Steve Cook's soul, song, and sweat.

Shinybass journal entry 12-05-11

Oh what a difference a year makes…

Rain in Nashville. That sounds like a song, which means someone has already written it. Are there any truly original ideas left? I don’t mean musically, but in general. Is there something that is thought that hasn’t been thought of already, at some point during the course of history? Think of something right now. Either Shakespeare or The Simpsons did it already. And Shakespeare ‘plundered’ (not plagiarized) from other works, so even the Masters need a boost in coming up with something original. I thought that original thought was dead, actually, until I scrolled through People of WalMart. I don’t think the outfits are original (visit any trailer park or Mardi Gras), but rather the setting. See? A slight variation, and wallah! Redneck genius.

So take a crazy idea and put it in another location, and all of a sudden, you have a new trend.  Like putting a ski gondola over a theme park.  Sightseeing delight.  Obvious to us now, exciting 50 years ago.  Take blazing ‘Drop-D’ guitar licks from hard rock and throw them into country, and again, now you have a new trend.  And as much as I dislike that trend, it ‘is what it is’, and someone’s making a trailer load of money from the scheme.  So let’s take that idea, and run with it, but instead let’s make the ‘idea’ you.  You are the good idea, you just need a change of scenery.

It’s a bit smug to continue without a disclaimer – I will be writing about myself, and in no way am I saying I am a good idea.  I am just going to try and demonstrate a little point.  With that being said, someone fetch me my latte and room-temperature Icelandic subterranean moss-filtered spring water.

A year ago, I was not myself.  I was bitter, I was difficult to talk with, I was having issues on many fronts, and I didn’t like much about myself.  I had a great 40th birthday bash, and was overwhelmed with the support and love on that day.  Maybe my family and friends knew I needed a day like that, maybe not.  Either way, it was huge.  The outside of me, however, attempted to maintain a positive attitude.  I don’t open the castle walls for many folks, and I wasn’t about to start.  But again, a firmly believe a positive outlook is what moved me into a new touring situation.  And a video camera.

Believe it or not, we are in the middle of not only the information age, but also the ‘your ass is going to be on youtube whether you like it or not’ age.  If we are on stage, there is a really, really good chance that what we do will, at some point, end up online.  Which is fine.  For some, herein lies the issues:  A) the tapes don’t lie.  If you are not smiling, not playing well, not doing your job, it will show. B) the tapes don’t lie.  If you ARE smiling, playing well, and having the time of your life, it will show.  I honestly try to make every single show, no matter how many or few people, my best.  And that goes for any artist.  The great thing about the internet (along with instant football highlights), is the fact that you, Mr. musician, are being auditioned whether you know it or not, and a lot more than you think.  I sat in a management office once while we scrolled through musicians’ profiles on myspace to see if they would fit.

So take that and put it into a true ‘business world’ situation.  It would be kinda creepy if there were cameras on you all the time, and then other companies watched your work day video clips.  I can hear the comments now by the recruiter “Did you see the way she collated AND answered that tactical sales question without even thinking?  And her cigarette break was only 3 minutes! That’s our girl!” That’s a bit overboard, but people are watching you.  They take note, they listen.  And if you are a negative Nancy, or you talk bad about others, or you slack, people know.  And managers take note, too.  They don’t want to be there forever, so they are looking at people to fill their shoes.  Why can’t it be you?

So I stayed positive and happy, and practiced, and did my job, and when I needed a change, God, who always seems to know what I need, put me in a new place.  A year later, happy, smiling, excited for the next year, and comfortable in the knowledge that no matter what is thrown my way, I’m going to be OK.  I’ve always had that feeling, even in the darkest times, and now things are brighter than ever.  And it’s not a money thing, a fame thing or anything like that.  It’s just a feeling of being, of having a place in this world.

When I go back and read my words, I realize that this journal is not really the most ‘professional’ of sounding boards.  I am a touring bass player, video guy, and someone who likes to speak his mind.  I’m not trying to win any awards here, and I know that my ‘readership’ is directly affected by how busy we are on the road, and who I am hobnobbing with.  I get that.  But those who want a little more will stick around, and that’s OK, too.  I am happy to distract you from ten minutes of your work day (or fifteen if you went to school in Theodore, AL), and give up my soul for your dining and dancing pleasure.

On to the music part of this journal.  In two days, we have a show in Fredrick, MD.  It happens to be a corporate show, so it’s not open to the public.  It also happens to be my birthday.  Which means that I will probably need some bail money.  Just kidding, Mom.  I really am excited, because I get to do one of the things I love most on my birthday, which is play.  I really can’t wait to type something a year from now and reflect on this day, this minute, and smile.  Smile because I sit here with an eager anticipation of the future, not knowing what a year from now will look like, but ready to tackle it like a Black Friday shopper going for the last TV at Best Buy.

A year later, I have learned many things about myself.  I have learned that I won’t let the dream die.  I have learned that my recovery time from hangovers is a little longer, and that I still love pizza.  The music I learned in various stages of my musical career has stayed with me, and that I miss playing with a jazz big band.  I know how to raise jalapenos from seeds (umm, water and wait Steve), and that the next 365 days of my life will be more important that the last 365 days.  Make your next year the best one yet.

See you on the road!




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