Working Experiments

I am probably going to get some flak for this post.
I realized the other day that I really don’t like working. That is, Working, with a capital “W”. Working to live. Rather than living to work. There is a difference, you know. I have never took for granted how lucky I was to be in a rock and roll band full time, for almost a decade. Sure, I might have moaned and groaned about how difficult a job that was, but I could always see that it was a gift.

On the other hand, it’s also a gift to be able to pay bills on time, which I am enjoying, immensely. For the first time in my life. It’s a real treat. And currently the only way to do so is to work a little bit–not too much, but some– at a “day job”, which I’m also pretty lucky to have found a knack for. I can work with computers. So I do. Trying to turn a hobby into a living.
Here’s the thing. I work very hard at every thing I do. Some would say, too much. That’s fine. So I’m more on the “workaholic” side of the fence. I’m sure I’ll learn to either live with that or get some professional help. But the part that I have not come to terms with yet is… I don’t like Working. I’d rather have the hobby.
I spent more hours on the initial launch of the Cabaret than I did doing any other job I can remember. And yes, it wore me out. But at the end of each long Cabaret rehearsal, the exhaustion felt right. On the contrary, the same time spent in front of a computer, either doing repairs, or even the more creative option of some sort of graphic or web design… feels almost ‘dirty’ in comparison.
I’m not knocking spending time in front of computers. I really like them, and like the ‘instant gratification’ you can get when you fix broken things. But I miss the single-mindedness that comes from working on your craft, for a living. Even if it’s a multi-faceted craft. Just working towards something, all the time. As I’ve said, I’ve always seen computers as a hobby, not my craft. I’m sure that many of you can weigh in on this. And will.

I have been reading Steve Pavlina’s blog. He’s a little kooky, I think, but is inspiring in the sense that he’s a dude that quit all day jobs in order to sort of research… himself. He’s making money at it, too, attempting all kinds of human experiments, and then writing about them. It’s not that he’s an entertaining, or even good, writer. He doesn’t try to be. He’s very matter-of-fact about what he’s doing, and gets it done. And the result is a collection of interesting stuff from a true ‘web entrepeneur’.
I think that my current life is an experiment, of sorts. I was wondering if I could in fact work a day job for the rest of my life. In some ways I could… there are some nice benefits. But the verdict is still out. It doesn’t feel right, it doesn’t really feel like me. I’m thinking that it might soon be time for me to figure out a way to survive by working closer to my dreams. It worked pretty well the first time. Or at least to find a more even balance between being somewhere and Having to be somewhere.

Along those lines, I’ve taken some baby steps towards an idea I had last year. I thought it’d be neat if I could start a website for people in bands that were making recordings and needed a “guest musician”. For example, if you were making an album for yourself and didn’t know any accordion/harmonica/mandolin players, you could just go to the website and pick from a selection of multi-instrumentalists. You would send an mp3 of your tracks, the musician would plug this into ProTools or the like, put down a few takes of the instrument you wanted, send the raw .wav files back to you… and bang! You’ve got a guest artist. This isn’t a new idea, but it’s one that seems to be working. The “band” Postal Service made an entire album on this concept of emailing sound files back and forth. The technology works for you, so why not?

I’ve actually played on a couple of albums this way, so far. It’s great fun for me, and another way I can stay closer to my art and get paid doing so. I don’t know if I’ll have the time to actually build the website anytime soon, but let this post be an open offer to any of you readers currently in the studio! Let me know if I may be of assistance.

I’m fighting a cold, so I’ll sleep now. Thanks for reading. I look forward to reading what you think of my “working experiments”.