Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Kind Of "Work" I Enjoy

As I write this, I'm actually taking a break from "work". No, not at Pizza Hut - there's a reason the word was in quotes. "Work" as in still doing for a hobby and enjoyment what I would liked to have done for a career - music journalism.

I'm watching videos of Lyrics Born on the making of his latest album, Everywhere At Once (which I'd heard a few times thanks to a PR preview site, but bought proper tonight at Target whilst out with my lovely wife while were spending a night out alone without the kids and Jesus have I gotten far enough off track yet?!). To drop a song title from said record about said record, "I Like It, I Love It".

Anyway, I can write all this off as research for an upcoming (?) interview. I have to insert the (?) because this has already been screwed up once; I'd intended to interview the big man before the album came out, but there was some slight miscommunication with the label and it simply didn't happen. Nature of the beast; it bees that way sometimes. In the ensuing confusion, however, I was given a contact number to call for the interview...

Having given the whole thing a couple weeks and debating whether or not to call the number, I acted on the inspiration of seeing the CD at Target and feeling good for the man to call the number I had. I was expecting the voice mail of a member of his management or a PR rep or some such to tell me they weren't available. No big deal; I was planning on leaving a message on who I was, what I wanted to do, a brief synopsis of how things got mixed up, and to leave my number in a last-ditch effort to get the interview, anyway.

So, I dialed. And got an answer. From a live human being. With a voice I'd recognized because I'd listened to it perform so many times now.

Apparently, the label had given me Lyrics Born's direct number, and I just called him out of the blue.

Oh, shit.

Desperately reaching for self-composure, I told him who I was, what I wanted to do, a brief synopsis of how things got mixed up. We talked for a minute (literally) and he suggested I go back through the label rep and try again. I wanted to tell him that, after the initial mix-up, I'd never heard back from her despite several attempts to contact her, but figured I'd done enough damage and cut my losses. I told him I'd get back to her, wished him a good night, and we disconnected.

He was cool about the whole thing, thank God (at least on the phone he was; I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if he was cussing my name up one side and down the other after we hung up). Seemed no harm, no foul. I've already e-mailed the proper contact (again) in hopes of getting the interview set up once and for all (again). We'll see what happens.

This is one I'd particularly like to do, but then, all my interviews are. I choose the ones I want to do instead of having some editor hand me an assignment I wouldn't want to touch with a 10' pole and a HAZMAT suit. One of the small the joys of being an independent contractor working for free simply because I love music and want to connect with the artists that make it. It's the reason I wanted to do this for a career, but it's also the reason that, since the whole "getting paid to do what I want" thing never happened with me (as it does with so many others), I do it for 411 Music for absolutely nothing simply because I can...

Well, I guess the term "absolutely nothing" is somewhat incorrect; I do it for no monetary gain, lemme put it that way. However, as big of a music fan as I am...as much as I love the different types of sounds people create to make us feel...it's worth it to piss off my wife and/or my actual job once in a while by taking a trip to Orlando or wrecking a predetermined appointment with any given doctor to be able to pursue this simply to meet the people that create what I love. The feeling of meeting them and getting the word out on their latest work or effort in the hopes of helping them achieve their goals is damn-near as good as any paycheck I could receive for doing the same thing.

Alas, it never quite worked out that way. I'll be back at Pizza Hut tomorrow night, doing the grind all over again. Ditto a day or 2 later when there's another doctor's appointment to rush to or some other piece of business that has to be attended to right now. But, for the moment, I can do a little more of the "work" I actually enjoy - and hopefully reap a reward in the form of talking to Lyrics Born himself - as I have with Burton C Bell and John Bechdel, Max Cavalera, and Michael 'Moose' Thomas so far this year.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Took Me Long Enough...

...to use this thing, I mean. Had it for a while, too; just signed on to have one and then let it collect dust. But I finally found the reason and inspiration to go ahead and put this thing to use.

I found said inspiration from, of all places, Chris Hyatte. (You see, some people laugh, some people need an explanation...) He's a onetime wrestling writer who was funny as hell and got a lot of heat - and attention in those circles - for a lot of shit he did and said. Then the glory days died out (no pun intended) and he got sick of it all, choosing to retreat to his own blog. Went and read the thing last night. For a while. Really entertaining.

Of course, I don't know if I'd tell him that. You see, I have a pet peeve with people who think they're a lot more important than they actually think they are. Once Hyatee left 411 (where I still do stuff on occasion) for Inside Pulse...then left Inside Pulse for Declaration Of Independents...in my eyes, it became sad to see someone brag about how he was still the Center Of The Universe when his exposure was rapidly dwindling. Unbeknown to me at the time, this was part of his persona (or so it seems to me, anwyay; I can't quite tell. He doesn't seem to take himself nearly as seriously as many others do, though - that much I've fathomed.)

So, one day, a thread pops up in the 411 Forums about Hyatte and people start weighing in with their opinions. And I take the opportunity to do something I rarely, if ever, do - open fire. On someone I never even met. And I was pretty bad, too.

I will say, though, personal shots (that I maybe shouldn't have taken...and that I'd contact him about and apologize and try to bury the hatchet over if I thought he gave a shit) aside, the main point of my post was to challenge Hyatte--no, dumbass, not to a write-off, or a duel at 20 paces or none of that shit. The challenge was to look at his work and accomplishments compared to mine.

His answer? Uhh-huhuhuh...his wife's fat and ugly.

My thoughts were, "Game over. I win." If someone can't even answer the points I present and has to resort to something like that instead of standing up for his contributions, then there's no need to bother continuing the argument.

But now that I re-read these things, I'm asking myself, "But, wait - isn't that exactly what I did? Didn't I take personal liberties with someone I didn't know and insult his life as well without knowing all of the facts?"

On top of that, as far as accomplishments go...his involved growing the wrestling community online to new heights via outrageousness and becoming something of a star. Mine involved rebuilding a section of a hugely popular website by doing stuff no one else did and, while having my name out there somewhat, largely remaining in the background.

It may not sound like it by that comparison, but the two are apples and oranges. He seemed to like the attention he got from his name and his writing. I always just simply enjoyed doing it and meeting the people that I interviewed more than I cared about any celebrity. Always been that way. It's why I'd rather write about music than make it myself, or write and sell a screenplay rather than make the movie. You get the idea.

Back to the story at hand...yeah, I always kinda did reading Hyatte's stuff (although, of all the "old guard" of guys like him, Eric S, Grut, Keith, et al...my favorite was - and still is - Flea.)

So, I come across his Blog and, in a nutshell, realize how stupid I was and that whole thing was and read his Blog a while and stay engaged and think, "Wait...I can do this, too. Why not?"

But, I had to have a reason. That was simple - the reason would coincide with the rules of this piece: next to none. THIS is where I come to "get away from it all", so to speak, and write about whatever the hell I want. In whatever style and format I want. Whenever I want. However I want. You get the idea.

Whether it was for 411...for the Wrestling Fan...for BackStage Pass...hell, even on my MySpace page...I'm horrible at sticking to a style (persona?) and never wavering from it for that particular site (sometimes, even just a single article). Drives me batshit. That's the reason I stopped regular contributions for 411; I got burned out on having to stick to one style. Sad thing is, it was my own fault; no one told me I had to write like that. I just went with what I knew and never bothered breaking out of that.

I just hope I don't treat this thing like other projects I did just to do, such as the Podcast or the Autobiomentary. I'm bad at getting excited about something (usually involving new technology) and banging out a few, then losing the reason (motivation?) to continue.

I hope I don't do that with this Blog, although I don't think I have to worry about that with this. I like the idea of having my own unadvertised, may-as-well-be-private (since it's not gonna get a lot of play even if I did advertise it) space just to rant, vent, write, stay in practice...whatever.