So we’re watching this Tom Petty documentary about how they got started. I’m sitting here playing ukulele, changing diapers and cleaning the house all day while they’re traveling out to Hollywood from Gainesville, Florida, smoking hash in Europe and just living the crazy rocker life. And you know, I’m not jealous. Back then all you had to do was play your music and let other people do the business side for you (which did leave a lot of musicians screwed over by their management), but all the extra time was spent pretty much partying for many of these bands (except for Petty himself, that guy is a workhorse!!). We have to market, keep track of finances and play our music…not to mention taking care of five kids.
The reasons that I don’t envy them is because as much as I would love to rehearse more and do less of the business aspect, I have more control then bands like the Heartbreakers over my own career. For example, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were originally Mudcrutch before the producer said that he didn’t like several of the members. This producer broke up the original band and Petty had no control over it. If he said “no, we’re keeping the band”, then he has no record deal.
Another example is Billy Joel. He had no control over his finances, he gave it all to his manager, who ended up lying about how much he had really earned and stole millions from Joel. Billy ended up bankrupt during the height of his career and only ended up getting out of debt by the last or second to last album.
The new way of making it in music is by far more complicated. Much more work, but I think in the end it will be more rewarding. We will have control over who’s in the band, over our money, and over our images. I love playing music and writing songs…but I also love a good challenge.