So back in late September 1982, a few months removed from dropping out of college, I made the bold, youthful move of stuffing a few belongs in my Ford Econoline van, saying goodbye to my somewhat close-knit family, and headed west from upstate New York out to Los Angeles to seek fame and fortune as a guitarist. In my sheltered, small town little life I always thought that if you can dream it, you can make it happen. So with the help of a friend of a friend, we drove for 2 days and 2 nights, stopping only for a quick truck repair in Indiana and a speeding ticket sometime around 3:00am in Kansas. Eventually, we somehow made it to So. Cal. no worse for wear. I dropped off the FOF at his brother's house in OC and then headed up to my new home in Monterey Park, sharing an apartment with my best friend at the time and his older brother. My bff had moved from NY to LA a few months earlier which I latched onto immediately as my only chance at getting out of small town America. The plan was for him to move in May, get an apartment with his brother who had been living in LA for quite some time. I would come out in September, at which time he and I would put together a band, start playing the Strip, and the rest would be history. Simple plan right?
Well, I arrive to find that my bff and his brother are in fact sharing a 3 bedroom apartment, but also that the brother's rich girlfriend and some bottom feeder of a guy are also a part of my new west coast family. And what a motley crew they were. I quickly learned that the older brother had been strung out on heroin for years. My bff, an alcoholic and longtime stoner since the age of 15, couldn't help but get strung out himself in the 3 months he had been in So Cal. The brother's rich girlfriend, she wasn't into heroin so much. She loved smoking crack. And then my new friend, the sea urchin, he was a connoisseur of angel dust. UGH. So as you can probably tell, my music career got off to a somewhat inauspicious start.
I felt compelled to share the above story because some 39 years later, filled with a life's ups and downs, I have finally given myself permission to go all in on making music full time. On August 26th I officially retired from the day to day grind of having a day job. A soul crushing, working for "the man", pointless, dead end, 40 hours per week, day job. I no longer need the security of the weekly paycheck to survive. My wife and I have scratched and clawed, saved and invested to the point we are "good" for the rest of our lives. So, it is time to go all in. I no longer have to struggle to schedule my practice time around an 8 hour work day, no longer have to feel sleep deprived after a late night recording session. I no longer have to strive to clear my mind of the daily pressures and stresses that come with a day job in an attempt to create something meaningful and good. I can now wake up each morning and focus my day solely on the things I love and enjoy. What a concept.
Over the years I often wondered how things would have turned out if I had stuck to the plan and went all in from the very beginning. Sure, there would have been plenty of hunger pains, financial constraints, crappy apartments, and car problems. But heck, people bet on themselves all the time with sometimes incredible results.
So going forward, you can find me in my home studio instead of a cubicle or office space, with my arms around my guitar instead of a box of meaningless widgets, holding a mouse working in Pro Tools instead of Microsoft Office. I can happily say that I am most certainly retired but, in a lot of ways....I'm just getting started! I'll keep you posted.