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“I miss it when I don’t do it,” says Beaumont, of Maquiladora. “There’s those moments playing when your eyes close and it feels really good. For those moments it’s worth it. When I take the time to play, even an hour or so, I kind of win it back, you know?”

Paul Clark describes the first time Meknes played at the Serra Mesa street fair. “I was walking on air for three days afterwards,” he says and then pauses. “Part of it is, I remember when I was younger playing, and I would force myself to play, and it was all about getting the chicks. But we’re all established now and have pretty good love lives, and that’s not part of it anymore. It’s kind of distilled down to the music and the camaraderie of the band. It’s nice not having to impress people for personal gain — it’s just a creative outlet.”

Maybe older musicians have an even easier time of achieving the flow state because they have nothing more to prove — they are in it for the joy of playing.

“Once a band has been around for a certain amount of time,” Tim Mays says, “they may come to realize that they’re not going to be huge and make a ton of money, and at that point, they decide to go back to playing music for the reason they first started — fun.”

Morton tells me, “Music was always something I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to play with a neat group of people and create something that was lasting. In a lot of ways, we did that. The neat thing was to do something we were proud of, the act of recording an album and CDs that are still out there.”

When I ask Morton if he’ll go back to playing when his children are older, he hesitates. “I don’t know,” he says. “It wasn’t anything great, but I’ll always be able to have it. Seth might someday go through my things and see my CDs. It’s the lasting power of art,” he says. “It’s what surpasses you.”

“I’ve seen friends just stop playing, and I’ve seen friends that have kept on going,” says Beaumont. “If it’s something that feeds you, you keep going. That’s why you get into music in the first place. ’Cause you dig it.”

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