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I wish I could say that I picked up an instrument as a 2-year-old prodigy and devoted my life to mastering the musical craft. I wish I could tell you that I was a nerd in high school and locked myself in my bedroom to play guitar, like John Mayer. I’d like to tell you that I grew up listening to The Beatles, or The Rolling Stones, or some other legendary artist that so typically ingrains musical maturity and probable success. Unfortunately, I can’t claim any of this...so right off the bat, you should know I’m not exactly your typical musician.
I grew up in a house of four children, under a loving mother and a father who were both still in school, so at the time we couldn't afford much. I wasn’t even able to get clothes at the bargain outlet...I got to wear baggy, worn out hand-me-downs from my older brother. Needless to say, we sure as heck couldn’t afford any of the expensive hobbies like musical instruments or ice hockey pads.
My parents weren't really into music, so I got to lay the foundations of my musical career on an overwhelmingly exciting variety of Christian Contemporary Artists including: Keith Green, Twilia Paris, DC Talk, and The Newsboys. (please note the sarcasm) In fact, I didn’t even start playing an instrument until I was probably 8 or 9 and I didn’t enjoy (or retain) any of the four years invested in piano lessons. I tried a few years of “electric guitar”, but lost interest without a distortion pedal and the rebellion that most certainly comes with using one.
I enjoyed success and accomplishment more than creativity and expression. I had no interested in releasing my inner struggles through painting, music, or interpretive dance. I was more excited about getting my hands dirty and scraping up my knees while running through the woods. At 4-years-old, my summer goal sheet consisted of: learning to swim, learning to read, and riding a “two-wheeler”...all of which were conquered with time to spare.
As I got older, not much had changed. I still set goals and made sure to achieve them. This addiction to accomplishment led to a whole lot of interests. I was a soccer player, motocross racer, wrestler, baseball player, snowboarding instructor, street hockey player, volleyball player, skateboarder, and about half-a-dozen other things. I loved music, but it was never really my focus or career aspiration.
I bought a drum set at 16 and taught myself how to play it. I found more enjoyment in drums than I had on the piano or guitar, but was still just a hobby to me. I had trained all my life to be a professional soccer player and that’s what I wanted to do.
Up until then, my entire life had been centered around accomplishing things...acquiring skills and being the best at as many things as I could. I started to realize that behind one success was merely the possibility of another and no matter what I was doing, there would always be someone out there that was better than me. These goals had only been a way to puff up my chest a little larger, build up more stories of victory, and collect more trophies to brag about. In time you learn that this selfishness and pride really don’t team up to give you any contentment at all. Music was really the only avenue in my life that I had used to help people...other than myself.
Now I know this is a musician’s biography, but I’ll be honest, it wasn’t until college that I switched my profession from soccer to music. It was one of the most difficult decisions of my life, but I knew music was where I needed to be. My marginally successful Christian rock band signed to a management and booking agency in the spring of 2007, giving me the opportunity to make the choice official. So, I dropped out of college and left my choice of soccer or business careers in the dust.
After a year or two of frustration and slow progress in the music industry, the band decided to change the sound and demographic, forming The Movement in early 2009. Again, we toured for a little while and worked hard to build a following, but I grew restless and frustrated with the rate of growth and lack of sincerity in “the scene.”
Through almost three years as a touring drummer, I knew I wanted to be involved with music, but still didn’t feel like I was doing exactly what I needed to be doing.
The only notable success I had really acquired over the years was an extensive list of bands I had gotten to know by offering a large, comfortable house to crash while they were touring through Pennsylvania. As any touring musician knows: a bed, home cooked meals, and some genuine hospitality beats the snot out of any hotel room. What started as one band coming to stay, turned into entire tour packages continuously filling my household. I was sooner recognized as, “You’re Brooke...The guy with the haunted mansion??” than I was as the drummer for The Movement.
That was a little discouraging, with how much work and time I had invested in my bands. I always had offers for guest list spots, but no offers for my band to jump on a bigger tour with them. And I’ll be honest, it’s a whole lot easier to make a few beds and hang out with friends than it is to tread water as an independent band, responding to hundreds of myspace messages, selling tickets, or sleeping in a van with 7 other people.
It was then that I realized I needed to make some musical changes. I grew tired of doing what I thought people would like. For once I didn’t want it to be designed for the industry, for the money, or for the success. I wanted to do something real...something genuine. I wanted to use what I had learned, but use it in a way that was about the music and the message. I wanted to do something that has a positive influence on people and can help them enjoy life and music just a little bit more.
...so I’m starting over.
My name is Brooke Gerhart. I may not be typical, but I hope you enjoy my music and my message.