3.03.2008

A couple of things....

Well, my job at Fox Music has come to an end. It was not amicable, but i'm gonna try and avoid the bully platform here. I've spoken quite a bit about this job on here, talked of how i enjoyed it, talked of how nice Charles is. I reckon i gotta supply an explanation. As Alison pointed out this morning, the new spate of lengthy posts was gonna clue you in something was up, anyway.

I'll keep it as simple and honest as can be (one point against me, one point for me)

1) i am a pain in the butt to work with.

2) i have a love of quality work. It hurts me to settle for less.

My one bit of revenge on Charles is a humorous one. He's a lovable nut, but a nut nonetheless. For instance, let me show you a picture of a Hammond b-3 organ with it's Leslie speaker:



This set up is similar to what Ray Manzerek of the doors and Jimmy Smith play, by the way. Anyway, you'll notice this roughly 800 lb. set up consists of a bench, footpedals, a Leslie cabinet (the thing that produces that distinctive now fast/now slow yeoow/yeoow sound, an entire organ with two keyboards, and--not even visible in the photo--a triple hinged lid that closes up to protect the organ.

Charles' estimate for bringing to the shop, disassembling, taping off, repairing scratches and dents, spraying, drying, rubbing out and then returning to the floor: 2 hours.


Alright. Enough of that.

Back on honestly taking my own inventory:

I'll be forty years old this year and i'm thinking this event has finally started cluing me in to some previously unrecognized things, namely: i may not be destined to have a real job.

I started thinking about Jimmie Rodgers. You know Jimmie Rodgers: the singing brakeman, wrote T for Texas. Anyway, Jimmie worked on and off for years as a railroad man. Tuberculosis, of course, kept him from some work, but even before that--back when he was a little kid--he was running away from home and starting tent shows and stuff. Jimmie wasn't the type for a real job either, but he was the type to play some music: here's what i've heard about Jimmy Rodgers during the last few weeks of his life:

I think he died around 1935. By that time he'd been suffering with TB for ten years or so. During his final recording sessions in New York, Jimmie would have rib-cracking coughing fits that would last a half hour at a time. TB was not a pleasant way to go. He could maybe get through one take of a song. Afterwards he might have a long coughing fit or he might have to lie down on a cot in the studio until he had enough energy to get back up and start anew. Only four days before he died--and he knew he was going down, man--he finally gave up and took to his sick bed for the last time. Up until then, though, he was recording songs. He knew he wasn't going to live to receive a penny from this work or even see people enjoying what he'd done, but he did it anyway.


I can understand this drive. It makes perfect sense to me. (asphyxiating on lacquer fumes, not so much). I mentioned these feelings--both about Jimmie and about how i felt about being a poor musician as opposed to being a well-paid lacquer junkie--to a couple of poverty-stricken musician friends of mine. All they did was look incredulously at each other and say "you only now figuring that out?"

16 comments:

Syd said...

I've been stuck at the "salt mines" for a few years. It used to be the best job but lately not so great. There are days that I'd like to walk away. But I still am fascinated by the concept of what I do. So I can understand what you are saying. It's better to work at something you love than to work at something where you are not happy. In another two years, I don't think I'll work at much of anything except sailing my boat. In the mean time, I'll keep trudging.

Aaron Piepmeier said...

Trying to figure out what's worth your time and energy is hard as shit.

You've done some cool stuff since the time I met you (remember wowing me and trey with your yo-yo skills?).

Kenneth said...

Courage, Walter!

flyinhome said...

I'm starting to believe that society's notion of a "real job" is mostly defined by the sort of person whose "real job" is a substitute for not having a "real life".

Quiche said...

Create your own reality! Do what you love, and do it with passion, persistence and stubborn resolve (that pain in the butt quality you have), and by all means, dispense with the self-defeating starving artist/ poor musician crap! Make it happen...write your own story. (:

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chucker said...

Good grief. I thought you had quit a job with FOX NEWS. I was sending congratulations.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what remarkable documentation showing you are truly nothing more than a 'trophy husband'. You loaf around while you wife brings home the bacon, huh? You are right--'trophy'--may not be the right word given your assets. Maybe a 'charity husband', as your wife supports you to show she gives a lot to support those who have NOTHING to give.

Charles Murray said...

Way to go, dude! You have achieved the dream of every man. You can play guitar and watch football all day while your wife slaves away. No ones had it in SC since the days of the plantation owner!

Anonymous said...

Hey pimp, keep on worken' them bitches

Biffle said...

yeah.

Anonymous said...

dear walter,

Yes, I am the Anonymous person from the Chapel Hill area that stalks your all the time. Wow. That's amazing you could find all that out. I have a lot to learn! I'm glad that someone finally explained all that stuff about ip addresses. To think you could know all that stuff--let alone that you knew all the time that the psuedo-intellectual "trophy husband" person and the violent Christian with the "god-is-gonna-stick-needles-in-you-
because-you-stick-needles-in-
babies" stuff was the same person.

I thought i was clever. But now i know i'm just a stupid loser ball of shit. I am going to seek help. Thanks so much for your understanding.

Just wanted to let you know that and also that this will be the last time you'll ever see any stupid comments on here from anonymous again. (Hopefully that other anonymous from down there will see the light also!)

Okie-Dokie! Thanks for your help and God bless you!

Biffle said...

well, thanks so much anon. I'm kinda glad to get all that cleared up.

(...and re: the news i jut read-- everyone else up there at UNC is in our thoughts.)

Curtis said...

Well, personally, I think it's great. Good on ya! That's one of the wonderful things about actual relationships. Eric and I have gone through many phases of "breadwinnership," when one person brought home the cash and the other did something that needed to be done. I've been the breadwinner for a few years now, and when I go to get that MFA, it'll be his turn. Make some great music and some great art. When "someone" says you have "nothing to give," that person is completely wrong. "Something to give" must be measured on more than the percentage of the electric bill. And what you will be able to give Charleston as an artist is worth more than a few hours of electric light. Again, good on ya, and good on Alison for recognizing your contribution. BTW, we may be in the Myrtle Beach area in a couple of months for the opening of Hard Rock Park because I'm a Theme Park Fiend. We'd love to see y'all.

Kelly Love said...

I don't really see what is wrong with one spouse exploring options and the other bringing home a regular paycheck, regardless of gender. Marriages should be parterships, after all. How weird that someone would make that "charity husband" comment in 2008. I, for one, would love to find a husband who didn't work full time and was willing to do a little cooking/cleaning in addition to artistic/musical/startup biz pursuits while I bring home the bacon that pays the big bills.

And then later, we could switch. Or not.