Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Every once in a while, I get these really lovely little inspirational stories from Derek Sivers, who is more and more becoming a hero of mine. He is probably best know as the founder of CD Baby. Lately, he just does what he wants in an entrepreneur kind of way. A music business folk hero.
All of his stories and ideas really gets me thinking of all the wonderful things that have happened to me when I decided to put some time into music. I am truly a lucky man.
It started for me way back in 1993. I was on the toilet reading the latest copy of Acoustic Guitar Magazine. There was a small ad near the back of the magazine for Bread and Roses, a small non-profit organization that provides live entertainment to folks in institutions. Up until then, I had just played guitar and sung for myself and family and friends. I felt that I needed to take things to the next level and getting a little gig with B+R might just do it. I answered the ad and got an audition. I couldn't believe it! On the day of the audition, I took the day off work - I wouldn't have been able to think. I was really nervous, but I practiced those cover tunes until my fingers hurt.
When I got to the Bread and Roses offices in Mill Valley, they put me in a conference room at a very large table. The two interviewers sat on one side, and I sat on the other. I played those tunes so well, but my nerves got the best of me and they could see it. So they said, "At this time, I don't think we can use you." My heart sank. Then, they said, "But your enthusiasm makes us want to use you in some way, would you be interested in 'hosting' other musicians at these shows".
So that's what I did for about 3 months - until they had a performer that canceled a show at the last minute. They called and asked if I'd step in, and that's how I started performing at hospital, day care centers, and psych wards around the Bay Area. That was 17 years ago. It was this ongoing gig that inspired me to start writing my own songs.
NOTE: I have been a very lucky man in many other ways as well, all due to my association with Bread and Roses. I have met some pretty amazing folks and been backstage with some notable musical luminaries. Really! Look for those stories next...