On Devin Townsend: Meeting an idol

He has no idea. Or does he? While on his Transcending the Coma North American tour, he stopped for a gig at the Mercury Ballroom, completely unaware that I was waiting…not stalking, I’m not a creep (at least don’t think so), but there I was…book in hand…ready to meet a man I considered an idol.

Book in hand?

Yeah…I went there. Along with my smiling face and speed-beating heart, I took my latest book (Punk Ass Punk, for those that want to know) along with me to hand over to Mr. Townsend. I’d even personalized the copy (funny thing, autographing something for someone you hold with such regard). I had gone over the moment in my head for days. What would I say? How would Devin react? Was it bad form to give a gift in a VIP meet and greet? In the end, I decided it was something I simply had to do. After all, Devin’s music has been such a key element in my evolution as an artist. This had to be done. There was no other choice. Do or do not…as it were.

I stood in line, sweating bullets of nerves; white-knuckling my copy of Punk Ass Punk as if it were the single most important object in existence. Devin Townsend was about to take ownership of something I created!

I, I am I (to quote his song “Higher”).

When I reached the greeting table, Devin was first to be met. I shook his hand and gave him the spiel. He was shocked at the amount of books I’d written and was quite gracious in receiving Punk Ass Punk. I thanked him for being such a profound inspiration to me as an artist and then…I nearly lost it. That’s right, I was damn close to weeping in front of Devin Townsend. The wells of my eyes were near breaking and I was going to embarrass myself in front of the king of mid-tier progressive metal, Heavy Devy.

Again, I quote, this time from the amazing song “Failure”

I won’t fear this
I want to blame to the world!
All these tears, all alone

I moved on, down the line, to meet the rest of the band…my heart still pounding from the exchange, thinking that was it.

It wasn’t. Oh how it wasn’t.

TranscendenceDuring Devin’s set, there was one song I absolutely had to hear, felt my life would be incomplete if I didn’t experience my song live. Thank my lucky stars, Devin did finally play Kingdom. That particular song has been instrumental in my recent artistic and personal development. We all have that one song…you know, the piece of music that gets you through the hardships, the what ifs, and the ebb and flow of life. For me, that song begins with the words “I, I wonder why…” and eventually comes ’round to “Stay with me, play with me, ego, it’s only a soul”. Profound words that dig deep into the corners and crevices of my soul. When the Devin Townsend Project crashed into the opening riff of the song, I nearly came undone. All the feels I had first meeting Devin came out and I drew nearer to a mental and emotional meltdown as I’ve ever experienced at a concert. It was a perfect conflagration of truth and fiction.

When the set was over, Devin hopped off the stage and started shaking hands with fans. He then went out of his way to get to me and thank me for the book. I said to him, “I can die a happy man.” Why I said that, I have no idea. But the evening I spent handing a gift to a fellow artist and then enjoying him returning that gift one million fold will remain etched in my mind and heart forever.

As for Devin? I hope he does read Punk Ass Punk. The main character, after all, was modeled from Heavy Devy himself. Even if it takes him some time before he dives into the pages of my fiction, it’s glorious to know it is in his possession.

Inspiration comes at us from all angles. Maybe some day a passage or two of mine will return the favor and give Devin Townsend the inspiration for a song.

A fanboy can dream.

Get your copy of Transcendence on Amazon.com.