Let Me Play My Old Guitar, and Sing for You My Song
You may have noticed the description of my blog reads “Let me play my old guitar, and sing for you my song/I promise you my friend, I will not do you wrong”. There is an interesting story behind those words that goes a little something like this…
August 2004. I had just moved to LA from Tempe, AZ. I’d come into Hollywood with a duffle bag of clothes and my acoustic guitar. Like the Tom Petty song I had busted “into the great wide open” (and in a lot of ways I was definitely a rebel without a clue). After landing a short gig at Starbucks it became apparent VERY quickly that in order to hang around town I was going to need to rope in more substantial income, so into my cubicle I went.
I worked a standard office job in the small Los Angeles suburb of Glendale, CA. My morning consisted of waking up at 7:30, showering and hitting the road by 8 to fight the infamous LA traffic on my hour commute to work. Most of my work day was dedicated to a lot of time on Microsoft Excel, coffee, customer phone calls, meetings of questionable significance, more coffee, some form of lunch, emails, more coffee (on a really bad day) and an hour commute home.
I did my best. Fighting off mild ADD, song ideas, show promotion and booking plans I focused as best I could at my job. At night I played whatever open mics or gigs I could find, would roll into bed by 2 or 3am and do it all over again in the morning. There were even times I’d drive two and a half hours to Bakersfield on a weeknight. I’d share sets with a band I’d met while touring, drive back in the early morning hours through the San Jaoquin desert on highway 99 – crash out in a truck stop when necessary – and slump into work amidst the morning rush hour. But ultimately this pace couldn’t last.
By February 2006 my attempts at keeping my focus at work while pursuing what I could of my musical dreams failed me. I was put on probation after a number of billing discrepancies and mishaps in other administrative tasks associated with my position. I became extremely frustrated with myself, knowing that I was smart enough to handle my job but now realizing I simply wasn’t interested enough. I needed to find my place, and I knew that when I did things would feel right. One afternoon I skipped my lunch break and hid out in an empty office with a pad of paper and a pen. I wrote the following lines -
“Let me play my old guitar and sing for you my song
Let me play my old guitar and sing for you my song
I promise you my friend
I will not do you wrong”
Having worked in corn fields, factories, offices, part-time retail, etc. the time had come to really go for it. The following month I put in my two weeks, got on the internet and began booking my summer full of every gig I could find….in Chicago. I would head home by early-May having found, however permanent I couldn’t say, a place.