… It’s times like these you learn to live again
It’s times like these you give and give again
It’s times like these you learn to love again
It’s times like these time and time again
Foo Fighters – Times Like These
Music brings all of us together. It does not matter the genre you listen to or who your favorite artist may be. It is the one language we can all speak – together. It is one of the few things that ties us together regardless of gender, race, or sexual preference.
This week watching the performances from the Taylor Hawkins Tribute, I was reminded of this fact again. I laughed, cried, danced and sang along. It was heartbreaking and joyful at the same time. Then again many of the best moments of my life have those same elements.
When I worked at the agency I would go to see multiple shows weekly, sometimes nightly. Sometimes they felt like work, most times I just felt lucky I was able to get into the show. A few years into working at the agency I was lucky enough to sit next to the agent that repped the Foo Fighters. And even luckier that he would invite me to shows. I was able to see them at arenas as well as theaters. I have two favorite memories of Taylor. The first occurred one winter break when I could not afford to go anywhere and my family was not around. I was feeling alone and depressed. I received a text from the agent.
“Hey, you in town?” It read.
I thought he was going to ask me to go into the office and get something for him. I was hesitant to answer. Plus, I was feeling like a total loser being alone during the holidays and having no plans. Still.
“Yes, what’s up?” I answered.
“Steel Pony, three hours in the valley. Your name is on the list. See you there.” He replied.
I didn’t know what the Steel Pony was, let alone where it was located. But the agent repped some of my favorite folks – Pearl Jam, Beastie Boys, and Maxwell in addition to the Foo Fighters. So even though it was raining and I was flying solo, I headed to the Steel Pony. When I arrived the line was out of the parking lot and down and around two blocks. It was not a big club. I walked past the line and into the parking lot. I saw the agent. He was talking to the Fire Chief. He saw me. Grabbed my arm and pushed me inside while listening to the fireman tell them they were at capacity.
The place was packed. I had been pushed through a side door directly next to the stage. I had been pushed into someone when I came through the door. It was Taylor Hawkins. He smiled. I apologized. He tipped his glass and walked on to the stage. It was then I saw Dave Grohl and realized I was at a Foo Fighters show. For three hours they played a bit of everything. I danced, laughed, and sweat the night away. I no longer felt depressed or alone. I was with my music family and we were all rejoicing. It is still one of my favorite memories.
The second occurred a few years later. I was invited to a friends and family show at the Forum. I didn’t feel like going. I was tired. I had been traveling. I was feeling burned out. I will be honest and tell you I don’t even remember who I was seeing. But I remember thinking, someone else would be so excited about this show. Go, you never know what can happen. I arrived at the forum. Checked in, grabbed a drink and headed to my seat. In front of me were a bunch of guys that were having the time of their lives. I was sitting with other agents and we were all on our phones not paying attention to anything but work. But I remember thinking I wish I was part of the group in front of us. It was then I recognized Taylor Hawkins in that row. I remember watching him and his friends more than the show because they were so into it. They were having the best time. Here was a guy who had toured all over the world and tonight he was just a fan like everyone else in the place. It reminded me of the power of music.
Working in the music business can be tough. You can be surrounded by the darkest parts of humanity, but you are also surrounded by such unimaginable light. Every time I have thought of doing something else, someone sends me a song. Sometimes the song is by artists I know. Many times it is by someone I have never heard of before. The one thing they have in common is that they always remind me why I love this business. They lift my mood and my spirit like nothing else does.
If you are having a bad day, put on that album that brings back that memory. I have sat on a couch and listened to an entire album and ended up in conversations with total strangers about the music. I have woken up crying, put on an album and had a private dance party. I have sat in a parked car staring at nothing listening to a voice note that an artist has sent me. The one thing that all of these moments have in common is the music. I hope that today you take a moment and listen to your sound, whatever flavor that may be. I hope that it brings a smile to your face and makes your soul soar. We all need that now more than ever.
***Side note: I have seen some of the negative comments about the benefit. I haven’t read much of them because the second I see that they are criticizing such an amazing moment, I want to throw something. We have become a society that can find fault in everything, including an event that brought generations and genres together to celebrate a life that touched so many. It is heartbreaking. So I refuse. I refuse to fall into the trap about what was wrong with the show and rejoice in what was so right about it. I hope you are dancing and laughing above Taylor, because you made all of us remember what was right in this world.