Get Your Free Seamus Anthony mp3

Just whack in your details below & get a free copy of Seamus Anthony's "I Went Outside for a Cigarette" (plus occasional updates re new music, unsubscribe anytime).

A Bear of Very Fluffy Brain

Yesterday I sat in meeting with my two business mentors and realised that despite what I like to tell myself to the contrary, I am a fluffy-brained creative type, not a hard-nose businessman.

Both of these guys are very successful businessmen but in a grounded low-ego kind of way. When I say successful I mean they run multi-million dollar businesses and buy yachts and that kind of thing, but they aren’t, as the poms would say, “flash gits’. Consequently, I respect them.

I was actually with them to discuss business in the context of my day-job but talk soon turned to my music career aspirations, ridiculous as they may be.

My two hard-boiled businessmen friends genially began tearing my thinking apart with the conversational equivalent of pick-axes. With a knowing twinkle in my eye, I confidently leaned back on my chair only to discover that my Magic Difficult Scenario Escape Portal was on the blink yet again.

Bugger.

I scrambled for Plan B, realised I didn’t have one, landed on my back foot and began stuttering and hemming and hawing as they asked me brutal questions like “What do you actually want?” and “How much will you need to turnover each month to achieve that?”

Direct questions like this about specifics tend to leave me flabbergasted. I can see so many potential outcomes that I may or may not be cool with, that to choose one and start making up figures to support it just seems like an exercise in hypothetical nonsense.

And so I would start to answer with statements like “well, I want to build my music brand in a sustainable and profitable-“  only to get cut off with cries of “Waffle!”. The question was repeated:

“What do you actually want?”

I hemmed and hawed and came up with something apparently just as waffly and shoot-to-the-ground-worthy. This lasted a couple of rounds until eventually, in desperation, I threw up my hands up and said: “Look – I just want to tour the world playing music to large crowds of people who totally dig my vibe and I want to get paid enough money never to have to worry about money”.

“OK,” came the reply, “Now we are getting somewhere.”

“Do you want a band to tour with you?”

“Yes, in a perfect world … of course I am prepared to compromise-“

“No, don’t think like that. Focus on what you really want.”

“OK then, yes, I want a band to tour with me.”

And then the maths started. Of course, being a Bear of Very Fluffy Brain, I have no idea what all those numbers they ran through were or meant, but suffice to say they were large and would take a lot of work to achieve. However, I am actually quite cool with that; one thing I have learned (at least) over the years is the skill of remaining unflappable in the face of large numbers. A couple of arduous years in advertising sales eventually cured me of that.

So for a moment I thought, “OK, let’s do this…” and was starting to feel less like a Bear of Fluff and more like the cigar-chomping music-mogul of my delusions.

But then the curve ball…

“Are you prepared to pay the price to make the kind of venture we have just described a reality?”

“Err…” I succinctly replied.

“Are you prepared to hardly ever be home, to always be on the road and to never see your wife and children? This will probably lead to stress and potentially the breakdown of the family unit. Are you willing to risk paying that price?”

“Err…” I reaffirmed.

“Or do you think there might be another way to go about it, a way that doesn’t require you to wind up divorced and with children you barely know?”

By this time, having run out of “Errs”, I defaulted to my other Ninja Conversation trick: complete silence. This is a useful skill that even Bears of Very Fuzzy Brains can (and definitely should) learn – that if you don’t know what to think or say, just say nothing. You look less stupid that way … but you must remember not to gape like a fish out of water – that ruins the effect.

The truth is I have been living with the dream of regularly playing music before large crowds since I was 12 or 13. I even got to do it for a while, before my twenty-something immaturity comprehensively destroyed a Good Thing, at which point I reverted to dreaming and playing in front of small crowds, which is fun but not quite the real thing. (Kind of, dare I say it, like self-gratification as opposed to actually bonking the object of your torrid desires.)

To be continued

 

4 Comments on A Bear of Very Fluffy Brain

  1. Kieran Farrell
    November 23, 2011 at 10:10 am

    Hey Seamus,

    I read your blog, for less than a second it made me feel despondent, but it didn’t last.

    I’ve played in front of thousands, I know that feeling you describe. I also share your vision, of touring, and being self sustainable. I have a slightly different perspective that freaks some people out a little, cause they think in marketability and saleability and treat music and musicians as a product, I see things a lot differently.

    Money and fame are a by product of what we do, we have much more power than most, cause we have the ability to change peoples thinking and change peoples lives. A well worded song can bring someone back from the brink, can save their life. What power we have, and all we have to do is tell our story, or narrate others stories with truth and passion.

    An artist I’m in love with at the moment is Dallas Green, he has a lyric in a song that epitomizes my thinking.

    “What if I could sing just one song and it might save somebody’s life?
    Then I would sing all that I could sing
    Cause that is when, when I feel that I’m not just counting time.”

    That one lyric is a great example of how music can change someone’s life! Cause it changed mine dramatically.

    Reckoning where famous in Adelaide, you where in the right place at the right time playing music that filled gaps. You played alongside other great bands, it was a truly great time to be in Adelaide, it made me pick up a guitar.

    Did you plan all of that, was it marketed, did you have contingencies at the time. Or did you just head up bum down play music?

    I’ve given up everything to play music, to try touch people (metaphorically of course). I will be successful, but I’ll do it the hard way, by playing as much music as I can, cause that’s when I’m at my happiest. And if I’m happy, people will pick up on that, and they will get into it more. Why is it people always say “Such and such sold out”? It’s because they no longer play music for it’s true purpose.

    Yes we can make money as musicians. Just watch me. I’m going to do it by playing music, as much as I can, as passionate as I can. That’s my Plan A and B and C.

    My long winded point is you have the power to wow audiences by just playing music. Do that the best you can, and everything will fall in place. Just watch!

    K

  2. Seamus
    November 23, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Hey K – thanks for this awesome contribution 🙂 Hey I kind of agree with both sides of the coin. Yes music is so much more than about making money, in fact I don’t really care about that at all. Just want enough not to have to worry about it (while working at playing music and otherwise doing stuff I am madly passionate about all day as much as possible), and yes, I deeply care about the power of music to make the world a better place.

    Yes Reckoning did plan and market ourselves. We were (at the beginning) very focussed, sober and ambitious. We got ahead of the pack by working hard and being strategic. For example, we noticed that most of the other indie bands sounded a lot like mud, so we specifically made rules that every instrument including vocals must be heard clearly and must be doing something interesting. We also chased up as much press and support gigs as we could by hounding people because we knew this counted the most to getting known.

    I am afraid I do not believe that if you “just play music” you increase your chances of success than if you are strategic. But I do believe that if you can you should hit the road and play as much as possible. But there’s more to it than that. Also as this above conversation was about, if you are *ahem* 38 and have a wife and kids, then maybe being on the road 11 months of the year is not going to work out. The conversation from here kind of moved on to creating success on your own terms and according to no prior precedent. But I haven’t written that up yet 🙂

  3. Lou Soileau
    November 28, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    From money to the important things: your marriage and your family. Funny how that is. I always consider that my dream is no longer a “me” thing because any decision I make now impacts a number of other lives directly. My wife compromised her dreams to marry me and to bear our children and to take the lead in raising them. It seems only right that I, then, am willing to compromise my dreams in consideration of her and our children.

    To make it visceral, Séamus, at the end of 1995 I ended my career after 24 yrs with a wonderful company. I was a regional office head (in Ecuador) and managing a excellent project. But, the next steps were not going to be very good for our children – as many of the previous years had not. Since leaving, life has been a continuous struggle EXCEPT that my relationship with all four of our children (young adults now) is most gratifying and my love and I are still together and happy. Do I wish I was singing around the world? Sure. Would I be happy if others would take my music and use it? Not as much. Am I better off having made our decision back in1995? Yes.

    I believe that life is all about making the choices your mentors laid before you. I will keep you in prayer that you and your spouse make the best choices and keep moving forward!

    If you were here in the US you would be enjoying a Happy Thanksgiving. So, best wishes, buddy,
    Lou

  4. Seamus
    November 28, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Cheers Lou – great story 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *