People who know me best know that I’m always trying to keep it light and figure out how I can make people around me laugh. That’s when I am happiest, but it often translates to me being perceived as a smartaleck. Guilty as charged. Some days I root for “Man,” and some days I root for “Food,” because I like to mix it up.
I am a graduate of Gullett Elementary and The University of Texas, so I know the city Austin as it was and the one it is becoming. I like them both. I have subscribed to Psychology Today since junior year in high school. I’ve had a short story published in a literary collection, and an article published in a college textbook.
I own an actual branding iron, which belonged to my father. I keep it around for problem clients and difficult ex-girlfriends. Someone recently pointed out that it would work well as a home defense implement as well, but I prefer a weapon that provides more torque and a tighter killing radius…a medieval battle flail, for instance.
Growing up modestly, in my 20s and early 30s as a freelance writer, dj, musician, and event promoter, money was no big deal. Having parlayed my gifts into some success, I see its addictive appeal, and its power for good and evil. I think the government should not concern itself with what goes on in my bedroom . . . or on my kitchen table.
I don’t regret much, which is to say I don’t allow myself to harbor it . . . but yeah, I’ve done plenty that merits regret. In high school, I was Texas state champion in public speaking my junior year. I was set to make a run at a repeat my senior year, but failed an elective class during that semester and was rendered ineligible under Texas State House Bill 72 (later tagged as the lamest law ever and appropriately repealed).
I’ve run a record label and a weekly newspaper, and got my start in business selling cinnamon toothpicks on the playground in 1977.
In the late eighties, while at UT, I played lead guitar in heavy metal band Zero Tolerance. Our musical highlight was opening for Flotsam and Jetsam in front of 800 people at Austin’s rock haven the Back Room. The Back Room was run by notorious concert promoter Jim Ramsey, who took me under his wing and taught me the concert business. The two of us partnered to produce the first Austin shows by Rage Against The Machine, Tool, Pearl Jam, 311, Public Enemy, and Jane’s Addiction (and hundreds of others).
When Jim died last year, he left me his Rolex and there is a great story behind that. I later applied those concert skills in Tulsa as one of the architects of Edgefest series from 1996 through 2001. We once made over $1,000,000 in a single day concert featuring Kid Rock that drew 33,000 people. Not a million “gross”…a million profit. One meeeeeeeeeeeeeellion dollars!
Staying in concert land, I can tell you why Ministry’s 1999 tour rider included Depends adult undergarments, and why Marilyn Manson needed live caged chickens in 1997. Both answers will likely surprise you. On the occasion of my 40th birthday, I finally made my student film, a short film 10-minute comedy entitled “Commonesque” as part of a filmmaking workshop studying under renowned filmmaker Kat Candler.
Since them, I continued my filmmaking adventures as an associate producer on the Oklahoma-made full-length feature film “The Rock n Roll Dreams Of Duncan Christopher,” which played fairly well on the film festival circuit and is set for an early 2011 release on DVD. I’ve been to the Playboy Mansion (twice), the Super Bowl, taken in a Dodgers game in Steven Spielberg’s box (he wasn’t there) and attended the Hollywood red-carpet premiere of the X-Files movie. I describe the Playboy Mansion as overrated and the Super Bowl as underrated, if that’s possible.
I have grown to embrace my role as the sober guy on the scene, but I am a little pickier about where I choose to spend my time. I used to wonder if I could be around people who drink. I have for almost six years now, and it has everything to do with how people drink: how much, how often, and how sloppy they get. I have found it’s much easier to just tell the truth, all the time, instead of having to remember which line of crap you told which people on which particular day.
I’m a snob about grammar, spelling, and punctuation, probably more than I should be. The occasional typo is one thing, but let’s mix in a spell-check. Making the world revolve around me got me to a certain place, and there were a lot of good things in that place…which a lot of people would call “success.”
These days, I really like putting my energies more into the people in my life. I believe that we all have things to teach each other and learn from each other.