Saturday, May 31, 2014

Then, three and a half years later...

Great googly-moo, has it really been THAT long?

I guess it has. Time flies when you're having fun.

I could tell you all I've done in the past three and a half years, but that would be sort of stultifying. How about if I tell you what's going on for me presently, which will likely involve some dredging through the recent past in small doses?

Still married to Smart Wife. That's been the fortunate constant in my life over the past decade plus, and I am grateful every day that I have her. She's working full-time now, she's been involved with the kids' various extracurricular pursuits and she's kept the family moving forward without wondering where our next mortgage check is coming from. I am beyond lucky.

The various children have gotten older. The smallest just bridged from Daisy to Brownie scout this week at a ceremony where I felt more emotional than I'd imagined I would. She is a rising second grader and is constantly singing. Perhaps the introduction of The Sound of Music to her repertoire was not such a great idea, as the number of renditions of "Do Re Mi" I hear in a day has increased exponentially. The lad is now a 10-year-old Boy Scout, which he enjoys. He's going to middle school this fall where he's asked to learn trombone. That should be interesting to live around. The eldest is enrolled at a community college for a medical technician-type course load. She has lived between Louisiana and Mississippi for some months and has finally come back to roost in NOLA. I am proud of all three and their progress through this life.

And me? I thought you'd never ask.

I got a better job at DPAC, one which my co-workers like to describe as 'the hardest job there.' I am Management Assistant which is something of a dogsbody gig. Much of my work is in customer service, and I've been schooled well by my boss who is unparallelled with his ability in that milieu. There are some wonderful ways to make a pissed-off guest feel like they've gotten resolution, and it's been amazing to learn them and put them to use. Anyone who knows me already realizes that I am non-confrontational to a fault, so smoothing over the rough spots has been a great talent to learn. Tonight, I will be going on WUNC-TV during their pledge drive to help promote a Frankie Valli show at DPAC, so I also get to be the 'public face' here; that gig came my way largely, I think, because I can get on a camera and mic and not lose my shit completely.

I'm still part of Radio Free Song Club which trundles on infrequently. There's a song due there mid-June, so with my new drum mic purchases and some hoodoo, I'm in the midst of making a new song happen for that deadline. My little studio has not seen a ton of use recently, mostly because of laziness and distraction by The World At Large. But I'm hoping that, having squared away a regular and controllable drum mic path, I'll spend more time in the room downstairs, letting whatever creativity is left inside me squeak out.

As far as playing music goes, I'm largely retired from that game. The business of music has changed so much in the past decade, timed exquisitely with my need to keep my family fed, housed and clothed. What it would require to keep on keeping on in the field of rock music involves more time than I can devote presently, and the travel, much as I enjoy it, is a hardship on my family having me away. So after decades of being a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants itinerant musician, it became fairly evident that it was time to make a diametric shift. Also, to be perfectly honest, the level of success that I achieved during my tenure as a musician never really ascended to where I believed it should exist; the emotional taxation every time a new record came out grew debilitating. Do not for a moment believe that I have ever felt anything but gratitude for the attention and love my music has gotten over the years. But it gets wearing at my age to keep reaching for the brass ring, especially when I know that a.) younger riders have a better shot and are more resilient to repeated tries, b.) the popular forms of music among today's listenership really doesn't have a lot to do with what I write and c.) the income streams for recorded music have narrowed down to a weak trickle. I don't think I have the wherewithal to tilt at these particular windmills in 2014. So overall, I think I picked a good alternative, working in a theater--I'm still surrounded by 'the business' but I get to approach it from an entirely different angle, and I get to use parts of my brainpan that have lain fallow for a long time.

Thus, while you haven't heard the last of me, you won't need to see me as a 'professional musician' anymore, just a hobbyist. I have little reminders pop up, like the R.E.M. Unplugged package that are  artifacts of another era. (That's a great sounding record, by the way. Very proud of what was done there, and I'm happy that it has remained vital and lively some twenty-plus years later.) But overall, it was time to hang up the stage clothes, which I don't fit in anymore anyway, and scale back my involvement. I still rock the bass guitar for Baron Von Rumblebuss on the occasions we play 'for the kids.' And I still do the infrequent Hootie show, of which there is one this August. Just don't look for a new band or new album any time soon, because it just ain't going to happen. I've enjoyed the ride, but my train was heading into a dark tunnel I don't wish to experience, at least for now.

I will, however, attempt to be a better correspondent at this page again. I've promised that before, yes, I know, but having eliminated Facebook from my regular habits, I should have enough time to come up with some interesting posts for you once more. Like the drive-through funeral home, though, 'remains to be seen.'