Friday, April 10, 2009


Why I'm Not At Tipitina's...

(Long Article Alert)

If you've read anything I've written, you're aware that I'm not much of a word smith...and I've been struggling to find a way to explain to people why I left Tipitina's after four years...usually right after they ask me why I left Tipitinas. Well, for one thing, it was time. It was four years...a good four years in which a good program for local musicians was implemented and successful to boot...Ronny Cates is now heading up that venture and I can't think of anyone more qualified.

I had never worked in the non-profit sector before and it was a great experience. The musicians and digital artists who became part and parcel of that experience taught me more than they thought I taught them and they were, in a way, responsible for my paradigm shift...

One purpose of the Co-Op is to provide musicians with the tools to make the next leap forward in their music business. I had first hand access to those tools and I began thinking, "Why am I not taking advantage of those resources and taking that next leap?"

Then two other things happened. I attended the International Folk Alliance in Memphis, thanks to the Shreveport/Bossier Convention & Tourist Bureau
and met a lot of folks who are living as musicians AND I read the following blog by Lee Stranahan, a guy I have had long term respect for.

Here it is:

"Yesterday afternoon, I signed some papers, turned in my badge and walked out of the job that I’ve been working at for five years. I wasn’t fired or laid off. In the middle of a huge economic crisis and big unemployment numbers, I left of my own free will. I walked away from a steady paycheck, benefits and health insurance…and I walked away smiling.
People’s reactions generally fell into two methods of showing concern for my welfare. Some people showed a mixture of concern and an odd sort of pity at the horrible and possibly insane decision I was making. Others looked me in the eye and told me they weren’t worried and that they knew I’d do great things. Both of these reactions came from people who cared about me but they show the single biggest factor in deciding to make a living without a job.
If you can overcome your fear by thinking through your options and coming up with a workable plan, you can overcome your fear and leave your job.
I wasn’t afraid today when I walked out of the the building but I sure have been afraid. I was in fear that I’d be laid off or worse, that my hours would be cut or that everyone in the company would be required to take a few extra weeks off without pay. I’d seen it happen and I was barely making it, living week to week and paycheck to paycheck. I was afraid of blogging the wrong thing and losing my job because of something I said. I was afraid to do much to try and get outside work to increase my income and I was afraid to make waves or ask for more money.
I walked out on fear today. I got tired of the illusion of security and of trying to tell myself that my job was somehow going to work out any better for me in the future. It wasn’t. Simple math and common sense told me that I wasn’t making enough to pay my bills or that the work wasn’t going to become satisfying. So, I quit.
I quit fear…that’s what I gave up."

This blog lead me to read his other postings:

"29 Dec, 2008
Shifting To A Make Money Mindset
Posted by: Lee In: Success
In the five years that I’ve had a full time 8-4 job, part of my brain has melted away. When I was freelance for the prior fifteen years or so, I constantly had MAKE SOME MONEY thoughts rolling around in the back of my head. I had to or I wouldn’t have eaten.
Now that I get a check every Thursday, those brain cells are dead. I know money is coming is in and even though it’s not enough to pay my bills, really, that false sense of security envelopes me in a nice warm cocoon of stupid so I don’t have to have income ideas percolating. Now I think about all sorts of stuff - art projects, things I can write, film ideas - but making money isn’t a constant.
If ever there was a reason to not have a job, this is it.
It really does lull you into the self sustaining myth that having a job solves some problems. In my case, it’s caused more problems than it solved if I stop to think about it. I’ve gotten further in debt because my false security said taking on more debt would work out okay since I have a job. It’s cost me income. It’s hurt my brain.
So I’m having to kickstart my brain and literally force myself to try and get the freelance attitude back, even though I’m still at my day job right now. I try to trick myself into thinking that no more paychecks are coming When I have an idea that could generate income, I jump on it and try to take some action on it right away to create a little momentum for myself.
What do you do to keep your brain generating income producing ideas for you?

04 Jan, 2009
Who Will Make The Fries?
Posted by: Lee In: For Artists| Success
Be ever vigilant..
Pretend you’re a guitar player but for your day job you work at a fast food joint. One night, the Biggest Band In The World sees you at a gig. Afterwards, they pull you aside…a one night contract in hand…
“Dude, we want you to open for us tomorrow night at Madison Square Garden!”
It’s the best news of your entire life. It’s your big break. You go back to work at the fast food place expecting high fives and congratulations. Instead, you get pulled into the manager’s office.
Dude, you’re on the schedule for tomorrow night. This is your job, cancel that guitar thing. Otherwise, who will make the fries?
This is why a job - especially the wrong job - is deadly to creative people. Your fellow employees often could care less that you have a big break. In fact, the idea pisses them off. They don’t want to see you on the cover ofThe Rolling Stone or featured on Pitchfork while they are still going home smelling like burger grease for minimum wage. They don’t want to hear about your good fortune because all your dreams mean to them is that they have to work the fry machine for a night.
Maybe it’s your job where people feel this way. Or maybe it’s your family. Or maybe your friends. It really sucks but you can’t let people hold you back. They will if you let them.
At the first signs of this attitude, do what Freddie Mercury says…
Spread your little wings and fly away."

Lee suggested a click on this link:

so...that's pretty much it.

I figure that within the next 6 months, I can make more money doing my music related activities than I can working my former day job...and in the long run, a whole lot more,...

In other words, proving the Co-Op program is viable.

I feel empowered.

I've got a woman who is supportive and has pointed me in a direction that I could not have imagined for myself.

I am a working singer/songwriter/musician...and yet when I meet someone at Brookshires and they ask me what I'm doing now... I can see that they think that they are staring at someone who may be mad.

To quote Leonard Cohen last Friday night:

"I'm just a crazy kid with a dream,"

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