Lifestyle Story: Artist & drummer all in one

Charles Bailey II (CB 2019)

PIEDMONT, ALABAMA: Paul Strand once wrote, “The artist’s world is limitless. It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away. It is always on his doorstep.”

And it is a statement that Charles Albert Bailey II can understand.

At the age of 51, Charles, who is originally from Chester, Georgia, says he is “an auto care technician, a master gardener, musician, artist, husband and father of a four-year-old dude.”

Art and music has been center for him for a very long time. He told The Murphy Gazette, “ I have been asked to talk about art and music. I do not have the gift of words. I cannot fully express how interwoven these two muses are. They are tangled.”

Of his occupations, Charles said, “One of these occupations provides a steady source of income. Three of them chose me without asking permission, and two I actually pursued.”

He describes a day in his life as “to varying degrees, a cross between a nineties sitcom and an indie rock video.”

Reflecting on his art, Charles said, “Visual art is nothing more then learning to see things real, or imagined and share your interpretations with others. I have been encouraged to do this as early as I can remember.”

“I mostly work in dry media. It seems friendly towards picking it up on a whimsy, and allows you to walk away easily,” he stated. “I enjoy working in my sketchbook most of all. It serves as a kind of personal journal full of random ideas, emotions, and abstract thoughts while providing fodder to use to develop a more serious piece.”

Charles continued, “Often, especially while working on something more in depth, time will become ‘slippery.’ You can enter a zen like state where hours may pass by practically unnoticed. I have also had this experience on long boring drives when suddenly you realize a hundred miles just went by.”

As per his music, he said, “I have been a drummer since well before I knew what they were. Every surface with some resonance was a drum. By first grade I knew that it could hold people’s attention by playing on my desk.”

“When I was eleven a very nice young man took some of his time and taught me how to play a traditional drum kit, and I was completely devoted from that moment on,” he said. “I got what education I could while in school, but chose to pursue art more formally after high school instead. A few times I received private drum lessons from various instructors, but for the most part I was self taught.”

Charles said, “Since drummers are largely accompanying other instruments, you often find yourself in a situation where you need to adapt your style to whatever the people paying you want you to do.”

He continued, “This is a good thing, as it forces you to grow, and appreciate styles that you may not have considered on your own.”

Charles’ story continued. “When I am on stage this is what happens. Right before you start there is a brief moment of anxiety … and then you kick it off. It is on!”

He said, “Then it is all adrenaline, a cocktail of endorphins, and dopamine for dessert, and then you get to load heavy equipment, miles of dirty cables, and drive home while listening to National Public Radio (NPR) at stupid o’clock in the morning…usually.”

His love of music started before he can remember. “The first eight-track tape I ever bought with my own money was ‘Eat to the Beat’ by Blondie.”

Charles added, “The first vinyl album that I bought was ‘The Dark Side of the Moon.’ The first cassette … that ‘Santa Claus’ gifted me was Sgt. Pepper’s. My first CD was Dark Side of the Moon,’ and ‘2112’ by Rush from the mall. My own money spent there again.”

“There really are too many musical influences to name. I am an omnivore of music. I hear it in traffic noise or a flag pole clanging, and of course, actual songs,” he said.

When asked if he could name his top five artists that he enjoyed listening to, Charles couldn’t. “It is simply too vast an ocean to choose from. I can suggest something though.”

He said, “In visual art, negative space is given great value. The musical equivalent would be silence. Maybe silence is an under appreciated beauty to be given more credence.”

“One of the most valuable things I have received from following this music thing … it has led me to places I would not otherwise go. I mean this mentally and physically. On a similar note, it has put me in the company of people whom I would never cross paths with otherwise.”

Charles commented, “This should be said. When you get on stage with people, and collectively pull music out of the ether, and share this with a crowd of strangers you tend to be bonded with your fellow stage mates in a strangely intimate way.”

He concluded with a piece of advice for artists, musicians and the public in general on surviving life … “It is OK to be a fan of your own work, but do not take yourself too seriously. Leave all that to other folks.”


Author: rlhwrites

Curator of prose and such.

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