(Go to my new writing blog, From Hedonsim to Kindness, to read more!)
Hey folks, to answer that question, first we need a little back story.
Remember the turn of the millennium? Well, it was as eventful for me as it was for you. I had a promising rock festival in Nadineís Wild Weekend, a well-received music business seminar, a public moniker as the Godmother of Rock and although I didnít know it at the time, I was building a spiritual base for myself with my hospice volunteering. I felt confident about the future. I had a solid reputation with musicians and moved with ease in the highest circles in the music business. And although the Internet was changing the music business, I believed in my own abilities to ride out the storm. After all, hadnít I ridden out the same buying- public fickleness time and time again with popular rock acts?,
But after the publication of my book for musicians, Hot Hits Cheap Demos, while in the midst of planning a book/seminar tour, and after spending an inordinate amount of money making a promotional video, I found I couldnít ignore this insistent little voice in my head that kept saying STOP. I didnít know what the crap was going on. All I knew was this voice kept telling me there was more out there for me than rock and roll.
More than rock and roll? Youíd have to know my past life in rock and roll to understand how foreign this voice was to me. I lived and breathed rock and roll for almost 30 years. And not some low-rent version or made-up reality-TV version. I had the gold records, expense accounts, label friendships and battle scars to prove it. I was severely conflicted. The Wild Weekend was my passion and took all my time and energy (135 bands, 30 shows, 20 clubs, 4 days- whew.) But now I felt this insistent, annoying pull elsewhere. Itís true I had found myself more and more interested in my hospice volunteering, but leave music? This was laughable.
So I tried to be logical. I looked around for someone like-minded to produce the Wild Weekend for me, while I tentatively stepped back and tried to see what might develop beyond rock and roll, as if that was even possible. Try as I might, I couldnít find anyone who had the same vision, enthusiasm, availability or integrity. Letís face it; it was never a ďjobĒ for me. It was always about the music, nurturing talent, and me cheerleading whatever San Francisco sound was current. And it was fun. I was old school that way. I had a blast with everyone who worked on the event and played in the event. I always felt it was a true showcase of our best, hardest working bands. Not a silly battle of the bands or overblown conference full of hipper than thou poseurs who were never in the real rock trenches breaking records.
Bummer. Meeting after meeting, no one appeared on the horizon. (And to be honest, could I really let someone else put their stamp on my wild weekend? ) So I quietly dipped my toe in the water and took a paid professional position at the non-profit Mission Hospice of San Mateo in late 2004, while still mulling my options. I let everyone think I was still only volunteering. And I continued to consult and mentor musicians in one-hour phone sessions, wearing both hats.
This was my life for 2005 and 2006. Hospice by day, rock by night. At this point, I decided to let the Wild Weekend retire gracefully, without trying to force the issue. It had itís time and place in SF history and accomplished its goal of drawing attention to SF music during a time when everyone said the ďsceneí was dead. Itís never dead. Sometimes it just percolates, before erupting yet once again in fountains of anarchy, camaraderie, and power chords. So THANK YOU to everyone who made the Wild Weekends such a celebration of San Francisco music!
After three decades of full-on rock life/work immersion, nature had taken its course and the tides of my life had finally changed. I decided to take a sabbatical from all music related work, in 2007, while I added a second program to my Mission Hospice management position and focused on my new field. I also immersed myself in a nine-month retreat following the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. It was a good year.
Late in 2007, after 32 years in the Bay Area, family stuff and an openness to change, brought me to Phoenix, Az. where Iím currently residing. (!) Whether long-term or temporary is yet known, but itís certainly not San Francisco. However the desert has a strange mystery and the heat feels good and I'm happy to be reunited with my family. Whatever happens, it feels right for now. Hospice work has changed my life for the better and thatís a fact.
Iím now doing some work for the largest not-for-profit hospice in the country, Hospice of the Valley, and challenging myself in new areas of patient interaction. I have a bunch of creative ideas percolating around my brain and this brand new blog, which features old school rock career stories enhanced by hospice/spiritual stories and everything in-between. I hope you find it both highly entertaining and deeply moving.
Wildly enough, Iíve also begun quietly mentoring musicians again, on the occasional basis. I am deeply encouraged by the creative process, I still follow the trends and I have a lifetime of friends and associates in the industry. You canít erase 30 years, nor would I want ever want to do so. But my mentoring is quite selective and quirky. When I feel it, I do it. So email me if you want to talk, firstname.lastname@example.org.
I notice lots of big festival type activities in live music today. My favorite is the Forecastle Festival in my old hometown of Louisville Kentucky, that just happened, the end of July. Itís grass roots and integrates art and activism with music. it's good stuff. But let's face it, it all starts in the clubs. You have to get out of your bedroom and off the computer sometime. As I wrote in Hot Hits, ďFor all performers, live stages are the beckoning canvas on which they test out new material, garner new fans and find their true voice of expression.Ē
I hope you find your true voice. Iíve sat with countless persons now, during this last chapter of their lives. No one ever laments not spending more time at the office. Go ahead and live your life now!
Go to my new writing blog, From Hedonsim to Kindness to read more!