(See bottom of post for info on a special fanworks call…)
Jordan Travers dropped by the next day while Ziggy was there and hung around for about an hour. He’d freshly shorn down his hair and was looking sharp overall. We hobnobbed.
Three important things were conveyed in the course of the hobnobbing. One, Jordan told me they were doing a thing as a publicity stunt where the record company was going to release the soundtrack album for the OKC film as if it was just a genuine punk album by a band from Oklahoma City. I pointed out that given punk’s anti-obsession with posers, this was likely to backfire, but he assured me we were far enough past the actual punk era that this would be seen as a cool retro move. Um, sure. Two, I told him if he ever gave Ziggy X again I was never speaking to him again.
That might seem kind of like an overreaction but I wasn’t angry about it–it was just a fact not a threat–and Jordan took it in stride. It was like with Jordan I could skip all the explanations and go right to what mattered most to both of us. In my case: Ziggy’s health, in his case: access to both of us.
I can’t remember what the third thing was.
We were also interrupted during the portion of the rehearsal when Ziggy wasn’t there by Carynne, Barrett, and The Aesthetician, who brought me logo designs to look at. It had not occurred to me they were moving that fast, and that we’d have a logo before we had a record label interested, except I realized normally if a band toiled in obscurity for some years of course you had a logo and all that sort of thing worked out before the label got interested. It just felt weird for it to be like this, I guess.
“I didn’t know Linn was working for me, too,” I said to Carynne at one point.
“She doesn’t usually do this level of thing but she likes you,” Carynne explained. Huh.
For what it’s worth, I liked what Linn had cooked up. Then Carynne told me they already had two bites on the line. One of them was Wenco, which I expected because of Artie.
The other was Megastar, the company formerly known as BNC, or well, BNC still existed but only as a brand name within Megastar, the parent company. The argument boiled down to something like this, only much longer:
Me: You’re kidding me.
Carynne: Not kidding. It’s a guy you haven’t worked with before.
Me: Does that matter? If he answers to Mills the answer’s no.
Carynne: Daron, Mills doesn’t control everything.
Me: Mills absolutely hates my guts and will do anything possible to sabotage my projects.
Carynne: That just doesn’t seem very likely.
Me: Then how about this, I absolutely hate Mills’s guts and so that’s the number one reason not to sign there.
Carynne: Okay, I guess I really can’t argue with that. I’ll use them as leverage to get higher bids, though, all right?
Me. All right, I guess.
I felt self-conscious about the band waiting around while these meetings were going on. There was something of a shift in my mind happening, though, because the meetings were taking place in what was essentially my “office” instead of in Barrett or Carynne’s actual offices. But it was holding up everyone else and I didn’t want everyone bored out of their minds.
Eventually we got back to playing but I felt like the meetings had eaten up too much time.
When we were packing up Marvelle made some kind of a comment to me like, “Between running Nomad and this show here, when are you gonna have time for your solo project?”
And I gave him a blank look and then realized he meant Star*Gaze. “That’s not a solo project. That’s a band project.”
He gave me a look. “Do Bart and Chris think so?”
“They better,” I said. But that made me think, how were we going to split up the proceeds when there were some to split? We hadn’t worked out any of that stuff yet. It had all happened too fast. Heck, we still didn’t know if we were counting Jordan in for points or not.
So we talked about it over dinner. Me, Bart, Chris, Carynne, with Carynne taking notes. “Daron, everyone thinks of this as ‘your’ project,” she said.
“Yeah, but didn’t everyone think that about M3, too?”
“I guess. That was different.”
“Why was that different?”
No one seemed to be able to come up with a good answer.
“Here’s what I want,” I told her and the guys. “I want you guys to feel like the split is fair. If that means splitting everything in thirds, let’s do that.”
Chris and Bart looked at each other and I realized it wasn’t to figure out what they wanted–it was to figure out which one of them was going to talk. Bart won–or lost–the battle and spoke. “Setting aside the question of whether Jordan gets any royalties, Daron, we think it makes more sense to count you as two people, musician on the one hand and principle songwriter on the other.”
“Okay…” I was confused and it must’ve showed.
Chris simplified it. “So what we’re saying is it should be exactly like the old band agreement we had as M3 except you should count as both Daron and Ziggy, now.”
I looked at Carynne. “Does that work?”
She nodded. “Well, it does simplify life a lot if we just use the same old wording.”
“We all liked the wording before. We worked hard on it,” Bart said. “This won’t even change the math. It just changes what Daron gets in the end.”
I scrubbed my face. “I still feel like you guys should get more.”
“We’re being realistic about what our actual contributions are, Dar’.” Bart cracked his knuckles. “When I do a solo album and ask you to play on it, see if you feel the same.”
“It’s not a solo album,” I insisted. “I have one of those and this is not it. We’re a band.”
“I didn’t say it was or that we weren’t,” Bart said. “If it was you could’ve paid us scale for the sessions and taken 100% of the royalties and publishing rights for yourself.”
“You actually wrote some of those riffs yourself,” I pointed out. “This wasn’t like we just emptied my notebook.”
“Yes it was,” Chris stage-whispered to Carynne.
“Okay.” I stopped fighting them. Maybe they were right. Maybe it really was mostly about me, and the press was going to make it mostly about me, and I should just accept that. I kind of wonder if I was trying to make it more about the band, the three of us as a group, to spread some of the responsibility around, though. Marvelle was right about one thing: I was carrying a lot.
But it didn’t feel like pressure, which sounds negative. It felt much more positive. I liked juggling things and keeping my brain stimulated and it was really good to feel wanted and not like my career was dead in the water.
That night Ziggy and I stayed up late again–though not so late that Barrett came down and scolded us–and worked on songs together just because we enjoyed every minute of working on songs together. I had no idea where these songs might end up, on whose album or even if they’d ever see the light of day. That just didn’t matter.
What mattered was that we were finding stuff together, making twists in the riffs that pleased each other, clicking. Such a good feeling.
What was not such a good feeling was the morning when I met with Priss and she knew damn well that I hadn’t been doing the exercises. I expected to be roundly scolded, and when she realized I expected to be roundly scolded, she didn’t disappoint me. “There, will you be better motivated now?” she demanded to know.
“It’s not motivation I lack,” I told her. “It’s just hard to fit everything in.”
“You rehearse eight hours a day. Make it seven and a half and spend the other half on your vocal exercises and your Feldenkrais techniques.”
“Alexander Technique,” I corrected her. At Guitar Craft school there had been an Alexander Technique instructor who helped students fix bad posture and stuff like that. The idea was not only would you be able to play longer without hurting yourself, if you weren’t fighting your body to play, then music would flow more naturally out of you. I had been kind of surprised to find out that I didn’t have a lot of bad habits to break. My classical training had helped. I didn’t slouch when I played, didn’t look at my fingers or the strings, kept my neck straight, my head high.
“Whichever. The effect is the same.” She nudged me where I sat beside her on the piano bench and clucked her tongue. Because sitting at the piano I did slouch. At least until we started singing.
So I just described what went on in about one twenty-four hour period. Seems like a lot, doesn’t it? Now imagine twelve more days in a row like that and you have some idea what my life was like then.
Reminder: DGC Ebook Volume 9 launches on June 29th. If you’d like to review the ebook on Amazon or Goodreads, or be part of the blog tour or release excerpts blitz, fill out the form here: http://goo.gl/forms/QdqhADMTeJ2Y5gwm2 I’ll be sending review copies of the ebooks out on June 15th so sign up if you’d like to snag one or help spread the word about the book’s launch in some other way or drop me email to tell me your ideas: daron.moondog @ gmail.
FANWORKS SPECIAL CALL:
It’s been a very tough weekend around here as you might imagine, given the news out of Orlando. Two different acts of gun violence in the same weekend: first Christina Grimmie, a finalist from the 6th season of The Voice, was shot after a concert where she had performed and then was autographing and selling merch afterward. The other was the 49 people shot and killed at the Pulse nightclub, a well-known gay club, plus another 53 wounded. Praying that they all make it. Both of these incidents obviously hit very close to home. Daron is already obsessed with the way John Lennon was shot–this is even worse in a way, at a venue, with security. And the gay nightclub…I can’t even. The entire reason gay bars and clubs exist is so we can have a place to feel safe.
Of course Orlando is very closely associated in the public mind with Walt Disney World, and as some of you know I’m a huge fan of the theme parks there. It’s the happiest place on earth, but also one of the most emotional places on earth. ADDED: And of course also where Universal Orlando is and the first big Harry Potter theme park is part of that.
I think we could all use some happiness to help us get through these dark times, so the fanworks challenge for this month (I was planning to suggest one for Pride Month anyway except I was so dang busy until last week when I turned a book in that I hadn’t gotten a chance!) is send any of our dear characters to Disney. Magic Kingdom, Epcot, (or the Universal Studios theme parks!) there for vacation, there to perform, there to bring Ford for the first time, who knows, let your imaginations fly. That’s what Disney is all about.
Art is the only way I know to heal. Making it and sharing it and consuming it. That’s why Lin-Manuel Miranda is my hero, for the sonnet he read at the Tony Awards on Sunday night (a friggin’ sonnet! and a good one, too!). So make whatever you make on this month’s theme (let’s say July 4th as a cutoff but don’t wait until then, ok) and send it in to
dgcfanworks @ gmail.com
I’m offering bounties! That’s right goodies for your creativity. Any fic which is longer than 1200 words or any artwork (or recorded song?) gets a notebook, while fics shorter than 1200 words, poems, and song lyrics get your choice of a DGC bumpersticker or Moondog 3 guitar pick! (Those of you who backed the Kickstarter, check which things you’re getting in your packages–they’ll be going out in a few weeks!)
OK? Email your fanworks to dgcfanworks @ gmail.com and we’ll work on posting them on off days from regular chapters.