Take It For What It's Worth and Get Better

The Senior VP of A&R at RCA Records e-mailed me and said, “Hey Jason, it randomly popped in my head that your band is in town mastering your record and I wanted to see if you wanted to pop into the office and listen to it.” As a hard-working diligent musician, you know I immediately responded to that e-mail with a resounding “Heck, yeah!,” and headed down to their offices, put that masterpiece on the phonograph player, and got signed on the spot. If you thought that, of course, you would be wrong. I did not check my e-mail the entire time I was in town and that meeting did not happen.

My band before the aforementioned band was at SXSW many years ago and we were at a demo listening session with an array of luminaries on the panel. The panel included the guy who got both Guns ‘N’ Roses and Motely Crue signed (a fact that I knew at the time, because I am pretty big G’N’R fan). Our jam was the first one up. The assessment was as follows: “I feel like in Manchester, England. It’s the early ‘80’s and I’m hearing Morissey and Marr…” In my head: Yes, GO ON!!!!” “…before they learned how to write a hook.”

During the promotional campaign for our second album, we were the grateful recipients of the following words of praise: “All of [Jason’s band]’s success is undeserved.” Success, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, and in retrospect, we were in fact more successful that many, many others, but it sure didn’t feel that way, and that shit above didn’t help. That was the first line of the review of our record, and let me tell you, it didn’t get a whole lot better from there.

Music is full of disappointment and rejection. It can feel absolutely crushing, but it’s not. You just have to take whatever happens for what it’s worth, see if there is something to be learned from it, and move on and get better. Expect the worst and prepare for the best.