The Professors of Sweet Sweet Music (POSSM) @ThePossm
My name is Earl Henrichon and I play in a Hartford, CT-based band called The Professors of Sweet, Sweet Music (POSSM). Yes, you heard right, that is the actual name of our band. We thought it would be hilarious if people actually had to say that out loud in the off-chance we were able to play shows in public. A few years later and we’ve won several Best of Hartford awards, a New England Music Award nomination for Best Band in CT and we’ve co-created the Hartbeat Music Festival (a day-long event showcasing local musicians of all genres). I guess now we are stuck with the ridiculous (but hopefully charming?) name.
And now the world has gone to shit in a period of two months, and we are all in quarantine. Suddenly my band is not getting together and playing music, and there are no shows to practice for. This time has given me an opportunity to reflect on a lot of things when it comes to music, its impact on my life, my teaching and my family. I figured what the internet needed most was the perspective of white dad who was getting older and plays in rock band… so here we go!
I am a high school Health and Physical Education teacher, husband of 14 years and father to an awesome (and sometimes totally insane) 7-year-old daughter. I also love to surf and have an unhealthy relationship with fantasy sports. My wife is clearly an amazingly supportive, patient and understanding human being, and as a result my life is immeasurably better for having had so many fun and exciting experiences. My wife Jane has been staying at home since the birth of our daughter, and what we lack in income we have gained in family time. Everyone has their own situations, but for us this has been a tremendous positive… at least so far.
I came to music late in life. Like anyone else I listened to it growing up (The Beatles, Guns and Roses etc), but I didn’t understand what was involved in creating the sounds I was hearing. It wasn’t until I had been listening to Jack Johnson for years, and couldn’t get those sounds out of my head that I finally picked up a guitar. That was about 8 years ago.
Almost immediately after learning a couple of simple chords, I started writing music by ear. At the time I thought I was creative and insightful but I look back now and realize how truly terrible most of it was. But not having the requisite shame one should have about publicly embarrassing themselves, I quickly assembled a group of (luckily more talented than I) guys and convinced some fellow teachers it would be a good idea to come out and see our band in action after school once in a while. The beauty of music, probably for all of us, but especially for me, has been the connections that it helps create with other people. From the start we always had other teachers sing songs with us, and later people from other bands would jump in on songs or for join us for entire shows. This helped create a community because of which my life will always be better off and for which I’ll always be grateful.
There are many things about performing music live that actually don’t fit my personality at all. As an early-rising teacher I am not at all at late-night guy. In a perfect world, my favorite place to be is at home with my family, watching some Netflix and getting to bed at a decent time. We don’t play tons of late gigs as a result, we are always glad to open up for other bands, and I usually leave before the rest of my bandmates when a show is over. But I enjoy the hell out of being on stage, sharing the fun moments with others, and being a part of something that brings some joy and laughter into others’ lives. Having my daughter grow up around music, the guys in the band and all of the positive experiences that have come from that is something I will look back fondly on forever.
Now that I am teaching from home, my day is very different. I am doing 30 days of yoga with my wife, hiking constantly to try and wear out the dog, the 7 year old (and if we are being honest, the 43 year old). This new rhythm is giving me the opportunity to go back and spend time with music in a way I haven’t before. Not having the pressure of getting ready for the next show, booking future shows, having people rely on me to set a lineup or finishing up something for a recording has been freeing in a way I did not expect. When I first learned guitar I didn’t take proper lessons or even take time to learn anything properly before finding reasons to start playing it in front of others. Since then I’ve mostly been practicing for the next show. Now I am finding the time to learn the scales on the guitar better, how to play a solo that doesn’t sound forced, voicings of chords I hadn’t considered before and even starting to learn a bit of the piano which has helped all of the theory make sense. I am aware that everyone’s quarantine is different, and that many of the rock moms and dads are feeling run ragged by working, homeschooling, feeling financial stress etc…but there is also a reset button that this time is allowing us to have. I suspect that many of us will find when things go back to whatever normal is going to look like when it happens, that we will miss some of things about this time as well, and to enjoy some of that while we are there.
If anyone of you are interested in checking out our music, we are releasing a new single on all streaming platforms on May 29th, and we can be found on all social media platforms as The POSSM, and at Thepossm.com. And if you don’t want to hear our music, that’s ok too, and I hope the rest of the quarantine treats you all well, until we are all rocking out in front of audiences again!