It’s been no secret that I’ve all but disappeared off the face of the Earth these days. Working two gigs has meant less time with friends, less time at home, less adventures, less sleep… but it has worked out for getting through what are traditionally two brutal months for me. So here I am on the other side, and now that’s it’s Summer, back to brutal 100+ degree days. As I’ve said before in many an occasion: “This is why we can’t have nice things.”
But as things have so turned out, my adventures can’t stay away forever, and for that matter, neither can old commitments. My fifth year of working the Billboard Music Awards came around this month, and as always, was full of stories.
I’ve come a long way on this production from a time where it was speculated if I could pull this show off, to making it very much my own thing. I’m very comfortable in my position with the show, and being up on stage these days is more unnatural if I’m not, so it was a very fond return to something where I feel like I belong. And it was fun and interesting. I got to see perennial 1980′s band Simple Minds rehearse/perform “Don’t You Forget About Me”, and Kanye West’s stage? No, you couldn’t see out from it when standing on it, either. I don’t worry often about being set on fire, but when I do….
But the real highlight was Van Halen. Those guys are great performers. David Lee Roth really is a man of the stage, and he looks like he definitely belongs there. Nice guy. Jokes a lot. He looks like a man who enjoys every second of his life. Eddie Van Halen didn’t speak all that much on stage, but he did toss me this during rehearsals:
Rehearsals came and went, I took part in some great performances, and after lunch the last day, I ran into this guy again:
Again, nice guy. I got to banter with him a little over two days, and again he’s actually pretty inspirational. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone enjoy more what it is that they do in life. It carry over in his body language and attitude, and it gave me something to think about.
Oh, and I sort of crashed E!’s live broadcast the night of the show.
Reality only returned for a brief moment before I was called back to Forgotten City, Vegas’ regional Burning Man event that happens every Memorial Day weekend. This came along at a perfect time for me for two reasons: This is the first time that I’ve had a true “all mine” day off to myself in nearly three months. There’s also the matter that I had really fallen out of the loop with a good number of my friends, and hadn’t seen anyone in months. My hospital visit, the holidays, and my ever-constant work schedule had me fall of the grid for months. This was a chance to catch up, run a little free, and most importantly, reunite with friends.
My fourth event. And while it may be strange to some to spend a weekend at the inside of a dirt basin, it’s also check full of great people. I spent more time not getting to any one destination because I would run into someone that I needed to catch up with. And you know, that was fine. I did everything from visit the bars out there, to relax at the “Electric Lazy” lounge, to cloud watching, or just simply laughing and catching up on old times. And all of it was exactly what I needed. I did, however, have to work Saturday night, however, so I may or may not have missed Daft Punk, which has been the ultimate in “Schrödinger’s Cat” equations. Ask anyone, and you’ll get a completely different answer. Still, even if it was merely a cover band, I do regret not seeing the experience, and writing to tell that particular tales (And if it really was indeed them, consider me PISSED, as I love me some Daft Punk).
Sunday night, the Cathedral of Souls burned, and it was a fantastic spectacle, complete with fireworks. However, once the final firework popped, the sky opened up and poured down rain. Seeing a mass of neon clad spectators scramble to find cover is as equally an impressive show in itself, and I spent a few hours hiding in a tent with friends until the storm passed.
I was a little sleepy after the weekend, but I felt revitalized for the experience all the same. It’s crazy, it’s insane, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything less.
Which in turn brought me to a conversation the following day. During one of my constant appointments, errands, and performances, someone said that “You have to love what you do in order to be successful”. And the words have been pressing on the back of my mind for the following days since. By that philosophy, I am simultaneously “successful” and “unsuccessful”. My life and all the adventures that I find myself in aren’t to impress anyone, nor are they done for anyone else but me. I do these things because I love them. And when I don’t “love” something, it affects my spirit in ways that don’t lead me to realize my full potential.
This is a milestone year for me with a lot of promisingly good change coming. It’s for that reason, now that I am entering a new phase in my life, that I have to stop doing things that don’t allow me to reach my full potential. I think I’ve reached the point in my life where I am ready to put to rest the things “that I have to”, and start focusing on the things “that I want to”. Because life really is too short. And it’s not worth stressing about the things that don’t have meaning to me. I’d rather focus on friends and family, and what makes me happy. Whether performing on a stage, or surrounded by a group of old friends out in the middle of the desert, “success” isn’t about having all the money or knowing all the answers. It’s about what you love. I’m finally back at the phase in my life where “because I have to” is going to be regulated to the backseat where it needs to be, and now it’s time to restructure a few things for both me and my life.
Speaking of which, wedding preparations are finally starting to commence after being put on “hold” for a few months. Tomorrow, Jen and I, along with our friend Brenda, will be hitting the road for a very different adventure for myself. It’s time to finally be a little more “respectable” these days, but you’re fooling yourself if you think that I’m not going to have a little fun along the way….