Pursuit of happiness
Acidic is not Taylor Swift-famous but the band is okay with that.
WHAT does success mean to rock band Acidic?
When the band from Southern California, United States, was formed in 2007, vocalist Michael Gossard, drummer Matt Whitaker, guitarist Josh Bennett and bassist Max Myrick had hopes of achieving worldwide fame and amassing fortunes in their heads.
“I had grandiose ideas and dreams of making millions of dollars,” Whitaker said during a recent interview in Subang Jaya, Selangor.
Over time and three albums later (Chronic Satisfaction, Copper Man and Creatures), it became clear that Acidic was not meant for the kind of dizzying success experienced by someone like Taylor Swift.
“There is no such thing as an overnight success. The joke is that it takes 10 years to become an overnight success,” Gossard said.
“A lot of major artistes have backers to support their journey in the music industry. For bands like us, we don’t have access to that. What we have instead, is a very clear idea to make an impact in the world.”
And the band is achieving that with the American Music Abroad programme, an initiative by the US State Department Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
As American music ambassadors, Acidic travel the world to learn about different ways of life as well as helping others understand their own. They do so by performing and taking part in various social activities.
Their journey with the American Music Abroad programme has taken them to 40 countries including Bulgaria, Latvia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan where they toured for two weeks.
In Malaysia, they played shows in Selangor, Sabah and Sarawak.
Gossard and the rest of his band-mates, who are all in their twenties, agreed that the experience has made them feel less sheltered.
“We played a show in Kosovo, a country still reeling from the grips of war. We were driving there and saw these buildings that have been destroyed by bombs,” Whitaker said.
“It was shocking to see this side of the world. Definitely eye-opening as well. Being from Los Angeles, we’ve been in our own bubble for this whole time.”
Myrick added: “At every place that we’ve been to, people have just been really welcoming. They showed us their culture and they enjoyed listening to our songs as well.”
Success now has an entirely different meaning for the boys of Acidic (Gossard said the band’s moniker came from the back of a soda can). They all agree that playing music for appreciative audiences in different parts of the world means a lot to them.
“We thought touring US would be cool. Then we get this amazing opportunity to travel the world and play music,” Bennett said.
Gossard added: “When I was younger, I thought success was about dollars and cents. I guess now, it has evolved towards just being happy doing what we love.”