Yes, My Musician Kids Have Jobs. They're Musicians.
Recently someone I kinda-sorta know asked about my son.
Artwork by Jaime Torraco/Courtesy of Kittens of Industry
He's doing great, I said. He and his band are on a 30-city tour.
No sooner than I'd answered this fellow, I regretted it as simple math scribbled itself onto his brain's chalkboard. Thirty shows minus my son being at home, where he lives, equals, "Your son doesn't have a job?"
Yes, he has a job, I explained. His job is being in an active, touring band.
It'll sound hypocritical to say this jackass should mind his own business when here I am abdicating all privacy to write this. But I'm mostly doing it to dispel the misjudgment that struggling musicians aren't working. My acquaintance might prefer my son serving up lattes or carrying lumber to his truck. But, who gives a shit what that guy wants?
I'd like my son to be happy, in the short and long run. I appreciate that he and his bandmates and bands like theirs everywhere believe in what they're doing. As someone whose day jobs have kept him chained to a desk or under the thumb of some megalomaniacal know-nothing, I can't think of anything I'd like less for my kid. I want him to take his shot at not having to live that life and know that he gave it his best effort.
He can do it, too, because what it means to be an "unknown" working musician in 2013 is very different than what it might have meant years ago.
At the core, what my son does -- as well as his piano-playing sister; she's not flipping your burger, pal -- is no different than the many bands that came before his. He and his writing partner, Whitney, create and perform songs. Way back when, they'd have played them hoping to impress some record-company bigwig, a moment that would have been either a miracle or the end of the line.
Today, there's actually a guarantee their efforts won't go unnoticed by the broader masses. They don't need a fairy godproducer to do what they love and pay the bills. The digital age has changed all that.
Not to insult the informed readers of Rocks Off, but some folks don't realize how today's bands can create an audience as long as they're willing to do real, honest, time-consuming work. My kids love writing music, but it's the beginning of a very long process.
They learned to use home recording equipment, and their last two albums were clean enough to post on iTunes and Spotify. They recorded in a converted bedroom here with the dogs occasionally barking at the racket from downstairs. Bands in Houston and all over the world are doing it the same way.
It's no different with packaging the finished product. The Internet may have crushed the spirits and bodies of places like Tower Records, but it has created opportunities for independent artists of all kinds to have their work noticed. My kids have enlisted help from all over for T-shirt designs, show fliers, album art and the like.
For instance, the art highlighted in this blog is by a very talented Floridian named Jaime Torraco. She caught one of the band's shows on a southeastern run and followed them, then I followed her site, Kittens of Industry. Now I am (hopefully) introducing her to lots more people.
Story continues on the next page.