Career Path

I know many musicians. Good ones, not so good ones, absolute great ones, and famous ones who are some of the aforementioned but not necessarily among the great. They all have one thing in common though: they find their way during their busy rock and roll lifestyles to find me.

You’d think, after all the years I’ve known these people, they’d know better by now. I mean, janitors find their way around me after meeting me a time or two. But these people? I’ve known many of them for years but they keep coming back. I’m not saying they’re stupid. No, that would be rude to my friends. I like to say that hearing loss has caught up with them so they lose some of the nuances of my vocal pattern.

I find that not only kind but generous.

I’m talking to this guy who you may have had plastered on your wall, alphabetized in CD cabinet, or prone in a tour bus some years ago (depending on your age and proximity to their show locations). But the years since his big time have been bumpy. He’s never stopped playing but the thrill of hearing new songs on the radio has ebbed some.

We’re discussing how he can revive his career. He’s done some ‘reunion’ shows with the band but they’ve hated each other for longer than any of them can remember. That doesn’t mean they don’t dust off the fabric enhanced spandex from time to time if the money is good but sustaining a tour brings out the worst in all of them.

No, he’s looking for something different. Something that will keep his creative juices bubbling second but make codpiece loads of cash first. We’ve already gone over session work, advertising work, 9-5 work, but none of that is satisfying to his artistic nature. I, because I am a professional, stifle a giggle at the nature of art comment (as I do each time I hear it) and leap headlong into a solution.

By that I mean, as you know, I try to bruise his artistic nature so quickly he throws a hissy fit and tosses back what’s left of his once long, luxurious locks and storms out of the room. He has his needs, I have mine.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the guy. But I bore easily. I will help you, if I can, with most things. I’m stupid but can deduce situations while also being able to lift heavy things. A good guy to have in your corner or so I’ve been told. It’s when I hear the same thing over and over while coming up with solutions I get short.

So I tell him he’s looking at it all the wrong way. He knows how to play every friggin’ song since 1967 so why doesn’t he use that?

“There’s some serious cash in kids music.”

Well, you’d have thought I’d suggest he bring the songs of Charles Manson out of mothballs and into your local churches and synagogues. He’s screaming about Raffi and Teletubbies and Wiggles but I remained steadfast in my belief.

“No, kids don’t want that shit anymore. They want to rock out with their binkies out!” I lay out my plan to a skeptical audience (told you musicians weren’t stupid). “Because they don’t have a history of music in their tiny and soft craniums, you can fill it with covers if you change the lyrics slightly.”

I can tell by his expression he has no idea where I’m going. I’m proud to say that made two of us. I do shit like this all the time. I talk ‘concepts’ to the edge without any idea how many rabid gerbils (don’t scoff at rabid gerbils folks!) are waiting for my soft and doughy flesh.

But yet I forge ahead.

“All you have to do is use the classics in your head, fuck with the lyrics some and, tada! You are the next big kid star.”

Still skeptical (this time I’m not saying it’s because he’s smart in any way. This time I’m saying it because he’s fucking lazy. I hate having to do ALL the work) I sally forth.

“Let’s use, ah, Back In Black as an example.”

“I kill Back In Black.”

“Yeah I know. That’s why I mentioned it. Stop doing that stupid air guitar shit. It’s annoying and you look like an ass.”

Hey! If I’m doing all the work I’m allowed to kick a rung or six out from under rock gawds!

“But I don’t get it.”

“Uh huh.”

I said “Uh huh.” to buy some time. I had to think of something and I know my brain hates that. So I went with the first thing I thought of,

“Cracker Jack
I crack the sack
Sharing it wif my chillin’ cub pack
I let loose
Doctor Seuss
‘Cause my homies dig those tracks
Doctor Seuss
He’s my muse
With the stories that I shout about”

I stop there because, well, the government makes me. I look at him, he looks at me and neither one cares. But he’s the first to blink. I’m not sure if it’s neurological but the dude does blink a lot.

“Of course, that’s just free stylin’, as they say. I know the cadence isn’t on but I’m sure you could pull it off if you thought about it.”

I smile a smile that, to me, says, “Now fuck off! Haven’t I signaled enough that I’m done with you?”

I’m not sure what it said to him but he did rise to his feet, offer his hand in friendship and say,

“Why do I talk to you?”

“Because I’m the only person left you don’t owe money to?”

He laughs and we bid each other adieu. As he’s leaving I hear him chuckle and watch him nod his head saying, “Children’s songs. Out his fucking mind!”

As he exits the room I stand there for a few seconds and think,

“I bet that fucker steals my idea!”

So if, at your next children’s party, you see some has been asshole singing classic rock songs with kid friendly lyrics, go up to that guy and say,

“Chris says hi.”

Don’t be concerned if he feigns confusion about the theft or who I am. He’s not trying to erase me from history. He truly doesn’t remember.

Rock stars, ya know.

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9 responses to “Career Path

  1. Um…email me who it is please!

  2. The funny thing is, if he were truly interested in art, he’d continue to make music regardless of whether it brought big arena sized audiences or not. In others words, why did he stop making music once the big crowds and the spotlights faded away? No, what he’s looking for is an egotistical shot at being “hot” again.

    Warren Zevon got kicked off a few record labels. It didn’t stop him from working and continuing to write songs and finding a way to get his music out there to those who wanted to find it.

  3. i bet you freestyle great

  4. Ditto…to Ed message…

    “Um…email me who it is please!”

    “The Wiggles Wok”

  5. That’s funny. I love thinking out loud, but my nine year old son is normally the only one who finds my ideas interesting…and he might just be trying to stay out of trouble.

  6. Sorry, Harv and Ed, you know I never divulge the identity of those I throw down a well and set on fire. But, I know what you’re both thinking, it’s not him.

    Thanks, Ange, but most people say it grates.

    Well, Earl, his days are past but he’s still out there. It’s really all he’s known so he has no choice but to play wherever they’d have him. He’s good but no guitar god. You know how quickly fame fades. Now he’s like everyone else. In a shitty economy in a dead end job trying to think of ways to break even.

    The thing about Zevon is he was the songwriter and leader. He’d tour alone and, even though they may have been sporadic, had releases every decade from the 60’s on (one in the 60’s, two in the 70, four in the 80’s, three each in the 90’s and 00’s) that would cause some renewed interest. Most musicians who may have had a moment on the charts don’t have that.

    > morethananelectrician
    > I love thinking out loud, but my nine year old son is
    > normally the only one who finds my ideas interesting
    > . . .and he might just be trying to stay out of trouble.
    Hahahahahahaha. Whatever gets you an extra slice of the pie!

    Kids are the last bastion of pure reaction. If it’s funny, they will laugh. Sometimes adults do a socioethnicgenderslander check of the room before they laugh. Fuck it. Let it be the involuntary reflex that it is.

    Comedy is subjective so maybe they didn’t find it funny but when I watch people look around then laugh, they did and it’s disingenuous.

    I love when the reaction is split down the middle. On time I was at a comedy benefit in the audience. I didn’t know the comic but he wasn’t very good. No one at our table did much more than polite laughs (the rest of the room wasn’t in stitches either) so he decides to make fun of a guy at the table. He was reticent to sit front and center but, he did. When he’s done with him I knew he was going to come to me. Who’s going to pass up a guy with a shaved head. Just when he starts I said,

    “Cancer.”

    He froze. Some people laughed. Others tsked tsked me. But I will use all tools when defending friends. If he was ready for it we could have spared. He wasn’t and his set limped to an end.

    My favorite is actually from my girlfriend. Another night, another club, another comic we didn’t know. He was all over the place. Very uncomfortable. A table near us with about ten people were the only ones to laugh all the time. Obvious friend table.

    As the set went on he didn’t get better and people started paying more attention to their food and drink. Finally he admitted that it was the first time on stage since he stopped drinking.

    “You should start again.” Said my girlfriend. Again, half the people laughed. It was the loudest laugh of the set. His table looked at us evilly. That’s when I saw them. Oh, a table full of cokes. Others from the program.

    The guy froze. He didn’t know what to do so he said,

    “You should start douching.”

    His biggest laugh of the set. Without blinking my girlfriend said,

    “If my pussy was as putrid as your act, I would.”

    That was the end of his set. At least he left the stage to laughter.

    Comedy’s not pretty but it can be fun.

  7. I was a “Rock Star” ever since I figured out how to make Gene Simmons spiked gaunlets out of aluminum foil…

  8. Holy shit Chris. This post kills. “Rockin with my binky out” man, YES! HAAAA!

    All I can picture is Ozzy, cause of that stupid show he did.

    Seuss is totally my PCP. (and muse) … I wish I could put that on my Anthem card. I quote Seuss often.

    These things are fun and fun is good!

    Good advice is as hard to give as it is to get. The life of the rockstar is unimaginable to me, and fraught with danger. Where I live, Steven Tyler is frequently spotted in the summer, especially in the town where I work. People always say that he seems very nice and acts “normal”. WTF does that mean I wonder!

  9. Thanks Dave, but, there are many more out there like Ozzy than the world at large is aware of.

    I would love to pitch I Am Binky Man! or Crazy Training Potty or St. Vomitous Dance to Ozzy!

    Ummm, I need a little clarification, if you don’t mind. As you say Dr. Suess is your PCP. Would that be your Primary Care Physician (if so, you may really want to make a change for a couple of good reasons. 1) he’s not a real doctor and 2) he’s not seeing anymore patients)? I pray he’s not your Phencyclidine because then we have a whole ‘nother level of problems. Or is he more of your Perpetually Child-like Preoccupation?

    Please sir color me curious.
    Yet not for a sec spurious
    But if you don’t say that’s okay
    It won’t turn me injurious

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