Monday, July 25, 2005

Love is not a contract.


So you are a poet or a musician. A songwriter perhaps and you feel good about yourself and your music or your words. Not great but pretty good anyway, because you know that something is missing. It could be better and you know it.

That lyric is missing the right combinations of words to put it over the top. Or your poem is missing that "groove" that when combined you know it would go farther than it would have on its own or the way it was originally written.

You heard that collaborations are the way to go, but you don't trust anyone and so you just keep it to yourself, maybe you get it published in some measly places that nobody cares about. But you want it to go places that, if you met that special someone, it would go to the top.

Well, one fine day you meet someone and you have what seems to be lots in common. You like rivers, nature, dogs, and poetry; music; and after a few months, you start to COLLABORATE! WOW!! It seems to just fall together so easily.

You fall in love with your collaborator and you create poems and songs together . Even if one does only a couple of words or a few phrases, you're collaborating and they belong to you both, or so it seems.

So you're all happy and you combine business. . . with your personal life. . . Oh, oh, but you don't realize it yet, that the bomb's about to explode.

You keep submitting songs over the years and you put some of your poems on each other's websites and life is wonderful and beautiful and. . . SCRATCH!!!!! (the sound of an old record with the needle going across it). For all you under forty, you'll just have to imagine some other sound. I know, fingernails across the chalk board.

Three or so years go by and your lover, protector, and promiser of eternal love, goes menopausal and just goes completely nuts!!! All of a sudden it becomes, "Those are my poems" and "that's my music" and "I own this" and "I own that" and, it just goes completely nuts.

What happened? The biggest mistake we all make at one point or another in our lives, and that is thinking that "love" is a contract. "We love each other, that won't happen to us." Love is not a contract.

A contract is a binding and legal document that lays out all the details and facts of your collaboration(s). Love on the other hand is simply a fly by night emotion that changes with every moment of every day and that isn't the way to make a contract, of any kind.

There was a time long ago, when a handshake was all it took to consummate a contract or a deal, but today with all the craziness going on and the legal battles that happen over nothing, a verbal or handshake contract is a thing of the past.

Look, it doesn't matter if you're in love with Athena or Adonis, all the good lovemaking will never hold up with your collaborations. My first advice to anyone is never have a business relationship with a friend and especially a lover.

Oh I know there are many businesses with husband and wife, pals, girlfriends and boyfriends, and some are even successful. But what's it really like when they're in bed with each other after spending 15 hours in their business? Or the strain when your boyfriend wants to branch out and little miss girlfriend starts to get jealous and makes Adonis' life a living hell because of it.

If you're going to have a business relationship, better get everything in writing because sooner or later, one or the other is gonna change, and that leads to nothing but total misery.

You want to do the tango with each other is your business, but if you want a collaborator, if you want to do business, serious business, make sure you're not sleeping with her; it will burn you in the end and you'll be sleeping with the enemy.

Love on its own is great and even business seperated from personal involvement is fine. But if you are going to collaborate, get it in writing because sex and love is NOT a contract.

Be professional at all times.


I'm up late tonight. Why? And is this unusual? Lots on my mind I suppose and . . . no, not really, it's not unusual. (hear Tom Jones in your head?)

You see, I have come to the end of another friendship, or what I perceived as a friendship as friendships go. They don't last for me and they never have. I can count the best friends I have on one hand and have a couple fingers left over.

Don't get me wrong, I have lots of friendly acquaintances, and some really good friends too. But very few have ever stuck around for most of my adult life. I suppose it is that loner in me that makes me this way.

Friendships are weird because you can't always be yourself like you want to be and I find that it usually is because of the fear of showing yourself to the public, aka fear of rejection.

Musicians go through this everytime they get on stage. We love our craft and we want to please our fans and audiences. When we encounter a tough group of people, it can be unnerving to only the most hardened of musical souls.

I try to have fun every time I get up there, even if I feel blue over a loss of friendship or whatever reason. I do that because I really do have fun, and because the fans didn't pay to see me or the band feel crappy or internal fighting that becomes external or any othe excuse. They are there to see the band perform. And baby that's what it is all about.

A pro isn't about being just the greatest at your instrument, or showing up on time at every gig. A pro is someone that no matter how they feel about anything, they will not allow it to screw up the music or the performance. The show must go on as they say.

It reminds me of a story. I went to a concert many long years ago, and Sly and the Family Stone was to come up next. I was in Winterland, and for those who don't know, Winterland was the place in San Francisco where all the best concerts where held . . . The Dead, Airplane, Santana, Vanilla Fudge, which by the way I have some great stories from my friend and vocal coach, Tim Bogert, bass man for the Fudge, but that's another story.

Anyway, we're all pumped up because the last band, Ten Years After was so good onstage, their performance just rocked the house man. Everyone is pumped and waiting, and waiting. . . and still waiting for Sly to get up on stage.

Well, thirty minutes go by, and then another 15 go by, and as stoned as everyone was, there some agitation going on in the ranks. Well Sly finally gets up on stage to the sound of a few boos and he is so f*$%#* up on coke and booze that he just gives a half-assed performance and we know it is. To top it off and after all that, he leaves like 30 minutes before he should have.

We all feel jipped and the crowd lets him know about it. I mean, this is Sly Stone and we all paid money to see him, and them to perform and although he did, it was not to the par that he is known for.

Hey, I don't care how bad your life is going but if you're a musician, spoken word artist, magician, any kind of artist that gets up in front of an audience, the show must always go on. That's just the way it is.

I didn't feel too good last night but my performance, and the performance of the band was top notch. We played at the Lakeshore Inn in Lakehead and it was a blast, for us and for the audience. They all danced and cheered us on. That's why we do what we do and that is to please you audience, always.

Now at home I can pout and moan and mourn another loss all I want, but never in front of your audience. The show must always go on. When you can do that, you'll know you have arrived.

Play on!!