Being Revived by Paramedics in Regional NSW, and Other Dumb Adventures I’ve Had

“First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.”

– F. Scott Fitzgerald 

 

Oh heeeeeey! Didn’t see you there. Have you been waiting long?

Ok, I know, I know. It’s been a long time since my last blog… again. It’s been a pretty hectic year for me, even though I’ve been somewhat silent online. Album 2 is coming along amazingly and is definitely going to be a piece of work that we’ll be proud of for years to come. I can’t wait for you all to hear it.

BUT…

That’s not what this post is about. The truth is, I have made a commitment to something pretty important and I’d like to use this forum to make my commitment public so that I can hold myself accountable.

For those of you that know me, you’ll know full well that I’m an individual who enjoys to – for lack of a better word – #partylikeits1999. I’m a really social person, and I loooooves me a drink and a good time. I don’t drink all the time, but when I DO drink, I go hell for leather… which is just a clever way of saying I drink a LOT, very fast. It’s not uncommon for me to start the night out with the innocent intention of having one or two glasses of wine with dinner – cut to 7am the next morning – I’m at a mate’s place opening my 10,987th beer, hell bent on continuing the good vibes with one or two other people I’ve only just met. It’s something I’ve always done. Being spontaneous comes with my line of work, and so I’ve used it as an excuse to live my life in the moment more than anyone else I know. As such, I’ve always made it my business to wring every last possible “moment to live in” out of my evenings. I purposely burn the candle at both ends so that I can bask euphorically in the gorgeous light that it gives.

“BUT THAT’S OK GEORGE, WE ALL GET A LITTLE LOOSE SOMETIMES. YOU’RE IN A BAND AFTER ALL!”

I appreciate the support guys, but the problem is that I can now say that it’s gotten to a point where I’m starting to get a little scared of my behaviour… On more than one occasion now, I haven’t been able to remember how/when I got home, who I spoke to, what I did in the final few hours of the night, why my mouth tastes like a wet ashtray filled with dog shit, etc. I’ve woken up in fire escapes of random buildings. I’ve had paramedics called to come revive me after a festival we did in the middle of regional NSW. One time I even woke up in a skyscraper’s construction site. Yeah. A fully fledged, fair dinkum, LOCKED construction site! It took me about an hour to figure out how the hell to get out of a locked construction site, so God only knows how I found my way in. Ok, that’s enough – I’m no doubt scaring the bejeezus out of my mother. But seriously, I’ve been told stories about the things I’ve said, or how I’ve behaved when I’m intoxicated and it just doesn’t sound like me anymore. I’m at a point now where it’s no longer “cool” or “fun”. It’s now “messy” and “scary” for both myself, and the people who are closest to me, and it’s the kind of behaviour that I’m not prepared to put them through anymore.

“VERY WELL GEORGE… SO WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO ABOUT IT?!”

Well, up until now I’ve always been like,¯\_(ツ)_/¯

But now, I’m totally like, ╚(ಠ_ಠ)=┐

Ok, I don’t know what that second face means – but he totally looks like he’s ready to make a change. I’m deciding to heed the age old advice that actions speak louder than words, so commening on Friday the 12th of August, until my birthday on Sunday the 23rd of October, I HEREBY COMMIT MYSELF TO SOBRIETY! And guess what? You’re all here to witness it and hold me accountable! Yayyyy for accountability!

Now I know what you’re thinking…

“BUT GEORGE, THAT’S NOT EVEN THREE MONTHS!”

I know, I know. But shuddupayaface. That’s longer than I’ve ever gone without alcohol since I turned 18 (10 years ago!), so that’s a HUGE step for me. We’ve all got to start somewhere, right? Besides, who doesn’t want to be able to have a beer on their 29th birthday?! It’s the last time I’ll ever be turning twenty something!

Let me be clear. I don’t want to quit drinking for good, I’ve still got plenty of life left to live and my candle isn’t out of wax just yet- I just want to be able to control myself better. I’m one of those people where one drink is too many, but a hundred isn’t enough. So I’m making it my goal to re-learn what it means to have a good time without booze. I want to be able to go to all my social events, all the parties, all the festivals and remember what it was like to enjoy the atmosphere and everybody’s company for what it really is – not the warped perception that I’ve been viewing through the bottom of a glass. So I’ll be using the next eleven weeks to learn how to love sobriety, and hopefully I’ll be able to come back knowing how and when to call it quits.

As a double bonus, I’m also going to be doing my best to get… wait for it… FIT AND HEALTHY…. Yeeeeesh that was hard to type, but now that I have, it’s out there for the world to see, and I’m going to commit to it. For the first time in a long time (and this bit is important), I actually want to get myself to a point where I can truly say I’m proud of my mind, body and spirit – to be mentally and physically ready for what is bound to be an exciting and unpredictable few years as the release of our second album crests the horizon.

Anyways, wish me luck! Thanks so much for reading and for allowing me to use you all as a mass reason to keep my word to myself and those around me.

Now that you all know, I promise not to let you down.

G-SHEP xx

Now… where was I?

 

 

 

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Is This Thing Still On?!

Whats happening world?!

Firstly, apologies are in order. It’s taken me a full year to update this blog. How shameful! For those of you who actually DO read my blog and HAVE been waiting for my next post, I’m sorry! Hopefully you weren’t just sitting by the computer twiddling your thumbs, but that you found something fun and productive to do during my radio silence. 🙂

Part of the reason I haven’t made a post, apart from being insanely busy, is the fact that I haven’t really felt passionate or inspired enough to start writing about anything at great length. A writer’s block if you will. But I received a very endearing and heartfelt message from one of my readers asking me to please come back, and it kick started that fire in me! I’ve come to realise that it doesn’t really come down to having something to write about, as it is so much just being around for you guys. So, here I am to talk some nonsense. Enjoy!

In case you don’t know, our first album cycle has come to a close. We had our final show in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia two weeks ago and we sure went out with a bang. My mother, the wonderful and selfless Linda Sheppard, grew up in Kalgoorlie so we had hundreds of friends and family members in the audience. 7,000 people showed up to the show, which means 25% of the ENTIRE TOWN came out to see us perform. It truly was one of the most memorable shows we’ve done. But now, we get to hang up our live touring boots for a while and really get stuck into album #2.

This is the part where we get to take stock of every experience we’ve had as artists, musicians and human beings over the last 5 years, figure out what we’ve learned, then focus it down to roughly 40 mins of new material. It’s truly an interesting and exciting time for our band, but part of me is feeling a little overwhelmed. We have the freedom to do ANYTHING with this next record, which makes it really hard to decide which way is the right way to go. It’s like a “choose your own adventure” novel, except you can’t go back and see what the other pathways had in store for you. Whatever we end up deciding will shape the rest of our careers, and our lives. It’s a daunting responsibility, but I guess every single day shapes the rest of your life, and you can’t let that fact scare you from getting out of bed in the morning. Confession: I’m still in bed as I type this, and it’s nearing 1pm.

So far we have 8 songs written, which we’re really happy with. We’d like to have at least 20 good, completed songs to cherry pick from. Then hopefully we get to record in June/July and have a single out by August/September, with a new album out early 2017.  “Hopefully” being the operative word in that sentence. As a band, we believe in quality over quantity. We aren’t the kind of artists who are rushing to capitalise on our “momentum”.  We aren’t going to release just any album merely for the sake of getting something out before our “buzz” dies down. We feel we owe it to our fans to make the best, most innovative and sonically rich record we possibly can, and making something of that calibre takes time. If it’s done by August, AWESOME! But if it takes longer than that, so be it. If our fans really are true fans, then it won’t matter how long it takes. As long as when it finally sees a release it’s original, it’s exciting, and it’s GOOD.

Anyways, I have complete faith in us and that we’ll figure out what is best for our band and craft an album that feels right to us, but this “interim” period is an uneasy place to be hanging around. I’ve never really been good at sitting alone with my own thoughts for too long. My mind tends to goes a bit loco when it hasn’t got an immediately clear objective at hand.

Aaaaaaaand that’s my two cents for the time being. Thanks so much for being a part of this blog with me, I hope you manage to take something out of my ramblings. I’ll do my very best to update a bit sooner than this time next year!

Until next time world. 🙂

G-SHEP

Love Is All You Need.

I’m sure a lot of people will agree with me when I say I HATE seeing photos of myself.

When I was about the age of about 15, I developed an insane psychological complex about the way I looked. I had always been a cute kid, and had reached a point where I realised the adult I was growing into wasn’t going to be the tall, dark, rugged, bearded handsome man I had always planned I was going to be when I was younger. I found the lack of control crippling. I would look in the mirror and all I could see were flaws and those flaws over-shadowed the brilliant person I was underneath.

It wasn’t until I was about 24 or 25 that I got tired of feeling like shit, and I began to chip away at this hard outer shell of self-doubt and started to discover that I had a brilliantly incredible and unique person living underneath the hurtful pile of crap I had sledged at myself. That’s pretty much a WHOLE DECADE not being able to live up to my full potential because the person I saw in the mirror didn’t match up to the person I was seeing in my head. As such, I wasted a LOT of time and energy on things that didn’t matter. Even to this day, I still find it very difficult to watch videos of myself or go through pictures without cringing and I’m sure there are millions of people out there who would share a similar sentiment.

I certainly think it’s important for an artist to be able to critique their work so they can continue to plug up the holes of their “sieve-like” creative craft, but I was at the stage where I wasn’t able to watch more than 3 seconds without turning off the video.

So I mean it when I say that I very much love the fact that there is a noticeable and seemingly CONSCIOUS movement happening in the entertainment industry. The beginnings of a fantastic message for the impressionable and vulnerable minds of today’s youth. It says that you don’t have to be a supermodel to be attractive, confident or talented. The world is becoming bored of cookie cutter movies, shows and music videos that are full of “pretty” people.

It’s no secret that Ed Sheeran isn’t Brad Pitt (It’s ok Ed, neither am I!) but he is a WORLD CLASS songwriter, a top notch musician, and above all, a good person and those are the qualities that make him undeniably attractive and special. I love the fact that Ed is as successful as he is. He well and truly deserves it.

Of course, Beyonce Knowles is someone we all classify as remarkably beautiful, but to me that’s not what makes her “attractive” or “special”. She also happens to be amazingly confident, incredibly intelligent, uber talented, and most of all hard working. These are all qualities that a person has to work at and build from the ground up to make them uniquely their own. I hold these sorts of qualities in much higher regard than something as boring and cliche as how someone looks.

Now I know the world is still very much locked into that “prettier = better” headspace and it’s pretty bad – beauty pageants, reality TV shows and magazines have seen to that – but there seems to be a change in the air.

And it’s about damn time!

I find it very curious as to why in this day and age, the majority of the world doesn’t seem to question everyone’s obsession with celebrating something that is completely irrelevant in a person’s true worth or merit. It’s useless! If someone looks nice, it pleases the eye, THAT’S IT! I’m more concerned with how else they are going to contribute to humanity. If you have time and want a laugh, check out John Oliver shredding Miss Universe to pieces here;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDPCmmZifE8

It’s ok, go ahead and watch it. I’ll wait!

All good? Funny stuff hey?

Anyways, my point here is that this isn’t an issue that only affects women (although they do seem to have it the toughest). This affects everybody. It certainly affected me.

If you read this and you ever feel down about yourself or the way you look, please believe me when I say you aren’t noticing just how truly unique and amazing you are. You are doing yourself a massive injustice, and you’re wasting your potential.

Get out there and use every ounce of energy you have to show this world what you’ve got with the tiny sliver of time you’ve been granted on Earth. And remember – there are over 7 BILLION people on this planet, and you have qualities about you that NO ONE ELSE HAS. If you consistently work at these qualitites, hone your skills, continue to strive for a better you and for a better humanity, you CAN and you WILL make a difference.

You are the most powerful and amazing person in the world – if you choose to be.

If you ask me, that’s pretty fucking cool.

– G SHEP

Because you know I’m all about my space, bout my space…

Ok. So we are currently on our first full blown tour of the United States.

Out of all the Australian musicians that have ever been, very few have made it to this point, so I thought it would be sensible to document these experiences as they happen. In saying that, we’ve worked our asses off to get to where we’re at, so please allow me this brief moment of self-congratulations.

HUZZAH!!! HOLYMUTHAFUCKINGSHIT!!!! WE’RE HERE!!!!

Ok, thanks. Now that that’s over, here comes the next (and infinitely more important) step. We need to actually make it in the United States. Having built this band to the point where we have a slight chance to crack the US is one thing, but actually cracking planet Earth’s number one music market is another monster altogether. It has taken a lot of blood, sweat, tears and money over the better part of five years to build Sheppard to this point, but we’re now at the business end of the deal.

It’s all or nothing, baby.

Thanks to our incredible supporters, we have enjoyed a great deal of success in Australia – but its not the end of our journey. It’s certainly not enough to sustain our ambitious dreams of life-long careers as songwriters/musicians. We aren’t OK with the usual 5 year lifespan that modern successful bands are accustomed to. We plan to be doing this for the rest of our lives.

To become a successful musician, I’ve discovered that you not only need an immense amount of skill, but an even greater amount of luck, and most of all – hard work. It’s literally tough as hell. I’ve also learned that you can’t be prejudiced about ANYTHING. Even though we write pop music, I’ve always been open to all kinds of music. I’ve learned so much from heavy metal, from hard rock, from dubstep, from country music, blues, jazz, even children’s music. I honestly feel that the main problem with Australia’s music industry today is prejudice. Judging an artist on what kind of music they make is one of our worst traits and it’s a real shame that Australia has so few formats for their artists to honestly pursue. Imagine how great and diverse our music industry would be if our culture was truly accepting of something as brilliant as pop music. The problem is that most people automatically assume pop music = bad or generic music and feel the need to dismiss it. In the case of good pop music, it’s quite the contrary. I know for the most part pop is a “dirty” word, but I blame that on the flood of reality shows over the last decade or so, manufacturing artists with a cookie cutter, money making regime. In reality, writing good pop music is an incredible art form – one of the greatest genres in music. To be able to write something that millions of people of all ages and walks of life can relate to isn’t easy, and I have a LOT of respect for good pop writers. It’s been a long while since Australia exported a truly great pop act – an outfit who can write their own songs and actually perform them live. I’m certain there are many waiting in the wings, hungry for an opportunity.

Sheppard were one of the fortunate few to have be granted an opportunity.

We were given the once-in-a-lifetime chance to play on national television. An opportunity which led to our single “Let Me Down Easy” being added to commercial radio the very same afternoon. It was a big day for us.

After that, we knuckled down, wrote and recorded a bunch of songs that we thought could be good enough to show the world – out of which came a wonderful song called “Geronimo”. The rest, as they say, is history. Who knew that song would eventually turn out to be the highest selling Australian single of 2014? Not us. We certainly thought the song had potential once we had written it, but one can never predict that sort of success.

So now, here we find ourselves, on a bus headed to Memphis, Tennessee, almost halfway through the US leg of Meghan Trainor’s “That Bass Tour”. Night after night, we get to expose our music to thousands of Meghan’s fans across the country. We’ve had a number 1 hit in Australia. Numerous radio formats in the US have given us the right support at the right time. We’ve been afforded the coveted position of iHeart Radio’s “On the Verge” artist. By all accounts we seem to be pretty primed for mainstream success in the United States, but who knows? Nothing is a given, and it’s a brutally unpredictable industry. We’ve certainly worked our hardest, but after all that we’ve been through, we still have to go through the uncertain and arduous experience of crossing our fingers and toes, and hoping that it all works out.

Pretty cool right? I’m shitting myself.

G-SHEP

And here… we… GO!

Hey!

My name is George Sheppard, and I consider myself to be one hell of a lucky guy. Not only do I write songs and perform in the Australian based alternative-pop band Sheppard, but I get to travel the world with my family and friends – doing what I love and (somehow) getting paid for it.

Oh, and to top it all off I’ve got a funnier, sexier, smarter, all round better version of me as a girlfriend. Kathleen, take a bow.

Whether it be songs, stories, short films, or long winded (usually sternly worded) emails – I love writing. In fact, some of my favourite moments in life have been the glorious moments when I get the opportunity to write a nice big fat complaint letter, or respond to hate mail. For me, writing has always been the easiest way to articulate myself. Sure, I can talk, but I can always explain myself a BAJILLION times better when I can collect my thoughts, and put it all in writing. It’s also a lot fun to craft a piece of text that flows nicely from beginning to end.

So before we really get into this, this is my first blog ever, so please, BE NICE! Nothing paints a bleaker picture for the future of humanity than the trolling internet cowards with single digit IQ’s trying to garner undeserved attention by being nasty and horrible (usually about things of which they know very little). Pathetic individuals drooling poorly worded slanders all over the comments section does nothing good for this world. If you’re going to criticise, I’m all for it, just do it constructively, and preferably not behind the veil of anonymity. If you have something to say, be brave enough to put your name behind it.

(I’m liking this blog thing already) 😉

I totally respect the fact that everyone has a different opinion. Most likely no one is going to give a rat’s arse about what I think during my time on planet Earth, and that’s totally cool. The point of this blog is not for me to force my opinions onto you, it’s mainly a safe space for me to be able to collect my honest thoughts and enjoy my hobby. If you find it entertaining, or if you get anything of value out of it, fantastic! I’d like to think this could be a fun place for like-minded people to enjoy posts about complete nonsense AND things that matter. A place for people to get to know the real me, not what is seen on television or heard on the radio. I know better than anybody how fake and plastic the music industry can be, especially the pop music industry – so this is the place where I can, and WILL always be the honest, emotional, vulnerable and slightly dorky George Sheppard (aka NOT the guy in the picture above).

Welcome to my page, and thanks for reading!

🙂

G-SHEP