Obviously, I am trying to let people into my very introverted world.
This is something that I don't normally do, but the clinical nature of a blog allows me to 'open up' without getting any ick on my hands. (not that I worry about dirt, my hobbies tend to be quite 'icky'.)
Oh, where to start.
I am one opinionated asshole. When I worked the bar scene starting out in audio, I used to introduce myself to new bands with, "Hi, I am Jamie, your sound guy, by the way, I am an asshole." (Yes, my name is James but everyone I know calls me Jamie. Or asshole, or 'hey you' or ,,,,,) Usually they got the point pretty quickly and did as I told them to do. The ones that didn't would get a good set of squeals through the monitors. My goal as an engineer, sound dude, whatever you want to call them, was to take what the band did and try to make them sound better then they actually were. Most occasions, the band would get through sound check, realize that I was on their side and relax. There were some real bands out there that just flat kicked ass and there were more than a few that just sucked ass. I couldn't tell you how many bands I have worked with in my years behind the desk's. I started mixing in San Diego after my discharge, then when I moved back to Cincy to finalize my divorce, I took a couple of years before jumping back in. One thing about working the local bar scene (besides never knowing if the gear is shit) is how it re-enforces sobriety on you. You watch the late crowds getting drunk and realize "damn, that's what I get like when I am drunk?" and you really don't want to drink. Besides, drinking on the job when mixing sound is a sure fired way to end up replacing drivers in your P.A. Once you reach a certain point, your highend hearing goes to complete shit so you start jacking the send to the cones: eventually, POP! and you are out your high frequencies. (makes for a really muddy mix) While I bounced around a bit, bar to bar, I also helped shoot and mix a show for a local media channel. This was completely a voluntary thing. Our goal was to highlight local talent. The key to getting on our show was to be completely original music. NOTHING that was being played on the radio, no covers unless you needed it to fill the half hour. We were pretty strict on this one and only had one artist do a cover. Anyone! that can cover Moby Dick acoustically BY HIMSELF, to include the Percussion runs, rates permission. That guy blew me away.
I also produced a local talent contest called "Battle of the Burbs". A 6 week contest, had over 70 entrants, and was a damned nightmare to handle only due to the Owner of the bar being tightassed enough to make diamonds. I even handled the Advertising (voiced the radio spots, Yup, I got a face for radio, people. Don't believe the tripe that I am a 'looker') Funny thing about it, of the 70 bands, the one that won it, didn't do a damned thing but two of the others went on to become more than regional acts. (Check out a band named 'Buckra'. A bit jazzy but extremely well done and more than a little racy. fun stuff) And the bar made a mint, then went out of business. That's another story all together though.
Between sound gigs at that time, I also worked as a Mechanic, Carpenter, stocker at wallyworld (the hours worked with the bar scene), Manager at a lubeshop and a pizza place, you name it, I probably did it. My saying was, "I will lay down for the right price but don't embarrass yourself by trying to haggle." (cash was king and I see better now.)
There were a couple of bands that would hire me out for doing festivals (they didn't trust the 'hired hands') and that was how I got my first regional job. I guess I impressed the bossman. I know I am not the best soundguy on the block but I did my best. My real talent lay in making sure the stage was managed properly and that downtime was kept to a minimum. THAT role is what led to my touring the U.S. so much. Learning how to run a 14 monitor mix show (including 'in-ears') from backstage and being stage manager kept me employed even with my "asshole" attitude; and moved me into the national scene for a short time. Did a stint as Production manager of a Gospel Play series that took me to nearly every state in America.
Being on the road 10-11 months out of the year did wonders for owning a home but was an absolute mess for maintaining a relationship. 7 years of that and there was a rift that just was not able to be crossed by either of us, and not for lack of trying. I broke several of my own codes (including 'retiring' from sound) trying to salvage that relationship. Here is the key point of that. I don't hate her, I don't even dislike her. She is a very special person in my life even not being in my life any longer. I wish her the best in her chosen directions, and will leave it at that.
Since then, I have had a long chance to really look at things, learn, adjust my thinking about things outside of my immediate world, and adapt myself to the world that is coming at us like a freight train.
I have also had a chance to really sit down and question my own motives on things and see if they hold water or are sank at the first line of questioning. Some held, more than a few were hulled before they even got off the dock.
See, My Ex and I had many "liberal" similarities. The real similarity we had was ONLY the first 5 letters of that word though. She is very much a liberal while I am more the libertarian. She did have some rather conservative ideas but when it came to Social standards, Way out in left field. Having EVERYONE out of the way really allowed me to step back and see things without rose colored glasses. For 2 years (I started this blog during that time) I lived in a TINY 16'X16' apartment in the ghetto of Cincy.(Super cheap rent) Not having a girlfriend or any real family influences allowed me time to get my head straight again. Having had a few years under my belt slugging it out as a private contractor in sound really opened me up to understanding Keynesian economics. Having managed Crews and Union stage hands in some less than desirable locations, I had received a REAL education on politics(more so than I did in the Corps). Having lost my ass in the split up with my Ex (voluntarily I will add, Hard to move all of the excess weight into that tiny apartment) I remembered what the saying "High-speed, Lo-drag" meant.
I lost 35 pounds in 4 months, and felt better than I had in 14 years.
And I got pissed off.
The country I had been preached about, had pounded into my skull since I could remember, was dead. It was a walking shell of a country that looked like America but had the reactions of Communist Russia or Cuba. A Zombie if you will.
The Country that I signed up to defend 'against all enemies, foreign and domestic' had been stolen RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY EYES and I had not seen it: Hell, I had even asked for it to happen on some fronts.
I think I was more pissed off at myself for allowing my directions to be so manipulated.
Then Obama made the elections.
I cried that night. A lot.
The next morning when I went to work, the first thing I saw was some Welfare lifer wearing a pin that said, "Finally Free".(I was working the IT department of one of the main hospitals at the time.)
I almost puked.
Since then, I think my opinions have grown in intensity. The more I see how my views hold up under the fire of a liberal agenda, the more convinced I am that their thinking is the problem, not mine.
And that will lead me into another post all together.