Friday, January 5, 2024

Wait for it.

 I thought I would tell a couple stories of about when I worked with Charlie Daniels.

I was booked by a large men's group in Franklin TN to do audio for Charlie. He showed up for a sound check and his manager had not brought his fiddle. H explained that since he was only going to do a couple of songs the manager didn't think he was going to need it.

"I'm Charlie Danials. I will always do a fiddle song."

The manager took off to retrieve the fiddle and I proceeded to do a sound check.

Afterward, Charlie came up concerned and asked how I was going to mix the fiddle?

I explained, "If you give me three notes I'll have it perfect."

An hour later the manager showed up with the fiddle and I told him the same thing.

The event started and soon Charlie was up on stage playing away. Picking up his fiddle, Pluck (1), pluck (2). Leaning into the mic he said, "Can I have a little more in the monitor?" 

Remember I had told him 3 and was busy setting it up.

His manager leaned over the desk and told me he needed more in the monitor. I just looked up at him.

Pluck (3).

Charlie looked at the Front of House and said, "That's perfect!"

I looked at the manager who had been watching me since I had taken my hands off the console and reminded him, "I did say 3!"

The show went fine. 

About 10 years later I was doing a show for a company called PSAV at Opry Land Hotel. It was to be my last show for PSAV. Once again starting Charlie Daniels.

They had advanced a couple digital audio consoles for the show and didn't have anyone who was familiar with them. They wanted me to set up the FoH for the band's traveling engineer.  

It was an easy setup. They booked me for 4 hours and I had it done in 30 minutes.

I went over it with their lead engineer and the technical director to make sure they understood. After the meeting, the TD said he wanted me to also set up the stage and wondered if I wanted to run monitors for the show.

Okay, force me to take a paycheck and they had me for 4 hours anyway!

I set the stage and the monitors sussed everything out and was getting ready to leave. The TD came up and said I couldn't go yet. The show was on a Tuesday and they had a convention on Monday and the day of. So, I needed to strike the stage.

So I marked everything. Pulled everything off to the side, labeled it all, and tidied everything up. Calling the TD over to check it. He said it was fine and that I should be back Tuesday at 1:00. I told him I knew bands local to Nashville sometimes came early to shop, eat, and hang out so I would be there at 11:00. He said they were not scheduled till 3:00 but I could do what I wanted.

We agreed and I bounced.

When I arrived on Tuesday I walked up the hill to see a tour bus and trailer with the band dumping gear.

I knew they would be early, what I didn't know was the storm I was walking into.

The band's Tour Manager met me at the backdoor and chewed me out. He was screaming because he didn't have the stage set. Not a problem I had 2 hours and everything was staged.

He replied "Really?"

I walked onto the stage and it was empty. No gear anywhere.

The TD ran up to me freaking out.

I asked him where the gear was?

I told him I had striked it off to the side on Sunday. Where is it?

He explained that he had called the local crew to put it back in the cases and it was behind the back curtain. So I had to start from scratch with the Tour Manager screaming at me.

The TD then did an ALL-CALL. This meant that I had 45 people that have never toured and specialized in the color red dry-erase marker asking me what I needed. 

I asked who here has ever been on a tour. There were 2 people, My friend Ed who toured with Diana Krull and John Prine, and the lighting guy Jason who at least knew the right way to run an XLR cable.

There was a moment when the TM was screaming something about 40 people standing around not doing anything and I got in his face. "LOOK you are not helping, your time in was 3:00 be back at 3:00, and then go off.

He left with his band to the green room.

The three of us set the stage and had a wonderful sound check and show. Afterwards the manager, yes from the men's fellowship, came up and said that Charlie had really enjoyed the night.  No need to tell him about his Tour manager. I am sure he knew.

That was the last time I worked with or saw Charlie Daniels, 

and BTW, 

PSAV.

Thursday, December 14, 2023

How something horrible will have a benefit later in your life, or just a little prick.

When I was 23 the greatest thing happened to me. I became a father. I don't think I was a very good one because 30 odd years later neither of my kids contact me and my Grandson told me earlier this year the since his father blames me for all his problems he doesn't want a relationship with me.

Que Sera, Sera.

When my oldest was 18 months I was in a recording studio in Orange County at 2:00 AM. He was bringing me a bong and a beer.

I looked into a mirror at my 4 color long hair, my leather and leapard and I decided that I was not the father he was going to know.

I quit music.

That next year I think I had 14 jobs in 10 different fields.

The next year was just as bad. 

I did get a job as a electrician. I do understands signal flow.

One day we went to MaDonalds for lunch and afterwards went bask to hanging these large ass flourescent lighting fixtures in a industrial building. One started slipping off the ladder and when I grabbed it, the metal edge cut right through my leather gloves and took the index finger of my right hand with it.

Boy Scout first aid kicked in. I came off the ladder and called to my partner. I tied a tourniquet around my wrist. Poured the soda out of my cup and threw my finger into the ice left in the cup. 

He drove me to the Hospital and I watch a guy do some mirco-surgery and re-attach my finger.

I asked him if I would still be able to play piano?

He laughed and ask if I could guess how many times he had heard that?

I said "By a piano player that just cut his own finger off? One!"

He said that where I cut it there were a lot of nerves but he was trying to get about half of them. The finger would be fine but I may lose most of the feeling in it.

Now here I am 30 some years later and guess what? I am pre-diabetic. When ever I go for a check up that have to prick my finger. I smile everytime they are you are going to feel a little prick.

No I won't. And I don't.

You never know how something horrible will have a benefit later in your life.

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Here is my latest life treatment.

A few years ago I met my girlfriend on the ABC TV show Nashville. I had known her from working with her daughter before that.

For over 20 years, I have been a songwriter, musician, production manager, dancer, animator, and engineer.

One day I was going to the PO Box to pick up royalty checks and she asked what they were for?

When I told her she uttered the famous line "Why don't you, instead of writing 3-minute stories that rhyme, write some longer stories and cast me in them?"

I thought, 'That's easier than getting an agent, just date a writer.'

So I started to write screenplays.

Pre Covid we had two features in acquisition and two in production. Then March 2020 happened and shut my worlds down.

Both music and writing. 

I felt like Mr. Spock when Vulcan blew up.

So I went to work for Dr Evil, at the time the richest man in the world, and would on rare days off, Produce my YouTube show and write.

Write I did. About a show a month. Dozens and dozens.

When I left, I rented a writer's room in Murfreesboro TN, and polished, registered the good ones, and wrote some more. I even converted a screenplay into a manuscript and have had it published on Amazon. (FYI might be the hardest thing I have ever attempted.)

In September of 2022, I came back to Los Angeles to re-establish connections. Go to Holiday Parties, meet-ups, and FYC's.

In March I drove back to Tennessee and we shot a pilot for an unscripted Game Show. The Cash Evator.

https://youtu.be/B6CBBOP1-Hg?si=OJAR78IP5rCqLcka

Arriving back in Los Angeles I started pitching again and had 2 live, in-the-room pitches in April when the WGA went on strike.

Having exhausted most of my savings and maxing out all my credit cards, I had no choice but to join the WGA in solidarity. I used to joke that I walked from 9:00 till they fed me. I opposite of a cat. Feed me and I leave. 

(BTW if I go too long in a pitch meeting that may work.)

Then SAG went on strike. Since I am a member of SAG as an actor and dancer, I switched my local from Nashville to Los Angeles and became a strike captain.

I started at Disney for the first five weeks, The lot captain announced that they really needed help on the West side. Since by then I was living in my van I moved.

I spent the next three weeks at Amazon,. I find it very doubtful I will ever work for Dr. Evil again. After a couple confusing incidents with the strike organizers, I moved to Sony.

 I spent the last five weeks of the strike at Sony and had a blast.

A few weeks before the WGA reached an agreement with the AMPTP my friend and fellow actor Audrey Moore helped to organize a farmers market for the IATSE, WGA, SAG-AFTRA, and anyone else in the entertainment industry that was having food insecurities. I was very blessed that she allowed me to help with that. A few weeks before it ended I was told they had enough volunteers so I moved on.

While I was in Nashville I was able to help with a group called Musicaly-Fed. They take catering from the major shows and donate it to local shelters. I have been able to take food from Metallica, The Luminars, Eric Clapton Crossroads, and many other shows at the Hollywood Bowl, Sofi Stadium, and Cypto Arena. I still continue to help them. (It's free shows, can you blame me?)

The day the WGA  ended their strike I started pitching again. This is where I am now. Pitching as often as I can. I am still writing 6-10 pages most days or about a script a month. Starting the first of next year. I will be looking for a production house where I can help develop scripts according to whom they have output deals with.

If you hear of anyone looking for a writer let me know. I am famous for my generosity. 

Thursday, November 16, 2023

My Idea of Thanksgiving.

 I have mentioned before that I am a vegetarian. 

I have also let it slip that my favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. It has also been the hardest because it is a time to celebrate with your family. 

My family kicked me out a couple of decades ago and I have celebrated many a "Orphan" Thanksgiving.

My first one was way before I created a family. My Father had just died. My First wife had left me. She took the dog. I never blamed her. I was on the road a lot.

I was at a Arby's and was going to have a Turkey sandwich and potato cake. As I sat there I saw that there was a man and his daughter across the room eating Turkey sandwiches. There was a mother and her son. There were two older people eating alone. I believe there may have been a few more people all eating alone. 

They were all eating Turkey sandwiches. 

I went to the Manager and told him I wanted to order 20 more sandwiches probably 20 potato cakes and a bunch of sodas and apple pies. Told him that he and his staff should join us Then I made the announcement.

We are by ourselves, for whatever reason but we are not alone. All this food is for you. Happy Thanksgiving.

It turned out to be one of the most memorable Thanksgiving of my life.

Now also 60 years later. I am still by myself for Thanksgiving But I am not alone.  

About 20 years ago I was taught how to be a Vegetarian. I eat pretty much only sides. 

I think of it like the Garden of Eden.

I can eat everything I want except for the one thing in the center.

Since I know how that story turned out. The turkey is always safe.


Wednesday, October 11, 2023

5 Rules of the Entertainment Business

 I guess it was about 30 or more years ago that I started the rules of the Music Business. Now that I am primarily working in film and TV I have changed to the Entertainment Business.

It is pretty much the same as I can tell.

Rule #1

The first thing in Show Business is SHOW. The second is BUSINESS. You should spend equal time on both sides.

Rule #2

Difficult people never become easier to work with, but they do become more available for work.

Rule #3

If you are doing something that's not good for your career, It's it's not a good idea to keep doing it.

Rule #4 

If you can't be #1 in the area you want to be #1 in, create your own area and be #1 there.

Rule #5

Most success and ALL failure is self-inflicted.

Also, I hope this helps. When I moved to Nashville in the early 2000s I was told "There are about 300 people in Nashville and everyone else." It seems to be the same in Los Angeles. 


Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Lessons from my Father

 This may sound funny, but I believe that we all want our fathers to be impressed by us early in life. I don't remember ever playing catch with my dad but I do remember playing catch with a friend of his.

My Father gave me two pieces of wisdom that I have carried with me my whole life.

1. Only a Doctor can legally give you medical advice and only a Lawyer can legally give you legal advice, but anyone can read their books.

Still to this day whenever I have something coming up, I will study and learn as much about it as I can.

2. If you have something to do, that you have never done before, Find the lasiest person and they will find the easiest way.

I still attempt to think lazy but work hard. In fact, that is one of the secrets of my success. I know I can outwork anyone.

I have had dozens of people tell me that they would do anything to be able to do what I do. I always think you would do anything but what it actually takes to do it. I have occasionally brought friends to get hired and work on a gig. They last a few hours and then they're out. It's too hard I've heard.

So what is some of the advice you have received from your Father?


Monday, August 28, 2023

Invisible Barriers

 I once saw the best example of an invisible barrier. 

I was working for a Nashville audio company and we were setting up for the band Cake at the Vanderbilt University Rites of Spring event.

The field the audience would be on that night had vendors in tents on either side of it. Some of the vendors had brought their children. Since the touring crew was from Nashville some of their families were in attendance also. 

The kids were all playing in the field and it was like watching a flock of birds. Running here and there. All laughing and having fun as children will do when they are given the chance.

In front of the stage was a bike rack crowd barrier. One of the 6-foot pieces had been removed so we could run cables and the Front of House crew could go backstage,

The kids, I would say about 40 started to run to the stage. When they hit the barrier the 6 - 10 roadie kids ran through to the backstage area. The other kids stopped. Like dead in their tracks. It was like they had hit a wall. Except there was literally nothing there. They were looking back at, I guess, at their parents wondering if it was alright. Like I said the roadie kids never stopped but soon they came back to again play with their new friends.

An invisible wall.

A wall the roadie kids never saw. 

I have always wondered about that wall. Do I have them? Do others? Are we stopping at absolutely nothing? How would I know if a barrier was there or not? 

I volunteer occasionally for a group called Musically Fed. We pick up catering and deliver it to charities. I was allowed on Saturday to go backstage and drive underground at Sofi Stadium in Los Angeles for the Metallica Concert. It occurred to me that there are 10.5 million people in LA and I was the only one driving around that huge venue. I don't think I see many barriers. Have you ever seen them?