This blog was originally going to be about my evening with the band INXS. But, as you will hopefully see, it’s about more than that. The band part is a hell of an anecdote though so I’ll start there.
Sometime in late 1984 I was asked to go to Studio Instrument Rentals (SIR) in Los Angeles and meet up with the Australian band, INXS to show them some wireless microphone possibilities. The band had been touring heavily worldwide and were gaining traction in the US after an impressive appearance at the US Festival as well as a strong album, Listen Like Thieves.
I arrived at around 9 pm and shortly after the band arrived. Fresh, or not so fresh, off a flight from New York, they were bleary but cool. Two things struck me; the drummer, Jon Farriss, used Rototoms which you didn’t see much. I know that you didn’t see Rototoms much with the pros because I had a set that my parents had given me for Christmas. And then there was the singer, Michael Hutchence. Sadly, he passed away in 1997, but when I was with him and the band he was at the top of his game.
That night Michael was swinging an open bottle of beer around in windmill fashion without spilling a drop as he danced and sang. I was mesmerized. It’s one of those “don’t try this at home” deals. Trust me on that. And for you skeptics thinking the bottle was empty, I assure you that the second through sixth bottles weren’t empty. I saw him open them. This is real rock and roll, I thought to myself.
I left SIR at around 3 am with a fairly long drive to Orange County where I lived. The music was still swirling in my head and I thought nothing but good thoughts. And then I got pulled over by the California Highway Patrol whereby they put me through a sobriety test, which I passed, on the side of the 405 South freeway. The officer accused me of “weaving within my lane.” Sensing this was no time for debate, and assuring the officer that my exit was only a mile down the freeway and I’d be home, they let me go. Just before exiting the freeway, I ran out of gas and had to push my VW Beetle to a 24-hour gas station before finally arriving home just as most people were heading off to their own jobs.
This sounds like a disaster and maybe it was. But you know what else it was? It was rock and roll and that will always be a big part of who I am. I’m also a small business owner and I straddle several fences and try to balance who I am. Am I a consultant? A liaison? An expert? A farmer or a star? I know I’m an artist guy but even that gets vague. Stay in my lane?
No matter where we land in our own mental job description, we are all trying to stay creative and committed to our gig, and trying to get home after a long day. And we all weave within our lane. That’s just what we do.