Saturday, August 14, 2004

Onward and forward

Forward and onward...I've been away from here for a short while because of two things. First, the band I helped start back in late '95, early '96, played its final show at Castle Clinton National Monument a week ago Thursday, August 5th. My wife was in attendance and took lots of fantastic pictures. We spent the remainder of the weekend exploring New York, although the Friday after the show we were recovering from a super deadly hangover (getting free drinks all night at the hi-fi club, which hosted the band's afterparty, will do that).

It's hard to describe the feelings I have now that the band has officially broken up. And I'm not just giving up THAT band. My days in the band dynamic are likely over for good. I've showed up for practice either two or three times a week for the past 17 years (with a brief respite during my move to SF from Wisconsin back in January to July of 1993). I have said to myself for a while that I needed a break from that. My last day job put that notion at a premium, as I was working 5-2 at first and then 6-3 by the end. Juggling this with band practices that went from 7-11pm was a little taxing. But the job ended when we hit the road in early April of this year. We returned in mid June, played the Fillmore in SF on 6/26 and then the Castle Clinton show on 8/5. And now, , it's all done.

I was fully prepared to spend the next month struggling to find a new job and identity, battling the post-partum depression along the way. And then on Monday morning, 8/9, I got a cold call from someone who saw my resume posted on craigslist, and by yesterday I was starting a new job as Technical Support Engineer for a mobile productivity application company based down in San Jose. I am the only one who will be doing this job, and it builds upon my day job experience I've juggled between tours and records. It affords us the opportunity to pay down our debts accrued over time as a result of all of this juggling since about 1999. The "rock student loans" (read: credit cards) have been getting out of hand. And this job pays better than all of the other jobs I've had. The CEO is super cool and we were cracking jokes during the my second interview, where he offered me the job as a permanent hire rather than the three month contractor I was first supposed to be.

The interesting thing about that is how I had said "fuck it" when I posted a resume on craigslist that included a curriculum vitae of sorts, of my music career. I had always kept that part of my life off of my resumes, thinking it would scare potential employers away. But I realized that eschewing that long held notion was a good one for two reasons: 1. It explained the gaps in my resume. 2. It showed I had a life outside of work, and that I could learn things quickly. The "multi-intstrumentalist" aspect of the cv (trumpet, drums, engineer, webmaster, guitar player, backing and sometimes lead vocalist) suggested to any potential employer that I could certainly multi-task. And I was right. I began getting calls. And the job I found perfectly fused my previous on the job experience for the past seven years into a position I have leeway in creating for myself. And everyone at the company (16-17 people, a startup), knows about my history in rock and roll, and also know that I have retired from the road life (at least for the foreseeable future).

I was offered the job on Thursday, exactly one week after my final gig in NY, and I started the very next day. I have a lot to learn. And I also have to shake off that feeling I have, a feeling that reminds me of my first day of high school orientation in 1985, a few days before my sophomore year. I was born and raised in tiny Berlin, Wisconsin until the spring of '85, when my father decided to take a new job down in Elmhurst, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. He started the job in April of that year and spent evenings and weekends searching for a house while my mom and I stayed in Berlin to finish out my freshman year. We hadn't moved into the house yet when school was to start, so the first week or so my dad and I lived in a hotel right down the street from the school. And I remember the overwhelming feeling I had during that abrupt change in my life. This change rivals it, because my wife and I will soon be moving into an in-law unit in Santa Clara to save on rent, so my entire existence will be commuting about five to ten minutes from Santa Clara to San Jose. This thought hit me at home during my lunch break yesterday, where I drove to a little strip mall down the street from the office to have a Vermicelli bowl (at least the restaurants there are good, thought the strip mall atmosphere is not an aesthetic favorite of mine). I looked around and thought to myself, this whole experience is foreign to me. I don't know anybody here. And then I thought to myself: less than four months ago I was driving a van through the Bavarian countryside on the way to a gig in Switzerland during a one month European tour, and now I am living the suburban 9-5 existence like practically everybody else.

This is what I wanted, some peace for a while from the hectic touring schedule away so long from my wife, and some financial stability to take care of some outstanding debts. Still, it's a transition that I am going to have to get used to. So I think I will chronicle it here, peppering it with a few political notes along the way.

No comments:

Watch this space

If FB decides to reinstate the account of the former "president" tomorrow, I expect an uptick of activity here for random updates ...