Pur­suit of hap­pi­ness

Acidic is not Tay­lor Swift-fa­mous but the band is okay with that.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Showbiz - By ANGELIN YEOH en­ter­tain­ment@thes­tar.com.my (From left) Ben­nett, Myrick, Gos­sard and Whi­taker formed Acidic in 2007. — Hand­out

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.”

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