Summer 2008. Los Angeles. A period I remember mainly for the self-loathing, despair and crumbling relationships that I enjoyed on a daily basis. For all the work and sweat I had poured into my life up to that point, I felt like I just might have been the biggest smallest piece of shit in the world. I still can’t pinpoint exactly how it all began but something in me was starting to sense that it was entirely my fault. And it was eating me alive.
There are brief anecdotes I do recall from that time that were perhaps the effect of my psychological turmoil, rather than the cause.
Over the course of my time in LA, I had periodically volunteered at Studio Instrument Rentals (SIR). I thought it was pretty cool that I could walk a couple blocks, swing a cool right, sneak through the loading dock on the side street and see people like Dave Mustaine, Johnny Rotten, Paul Cook, Stevie Salas, and Jordin Sparks hanging out at any given time.
I told the daytime and nighttime staff that I was a recording student and wanted to intern. They were cool about it and let me hang around. This went on for two years but after a while, the action around SIR got a little dull. Nevertheless, I finally decided to ask about getting a real job there.
It was an uneventful day as usual but I still bided my time. By late afternoon, almost no one was around and I found myself alone on a couch. After considering my job-seeking intentions, I dropped everything and went home. I decided I was through pissing away my time at SIR and would find something better to do in its place.
About two weeks later, I got a call from my friend Enrique. I was recording his band at the time and so we hashed out some scheduling details. Soon after, we were shooting the shit.
Enrique: “I got a job now.”
Me: “Cool man! Where at?”
Enrique: “SIR on Sunset.”
Me: “Oh cool. How’d you get that?”
Enrique: “I went in last week and applied for a job.”
Me: “Really…they had an opening?”
Enrique: “Yeah. I actually need to leave soon because I have to deliver some monitors to the El Rey for Jane’s Addiction’s reunion at the NME Awards tonight.
Me: “I see.”
Enrique: “Well I gotta go now but I will talk to you next week.”
Me: “Sounds good.”
Enrique: “Ok, bye.”
If I’ve ever had a moment where I wanted to travel back in time like Scrooge and punch my old self in the stomach, that would be it.
This was only the beginning of a long summer…a summer through which I would perpetually feel like a jackass.
Never too proud (probably one of my better qualities), I returned to SIR a few days later asking if there were any job openings. They told me they had just hired two people but that I could apply anyways. I did but they never called and that was the end of my SIR experience.
After two years of free help demonstrating my usefulness and general likeability, I had lost out. Who knew I was sitting right in front of an opportune time to ask for a job? Only hindsight gives us such clarity. However, personal experience has an incredible way of teaching us lessons. The lesson here is quite simple: seize the day and choke that bitch (just so we’re clear, “bitch” refers to “the day”).
It’s tempting to attribute the cause of someone’s success to something he or she possesses that we do not. We may never know the facts on these things but it is much easier to make this excuse than it is to admit to yourself that your failure is your own damn fault.
It is said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Think about all the things you do everyday that have good intentions. Got ‘em? Good, because…
Good intentions don’t mean shit.
Don’t. Mean. Shit.
If you miss the boat, it’s gone. Swallow your pride, learn well and recover. There will be more opportunities down the road as long as you can recognize them. When you do, you will have the slightest twinge of a déjà vu…a very painful déjà vu.
Hey, at least you’re not a fool anymore.
I had a recording instructor who turned down a job working with an up and coming band that was unknown at the time. That band turned out to be Fall Out Boy.
I also knew a front-of-house engineer at The Roxy who once said “[serendipitous] shit happens all the time.” That was how he got his job and for live sound, I thought he had a pretty sweet gig. He went on to do sound for Sick Puppies, Black Label Society and The Neighbourhood.
Everyone has either heard of, or personally experienced these types of things. Give me your most brutal/hilarious/awesome story below and we’ll see which one takes the cake!