Sunday, November 9, 2014

Heavy Hearts and Black Clouds

Seems like the news is true at this point, and the thought of losing another member of our metal family this year is too much to handle. Sympathy and love go out to the friends and family of Black Tusk's Jonathan Athon, who died today from injuries he sustained in a collision while on a motorcycle.

Black Tusk were always such a great band to see live, and he was their driving force. Athon will be missed.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Leaving Song

After putting in almost five years of work there, I recently left a job at a very mainstream and very corporate media company.

To say I was burned out and frustrated is an understatement. Sure, I got to work with tons of incredible entertainers and colleagues, I learned a bunch about digital marketing (and the world of social media) and had some unique once-in-a-lifetime experiences that made for memories that'll always stay with me. But with that came long days and hours, all too many miscommunications, and the defeat that comes when a supervisor suggests you become "more dispassionate." About my work, my pride.

I didn't really think I'd have a hard time leaving. Certainly, I didn't expect to feel any kind of emotion. After creating my own grand finale by way of our annual festival in Las Vegas, it was up to me to come in for one last day - to hand in expenses, and to turn in my laptop and work ID.

It also came to my attention that the one and only rock icon, Robert Plant, would be in the building on this fateful day. So after hustling together my final expense report, I made my way to the office in time to coincide with his interview.

After waiting on Plant to finish recording for some time, radio legend Jim Kerr walked him out, and in front of me, introduced him to the company's happy-go-lucky receptionist, Anita—also Kerr's friend of several decades. What happened next nearly made me lose my shit.

Anita proceeded to tell Plant, while holding his hand, about her impoverished childhood and how listening to the music of Dolly Parton, Mavis Staples and Aretha Franklin helped her cull her self-esteem and strive beyond her upbringing. "It really is the best medicine," Plant replied after listening intently, nodding his head in agreement.

It was a little too much to witness on my last day. It brought to mind how many contest winners I'd helped reach their idols and thought about how that opportunity could have affected them in the same way Anita's inclinations shaped her. And most importantly, the conversation evoked the power of music—that huge, overpowering love of music that carries fanatics like me through each day. That was all it took.

Luckily, I had dark sunglasses on, so no one could see my eyes getting glassy (to be fair, this could also have been partly due to jet lag). It wasn't until I saw Kerr downstairs and gave him a final hug that the waterworks started. I joked that no one would believe him if he'd actually told people I teared up, but I guess that front's gone.

So there it is. Much luck in all future endeavors to those who meant something to me. And for the rest, well... Murder City Devils sing it best.

PS: Did you really think I'd fail to get a pic with the artist? Remember, J-E-T-L-A-G.