The biggest lessons learned from just being a part of the Portland music Scene, like dress however you damn well please, it’s ok to make funny voices, and more….

Since I moved back to Portland in 2011 from college, I’ve learned a lot about art, and what it means to be an artist.

I have been really hurt to see so much of the creative spirit of Portland shift, due to high costs of living, and many other hardhships creatives have had to endure since Portland became an influx hotspot for hip dwellers of all areas around the country. But in every pain comes with some silver lining.

Since back, I’ve befriended some killer groups, largely due in part to some key players. First off, I learned that if you want to be a musician for a living, you absolutely have to embrace it as an entrepreneurial endeavor to a point, or it’ll never be more than a hobby. As I was learning this I started The Heavy Hustle, and entered pseudoboss, a rock and roll band I was a fan of since 2008 then had a chance to drum in around 2012 or so, and was so stoked. Being in that band, and being a part of it ending has taught me that even the best, most promising of things come to an end unfortunately, and to try to have as much fun with it as possible while you have it, don’t take it for granted.

Through pseudoboss I met Jason Fellman, of J-Fell Presents, and he showed me that you can actually make a living off of music if you approach it like a businessman, and also that game theory and principles of poker funny enough are great lessons on how to approach your business as an artist. The biggest lesson from him I’ve learned is if you’ve got a good hand, play it for all it’s worth, and minimize your losses elsewhere.

From Jason and my old friend Vincent from college, I met the guys in ADDverse Effects (Vince is their guitar player), as we all shared a bill and gigged at Mogo Music Festival together. The ADDverse guys are incredible. In particular Boyd, their drummer. Being a drummer, a rapper (in reality a full blown multi-instrumentalist), and in my eyes a true artist, he was never afraid to do what the song needed. As I listened to the group I was always amazed at the fearless character voices Boyd would put into his songs. At first I thought it was a bit silly but enjoyable, but then I realized it was true art, just shamelessly, unapologetically putting yourself out there.

Finally Skull Diver showed me that you can embrace all the weirdness you want, and just throw it out there. I first met Mandy at a David Bowie tribute show that The Heavy Hustle and her friends band The Breaking were all playing at. It was put on shortly after David Bowie had passed, while at the show she explained to me that she was in a doom-glam group. At first I was like…. the hell is doom-glam? After seeing them play live, I instantly felt they most accurately represented exactly what I would have imagined doom-glam to be, and in addition to that, they have the most amazing outfits, comically mentioned as the ‘disco-fish’ outfits. Mandy and her sister Ally are fearless to express themselves through their look and their outfits. Years later they had an event called the Sparkle Bitch Ball, at which the MC, Buckmaster, was so thankful to work with them because they gave him an opportunity to really be as weird as he always wanted to, without judgement. Hearing him speak so passionately and sincerely about the bands encouragement really meant a lot to me, also put into words what I really appreciated about them as well.

It’s honestly completely refreshing to have met people who have taught me so much, without even really trying, just from them being themselves.

This week Boyd passed away from a biking accident, and it got me thinking about the influence and motivation he had on me as  a fellow drummer, performer, and musician, and it led me to realize that he and others have really taught me a lot. Rest in peace my man, you will be dearly missed by our friends in Portland and back home in Oaklahoma. Thank you for the lesson you gave me, for the short time I was lucky enough to know you.

In the end, perform how you want, look the way you want, and when the going is good, take it for all it’s worth, unapologetically!

Life’s cruelest, painfully true joke, let what you love hurt you.

We all want a better life, we all want to be fit, and happy, we all want to have no worries. How far into this do we dive though? I’ve had a revelation recently that the truest form of happiness, is actually provided through a willingness to suffer through the hardest of times. This scales, to very powerful suffering, to small things, and in most cases it’s driven by the decisions we make in life. Why are all the worst things for us, the most appealing? Want to be healthy? Cut out sugar/alcohol and other delicious but ultimately harmful items from your diet. Want to be fit? Abuse yourself at the gym at least 3 times a week if not more, or go running or more or less beat yourself up for a better body. Want to have financial stability? Live below your means. See a pattern here?

What is it that makes us feel unhappy? It’s because we’re not unhappy at our core, we’re actually unfulfilled. Achievements, and tangible goals, allow us to partially fill this void, but it’s truly not a long term solution to happiness. So how is it that suffering leads to happiness? It’s not simply that you have to experience the bad to appreciate the good, which IS a part of it, but really it’s more about Continue reading

Book Review – The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

9780812981605Holy smokes this book, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, made me rethink so many things in my life. My nervous ticks, my stupid habits that annoy even me, my good habits that have really helped me out over the years. This book should be the follow up to reading The Slight Edge (Also The Compound Effect, as those books are pretty similar in concept), because in order to execute the teachings in those books, this book can really give you insight into how you function at a subconscious level.

In other words, what do you do without even thinking about it? Do you even Continue reading

Book Review – Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win

Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win

Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win

This book, Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win, really hit home, hard. I had already been on the hunt for something like this, and someone suggested it on my Facebook wall. I tried to find that person but I wasn’t able to, so if you’re reading this, THANK YOU (and please message me so I can credit you).

First off, it’s written in a format that allows you to understand exactly what they’re trying to convey, with real world examples from the battlefield, the overall message (in case it wasn’t clear) and then how to apply those teachings in real life, and business.

Each lesson is presented in a way that Continue reading

I can’t stomach the world we’re leaving in our wake.

What is this world we’re living in now? We live in a world that permits, and places in power those who value money more than a life. Not just life in the sense of being alive, but life in the sense of quality of living. The richest country in the world sentences it’s poor to death because we can’t find it in our hearts to collectively chip in for the greater good.

Since childhood, everyone learns that anything in groups or teams can do more than an individual. We’re sitting on the greatest team of all time now, and it’s not just our country. Two heads are better than one, a country is better than two, and the world is better than a country. Yes we have our differences, but almost every time I’ve sat down to listen and understand perspective in dissent from my own, we find common ground. Our culture seems to set us up from birth to be the “Us versus them” on just about everything, but the most traveled people I know, and have met, all realize that we’re all the same at the core, just trying to get by day to day and somehow find a path to whatever we deem happiness.

I keep asking myself though…. how there are terrible terrible people still in power, and being put into power? If ever there were a distinction between good and evil, I think that we’re finally, as a global culture, starting to wake up to that reality.

For the first time in human existence we can empathize on a global level due to the unbelievable speed of information with the internet. But this information comes at a price, and requires that on the most fundamental level critical thinking is held before conclusions are made. If that moment of thought isn’t held, and critical thinking engaged, progress as a society halts.

What I’m seeing, and it’s giving me hope though, is that a byproduct of this global cultural interconnectivity is allowing people to get answers from outside their cultures with the click of a button. The residue of this is a cultural immune system that is working on two fronts, to find a global value set, and enforce it, all through the internet. I see two scenarios that lift my spirits each time.

  1. Positive actions are more frequently being reinforced with more good actions. Someone does something awesome, or is in need, and people rally to support. The most notable example is communities and people giving out of the kindness of their hearts to help pay each others medical expenses or life hardships with things like GoFundMe, when there would never have been an opportunity otherwise. This is one half of the cultural immune system fostering a positive outcome.
  2. Negative actions are being quelled with transparency and free flowing information. As often as good actions are being lifted up, negative influences on the world are being called out on a global scale. Now people should, and have to think twice about their value sets if they represent negative influences on the world such as racism, bigotry, and any other generally awful values. People rally to berate, educate, and correct those who by all accounts should probably re-evaluate their negatively influential tenets.

While it seems like in some spots, we’re going to hell in a handbasket, I’m actually hopeful, and hedging my bets on the slow momentum gaining around this inadvertent global cultural immune system that has sprung up as a result of the worldwide instantaneous communication. I’d rather have slow moving progress than none at all, or worse…. backwards progress. High five for the cultural immune system.

In the hunt for 500 talent buyers, I made a list, starting with Portland (48 venues)

So, considering my goal to interview and learn from 500 Talent buyers  (know any? are you one? I’d love to talk to you!) for my crazy research project, I figured I’d start in my own home town, and then branch out from there.

Here is a list of all the Portland (and somewhat surrounding areas) that seem to have gigs on a regular enough basis to warrant a conversation with the research project, but if you’re in a band and you’re trying to get in touch with people, this may be really helpful: <—- check out this list, help me fill in what’s missing

Below is a screenshot of the list


Happy booking!

Write it down. On the low.

For fathers day, my dad asked me how I was doing. It was a kind gesture, and we talked about it. “Overall things are fine, but everyone has their low days” I replied.
He gave me a hug and said something to the effect of “Try writing whatever it is you’re feeling down on paper. By the time you finish writing, I bet you’ll start to feel better.” We continued to talk about it for a bit, but I have spent my free time today thinking about it.
I realized that’s some solid advice. The best part is, what you write down never needs to be read again if you don’t want, shoot you could even burn the paper. Slightly symbolic in a sense too. I often feel like I have no one to talk to about my low days, which I know deep down isn’t true, but it doesn’t mean I don’t feel that way in the moment you know? I think writing this may be a good new way to soothe those emotions. Mindfulness helps as well.
Anyone else have any methods they use? Curious about it.