(Note to RSS users. We dumped Feedburner because it stopped working at the end of 2015 and expect Google is about to kill the service. The correct address to point your RSS reader to is: https://daron.ceciliatan.com/?feed=rss2 Anyone who would like to get new posts via email, I’ve created a new email list here http://eepurl.com/bMQGpj to try to replicate the Feedburner email service. -ctan)
I promise every chapter for the next million years won’t be about meetings, even if at the time it felt to me like my life was going to be nothing but meetings for the foreseeable future. There’s one that day in particular I should tell you about, though.
Not the one Barrett and I had after Ziggy left for his voice lesson, although that one was key. He hit me with a lot of questions about tech needs for a band that we still hadn’t settled on a size for. I felt like every question we answered created three more that we needed to answer. Then he left me in his office with a phone for a while, an extension right on the side table at the chair where Ziggy usually sat during meetings.
The rehearsal space was going to be a warehouse in Queens. Auditions could happen there, too, if I wanted. Time for me to start calling some people.
But the first person I called was Carynne. I paged her since I didn’t know where she was and left the direct number to my extension. It rang almost immediately.
“Hey,” I said.
“Hey,” she said back. “How are things going?”
“Good, except for the fact I feel in way over my head.”
“That makes two of us right now.”
“Jeez. Are you still in town?”
“I am. Is this Barrett’s office number? Is that where you are?”
“Right around the corner there’s a reasonably good restaurant for having strategic meetings in, if you want to meet up in like an hour.”
The next person I called was Flip, who I caught at home in Los Angeles. “You interested in touring South America after Nomad’s done? God knows if we can get parts down there or whatever so I need a tech who comes complete with his own repair shop.”
“I’d love to,” he said.
We went into some details about how much we’d pay if he handled me and Bart, which meant not only Bart’s electric bass but the cello, and that led to me telling him the whole story of the accidental album. Flip, in his typical manner, replied, “Tsk, you’ve recorded not one but two albums since I last saw you? Well I’ve had at least that many…fantasies about decent blowjobs in that time.”
“Still looking for a girlfriend?”
“Yeah, hard to maintain when I’m on the road so much. I had a couple of go-to gals for a while, no strings attached, but one of ’ems in a relationship now and the other one just moved to Miami. So it’s just been me and Mr. Handy.” He sounded chipper but resigned.
No, it didn’t strike me as weird to talk to Flip about masturbating. After rooming together we weren’t uptight about much with each other anymore. Well, and Flip wasn’t uptight about anything to begin with.
I met Carynne for something to eat and to make lists of things to do, and while she tried to assure me that being Ziggy’s musical director was well within my skills, I tried to assure her that negotiating the deal or deals for the Surprise album was well within hers. By an hour later she had largely convinced me.
I had not convinced her. She said she wanted to come back with me to the office. I didn’t think anything of it. But when we got there, we sat down with Barrett.
It was suddenly obvious to me that she and he had talked previously. I wasn’t sure when. But they were about to propose something. I could see it in their eyes.
Carynne swallowed. “I need you to take a deep breath and really listen to what I’m about to say. Really. Listen.”
“I can’t do all the things for you that a real, full service management company can do.”
She had said that to me before. I started to open my mouth to repeat my arguments against it, then shut it again, and cupped my hands to my ears to show I was listening.
“This is partly to do with competitive advantage, too, Daron. Other artists have a lot more resources at their disposal because they have full management. I know everyone loves the quaint idea of the one man–or one woman show–in a teensy office full of telephones but that’s just not how it is now.”
They exchanged a glance and I looked back and forth between them.
Carynne continued. “I’ve also been feeling really stuck, really stagnated, as a manager.”
“Did something happen to Sugargum?” I asked suddenly. “Sorry. Listening. Listening.”
“I’ve got a lot of strengths as a personal manager, and as a road manager, but you need a manager manager. Someone who can act as your representation who’s not a lawyer and who can be proactive about seeking out deals, endorsements, opportunities…”
“International rights,” Barrett put in, the first words he’d spoken in a while, and then he went right back to letting her do the talking.
“For example,” she said. She folded her hands together. “You asked me in Maryland what changed, why’d I decided to tag along with you instead of going back like I’d originally planned. I’m not managing Sugargum anymore. I let them go.”
“I just wasn’t getting them anywhere. They weren’t making any money and therefore neither was I, but I was spending all day every day trying to get them off the ground. I let them go.” She looked pained. “So I could spend more time on you. Because I figure that’s the only chance I can get to make ends meet.”
“Make ends meet?” Anxiety prickled up my spine despite the beer I’d had at the restaurant.
“I’d already decided to dump the office and work out of my apartment,” she said. “But rent went up and…”
“You know we have a spare room at the house–”
“Daron. Dear Daron. I love you and it’s sweet but I’m not moving in with you. Down the street maybe, but not in your house. Just no.”
“Bottom line is I’ve got this MBA now, I’m not just a gal with a mailing label printer.” She looked at Barrett. “Barrett’s offering me a job. I’d get a base salary plus performance bonuses depending on what you earn. My job will stay largely the same: managing you. But now I’ll do it from within the talent management arm of WTA. I’ll answer directly to him.”
The thought that went through my head was this: that sounds terrible. Awful. No.
Then she said, “It means the WTA legal department comes as part of the deal.”
My ears perked up at that.
“And I go on the road with you.”
Quite suddenly the plan I was hating sounded much better. Much, much better. Before I could say so, though, she went on.
“I think it’s kind of inevitable that we team up with a larger organization at some point, and this situation seems ideal.”
I said, “Please don’t tell me you fired Sugargum, though, just so you could take this.”
She sighed. “Polly is fed up with the whole band concept and is agitating to go solo. The bass player already quit in a huff.”
“What about the guitar player?”
“Legally changed her…his…name to Brad and so kind of technically can’t be in an all-girl group anymore anyway.” She sighed again, and I had the feeling there was a lot of frustration being shed in that moment. “They’re done, D. I told ’em good luck and godspeed.”
The ride can sometimes end pretty quick. Or never get going in the first place. I told Carynne joining WTA was a great idea. My one reservation was what Ziggy would think of it, and Barrett told me he had already picked Ziggy’s brain extensively about Carynne before extending her the offer.
Ziggy was on board. I was on board.
Goodluck and godspeed.
(Hey, everyone, I wanted to point out that we’ve got a newfangled donations tracker over in the right sidebar where you can see it anytime! We’ve changed the way extra story posts trigger — instead of a bonus post any week where more than $50 comes in but then it goes back to zero every week, now every donation will count cumulatively toward a bonus which is triggered whenever the total hits $100 no matter how long that takes. The new counter has been up for a little under a week and has $29 in it already! All ebook sales made through the DGC site here also count into that total! If you use any of the Paypal buttons on the site or if you “send money” to the NEW address firstname.lastname@example.org you should see your contribution counted in the progress bar right away! Cool, eh? Thank you again to everyone who has donated! -ctan)
(If you’re not sick of music from early 1991 by now, maybe this one will do it. David Lee Roth’s T&A shtick was getting tired and so were the guitar riffs after Steve Vai quit. Sorry about how terrible this video is, too. I literally cringed while watching it. -daron)