March 23, 2013

It's Business Time

As many of you know I am the bassist and background vocalist for Mike Leslie Band and very excited to be a part of such a business.  Yes, I said business and not band or project.  This past year has been quite a difficult one as well as a nice lesson on transitioning my approach to my art.  Artists are naturally great at being just that, an artists, but would also be a fool to just expect for that to be enough.  If all you want to do is hang around your hometown creating your art on a small scale and feel accomplished in that, well, more power to you.  I have nothing against that.  This blog isn't for those people.  This is intended for those who are willing to work hard and make the changes necessary to take their art to the next level.  The level of business.  We all love to create art and more importantly NEED that outlet.  But it's time to change your approach.  It's time to get out of your comfort zone and force a new mindset that will help you to get to your goal quicker than if you are simply creating your art and waiting for something to happen.  Waiting for someone to notice.  I've wasted a bunch of years chasing after things I thought I wanted/needed.  I have come to realize that it was a hinderance.

Don't Appear Desperate
Let's take a second and compare this to a human relationship.  You are single and decide to go out several nights a week to look for a individual who fits your criteria for a significant other.  You try to not look desperate but let's be honest, they can simply smell it on you.  The second you decide you're going to stop looking and trying someone comes out of the woodwork and something sparks.  Why does that happen?  Well, because while you are "on the prowl" you aren't yourself.  You are slightly altering your image, desires and personality to something you think they would be attracted to.  The same thing happens for many artists.  Let's be honest, we all want our art to be appreciated by as many people as possible and want to reap the financial rewards of our hard work.  This being the case we want to make our product appeal to individuals who have the means of getting our art out to those people.  This isn't always a bad thing though.  Sometimes it can force us to improve our talent and get out of our warm and cushy complacency.  

Before you make a change or a decision you need to hold it up against this next phrase and really think about it.  You need to constantly be asking yourself, "Is this going to help my business or hinder it?"  There is no middle ground with this one, folks.  If something is not directly helping your business it is hurting it.  Even if it is as simple as something that is taking up a little more of your time each week it is a hinderance.  If something costs you a couple more dollars each week (but of course isn't returning profit) it is a hinderance.  Cut that stuff out of your life.  This goes for the people in our lives as well.  Yes, your friends and family.  Those people you interact with on a daily basis.  Are they supportive of you?  Are they willing to tell you when your art sucks as well as encourage you to do better and work harder?  Do they get excited when you create something fantastic? Do they share it with their friends as well?  If not you probably don't need them in your life.  Hold them up to the same standard.  "Is this person supporting me or not?"  They will all fall on one side of the fence or the other and we know what to do with those that fall on the "non-supportive" side.  Cut them loose.

Be Proactive
I once had a friend tell me that my music would sell itself and I have found that to be quite untrue.  You obviously need to have good music however you also need to make sure people know about your good music.  Even if I had the best tasting pizza around I wouldn't be able to just open a pizza shop and make pizzas all day hoping that my business will be filled with people before I run out of money.  I would need to make the restaurant warm and inviting, advertise to those who might order out several times a week, and surround myself with a supportive staff who shares my passion for good food and service.  You MUST have the unwavering desire for your music to be heard.  Without this desire you are involved in a dying business and wasting your time.  Hone your skill, make your product visually appealing, and make subtle changes to the art that is 100% YOU.  

Get Seen
Go to concerts and events where other artists who are doing things right are playing or hanging out and start meeting people.  Face-time is one of the best ways to get people to listen to your music or experience your art.  It's too easy to forget an email or Facebook message but when they see your face and shake your hand they will remember.  Hold an interesting conversation with them and talk about things that will stand out to them.  SMILE and be positive so they will want to speak with you again.  Remember names.  Write them down as soon as you leave a conversation.  This is VERY important.  Never stop making friends.

All of these things are necessary for someone who is looking to make their art a business and I suggest you start now.  Stop wasting more time with things that don't matter.  Set your goals for this year and accomplish them.  Ready? GO!

January 5, 2013 yeah...

August 13, 2012


I hate the guy sitting next to me. Well, maybe hate is a strong word and poorly applied in this situation, however I really don't like him. It is very difficult to explain why I don't like him, I just don't. All the girls, on the other hand somehow love him. He's nice, and always smiling but there is something about him that makes me despise him. Have you ever met somebody that you simply could not read? Somebody that is so good at being the nice guy but deep down you know he's probably murdered someone and has gotten away with it. That is this guy. I have no reason to not like this person at all and yet I do. It scares me to be honest. I feel like I can read people pretty well, except this guy. Maybe I don't read people quite as well as I thought and in that case this whole perception is null.

So here I sit at the bar writing and drinking as our subject (we'll refer to him as Guy) enters the pub. Guy arrives alone and chooses the seat next to me to settle. Since he is alone and I am obviously busy on my computer he decides to chit chat with the cute bartender while flashing that smile of his. We've all seen a smile like Guy's, a smile that haunts you. It's his lure of choice while fishing for attention. First he'll scan the room looking for some female prey and then BOOM, out comes the smile. Dangling it in front of those helpless little girls and suddenly they forget how to pronounce their own name. It's quite gruesome and yet impressive at the same time. National Geographic should put his smile on their cover and it would be one of the most influential images ever. One by one these helpless girls buckle. It disgusts me to watch Guy work. What are his motives?

I've come to the conclusion that Guy is either really good at hiding who he really is or he simply is nothing more than some good looking bait. Once the bait is taken the only thing left is the hook even though Guy never seems to keep his hook in anyone. This leads me to believe he is hiding something. What a horrible thing to do! Why even bother with the facade? One would think that pretending all the time would become too much work and at some point the truth would reveal itself, but not in this case. I've never seen someone so mysterious and it bothers me. Whether or not it should is a separate conversation, but it does.

After a quick meal and a beer or two Guy decides to pay his tab and leave. I am no longer on edge and decide to put my laptop away since I don't have to appear busy anymore. So here I sit, alone, scanning the room to catch someone to smile at.

February 13, 2012

Wilmington, Delaware

i am currently sitting back stage at our 2013 Chevy Malibu tour in Wilmington, DE.  we have a pretty aggressive tour this time around with flying to our first city and driving to the next.  this is how every week looks for this tour.  it makes for a pretty exhausting week seeing as how every Tuesday we have a morning show followed by an afternoon show which we have to break down and load up all the equipment after.  once the semi is locked we load up into our rental cars and drive to the next city. (sometimes several hour trips)

after we loaded up the semi in Lakeland, FL i was able to drive a short distance and meet up with my sister jen, and her girlfriend kristin.  it was great to spend time with them even for just a couple hours.  helps to keep me sane while on the road that's for sure.

but enough complaining about all of that because life is good.  i've been trying to not let the little things that go wrong have so much control over my moods.  yeah, i get frustrated and yeah, some people piss me off but it isn't going to ruin my day.  life is too short.  i'll still have my bad days but there have definitely been worse days than even these.

so far this tour is running smoothly.  we have a fantastic team, for the most part, and are able to get set up and torn down quite efficiently.  i have also enjoyed the friendships that have developed with my coworkers.  getting to know each person and learning about their upbringing and understanding how they came to be where they are is fascinating.  i decided to start doing push-ups while i work backstage.  we have 8 break-out sessions each day and i got tired of sitting back here browsing the internet or watching a movie so i started adding 10 push-ups during each session.  it isn't that much, however it works out to 80 more push-ups a day than i was doing.  so that's a plus, right?  i guess every little bit helps.  i've been able to work out a couple times a week in the hotel fitness rooms and have been keeping up with the water intake and eating pretty good.  i've been feeling great lately and am excited for this slow and steady change in my lifestyle.

i REALLY miss my dog, Sig.  he is staying with my parents while i'm away and they send me updates every couple days.  Sig is already at 40lbs and he is 4 months old!  awesome!  fast learner too.

when i get back into town i will begin moving all my stuff to a house in Roseville.  i will also most likely be looking for a roommate in April.  cheap rent.  i am very excited about this move because it gives me an excuse to go through all of my belongings and throw away or donate items that i no longer use.  almost like a spring cleaning for life.

finishing school has been on my mind A LOT lately.  but i always run into the same wall of "which direction to go".  it is quite frustrating.  i'll probably end up making a list of the ten careers i have thought about going into, close my eyes, and let the dart decide. maybe that's the only way i'll find progression.

November 10, 2011


I am finally getting back to my blog again and apologize for the week of silence.  My schedule has been quite busy lately and I have simply been too tired to stay up and write after I get back from dinner each night.  This week has become the Goliath of the tour so far.  We started off this week setting up in Houston, TX this past Sunday followed by two days of shows.  After the final show on Tuesday we broke down all the equipment and began loading the semi-trailer in the dark.  Everything was going well until it started pouring rain making the ramps VERY slippery and coworkers frustrated.  One of our team members, Marco was injured while some of the other guys were loading the ramps into the truck.  His ankle got bumped into pretty good and got pretty swollen.  He rode in my rental van with a few other team members as we left Houston to drive to Dallas that night.  We got to the hotel around 11:45pm and settled in.  Marco hobbled to his room which was right next to mine.  Wednesday morning we left the hotel lobby at 8:45 and made the 2 minute drive to the Texas Motor Speedway to set up all of our gear, meanwhile Marco went to the clinic and got checked out.  Good news that he just bruised it and there is no major damage because he is a good worker and a fun guy to have around.  We finished setting up all the gear and headed back to the hotel.  A few of us needed to make a laundry run so we headed towards Keller, TX and found a nice laundromat to clean our nasty ass skivvies.  This was my very first time in a laundromat and I must say, it was a nice experience.  I was informed that this pleasantness was a rarity and not to expect the same at the next place.  We finished drying our garments and departed on a mission for food.  We ended up at a place called Up In Smoke.  Obviously from the name they serve smoked meats and goodies of the sort.  The food was pretty good and apparently the women's bathroom was quite interesting.  I am going on the word of the females here and not from personal experience.  We licked our plates and paid our bills and headed back to the hotel.  All in all the tour is going well and I have enjoyed the people i work with.  

October 28, 2011

but what does it all mean, basil?

"Where did you go you stupid thing?", i stammered as i frantically began to search under and behind all the furniture in my room.

i love sleeping.  there are many nights where i don't sleep very well even though i am tired and worn out from the day's activities.  other days i can sleep in for hours and wake up feeling more tired than i did when i fell asleep.  falling asleep with someone in my arms is one of the best feelings in the world.  breathing rhythmically as we fall asleep and waking up hoping the other person doesn't smell our breath before we brush.

now i'd like you to think about some of the dreams you have had throughout your life.  we all have those weird ones that we have remembered over the years because they were so abstract.  maybe you remember dreams that involved significant people in your life.  have you ever had a dream about someone who has passed away?  it is very interesting to experience a dream like that.  most of my dreams of passed family members are as if they were simply in the background and i have had a few where they have talked to me about something.  waking up was a weird feeling.  i have laid in bed for an hour after waking up, simply trying to remember the entire conversation in the dream and interpreting what it meant.  it is quite interesting to say the least.

what about a recurring dream?  stop reading for a second and think about what it was, who or what was in it and where it takes place.  now don't go assuming im a dream interpreter or that i follow all of that stuff, however i do believe that our minds are very complex and capable of great things.  when we are asleep our minds are free to roam and explore the infinity that is our imagination.

almost 11years ago, when i was 18yrs old, i had my first "encounter" with this dream.

i woke up suddenly with the feeling that something was on my chest.  like a small weight of some sort.  as i moved to sit up something scurried off of me and crawled up the wall disappearing into the dark corner of the ceiling.  i thought it was a weird experience and went back to sleep shortly thereafter.  i do not remember the second time it happened or what the date was but i know it was the exact same experience.  the third time it happened the creature crawled across the wall and down to the floor instead of up toward the ceiling.  i quickly jumped out of bed and turned on my light."Where did you go you stupid thing?", i stammered as i frantically began to search under and behind all the furniture in my room.  i had grown tired of the same dream and waking up feeling this hand sized spider like creature on top of my chest and face.

i had looked up many interpretations of dreams involving spiders and apparently there are quite a lot of people who have spider dreams and even recurring spider dreams.  most of the websites out there say that a dream about spiders on your body mean that there is a strong fear in your life at the moment.  when the spider is on your face it shows that you are feeling complacent and afraid of making big changes in life.

this makes a lot of sense with me.

not that i remember exactly where my life was when i had each of these dreams but i know i've had it about 16 or so times.  so i've decided the next time i have that dream again i will take a moment and write down where i am in life and what my emotions are.  it may take a handful of years to see a pattern but it would be interesting to say the least.

October 27, 2011

never take friendship personal

one of the reasons why i haven't blogged in a while is because i knew exactly what i needed to write about and i have been dreading it.  this blog will be difficult for me to write.  i recently lost a friend of mine.  we were best friends for the past nine years and had been through thick and thin together.  we shared the same passions in life and knew each other better than anyone else could.  we cried together and laughed all the time.  he was somebody that i would have died for if need be.  i had defended him at all costs and trusted him with my life.  it breaks my heart to say that i have lost him.  don't worry he isn't dead, he destroyed our friendship.

i have always had the idea that i have surrounded myself with trustworthy people.  i put up plenty of barriers between others and myself and don't really need another reason to put up more.  these walls have caused many hard times in my relationships with girls as well.  i am a frustrating individual.  i know that.  that is why it means SO much when i allow you beyond those walls.  it is quite the risk for me.  it's like a roll of the dice with the rest of your money on the line.  i don't want people to be able to shake my world up, i don't want them to have that power, that control over me.  it scares me to be honest with you.  i only have one heart and would prefer it to stay in one piece for as long as possible.

i always thought that i chose decent girls to date.  in fact i don't just let anyone into my life.  sure i have many female acquaintances but very few who REALLY know me emotionally.  being vulnerable scares me.  so girls, if you ever get beyond my emotional walls it means i truly trust you.

several weeks ago i discovered that my best friend of nine years had slept with my ex-girlfriend (while we were dating).  a friend of mine had told me a few things to watch out for and i denied it and defended my best friend.  because that's what best friends do.  even though this person had a pretty valid point i stuck up for my best friend and said that i would trust him with my life.  because that's what best friends do.  a few weeks had passed and i had this feeling in my stomach.  i just knew something was weird so i asked my ex-girlfriend over chat, and it all came out in the wash.  i confronted my ex-best friend over text (for fear of going to jail for assault if i saw him in person).  sure enough, he admitted to it.  he kept apologizing saying, "it was an addiction that i kicked in july.  i can honestly say i am free from it."  i wasn't aware that betrayal was an addiction.  nine years of my life wasted on someone who would betray me for a few "rounds" with my girlfriend at the time.  not to mention my girlfriend... classy dame she turned out to be.  young and stupid i guess.  ugh.... it sucks because even though we weren't dating i still cared for her as a person.  not so much any more. that's just something i never thought would happen to me.  my girlfriend cheating?  that would never happen to me!  my best friend betraying me?  that would never happen to me!  both of them happening at the same time???? HA!

well thank you ex-best friend and ex-girlfriend for strengthening my emotional barriers THAT much more.  thank you for making it THAT much more difficult for the next girlfriend and friends who have to work even harder to gain my trust.  thank you for showing me that those closest to me can't be trusted at all.

wednesday morning i flew from pittsburgh to chicago and i slept most of the flight.  well, all except for the five minutes i was fighting tears while the thought of losing my best friend this way haunted my mind.  it is not as frequent as it used to be but im not sure it will ever go away.  i've never been so broken as i was that day.  it just hurt.  i am moving on.  i have forgiven both of them but removed them from my life.  i don't care what they are doing these days or for the rest of their lives.  i hope i never see them again and wish we didn't have the same friends.

i truly have lost most of my trust in other people.  sorry if i come off rude or cold.... that's just the way it will be for a while.

thanks, friend... thanks for wasting nine years of my life.