Sometimes things happen for a reason- not often, but when they’re special things that reset your thinking and help bring about some form of clarity, it’s no doubt coming from some higher power without tripping over that unforgiving ninth step.
The night before I had seen someone I had known for around a decade have a meltdown. It was the alcohol talking mixed with anger, frustration and desperation. When after years of trying and with still nothing to show for it and all those wasted years trying to be what you hoped to hell you’d be with nothing to show for it, something snaps.
Still, it was tough to watch- the rudeness, the vitriol aimed at a waiter simply trying to do his job and his anger spilling over into the rest of the night. What an absolute dolt. And as I had done for a decade, there I was trying to help dig this ungrateful user out of his self-created hole. It didn’t say much about my judgment skills.
This outburst was clouding my mind and weighing me down though I probably didn’t realise how much it had impacted me as the usual irritants on Twitter were not helping. If only it wasn’t part of my job to have a “presence” here where there are a handful of good people and an armpit full of Los Lobos losers. Maybe it won’t be for much longer. It’s starting to invade my privacy and affect my mood. That’s too high a price to pay.
The next day, my appetite was shot to bits, reflux had surfaced, and it was down to dealing with a restless mind that wouldn’t calm down. Sleep was just not there. A friend who knew what I was struggling through guided me to an app that could maybe help me listen to what my body was trying to tell me. It did.
After twelve minutes of meditation and internalising, it led to me without having to think about it to where I needed to hear a track I hadn’t listened to in years- “Roll Um Easy” by Little Feat, but more of a solo recording by the late Lowell George.
“Roll Um Easy” is one of the most perfect songs written and recorded. And though covered by other artists, the song belongs to its creator. The way Lowell George embraces the magical lyrics is something seldom heard- achingly sad, but also strangely uplifting. That’s the beauty and power of music. It hurts when it’s taken with no thought about ownership forgetting that someone poured their heart soul into a song to make their feelings known. The journey continued.
I went back to thinking of the person from the day earlier and his ugly tirade- his warped sense of entitlement. Entitlement. It’s everywhere with everyone rocking in the free world, taking the work of others for free and still miserable with their lot in life, plus all those who expect others to keep carrying them financially and emotionally. Oliver Twisted clowns with absolutely no self respect.
I thought of Lowell George and all the other great artists we have lost along the way. Is his family or estate being paid for “Roll Um Easy”? How was I paying for the joy this one song was giving me? How does the payment scheme for artists work on Spotify for the hundreds of playlists put together? Anyone really know? Shut up, Oprah. Your hypocrisy is showing.
There are then the dreamers, myself included, where we write and record music, have recording studios, manage artists, and perform purely for the love of music with no thought about a return on investment.
How did we ever get to this place where the thinking is so backward? It’s not just in music. It’s in every industry where one answers the question of, How’s business? with, “It’s okay. I’m breaking even.” You’re working to break even?
It might be a small step, but I need to and must track down the family of Lowell George and pay them for his incredible song. And just as I have been too generous by paying for others, something I have stopped doing and slammed the door on the takers and fakirs, I am not going to be part of this age of entitlement thinking the world owes you something when you reward it with absolutely nothing. Every seedling needs nurturing for it to grow.
#music #LowellGeorge #entitlement #Spotify #ROI #users #life #payback