Turn on the AC...Attitude of Creating
The first road gig with a signed act that I ever got was with a duo called Times Two. I was referred to them by a friend of mine, Art Ford, who was working with their manager at the time, Allen Kovac. Both Art and Allen have become giants in the industry, Art as a publisher and music supervisor for films such as Shrek II, and Allen as a manager and label executive working with Motley Crue, The Bee Gees, Richard Marx and many others.
I was so excited to be involved with my first gig as drummer for a signed act, actually getting paid nearly a four digit weekly salary (yes, you read that correctly) and planning to go on the road Wow; it was all happening! I set up my work ethic right then and there: the committed over-achiever, which is still my m.o. to this day! I wanted this act to shine. I worked around the clock preparing the electronics, the arrangements and of course, my drum parts. The tour manager, Ira decided to make me the Musical Director; everything was going so well.
We flew to Houston to do a club show. It was fun, there were lots of girls, we got paid and I was in Heaven! We came home and continued rehearsing. They neglected to pay the band for a week; we weren't concerned and kept working anyway. The next week, the record began its fall down the charts and they again neglected to pay us. Now I took notice. Tour dates started getting cancelled.
That same week I go a call for another gig. This R& B artist named Brenda Russell had a big hit in the pop charts called Piano in the Dark. They were putting a band together for a tour as the opening act for Billy Ocean on a world tour. I had been recommended by a drummer named Armand Grimaldi, whom I had tutored in Grammar at Pierce Junior College seven years prior. Armand kept on trying to leave the music business with the dream of becoming an attorney. He was an amazing drummer and kept on getting gig offers including Don Henley. He got the offer to do Brenda's tour and turned it down.
I had also become (and since remained) friends with a bass player named Mark Browne. Mark happened to know Armand and happened to tell Armand about me. Armand remembered my playing back when I was 19 and he recommended me for this tour seven years later!
I realized at that point in my life that this business is all about relationships; as a matter of fact, every business is about relationships. I have shouted that fact from the proverbial rooftops. Relationships can change because people's Attitudes change; then their Behaviors change and the Consequences can be quite surprising – in both negative AND positive ways.
Back to the Brenda story: I spoke with her manager, Eric Borenstein , we hit it off and he offered me the gig. I took it and promptly called Allen (Kovac, Times Two's manager). He berated me for and gave me the 'if I left this gig I would never work in this town, again' speech. He said that he would personally smear my name and defame me whenever possible. I was so beat up after the conversation that I actually cried. I had never been so craftily verbally abused in my life; I also actually believed that he would follow through on his threats. Obviously the future yielded something quite different.
The Brenda Russell tour took me all over the states and Europe. I had the time of my life and 1988 ended up being a really good year. My touring career was off to a great start and things seemed especially bright. I had still been wondering of Allen Kovac's threats would surface and bite me in the ass, but thus far, nothing.
In the beginning of 1989, I got a very surprising phone call- from Allen Kovac. I was rightfully questioning his call and when I verbalized this his reply was "Oh, its all water under the bridge!"
Allen was calling to see if I was interested and available to tour with one of his artists, Animotion, an early 80s one-hit band that he was attempting to resurrect. I agreed to take a meeting with him in his office. A.B.C. in action again! He did a 180 when he decided that he needed me and this new Attitude incited a surprising Behavior and the Consequential result is that he now wanted me to be an ally, while our last conversation left us as enemies.
Allen had his motives and I had mine. Allen also managed Richard Marx. At the time Richard was on top of the world, or at least on top of the Pop charts with five hits from his record that had sold millions. Word on the street was that Richard's drummer, Michael Derosier (a fine drummer, great guy and an influence of mine) was leaving the gig. I had wanted to play for Richard since I heard his first hit, It Don't Mean Nothin' (co-written by Joe Walsh). He was playing arena shows. That was the level where I wanted to be.
Here was my chance to move up the career ladder, but I felt opportunistic asking Allen about it. I was quite hesitant for two reasons. First, he called me about Animotion and this could definitely sidetrack my goal of the Richard Marx gig and Second, because of how things ended when I left Times Two, I was a bit gun shy when it came to dealing with him!
In the middle of our meeting, I told him, "You know Allen, what I really want to do is play with Richard Marx." He acted surprised and said he didn't even know I was a rock player. This was surprising to me because I grew up in the Beatles, Led Zepplin, AC DC like most of my peers and I was a rock player more than any other type of player. Besides, my mother always told me, "Just tell them you can do it no matter what it is..." Of course she said this in her Jewish mother's Bronx accent which made it seem even more endearing.
Allen continued to tell me that Richard was doing one more gig with his current drummer – a quick show at a radio convention for industry people. After that, he would be auditioning some drummers. Allen promised to get me an audition. He said "You might be really good for his gig."
I wonder how well I hid my big smile. I thought to myself, 'Yes! Yes! Yes!' But I also had this nagging feeling that this was not enough. I had an intuition that I was missing something. There must be a more certain opportunity here that is escaping me... "Come on Mark; get creative" I thought. "What are you missing?"
Then it hit me and before I could censor myself, I blurted, "Hey Allen; how about if you let me meet Richard and maybe I can play that last gig. That could be my audition." I suddenly thought of one more compelling point. I continued, "If you have me play this gig and he likes me you can save the time, energy and the money of needing to audition more people! If not, you have lost nothing; this is really a winning situation for everyone!"
I saw his managerial eyes light up as he contemplated what I said. I was speaking his language, the language of business: Time, Energy and Money. I realized that this was a very strategic move. I could also tell by his expression that it was working.
He said, "Okay". He would call Richard, run it by him and call me.
Now I really felt like I maximized this opportunity. I walked out of that meeting feeling high! I knew that I really did all that I could and now it was up to the rock gods and the Universe. I stepped off the stage ready for the next show.
Allen called me later that day and said Richard wanted to meet me. I will also add that Richard was good friends with one of my biggest drumming heroes of my childhood, Bobby Colomby. Bobby had been the drummer and founder of the group Blood Sweat and Tears in the 60s and he was such a great influence of mine. Bobby went on to be a record executive, producer and maven in the music business for decades to come.
In early 1989, I was doing a gig in Santa Monica, California at a club with fusion keyboard player, Jeff Lorber. Bobby Colomby happened to be at that show. This gig was a great showcase for my playing, because not only did I get to play some cool, funky R&B style instrumental grooves, but I had some real creative opportunities to solo and I was having some fun combining acoustic drumming with some melodic electronic triggering from my acoustic kit.
Bobby seemed to be enamored with my musical approach and we hit it off. I was so honored to meet him and this meeting was one of the highlights of my career. We exchanged numbers and kept in touch. Apparently, he told Richard about me so this really helped me get the gig. Sometimes the stars do align. I think that it is our strong intentions, attention and attraction that makes it appear to be something so mystical.
Well I went back to Allen's office the next day to meet Richard. We seemed to get along well, we spoke and he listened to some recordings I had of my drumming. I had the long curly blonde rockin' hair. I had the tight pants and the boots. Mostly, I had the intention and the Attitude; he saw that in my eyes and I knew it. Allen called me the next day and said that we were on. Later that day I got home and there was a message from Richard himself. I think that my excitement created some more excitement for him. I saved that message for a month.
So as it goes, I rehearsed with Richard and the band for this gig and it went really well! We played a 45 minute set for a bunch of people in the radio industry at the NARM convention . Richard had four Top 5 hits from his first record so everyone was anticipating good things from this next record. We rocked and there was definitely some great chemistry on stage.
As it turned out, the anticipation of a successful record was well-founded. This album and tour (Repeat Offender) was his most successful ever. We toured the world for 15 months We combed every area of the states and Canada, hit most of the countries in western and eastern Europe, and charmed a great deal of Asia as well. We had opening acts ranging from the late, great Warren Zevon on acoustic guitar to a Balinese gamelon band playing with us in an un-air conditioned, bug ridden indoor sports Arena in Jakarta, Indonesia. Years after I left the gig, I heard from a quite a few people that this was the best band Richard ever had. More on Richard later...
This entire experience with Richard Marx was life changing. It was a perfect example of a Consequence, stemming from an Attitude of perseverance. We can actually create opportunities and realities for ourselves that did not previously exist. A certain Attitude may also subject us to potential lost opportunities.
Do you have regrets? If so, reflect on them and trace the Consequence back to your Attitude. See how your Attitude could have been different, how you could have created a different Behavior to produce different results. Take responsibility for your Consequences. Do this by taking responsibility for your Attitude and for your Behavior. Doing this will help you see new possibilities for the future and create new realities for yourself!
Read Dr. Jim's thoughts:
***Realize Your Opportunities:
Opportunities can be so exciting. Without opportunities, no success is possible. No matter how prepared, how willing, eager or ready you are...you absolutely require and opportunity in order to succeed. So what exactly is an opportunity?
An opportunity is a chance occurrence, especially one that offers some kind of advantage for you. It's not enough to be surrounded by opportunities. It does you no good to be surrounded by many opportunities if you are unaware of them. To realize you have an opportunity, you must start by the simple act of discovering it.
Step One - Discover
Want to increase your discovery of great opportunities? You can A.S.K. yourself to look for them.
Awareness: Ask yourself to look for opportunities in every situation.
Sensitivity: to become more sensitive to opportunities, to stop and notice every opportunity you discover.
Knowledge: study related information when an opportunity presents itself. Keep learning.
Step Two - Develop
Okay, once you've discovered an opportunity you next need to develop it to see if it's really an advantage to you. This brings the opportunity's value from potential value closer to actual value.
Want to know how to develop an opportunity? A.C.T. on it.
What Actions are needed for developing this opportunity?
What Costs are involved in this opportunity?
What Times are needed for developing this opportunity?
Once you have considered the actions, costs, and times required to develop the opportunity, you can then choose whether or not this opportunity is suitable for you.
Step Three – Direct
If this is suitable for you, then direct your efforts toward realizing the opportunity and succeeding. Want to know how to direct an opportunity to successful completion? U.S.E. it:
Useful: you must make sure it is useful for those who participate
Sales: you must engage in sales with those who participate...stay in communication.
Economics: you must manage the economics of the project until it is successful.
An opportunity only releases its true value when you direct your efforts all the way through to completion. Success is when your investment is returned to you with interest***
***copyright 2005 by Jim Samuels, Ph.D, all rights reserved