Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Unofficial Parent's Night In Nashville: Ben Kweller and Sleeper Agent At The Mercy Lounge


You might describe the Ben Kweller concert last Sunday night at the Mercy Lounge in Nashville as the "Unofficial Parent's Night," for the band members of the Bowling Green, Ky., based indie rock group, "Sleeper Agent."

Yes, all of us band member parents were there to show their love and support of our wonderfully talented and gifted children. Besides, we hadn't seen them for almost three weeks! It was great to see Tony, Alex, Josh, Scott, Lee and Justin again. And as usual they put on a awesome show, opening for Ben Kweller and his band during this particular leg of the tour. And as usual all of us parents-me, Patty, Marilyn, Teresa, Richard, Holly, Matt, Amy and Margie were all beaming with pride. Especially after these kids had just appeared on the "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon Live!" show on NBC on March 22. It seems like the whole city of Bowling Green and the community of Western Kentucky University has been buzzing about it for almost two weeks now. To be perfectly honest, it's a great feeling to see your children excel in something in life that you know one day in life that it will pay off for them big time. At least we hope, right? Let's hope so. It's already paying off for them in more ways than one. I would say more ways than we could ever imagine.

I think for our children to grow up to pursue their dreams in life, we as parents had to give them their space, unconditional life and support. They have to have the freedom to create or compose all sorts of things in their young lives while growing up. What helps them grow and develop the most is to pursue what they love with a passion. It's kind like a flower garden. If you give the garden lots love and TLC, (water, sunlight, good soil, plant food, etc.) it will grow strong and blossom beautifully just like our children.

Because believe me, the "road life" as a musician or band does not appear to be glamorous as people might think. Yeah, they get to travel all over the United States visiting big cities and see different regions of the country. They get to experience all sorts of new places and cultures. They also meet thousands of new people along the tour. However, on the down side of the things, they live in and out of hotel rooms and sleep in a different bed every night which is always not fun. They probably have some good hotel rooms and some bad hotel rooms as well as possible bed bugs along the way. Yikes! Then there's the terrible food and good food. But I know that they do get tired of restaurant and fast food. And they are always ready for mom and dad's home cooking when they arrive back in Bowling Green. Then there's the dirty (behind the scenes) dressing rooms and places like that. Not at all music venues but some. Not to mention that they have to wash their own clothes in strange laundry mats, getting sick of the road and riding in a crowed, stuffy van up to 18-20 hrs a day sometimes.

But on the flip side there's a lot of great things about the road life which can bring much success in life for musicians. Musician Ben Kweller has done it for almost 15 years now. He started when he was 15 or 16 years-old. He has has five albums out, he owns his own bus and owns a home in Texas and has a wife and two children already. And he is only 30 years-old. Kweller, who's father is a doctor in a small town in Texas gave his son lots of love when he was growing up and exposed him to music at early age.

From Wikipedia-"Dr. Howard Kweller taught Ben how to play the drums when he was seven years old. For the next year, they would play together almost every night after Howard got home from work. Howard sang and played guitar while Ben played the drums. The duo played songs by The Beatles, The Hollies, Jimi Hendrix, and other artists of the 1960s. Howard is also a longtime friend of Nils Lofgren, a neighbor of his. Kweller has mentioned in interviews that meeting Lofgren greatly helped his exposure to music. When Kweller turned eight, someone showed him how to play "Heart and Soul" on the piano and the youngster immediately began to create his own songs using the same chords. By the time he was nine, he had a dozen original compositions under his belt and entered a songwriting contest sponsored by Billboard magazine, where he won an honorable mention."

When Patty and I met Ben in his dressing room backstage, he was very nice and cordial as well friendly to all us parents. It was an honor to meet such a fine example of young successful musician in today's rock world as Ben Kweller. We wish Ben continued success especially all of the members of Sleeper Agent. We continue to pray for their safety along the path of reaching for their dreams! Keep up the great work guys and girl! We love ya!


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