I spoke with my dad on the phone the other day. When he asked how everything was, I said, “well Dad, I’m at a crossroads in my life.” On my first day back at the office after New Years, I was laid off; just like that. I’m out of a job. The funny thing is that I’m not upset about it.
All of the things that make my life interesting are music-related. The first thing I thought of when I was handed that pink slip (it was actually just plain old white paper) was that now I’ll have more time to devote to all of the things I love. Now I can spend all day booking, managing and promoting Uncle Sammy. I can travel around the country and see all of the amazing music that’s out there. I can go on Disco Biscuits tour with Gadiel. I can live the rock and roll lifestyle full-time. I can produce the “Live From the Wetlands” syndicated radio show that has been in the works for over a year now. I can finally follow Phish overseas, on the next European tour. I can become a roving Jambands.com reporter. I can go into the studio for days and sleepless nights on end and produce Uncle Sammy’s first album. This summer, we can rent an RV and put together our first tour. The sky is the limit.
Then I had a very sobering thought. I need to eat. I need to pay the rent. Although I had been working a 9 to 5 office job that I wasn’t crazy about, at least I had a regular income. How can I do all of these things without money? It’s no secret that jam bands don’t generate much income (unless you’re Phish). I know countless bands that are considered successful and tour all over the country, yet can barely afford to eat. I have friends that have been in the same band for ten years, but still work day jobs to pay the rent. I briefly considered robbing a bank, selling crack or pulling some insurance scam, but that’s not really my style.
The majority of Americans wake up every morning and go to jobs they hate. I have always believed that the only way to live life is to follow your heart. It’s such a cliche, but it’s really true. You have to do what you love. Since about the age of ten, I wanted to be a television reporter. That was my goal and I worked my ass off to go to the best school I could for journalism. Somehow, my family figured out a way to afford Emerson College and I graduated with a degree in broadcast journalism. The journalism program at Emerson has 100% job placement record. Let me say that again, 100% job placement. It’s basically the equivalent of having a law degree from Harvard. So you’re saying, “what’s the problem here”, right? The problem is that mainstream media turns my stomach these days.
It’s no longer what I love. The profession has changed a lot since I started college. I don’t want to be a vulture. I don’t want to have to stick a microphone down the throat of Monica Lewinsky (don’t go there). My love has become music.
Sure, I use the skills I learned at Emerson on a daily basis. I just choose to apply them to other areas.
I have to admit VH-1’s Behind The Music has really been inspiring me lately. Hearing all of the big rock stars talk about how hard “the early days” were is very comforting. These are my “early years”. No one was ever handed a career in rock and roll on a silver platter (okay, there are a few exceptions). I’m really having a difficult time deciding what to do. I’ve been shopping my resume around for another office job. Yesterday I met with the vice president of a major marketing company. It went really well. I’m pretty confident that by the time you read this, I will have been hired. I’ll probably be making a lot more money too. It’s unfortunate that money has to be an issue, but that’s the reality of adult life. It would make a great story some day, if I stayed unemployed managed the band and lived off Ramen Noodles. I could become homeless and crash on the floor of friends’ apartments. I could be that kid who begs for change in the lot and asks you for “a kick down”.
So, am I a sell-out? By taking another office job, I’m not really following my heart am I? I’m following the money. I want nothing more than to pursue my dreams in the music biz. Unfortunately, at this time, I will have to pursue them at night or on the weekends. I can still do a week of summer tour and I’ll always take time off for New Years. Hell, I definitely would not be able to afford to travel to Hawaii next year without a day job. So I guess everything is cool. I guess nothing is really changing. I’ll still be spending as much time as I have been on my various side projects. I’ll still be ranting and raving about glow sticks every month (by the way, I think it may be making a difference. Glow rings are better than glow sticks).
Life is like a box of chocolates….no wait, that’s not what I want to say. Life moves pretty quick…..no, that’s too trite. I guess Tom Marshall sums it up best: “Was it for this my life I sought? Maybe so and maybe not”.