I spoke with my pal Derek today. He was the manager of Styx from their nascency to the stadiums. He knows this business.
I was talking to him about how discouraged I was by the audience response last Tuesday night. That the other artists sold CD’s and I sold nothing; the first time in my life that has ever happened.
Here’s what he had to say:
“Not everyone is going to like what you do, get use to it.”
I have always known that but for some reason I keep forgetting it. Everything I’ve ever learned in life, I’ve had to learn again.
Then he went on to say nice things about me…
“You have become a remarkable guitar player over the past few years and you are a very gifted vocalist. You have gobs of talent, but don’t forget that talent doesn’t really matter in the music business.”
That was the one that floored me.
In today’s music market, talent is not important? Practicing to become better at your instrument doesn’t matter? It’s image and youth?
But really it’s always been image and youth since I got into the biz. ButI thought it was a triangle and the third side was talent.
Though if you go back and listen to some of your favorite songs from then, you may be disappointed in some of them, while others will stand out like beacons.
I was reading about Dick Clark and his troubles with Congress in the ‘50’s due to the fact that he owned publishing companies and record companies and he played the music from those companies more than he played stuff he didn’t have a piece of.
So it’s always been that way.
Derek went on to say that I have lived my entire life paying attention to life and not so much to career. He said that I have always been committed to having an interesting and stimulating life.
And I guess that’s true. I’ve done a million things from Chinese Linguist in the USAF to the Singing Klingon in Star Trek / Deep Space Nine, all the while writing songs and playing my music and having a truly grand time.
I’ve recorded some twenty seven—yes 27!—recordings that have all received critical acclaim, radio airplay and I’ve been on tour with everyone from Bonnie Raitt to Robin Williams.
And I’ve gotten to do what I wanted—play music—my entire life. And what is most amazing is…
I’m still doing it.
He’s right. I’m blessed and lucky and have a beautiful life, wife, and home. Just because I’m not getting the “perks” I think I’m due, doesn’t mean squat.
I was whining the other day and I’m embarrassed I did it. But I’m leaving it up there to remind me what an ungrateful ass I can be.
Think about your own life…what you’ve done; the choices you’ve made; where you are right now.
Is it so bad or did you have a damned good life so far?
That is what matters. That and making sure that everyone you love knows it.