blue-balloon-imageHello There!

I hope you’re enjoying the election season. It’s quite something.

I have a show coming up at the Bazaar Café in San Francisco on Sunday October 30, from 6-8pm.

I’ll be sharing the night with singer/songwriter Bill Leigh. I’ve known Bill for a few years now but he is still kind of an enigma to me. When I google his name I get Editor of Bass Player Magazine, which I know is true, and a few listings for his recent singer/songwriter shows. I know he writes good songs because I have heard him play them. But this is where my knowledge ends and the mystery of Bill Leigh begins.

For myself, like many people I have gone through the fire and I continue to go through it. These are hard times that we live in and I have found that music and live performance are one of the few things that make me feel rejuvenated. Yes, performing myself but also seeing other people perform. There’s nothing like being in an audience and going on a journey with an audience, no matter how big or small. And as a performer when it works it’s magic. My last gig was one for the books and I was ecstatic after words. I’m hoping for more and more of that feeling!

Please come out to the Bazaar Café. Come alone, bring friends, just show up.
If you have any requests let me know beforehand so maybe I can practice them. You can hear all my albums at: www.alexwalsh.com
And I’ll be playing some new songs too. I have one called The Lady With The Blue Balloons that will be making it’s world premiere.

Have a great week and a half!
Alex

Alex Walsh & Bill Leigh
Sunday, October 30, 2016
6 – 8pm
Bazaar Café
5927 California Street, between 21st & 22nd Avenues
San Francisco, CA
(415) 831-5620
www.bazaarcafe.com

Go Ahead: Quit Your Day Job Part 1
Go Ahead: Quit Your Day Job Part 2
Go Ahead: Quit Your Day Job Part 3
Go Ahead: Quit Your Day Job Part 4
Go Ahead: Quit Your Day Job Part 5
Go Ahead: Quit Your Day Job Part 6

pawn shopSo there I was at Black Market Music selling my Gibson. Rent was due. I was frantic.

How did things get to this?

I had started a trio in 1995. We played on Market Street one day and ended up getting booked into the Fillmore Lounge (see part VI). We were asked back but the bass player and drummer said they didn’t want to do it. I couldn’t believe it. They also said they wanted to play loud rock, like Green Day. Intrigued, I went along with it. But we never really got any louder because the bass player had no money and was trying to play through a cheap guitar practice amp. The band didn’t last very long.

I was almost finished with school. For my senior project I put together a full band that included drums, bass, keyboard, violin, and me on vocals, guitar, and harmonica. It was my first time trying to arrange a band. The musicians were very experienced so things came together quickly. We did one show and it went over well.

By 1997 I was out of school and working office temp jobs. My new goal was to record a demo to get a record deal and gigs. I saved as much as I could and got a producer. We did four tunes. I ended up not liking it and became very depressed.

The temp work started drying up so I got a job in a bagel shop. Money was tight. I ended up selling my guitar for $400.

I had no idea what to do now. My music dreams were slipping away. I felt trapped.

airline pilotThen a friend suggested I see a career counselor.

I went to the local JVS and signed up. My counselor gave me a few personality and aptitude tests that match your personality type with different careers. I was a wreck waiting for the results. Had I been wasting my life???

When the results came my counselor handed me a piece of paper. At the top it said:

1 – Musician

2 – Airline Pilot

3 – Librarian

I was elated. This piece of paper proved it. I was a musician!

I decided to keep trying. The next trick was to figure out what kind of day job I could do that wasn’t going to make me want to kill myself.

“No problem,” she said. “We just need to start with your resume and getting you into a job you can handle while you figure out your next move.”

Things changed quickly. I got a job in an Antique Mall and started playing out again. I made a solo acoustic CD to sell at gigs. I bought a computer and made a website. I was now an “Independent Artist” (with a day job).

To be continued:

Adam Ant

Adam Ant

Go Ahead: Quit Your Day Job Part 1
Go Ahead: Quit Your Day Job Part 2
Go Ahead: Quit Your Day Job Part 3
Go Ahead: Quit Your Day Job Part 4
Go Ahead: Quit Your Day Job Part 5

For some reason he wanted to wear a dress.

We had been booked to play the Fillmore Lounge at the Fillmore opening for Adam Ant. (see part V)

We all met at the drummer’s apartment for a short rehearsal and to go over our set. When we were done the drummer announced he had a surprise. He went into the bathroom with his girlfriend and came out wearing a dress. A brown summer dress with white flowers. No make-up, just a dress. And he was going to wear it tonight.

brown dress white flowersInside I was freaking out. Why did he choose the biggest gig of my life to decide to wear a dress? I have no problem with anyone wearing a dress, but this was totally out of left field. The bass player was mystified too. But we went along with it. What else could we do? We loaded our equipment into the drummer’s girlfriend’s car and brought our stuff to the Fillmore. The crew at the side gate were very friendly. They stacked our equipment onto hand trucks and took it up the elevator into the theater. The royal treatment! I’d never gotten that before.

As we walked through the darkened hall we could feel history oozing from the walls. The stage hands led us with our equipment to the front lobby and then carried it upstairs to the lounge. I’d heard Bill Graham always kept a big bucket of apples in the front lobby. I grabbed one and went upstairs.

The Fillmore

The Fillmore

In our excitement we got there two hours early but didn’t know it. The lounge was set up with a catered dinner to feed the main stage bands and crew. No one noticed as we set up our instruments. It was too early for the sound guy to hook up the pa so we jammed around and got comfortable. The sound guy came in and we did a quick sound check. Then we tore into our set like it was the last show we’d ever do.

This was it! I suddenly felt like a fish that had lifted its head out of a pond and was looking into a whole new world. Time stood still. We played for about an hour until the band and crew left to get ready for the show. Adam Ant flashed us the peace sign. We were suddenly by ourselves in the empty room wondering what to do. I sat down and ate my apple.

Apples at the Fillmore.

Apples at the Fillmore

Pretty soon the guy who booked us showed up. “You’re early.”

“Sorry,” I said, “We didn’t know.”

“Why is he wearing a dress?”

“He wanted to.”

“Okay. Well, you’ll go on at 7 and play until the first act starts on the main stage. They’re on for 25 minutes and then you play until the main act starts. We’ll give you a signal when to stop.”

“Sounds good.”

The booking guy left and I exhaled. That was awkward.

village people

The Village People

I remembered my last band. It took a while to get a full band together so we created a cabaret variety act and performed in a few cafes. The surprise at the first show was the lead singer’s theater friend who lip synced a Cher song in full drag. He became part of our ensemble and eventually wanted to give the band a ‘presence’ by having us wear costumes. We ended up looking like an 80s rock version of the Village People. I left a few months later.

Adam Ant

Adam Ant

We started playing at 7. The lounge filled up and people seemed to like us. No one told us when to stop so we accidentally kept going during the opening act. A stage hand ran in waving his arms frantically. For the second set we ended on our own as the room emptied out. Then we all stayed and watched Adam Ant do his thing. The line ‘You don’t drink, don’t smoke, what do you do?’ rolled around in my head for days.

We had to stay until the end of the show to get paid. I went into the office and sat near the door. After a very long wait I was called into the back room where the theater manager was counting the tickets and dividing up the money. He made some light chit chat. Did I like the show? After another long wait he finally handed me a few bills. I had booked the gig without even knowing how much we were getting paid! It turns out it was fifty bucks. It seemed like a lot for about a minute. Then he shook my hand and I was back in the lobby where my band mates were waiting. How do you divide fifty bucks three ways?

To Be Continued…

Go Ahead: Quit Your Day Job Part 1
Go Ahead: Quit Your Day Job Part 2
Go Ahead: Quit Your Day Job Part 3
Go Ahead: Quit Your Day Job Part 4

IbanezWhen I was a teenager I worked a few after school jobs. One job was helping a guy build his house. It was a lot of fun. What did I do with the money? I bought an electric guitar! I went with a friend to the House of Guitars in Rochester, New York and picked out a black Ibanez Les Paul copy and a Peavey amp. I loved it.

Before I moved to San Francisco I decided to sell it. It was hard but my teenage rock star dreams hadn’t come true and I needed the cash. I also sold the acoustic guitar my parents gave me. A few months later in San Francisco I bought an acoustic and started writing songs. It cost half my weeks pay but it was worth it. The world felt right again.

***

wall of guitarsSo there I was in Guitar Center at the end of 1993 staring up at a wall of guitars. I was going to be a Rock Star and needed something that didn’t break my budget. I knew I wanted a Gibson. I had narrowed it down to two Gibson Les Paul Studios, wine red or black, both with gold hardware. I opted for the black one in honor of my first electric. I also bought an amp.

How did I pay for it? Student loan money!

Gibson-Les-Paul-StudioI had returned to school exhausted and defeated from music. It didn’t last long. By the end of the first semester I had started a rock band and made up my mind I was going to be a Rock Star. Maybe it was seeing that all the new bands were my age or younger, or that local bands I knew were getting record deals. Either way my teenage Rock Star dreams came flooding back. I was going to be the next Jimmy Page.

I had never bought anything on credit in my life. I felt a sick euphoria as I handed over my cash: $1,300.  My gut was telling me “No! No! This is wrong! You’re signing your life away! How are you going to pay this back?! What are you going to live on?” and my head was saying, “This is great! You’re going to be a Rock Star any day now. You’ll pay back these loans no problem. You know you need this if you want to be in a band right? Now that’s a cool guitar!” (I eventually did pay back those loans. Read about it here.)

Jimmy Page

Jimmy Page

It turned out that playing in a rock band was very different from the singer/songwriter thing I had been doing for the past five years. It was loud! We had a singer (I wasn’t the front man, something new for me), two guitars, bass and drums. We rented a rehearsal space, played club gigs, and recorded a demo–not exactly in that order. It was total drama and chaos and I eventually missed singing my own songs and being the front man so I quit the band after a year.

By this time I had switched all my classes to performance and writing and independent studies. I was amazed that I could get school credit for songwriting, something I did anyway. I also took independent study from a poet who was flying back and forth to Nashville to work as a songwriter. He gave me constant updates and feedback and we ended up co-writing together. That was very cool. I felt connected to another world.

maxi mouseIt didn’t take long to get my Rock Star mojo back. In early 1995 I started a trio with a couple guys from the school. This was a little more manageable to me. With my latest infusion of student loan money I bought a battery powered maxi-mouse amp (to replace the one I brought to Europe that had been stolen the year before) and convinced them to play on the street so we could rehearse and make some cash.

One day on Market Street a guy came up to us and said he was booking bands for the Fillmore. He gave me his card. It said he was from Bill Graham Presents. My head exploded. This was really happening. Oh my God!

Fillmore Lounge

The Fillmore Lounge

When we went down to the Bill Graham office to see about getting the gig it took us awhile to realize that it was for the Fillmore Lounge, not The Fillmore. The Fillmore Lounge is the bar and restaurant inside The Fillmore. After an awkward pause we agreed to play there the following week for an Adam Ant concert. It wasn’t the main stage but it was still exciting. This was the biggest gig of my life!

To be continued…

 

stars in my eyes

Go Ahead: Quit Your Day Job Part 1
Go Ahead: Quit Your Day Job Part 2
Go Ahead: Quit Your Day Job Part 3

By the fall of ‘92 my solo career hadn’t taken off as fast as I wanted it too. I’d had some success, played lots of gigs and even had a featured interview and concert appearance on community radio, but having to get a day job again was very disheartening. I had tasted freedom and I liked it.

But I had to eat. And pay the rent.

greenpeaceThe problem was there was a recession on and getting a job was not as easy as it used to be. My go to coffee job wasn’t hiring so I went back to canvassing (fundraising door to door) for Greenpeace part-time. I had been a successful canvasser for a year and a half and always knew I could go back to it. But this time around my heart wasn’t in it, plus it was much harder during a recession.

Musically I was restless. I knew I wanted some sort of band but had no idea how to put one together. I tried auditioning a flute player and a guitar player but soon realized I did not have the musical chops to communicate with them. Luckily a percussionist moved into my apartment. I knew how to play with a drummer! We started jamming and eventually played gigs together. It worked out so well that one night we met a studio owner who was in town for an audio convention. We ended up palling around with him for the weekend and he invited us to come record in his studio for free. Wow! The only problem was he lived in Atlanta.

sgt pepperBut going to Atlanta was an adventure, right? For the next two months I scrimped and saved for an airline ticket. I had visions of going there and recording and making the next Sgt. Pepper’s and getting a record deal.

So I kept canvassing and then we went to Atlanta. It was a fun weekend and his studio was the real deal. It was even more real when he informed me that I would have to pay for the reel of 2” magnetic tape, an $80 expense that I hadn’t accounted for. The result was a pristinely recorded 6 song demo of me playing guitar, harmonica, and singing, and the percussion player slamming away on his djembe. It was kind of disappointing—we flew all the way to Atlanta for this? But at least it had given us some focus.

djembeWhen I got back from Atlanta I returned to working downtown in a coffee shop, which was now hiring. My next mission was to upgrade my living arrangements. I had been living out of a walk-in closet for the past 8 months and it was starting to get to me. The percussionist wanted to move too so we got an amazing two bedroom on top of Bernal Heights with a killer view of Twin Peaks. The percussionist was actually a software guy and didn’t mind paying most of the rent. My rent actually doubled ($250), but I thought it was worth it because the place was so nice. The only problem was it was at the top of a huge hill with no bus service and I did not have a car. My commute was problematic to say the least.

twin peaks viewI continued working and trying to do music. As a duo we played on the street, had a couple regular gigs and even landed a spot playing live on the radio. We tried auditioning bass players but it didn’t work out. For a couple months I slept in the living room because a friend needed a place to put all of his recording equipment. He said he would produce one of my songs if he could keep his stuff set up in my bedroom. I jumped at the chance. He produced a club version of one of my songs with me singing—complete with midi horns and sampled acoustic guitar. At night when he wasn’t there I would mess around with his equipment but I didn’t know what to do. He had an Atari computer I didn’t know how to work and DAT machine with some effects. I basically put reverb and delay on a few things.

dat tapeBy the end of spring I decided to go back to school. I rationalized that it would help my songwriting and maybe help me get a job if I had a degree. I applied to a local private university and was amazed to get in.

When I started school I quit my café job and did work-study at the school. I moved off of the big hill into the Mission near campus and tried my best to adjust to my new life. I was depressed about my music career. Nothing had worked out.

The school did have a small music program. And there were musicians there. It wasn’t long before I had stars in my eyes again and was uttering the most hopeful words, “Hey, want to start a band?”

 

To Be Continued…

The Fountain at Justin Herman Plaza, San Francisco

The Fountain at Justin Herman Plaza, San Francisco.

Go Ahead: Quit Your Day Job Part 1

Go Ahead: Quit Your Day Job Part 2

In 1992 my band broke up. I turned 25. I got fired from my day job. My life was over.

Not really.

When the Young Blue Bucks (my band, a duo actually) got back from Paris it became very apparent that things were not going well. The drummer wanted to play other music. Our manager had gone to a music conference while we were away and received feedback on our recordings. They told him 5 years. Whatever that meant it wasn’t good.

Then the recession hit. Our manager was laid-off from his job. He had been paying for everything: all the promo materials, cassettes, mailings, gas, after gig restaurant meals…everything.

We decided to play our last show and call it quits. Ironically a bass player walked in and jammed with us on one song. It totally electrified the audience and gave the extra dimension we always thought was possible. I’m not sure if it was arranged by someone or totally random, but it didn’t matter. It was over.

A few weeks later I turned 25. Then I was fired. (see part II)

With no income I had to move, which was a relief. It was very hard to live with my former bandmate. A friend said he had a very small room in his flat in Bernal Heights he could rent me for $125. It turned out to be a walk-in closet with windows. It was big enough for my futon and a guitar. Perfect.

A picture of a bed in a closet. No, not my bed.

A picture of a bed in a closet. No, not my bed.

I started busking. A month went by. Then another. I was able to scratch out a subsistence living. With two years of playing experience under my belt I could now hold a lunch time crowd’s attention at Justin Herman Plaza in the Embarcadero. A couple years before I would see musicians playing there and wish I could do that. Now I was one of them.

I remember a guy in a sharp suit walked up to me on the Embarcadero, handed me $20 and started gushing. One of my songs “Blue Moon Fallin’” had really hit home because he was going through a divorce. That made my day.

The Picaro Café on 16th Street in the Mission became my regular gig. This was a real hangout place full of artists and writers and students and regular live music. They paid the musicians with a meal and we were able to walk around and collect money from the audience between sets.

220px-AxemurderermovieposterOne Tuesday in July it rained all day which was very unusual for San Francisco. I was scheduled to play at the Picaro and because of the rain couldn’t leave without getting my equipment wet so I stayed and played. The place was packed. These were the days when you could smoke in restaurants so you could hardly see to the back of the room. With the thunder and lightning and even a power outage (I had a battery powered amp) it was one of those magical experiences where everyone knows something’s going on. When I walked around with tip hat in hand everyone’s eyes were gleaming. I made over $300! $60 was usually a good haul.

The manager took notice and asked me if I would play on Sunday mornings. Sunday morning? He said it might bring people in. I couldn’t tell if he was for real or if he was just trying to make sure I was getting fed. We tried it for a few weekends but the crowds did not appear.

Later that summer the café was picked to be used for a scene in the upcoming Mike Meyers movie “So I Married An Axe Murderer”. This was bad news all around. They closed the place down and remodeled it. The manager said all the regulars could apply to be extras in the movie. Many people did and were chosen. Of course I had stars in my eyes. “I’m going to be in a movie! Maybe they’ll have me play!” But no. My big cameo was to walk across the room while the actors were talking at the counter. When the movie came out the following year the café scene was cut. Oh well.

The Picaro Cafe became a Tapas bar in the mid-90s.

The Picaro Cafe became a Tapas bar in the mid-90s.

Unfortunately, after the movie the Picaro remained closed and then reopened as an upscale Tapas bar. With my main source of income gone I went back to working in the coffee mines.

To Be Continued…

 

Henry & JuneRead Part I

The second time I quit my day job was in 1992. And I didn’t quit—I got fired!

I hated my day job. I was working in this restaurant café near my house. Very convenient but I wasn’t a good fit. I had it in my head that I was there to make coffee and not all the other million things my co-workers were running around doing. My last coffee job had been in one of those fast paced morning rush hour coffee windows downtown. That I could handle.

I applied because I wanted to try something different. I thought it would be romantic.

And it didn’t really matter because my band was going to be huge!

white vanWe had spent the last two years working our asses off. We moved into a big house so we could rehearse. I put myself on a two song a week songwriting schedule. We played a weekly gig for a year in a hole in the wall café to hone our chops. Our manager had a sound system and when we branched out to other cafes and then bars and clubs he sold his pickup and bought a van. We released two albums on cassette recorded in his state of the art 8-track cassette home studio he built behind his garage. We were getting reviews in college newspapers. We had a mailing list. We even had a high school groupie fan club.

Then we hit the wall.

The drummer announced he wanted to go to Paris rather than play the Castro Street Fair in September. This would have been our biggest gig yet. Our manager was against it. I was against it. Paris—what the hell?

But his mind was made up.

Rather than sit around I decided to go with him. Why not?

paris cafe and metro

Paris Cafe & Metro

We brought our instruments and a suitcase full of cassettes to sell. The customs guy was amused when he saw us, but he let us through without a problem. We paid our way by playing on the street at night and on café terraces during the day. We called it a guerilla gig because we’d show up and ask the waiter if we could play a short set. We did five songs. I had my maxi-mouse battery powered amp and mic stand mounted on a hand cart and the drummer had a wash board and other percussion elements attached to his body. He’d walk in to the audience on the fourth song and collect tips in his hat, then we’d finish with the fifth song and move on to the next terrace. We could do five or six in an afternoon. One night we played in the Latin quarter with a saxophonist friend and made over $500 each!

french francThat’s a lot of coins. We’d walk around with our pockets bulging with change. Not your typical American tourists.

I had a French girlfriend. She was an au pair in Palo Alto and her family had a small apartment in the attic of a six floor walk-up with a view of the Eiffel Tower that we were able to sublet. She came over too (emerging from the crowd outside the Pompidou museum while we were playing—surprise!) which was good because I didn’t speak a word of French.

If the street musician thing hadn’t worked out it would have been a one-month trip but things went so well we stayed for two. The only thing that stopped us was the rain. Everyone kept telling us if we had come in August we would have been rich. But we made enough to pay for the second months rent and a trip to visit my girlfriend’s family in the south. We also went to Barcelona for a weekend where we stayed in a hostel and played on La Rambla where we had a huge crowd and made enough to pay for our expenses. We felt like real performers.

A musician playing in the metro. We tried to do that but the police always chased us away. Apparently you needed a license to do that.

A musician playing in the metro. We tried to do that but the police always chased us away. Apparently you needed a license.

Back in Paris, when we realized the rains would make it impossible for us to continue, we decided to come home. It was sad to leave because we were becoming known in the area and had been contacted by some college students to play at their school. But we had to come back.

A few weeks later we got a phone call from a label in Spain that wanted to include one of our tracks Light Another Candle on a compilation album to raise money for the environment. Wow!

 

To Be Continued…

 

Johnny CashI’ve always had a fantasy of quitting my day job. The old “Take this job and @#$*&!”fantasy where I throw something down and get in somebody’s face and storm out and everybody cheers and the music plays and I feel fantastic.

bob dylanI did it once when I was 22. I quit everything I was doing (day job, school, apartment, girlfriend) and told the world I was going to be a musician (singer/songwriter). And I became one. I played every day on the street and scraped by for about eight months. I didn’t know what I was doing but I learned really fast. Once it was firmly established in my mind that I was a musician I got another day job because I needed money to live on and pursue music in more than a hand to mouth way. Busking was unfruitful for me in the winter and guitar strings and harmonicas were expensive.

powell st stationLooking back it all seems logical and calculated but at the time I was going by gut feeling. The reason I thought it was even possible was because I played in the Powell Street BART station for an hour as an experiment and made $8. My mind-numbingly boring day job (working in a fabric sample showroom) paid $5.50 an hour. I thought I had hit the jackpot. The response from my teachers at City College when I told them I was leaving ranged from “How are you going to live?” to “Good for you…”

city collegeI was only a part-time student at City College for a few semesters. This was in 1988-89 when Willis F. Kirk was the President. I remember him standing outside the administration offices greeting and encouraging students. I even had a session with him where he helped me choose classes. It’s funny how things come around. Years later, at my current day job (which I love…dearly), I interviewed him for the Musical News. Along with being an educator, Willis Kirk was a world-class jazz drummer and composer who played with many of the greats. He passed away recently and will be sorely missed.

WillisKirk3

Willis Kirk featured in concert with the City College Jazz ensemble, 2008

When I told him I was resigning to become a musician he sat me down and asked me how I was going to do that. He then told me he was a drummer. I had no idea who he was as a musician and in my euphoric state of“Deciding!” I said: ”That’s great! I’ve never played with a drummer before–maybe we could play together sometime!”

He looked at me and smiled and said something encouraging and sent me on my way. Eight months later I actually did start playing with a real drummer. We formed a Folk/Rock/Blues duo called the Young Blue Bucks. We had a manager with a recording studio and a van and we played all over the Bay Area. To pay the bills I worked downtown in a hot dog stand and then a coffee chain (Pasqua, this was pre-Starbucks). It was an amazing time of my life.

To Be Continued…

 

money imageIt was 2012 and I was going insane. I wanted to record a new CD but I did not have the money. I could have funded it the way I had the past 19 years of my creative life—with a credit card—but I knew I couldn’t do it. Every time I thought about money I felt like I was drowning.

So what happened? I had been lamenting my financial worries to a songwriting group that I belong to, and a songwriter friend of mine, Cara Wick, who worked for a bank, gave me a book by Dave Ramsey called The Total Money Makeover. I think my desperation, and the fact that she worked for a bank, made me very open to reading it. But I didn’t. I brought it home and put it on the shelf where it sat for about three months.

debt imageSo there I was, sitting at my desk with my laptop and recording gear, and I realized I didn’t want to record another CD at home and what I really needed to do was get into a studio with live musicians. But I didn’t have any money, and I was in debt up to my ears. I was angry and anxious and ready to explode. In that moment I took the book off the shelf and started reading.

Have you ever had the experience where a book (or anything really) touches you completely?  I had that experience. From the very first page I felt like he was talking about me. About half way through I knew I was going to follow this program (he calls it the baby steps).

dave ramseyBut I had gotten excited about new things before and when the excitement wore off I was back to where I started. The thing that kept me going was the fact that Dave Ramsey had a daily radio show and podcast. I started listening to it on my commute. People would call in with financial issues and he would respond using the principles he outlines in his baby steps. I was thirsty for this. No one ever talked about personal finances!

So I started working his program. When I told my wife I was going to do it, she was skeptical. Eventually she got on board and it changed our marriage. We NEVER talked about money and now we were communicating everyday about it and figuring out monthly budgets and celebrating when we paid off another card. Before this we dealt with money separately. Now we were together and it was great. By 2014 we were out of debt.

So did I rush to the studio to make a new CD?

No.

Jai Josefs - Songwriting Teacher & Mentor

Jai Josefs – Songwriting Teacher & Mentor

I took a look at the songs I was going to record and didn’t really like them enough to want to spend the money. And the new songs I had written for the past two years? Some of them were okay. I realized that my problem was that I knew something was wrong with them but I didn’t know how to fix it. So I started taking songwriting lessons with an amazing Songwriting Teacher & Mentor, Jai Josefs.And I could afford it!

How has my music mindset changed?

  • I went from always anxious about money (seriously, going food shopping and being scared that I’m going to overdraft my account does not produce creative feelings), to Financial Peace (another Dave Ramsey term).
  • I don’t feel that desperation that the next CD or song or gig HAS TO WORK because everything is riding on it. It was an exciting feeling when I was younger, but it’s out-lived its usefulness.
  • I’m able to see all of the other things that I want to change in my life, and discern what has real value. When I was buying stuff with a credit card, it was mostly about fulfilling an immediate desire. Yes, some of my decisions were strategic to my career plan, but I was basically gambling. I bet and I lost.

debt-free-zoneSo now when I write a new song I’m doing it without all this weight on me. I’m enjoying myself more. I’m sticking with the hard parts of song craft longer and able to work through them. When we got out of debt my wife and I were both amazed at the tremendous amount of energy we had released. It really is an amazing feeling.

I’m excited about the future!

pink-floyd-dark-side-of-the-moon-wallpaper-2I never got into file sharing or pirating. I got my first state of the art computer in 1999. A blue Mac G3 tower. I had dial up. I went to a site and clicked on a song, I think it was a Pink Floyd song so it was probably pretty long, and it took like 3 hours to download. I kept getting phone calls that knocked me offline. I thought, ‘this is ridiculous’, so I didn’t do it again.

There was a lot of press at the time. Metallica was suing Napster. The whole world was going crazy about it.

Maxell adBut I kind of tuned it out. I came up in the 80s when copying music on cassette was going to spell the end. The end of what I didn’t know, but it was going to end and it was going to end bad. But it didn’t end. I made a few mix tapes. I copied a few records. They put a tax on blank tapes for the record industry. Problem solved I guess.

Then CDs. Who the hell was copying CDs in 1990? No one I knew. But then things changed in the late-nineties. I had an external CD burner because I was putting together a home recording studio. Yes, I burned a few CDs. I think I was more enamored with the technology and the fact that I could do it than for the actual music because I hardly ever listened to those burned CDs. I got my next mac in 2008 and put everything into itunes and I still didn’t listen to that stuff so I deleted it and recycled those CDs when I did a purge a few years ago.

undersea pirate shipBut all those billions of dollars worth of files that all those people shared and all those pirates pirated — what happened to all of that music?