shot·gun hon·ey·moon (noun) \ ˈshät-ˌgən \ ˈhə-nē-ˌmün
Saying yes to something you are passionate about. In that moment. Whether it’s love, or lust, or knowledge or trust. Leaning in, blindly or bust.
It was the months following the loss of our run at a state title in soccer. With graduation creeping up and college to look forward to, i knew that soccer, which was once my life, would become something of the past. Playing from the age of 5 up to 18 it was all i knew as an outlet. An outlet for me to put my energy into. From camps, the travel teams, to club and now finishing my career in spectacular fashion. An all out brawl after our district win handed many of our best players suspensions, expulsions, and ultimately our run to the title. It actually drove some lives down the wrong track that didn’t have to be. Leaving me wondering what was next after all of that. In life, in school, and the outlet. Where am I going to put that kind of energy into. I always had a lingering itch when it came to playing an instrument. Often times too distracted with sports and friends, I wasn’t able to quite commit. Until there were no more sports and I was leaving to a school where i’d have to make new friends. Inspired by Nirvana’s Unplugged performance on MTV. Seeing Scott Weiland sing Plush with just an acoustic guitar. Cranberries, Live, and even Alice in Chains exchanging amps for acoustics. It was beautiful. Hearing these monster songs stripped all the way down gave me such profound respect for the songwriting behind the sound. Not long after, I made the decision. I went into a music shop, I bought an Alvarez guitar and the Nirvana unplugged tablature book. I haven’t looked back. It was the best decision i ever made. Without a doubt. I’ve kept every guitar i’ve bought since then with exception of the “givers” as i call them. I give guitars to some special friends who have desires to play in hopes they too may catch the bug. The Alvarez belongs to my dear friend Charlie. One of my Rubys belongs to Laura. The shit-kicker belongs to Prue. I love the idea of passing off an instrument to people who just need a little push and keep the strings humming. Giving at least a little more love than i could give them. Picking up the guitar changed my life, so if i can maybe give something to someone and it change theirs too, well, that would just be tops.
It was some years before I ever attempted to write a song. I was too shy. Lacked the confidence, to a degree, of being able to even sing in a room with someone other than myself. It wasn’t until I got thrown a total curve ball by someone who had more confidence in me than i had in myself. She was a special kind of human and something I haven’t always experienced with in partners. Thrusting me on stage of a talent show in front of almost 300 peers. Never had i ever played guitar in front of anyone much less sang in front of a soul. This was the moment i chose to write. Instead of playing a cover like the rest, I challenged myself. I succeeded. I didn’t win the contest, I didn’t bring home any trophy or prize. I wrote an original song called “The Beginning of the End”. It was the foreshadowing of leaving school and most likely the relationship I so adored. Everything I really really loved would be coming to a close. It was all a Foregone Conclusion (which i titled my first record / credited to The Gooch). That song ended up being a catalyst for me moving to Los Angeles. Signing a publishing deal and to an indie label. Making a record with none other than Jeff Trott, a beautiful and talented human being. From music videos to shows at venues all over LA. All of this may not have happened if I wasn’t pushed. I often think about that. How it came to be. I write from a place that I don’t often talk about. What i didn’t realize at the time was that writing, singing, playing, that was all therapy for me. Releasing emotions I didn’t know how to move through or move out. The songs and the words would help me through depression, heartbreak, and hopelessness. But at the same time there was always a bit of hope behind that hopelessness. A light at the end of the tunnel. As if i was cracking my heart open, picking up the pieces, and a bit of my soul was still shining from them. Sometimes pushing Humpty Dumpty off the wall is exactly what he needs. And i am forever grateful.
So why Shotgun Honeymoon…where did that even come from. I always wanted a moniker. Something other than Eric Mellgren. Because i was eric and i didn’t want to also be eric when doing something that was…well a different eric. I wanted to be someone else. Or something else. My first stab at a name was Stoic. Which is the EXACT opposite of what i was writing about (enter hand to face here). I liked the word but the meaning obviously did not align with what i was creating. The search began. I remember how hard the process was for me. Mulling over it. Writing this and that. Combining words then tearing them apart. Until one evening, my brother (from another mother who was my roommate at the time) started to tell me a story. Ill never forget, I was in the kitchen cooking something on a George Foreman (did I just say that). He was joking about how our friend just had a shotgun wedding in Vegas because of an unexpected pregnancy. Then proceeded to say…”Sounds more like a shotgun honeymoon to me.” i believe i immediately turned to him and said. “That’s it! Can i have that, like as my band name?” I knew in that moment it was right. At that time my definition of a Shotgun Honeymoon was like a one night stand, a passionate kiss, or pulling the trigger on something you felt was right. I eventually wrote my own definition for it. It’s taking action and saying yes about what you feel deep inside you. Instead of just thinking about it. Actually doing it. And never looking back…
Otto Hofmann was quoted to saying “once having said yes to the instant, the affirmation is contagious.” #wakinglife