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  • David Filice

What If Only

Updated: Oct 31, 2021

My dad was a classical pianist. Not professionally. He was actually a dentist professionally but he

was a great pianist. When I was really little I remember sneaking out of bed and sitting around the corner out of sight so I could listen to him play. I guess as a guy who worked all day long and had a family this was his only time to sit down and lose himself in his music. I have to admit at times it would bring tears to my eyes the stuff he would play and how great it sounded. But he was forced into a career as a dentist by his parents because of their expectations. He always approached his dentistry like an artist and with such great care cause that was the kind of soul he was. But he did not like it. Growing up I would always hear him say "If I could do it all over I would do anything to be a concert pianist". In my naivety I would ask why he could not do that. And he would say that he has a career and a family and it just isn't possible anymore. Now as an adult I get that and honor him for sticking in a career he was not happy with cause he wanted to provide for his family. But hearing that message of "if only" and "what if" was very powerful. And even as a young kid when I could not even fully absorb the weight of that sentiment, I still heard it loud and clear. He would often times come home upset from work and while he never took it out on his family I knew he wasn't happy and was most of the time stressed out. Then the bomb dropped on our family a few months before I was to start my freshman year in high school. My dad was diagnosed with liver cancer. I'll never forget where I was when I heard the news. Odd how that stuff sticks with you. After months and years of coming home stressed and unhappy this is how things turn out? And for some reason how I translated that was "you go to work everyday in a job you dislike only to have it cause you this?". I decided from there I was not going to take that path. The path of what other's expect you to do and the path of wondering "what if". I never wanted to waste my life regretting and wishing I had. When I look back now at the incredibly fortunate career I have had I realize that even if I left music behind today I could never say "what if". I have achieved more than I ever thought I could. I have played and toured with people I grew up seeing on MTV and I have played everything from small dive bars to packed arena's. What a dream come true it has been so far. Sometimes I get so fed up with the music business that I contemplate doing something else. Sometimes the business of music can be frustrating and it can overshadow the reason why I started doing this in the first place. But fortunately I can never say "I wish I had". I used see tour buses on the road and say "One day I am gonna be on one of those". And I have. Many times over. I used to go to big rock shows as a kid at local arena's and wonder what it was like to be on that stage looking out. And now I know what that feels like. All my career I have toured with signed and established artists playing their music, and even though I didn't write the songs myself it is still an amazing feeling to look out and see people singing along to every word. And the excitement they feel and express watching their favorite artist perform those songs is an incredible experience to say the least. While there are still a few things left to cross off my list, I have done and experienced more than I ever thought I would. Whoever thought practicing bass in my room would lead to having the opportunity to tour all over the world. After spending up to eight hours a day practicing I went for it and relocated to Los Angeles to see where this could take me. Cause I never wanted to say "I wish I had tried".

After thirty years of being in a career my dad was never happy with he retired and tried his hand at the things he felt he always missed out on. He let his artist and creative side emerge. He tried his hand at acting, stand up comedy, and even wrote a book. He would have gone for the music thing too but 30 years of dentistry left his hands with permanent carpal tunnel syndrome. But during his time of him being able to explore his artist side he actually seemed at times happier and more content with life. Unfortunately after 5 relapses of cancer it finally took his life in 2008, ten years after his retirement. And he was never a truly happy human being even though to everyone around him he was the kindest and most generous person around. Sometimes I wonder if I followed and set out to fulfill his dream of being a musician or my own. But nonetheless I always have had music running through my blood and to this day whoever's dream it is I could not be more satisfied I went for it instead of wondering what if.

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