How Flaking Out Was the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me - written by Josh of Dancing With Ghosts

My name is Josh Cannon and like some of you, being a famous rock-star was totally a plausible and attainable goal when I was a teenager. Okay, maybe the gaudiness that accompanies most rock-stars wasn’t my thing but the attention from adoring fans sure was. Since junior high it had been my goal to ‘’make it’’ in a band and eventually rise to stardom. I proceeded to take on menial jobs and half-ass my way through college (because that’s the thing you did after high school). I did all this, of course, because band practice was the most important aspect of my life. Being in a successful rock band was the only thing that mattered to me, therefore everything else had to fall by the wayside.

As I entered into my twenties, I not only learned to write more as a lead guitar player but I also began refining my skills as a songwriter. Almost by default I would become the “lead song writer” in all of my bands. I loved playing shows locally and hanging my hat on being ‘’the guy in the band’’. Since my knowledge of the music industry at that time could have been comparable to a sack of rocks, I thought I was really going somewhere.

As my twenties drew on, I started noticing a disturbing trend. Every time a band I was in would start to pick up steam, someone would quit. This happened every single time and would set us back at least a couple of months while we frantically (and sometimes not-so-frantically) searched for a replacement. After ultimately not being able to find a suitable replacement we would either A. dissolve the band or B. start a “new” band with fewer members. Either way, we were starting over…again.

The last band I was in was a band called Viktr. I joined the band as the guitarist/co-writer. Band practice in Viktr was like being in a sweatshop. Our tyrannical bass player held dominion over everyone in the group and demanded perfection as he, himself, was going through a mid-life crisis. This band was his last shot. As a result of this boot-camp style practice, we became very solid as a live act. We eventually won our way onto the mainstage of a regional festival called “Welcome to Rockville”. After we had played the show we received a lot of buzz and momentum. There was even talk of record labels. However, the momentum was not managed properly and the hype fizzled out a few weeks after the event. I had been in this band for a year.

What was it all for? I wasn’t even playing songs I had written, it was all old material that the previous guitar player had made. On top of all this, our vocalist/rapper had turned us into a pariah with his condescending comments regarding many bands in our local scene. I decided to be the one who flaked out this time.

After quitting Viktr I finally said enough is enough. I am writing all the music, recording it myself and finding a vocalist to work with. I decided to write all my music on a computer since the computer couldn’t quit on me and I had all the control. After putting together some half way decent tracks I began searching for a vocalist. I was still of the frame of mind that I sucked at singing and could no way ever be the frontman. I found a female vocalist who seemed excited about the music I was making. I spent yet another year of my life recording with her and trying to define our sound. Unfortunately, the disturbing trend that I had noticed earlier in my previous bands was beginning to rear its ugly head again. I began to notice that the vocalist I was working with was only doing the project as a way to play pretend rockstar whenever she didn’t have to take care of her kid. Her dedication started lacking and in that whole year of working together, we played only one humiliating show at a dive bar full of people who didn’t understand what we were doing (to be fair I don’t think we understood what we were doing either). The vocalist finally put the death-nail into the band by dating a violent, aggressive man who physically threatened me on multiple occasions. Bye Felicia.

After wasting yet another year of my life with yet another flakey person, I decided to do some soul searching. I had a longtime musician friend that I would often talk to on the phone. He had been doing music for way longer than me and was sort of like my life coach. For the entirety of our friendship he was constantly encouraging me to do everything myself, including singing. After being bolstered up so much by his encouraging words I finally said f**k it, I’m going to do this whole damn thing myself. I already had quite a few completed songs from the previous project I had done, so I started converting them into songs for my new band. This ‘’new band’’ would only feature one band member…me. I would learn how to sing, I would learn how to make backing tracks for live performance, I would learn how to use Photoshop and I would do it all knowing that nobody was going to quit on me unless I quit on myself. The name of the new band came from my friend who had encouraged me for all those years. The name of the band referenced a man who had gotten cancer and then beat it. His friends all left him during his cancer treatments. When he recovered he was asked if he would re-connect with his friends. The man said “No… that would be like dancing with ghosts”.

Now here we are. I have done things on my own terms and have ensured that nothing can derail my dreams ever again. I don’t care about fame anymore, I just want to get my soul out to as many people as possible. My soul is my music and I’ve finally done it right this time. I’ve found happiness in this band and a sense of self-accomplishment that I’ve never felt before. My determination has attracted the attention of other talented people such as the second vocalist for my band, Stephanie, who has truly been such an amazing edition. This is the only band I ever want to do and it’s all thanks to all those people who flaked out on me over the years, so…In a way… I thank you.