A Million Ways to Play a Tiny Keyboard

There’s almost nothing I like more than a good rock show.1 Even in my thirties, there’s no better way to spend an even than dancing watching a great band. Motion City Soundtrack is a favorite. Their live show is always amazing, their music is fun and gritty and honest, and their fans are usually awesome people. But the thing I love most about Motion City Soundtrack is Jesse Johnson.  

The synth (which is a keyboard kinda, but not played much like a piano) is the thing that distinguishes MCS from other bands with similar sound from the same music community. And when you watch someone play synth live it’s usually… well… kind of awkward. They slink into the background. They feel unimportant. They don’t really participate.  

Not Jesse-synth-heart-throb-Johnson.  

This man plays a tiny keyboard in a way that says to the world, “Hell, yes, I play keyboard in a rock band!” Which is more than many men could comfortably do, for reasons that I find ridiculous. 

He’s known for doing hand stands on his keyboard, leading the crowd in singing along when he doesn’t have something to play, and he is more active in one show than I am in a week of gym-Zumba. He’s so important to the cause that he’s on the flyer for their farewell tour. There is not MCS without Jesse, and we all know it and love it. 

I wish I could adopt him as my spirit animal. He’s completely excited about the band, the music, the songs, and interacting with the crowd, and in spite of his contribution being atypical to other rock music from the era, and the fact that he seems to have wasted zero time wondering if he should enjoy every minute of it. I wish I had one ounce of that “Hell yes!”  

The fact of the matter is, there’s just no better advocate for anything than someone who is totally in love, totally excited, with no room for doubt. I’ve seen it in lots of places. From professional yo-yoers to Bikram yoga.  

You don’t even need to say anything. There’s no debating involved. The most incredible ambassador for your work is someone who is totally in love with it. And that can be you. So take a second to bask in the amazing thing you’re doing. Dispel doubt. Work really hard and do it like there’s nothing else that even makes sense.   

Your organization’s mission, you know it best. Never ever apologize for it. Make it amazing, by being its number one cheerleader. 

 There are a million ways to play a tiny keyboard at a rock show, but only one is infectious. Go forth, and do likewise.