A few years ago I was in a band by the name of Strength in Solitude. It was the first serious band I had played in and before I became a member I was a fan. I can still remember the feeling of getting up on stage for the first time and playing for a bunch of kids who were there to have fun. I didn’t know the impact that those guys would have on my life and I never expected it to resonate for so many years afterwards. We were just 5 guys playing in a hardcore band in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. We played mostly all ages shows and gave it our all on stage every night that we played. We had fans and we had fun. We went on tour in the summer of 2000 and it was a time that changed my life. We took off in a 1985 Dodge Ram Van with a makeshift bed in the back that fit all of our gear underneath. We were poor and ignorant and about to have an adventure. I learnt a lot about myself that summer. I learned that my patience for people when in an enclosed space is far shorter than normal and that 5 guys in a van can create some interesting smells. I also learned that I had the ability to have fun even when money was non-existent. Sometimes we didn’t even get paid enough to get the gas to get to the next town, or sometimes your tire blows while on the way to Montreal. Through all of that we were able to have fun, go up on stage every night and put on a hell of a show. I learned that I was resilient. I learned that I was able to form meaningful relationships with the people around me and I learned that I had the ability to create music that other people loved.
Many years after while at a Safeway in Calgary I was stopped by a young guy. He asked me if I was Ryan from Strength in Solitude, to which I affirmed his suspicions. After a huge smile filled his face he excitedly told me that we had made a huge impact on his life and that we were his favourite band when he was younger. Music has a power that not even those who make it can understand. It can touch people you have never met and make their life better. It can create a bond that cannot be explained and it can transcend every boundary; whether it’s politics, language, economics, religious or any other. I’ll never forget the time I had in Strength and I’m forever thankful for those four other guys I got to share it with.