The vivacious frontman of Eagle and Hawk has returned to the folds of one of Indian country's most celebrated rock bands. Jay Bodner took some time off from the group. CBC Music asked Jay to tell us why he left and why he came back. Here's what he had to say:
After 13 years as lead singer and rhythm guitar player for Eagle & Hawk, I made a decision last year to take a hiatus from the band.
I myself had no idea if this was to be temporary or permanent. Many speculations were made and the rumour mill was ablaze with half facts and half fiction, like “Jay had decided to quit music and get in ridiculous shape and join Cirque du Soleil.” OK, I made that up, but how fun would that be right?
The fiction theories were exacerbated due to the fact that just before I stepped out (ooh, that sounds like cheating) I cut the long hair that had been, for lack of better terms, my trademark or identity for so many decades (even though I’m only 26).
The truth, if you must know, and clearly you must because here you are reading this, is that I had been chipping away at my bachelor of nursing degree for several years. Yes, the wizard that I am, magically turned a four-year degree into seven-and-a-half years! (Now if I could only do that with money.) Which reminds me of a joke: How do you make a million dollars playing rock ’n’ roll? Start with two million!
People often remarked, “How glamorous it must be to be a rock star and a nursing student!” OK, probably nobody ever said that but I’m writing this and I get to say what I want!
There I was, finishing papers and studying on planes, numerous hotel rooms and backstage between shows at the Vancouver Olympics while the rest of the band were traipsing around doing what all good rock stars should be doing: scoring free food and swag! Glamorous indeed!
And then it happened – I finished! Now what? Well I had worked way too damn hard just to shelf it and reconvene the food and swag hunt. I decided that I owed it to myself to concentrate on being the best damn nurse I could be in my first year (and yes I know that nursing is lifelong learning, just in case the powers that be are reading this). Many thought I had lost it. But I took solace in the precedent set by Ken Dryden when he left the best team in hockey to finish law school, then returned to win several Stanley Cups (no, seriously).
And here we are nearly one year later and I feel I’ve reached the summit of one of life’s innumerable mountains. (You try juggling a family, music career, university and casual employment and get back to me.)
What did I miss about music? Everything! The friendships, family, the shows, the travel, the fans, the highlights and lowlights (especially because I look really good in low lighting). The music we’ve made, the places we’ve been. I believe that out of struggle and sacrifice come the possibilities of great reward. And boy, have we struggled and sacrificed and been rewarded, both as individuals and as a band.
I always sort of looked at Eagle & Hawk as pioneers that created and accomplished something very special. The larger reason of why “I’m back” can better be related through a Ray Charles quote: “Music is nothing separate from me. It is me. You’d have to remove the music surgically.”
I also believe that Eagle & Hawk is not done, that we have more to give, and I want another Stanley Cup – just like Ken Dryden.
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on Apr 23, 2012