, I play guitar in the internationally known rock band Story of the Year, I am a photographer, and an enthusiastic taker of bubble baths.
Mostly though, I am a dreamer.
I’ve spent most of my life chasing and ultimately living a dream called STORY OF THE YEAR. In school I filled notebooks with lyrics, guitar tablature, ideas for world domination, letters to club owners begging for gigs, band biographies, and band logos usually involving fire, skulls, sometimes even boobs. I designed websites for my bands during computer classes, printed show flyers & band business cards in graphic design school, and I suspect I hold the record at my high school for most days missed in a single year because I felt practicing my guitar & eating cheez-its was the most worthwhile use of my time. That was my path, and I certainly wouldn’t recommend it to most people, but I had a dream of getting a record deal, releasing albums, and touring the world, and I refused to let anything stand in my way.
I had a dream.
In fact, I’ve never stopped dreaming. Whoever you are reading this, I imagine that you, too, have a multitude of dreams reverberating though your brain. Goals, ambitions,—call them what you will—Ideas that keep you up at night, make you say to yourself “One Day I Will….”
I still dream about music. I have new dreams and goals for my bands. I dream about places I have yet to see. When I’m driving my car, I’m sort of paying attention, but mostly I am day-dreaming about pictures I want to take or climbing mountains. When I’m drinking my morning coffee I’m brainstorming business ideas; the company I could start that would not only be my “job” but make the world a better place. I dream of making a difference. I dream of writing books. I dream of building a cabin with my bare hands and sitting on the porch sipping whiskey & writing music. I would do that in my underwear for sure. I dream about desert highways at sunset, northern lakes at sunrise. I dream about making furniture in my garage and selling it. I dream about riding my bike across the USA, riding a motorcycle through South America. I dream about places I want to take my family, of continuing to make a living with my camera and guitar, of impacting others in a positive way. I ponder the next step. I ponder what this ALL means. I dream about “paths” and wonder (and stress) about what my true calling is, and if I am on the right or wrong path. I then dream about forging a whole new path. I dream of ways to 10X my personal happiness, and those I share my life with. I dream about all of the things I want to do and see before I am a skeleton. (Side note: Dear family, when I die please make me a mummy. Way cooler than a boring old skeleton). Dreams are important. Fuck that, dreams are vital to the human animal. Vital to the soul. To the spirit.
Why a Blog? That is sooo 2006.
The short answer is that I like to write. I think I might I love it. I’ve spent entire international flights filling pages. In college (I tried college 6 separate times) the one class besides psychology and philosophy that held my interest was a creative writing class. I’ve always felt I had a natural proclivity for writing. Exploring emotion and ideas, painting pictures with words. The creative process in general electrifies me. Take music, for instance. The older I get, the more I understand why, instead of losing my shit, dressing up as a clown and jumping off a school, I continue this tumultuous, often maddening journey as a member of a rock band: It is the act of connecting with people. True, I love playing the guitar. I love spending all night recording ideas and then proudly sitting back with a celebratory beer and listening to my creations. I cherish the process of making something exist in the universe that, until that moment in history, didn’t exist, until I made it exist. Pictures, songs, whatever. The icing on the cake: when these photos or musical compositions touch another human on an emotional, or dare I say, spiritual level, it is profoundly gratifying. It’s magic. Capturing an image that elicits emotion in another human is rad. Writing a song that people dance to at their wedding is rad. Witnessing a sea of people on the other side of the earth singing along to words that you’ve written is super rad, and exceedingly rewarding. That’s connection.
To that point, it occurred to me that writing in a public forum might be another avenue for connection, not only with STORY OF THE YEAR and GREEK FIRE fans, but anyone who happens to stumble upon this blog and read something that sticks with them. Maybe I can make someone’s day a little brighter, or inspired, or perhaps even motivate someone to pick up an instrument or camera and discover a passion. Maybe writing about my journey as a creative dude trying to keep the bands alive and “make it” as a camera user will be helpful to someone out there. At the very least, I can give you something to read while you’re on the toilet.
The other part of the answer is that even in the era of 140 characters and the ADD-gimmie-that-now-on-to-the-next cultural ingestion of “content”, I do believe there is still a place for long-form writing. The catch: It has to not only be great, but unconditionally honest. I’ve failed or been wrong 1,000 times for every 1 success I’ve had, but one thing I am confident about is that people appreciate honesty.
All that said, this is mostly a selfish enterprise— I just really like to write.
I set rules for myself in regards to this blog. I typed these on my phone while in the emergency room—they are just for me— but I figured I would include them in this post because why not:
1) I won’t filter, edit, or censor myself. I’ll write for me, and If some people aren’t turned off, well that just means my writing sucks and I’m not interesting.
2) I will post about anything I feel compelled to write about, however meaningful or mundane: My quest to be the happiest human I can be, dreams, personal beliefs, ideas, experiences, band stuff, photography, being a father and husband, bikes, running, adventure, politics, religion, science, food, health, making, beer, 80’s movies, habits, music, guitar stuff, all of it. And I won’t (and don’t) take myself that seriously- i’m just a dude, you’re just a dude or dudette, this is just a blog, not a cure for cancer.
3) I better read these posts in 5 years and think they are total shit. Or at least have a good laugh at them. If not, that means I haven’t grown as a human and/or evolved my world view. To be human is to grow. If you’re not growing, you’re dying. I hope in 5 years I think the 2016 me is sort of an idiot. An idiot with noble ambitions and lovely hair, but still kind of an idiot.
4) I will not have a posting schedule. I have no idea how often I will write.
5) I can’t think of any more rules.
I’ve been sitting way too long, so I think that about does it. Welcome to my blog! Have an awesome, inspired day, y’all!
– Ryan T Phillips