20 years ago I put out an album with a band called Rittner. Doesn’t feel like that long ago and at the same time it feels like it happened in another life. I was pretty different then but really totally the same.
This morning for some reason the name of the album came to mind. Persona Non Grata. I can’t remember the process of getting to that name but as far as over dramatic album names go, this was at once telling of my mental state. Especially from how at odds my perception of my place and then reality of said place were. That’s what being young is all about. Being at odds.
I have always had great friends and support. People that loved me. In this life, there isn’t much greater than that. Yet still we seem so troubled. Maybe it was a longing for answers. Maybe just a longing for more. Regardless of what the reasons, I clearly felt I was an “unwelcome person”.
As a musician and writer. The album is all over the place. An average guitar player and singer trying to tell stories that described his feelings. Dark lyrics hidden within an upbeat 60’s rock vibe, a story of nascar driver Ernie Irvin losing an eye. A retelling if Stephen King’s book Thinner and a keyboard part that sounded like it was pilfered from a Led Zepplin b-side that never went to print. Disjointed to say the least.
This sounds like I’m being awfully hard on myself and that’s really pretty easy for anyone to do. Downplay it in case it’s not well received. Really though, I’m not sure what percentage of people get to be in a band. To record music. To perform. Flawed as I feel it is. I’m still proud of it.
Further, I’m happy that twenty years later I can recognize that while I’ll always be searching for the answers, that being persona non grata was something I created and embraced. A separation from my friends and family that wasn’t and isn’t the reality of my world.