I successfully handed out all 10 copies of my rough demo of songs on my trip to LA. Some of the songs I recorded with “Not Eric,” now calling itself “Tiny Yellow Ducks.” Others I recorded on my 4-trac in my apartment which feature the scratching skills of Fatty J who likes to get in on the action. I felt weird about handing out my cassettes with their handwritten song titles. It was so self-promoting and forward but when I was sure I was going to die on the airplane back to Denver I kept chanting through hyperventilating breaths “Everything is gonna be OK” and “Your babies (songs) are out there.” And that made me feel reassured.
I woke up to an enthusiastic message from Mom. Overly enthusiastic in fact. She was raving about my music. “I just got the tape this morning and it’s so amazing. I’ve only listened to the first 4 songs but I love ‘Complaints’ and ‘In My Mind’ is great and ‘Sign of Rain.’ The line about Alex liking when the weather matches how he feels inside is fabulous.” It was sweet of her to overzealously compliment my music. Before I put the cassette in the mail to her I told her how much her opinion meant to me and how vulnerable I felt about sending her my “Babies.” She was excited for me but in my heart, I disbelieved her enthusiasm. It felt too expensive and perhaps too elusive to claim.
Dad met in Boulder for lunch at “Dot’s Dinner with a bunch of my pals, musicians, record company execs, and Kipp, my new boyfriend. Clustered into a red pleather booth inside the makeshift gas station, we bribed waiters for egg white omelets and talked shop.
Back at Dad’s hotel room #300, I played him a couple of songs: “Cowboy” and “I Meant To” which he tweaked and twanked but said he liked a lot. “I’m blown away by what you do with your voice.” He told me, “Your soul really comes through in your music.”
“That means a lot to me pop.” I said and of course, that was an understatement.
He asked me if I wanted to take Ben’s route into the music business: “You know, find a manager, a record label, and a booking agent and go all in?” he asked, elbows on knees watching the floor like it were a taro card. I Couldn’t tell if he was offering to help me or not. “You’ve got what it takes to make it in the industry though I’d never wish this career on anybody.” He said. “Being a musician, it’s a blue-collar gig my Sal. It takes a ton of elbow grease and grit and it ain’t easy on relationships either” He said.
It was the first time I actually believed such a thing (a big famous-filled career with all the glitz and all the shit) was possible. As I peered in at the possibility in the cloud bubble above my dad’s head, the idea looked not so appealing. Too big, too scary, too fast. Too many sharks swimming in the icy dark water. So I said “No. No pop. I think I want to go it alone.”
Leaving Dad and walking back up the hill to my pad it hit me, I don’t really know all that goes into a music career. You think I would, having grown up with two legendary musicians as parents but frankly, I don’t even think they fully know.
As the sun dipped below the surface of the day I realized I wanted to create my own label. I want to find my own band, I want to book my own gigs, and do my own PR until I know how much I’d pay someone not to have to do those jobs anymore. I want a hands-on music business career.
My pace picked up as the night grew sweater-worthy and I passed by the Fox Theater where people qued in Birkenstocks to see Zuba in concert. The first thing I’m going to do next week is make a better recording of my demo tape, next, I’ll find a bunch of band mates and then. I’m going to buy a big ass van.