I came from a family of academics and career professionals. My father was a brilliant aerospace engineer, and I was the “black sheep” who dropped out of college to join a rock band. I sometimes wonder what I missed by not pursuing higher education and choosing the path I did. Then I come to my senses and realize whatever you do, be the best you can. Wherever life leads you, take stock of what you have and do what makes you happy. After some recent health challenges, it’s become apparent to me that “life is for the living” and those of us who chose the Musical Instrument and Pro Audio business as our home are indeed fortunate.
An attitude of gratitude
In 1980, I talked my way into a musical instrument retail job and will forever be grateful for this. Prior to then I worked at a tire store and had my finger crushed in a spin-balance machine. Being a keyboard player, this new role came as a great relief. When my income rose based on increased sales, it dawned on me that I had found my calling. As the old expression goes “find something you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life”. The sales environment afforded me the chance to help customers make wise purchasing decisions, ones that helped them transcend and get more out of their musical journey.
Pinch me, I’m making a living selling dreams
Fast forward to 2019 and almost four decades in the business. I still pinch myself that I’ve been able to make a living selling musical dreams, and to this day play guitar, keyboard or sing on a regular basis. It’s not just the thrill of making a sale, it’s more about the realization that our industry is made up of genuinely decent people, most of whom share the same burning passion for music. So, to my fellow sales reps, retail salespeople, music store operators, manufacturers and everyone else in the trade, let’s raise a toast to why we are here. No matter what part of the musical ecosystem you participate in, you’ve gained membership into a special club that can point to music as our foundation.
In a world full of angst, hate, and strife, music is a peaceful haven. When I pick up my Guild acoustic or lay my hands on the Kronos in my studio, I cannot be angry. Playing music is about the only time my “monkey mind” turns off, as all I can think about is the song, the tuning, and the warm feeling inside that occurs. Do yourself a favor, and sometime today, right now if it’s within reach, pick up your “peaceful weapon of choice”, and enjoy a few minutes of bliss. Turn off the world and turn on your mixer if you’re recording. Grab your guitar and get off your mobile phone for a while and appreciate the moment – today.
Leslie Butts says
Hey Doug…I’m right there with you. Been in this crazy MI biz since 1979. Did retail…toured…now repping for quite a while. Lots of hotel.. airplane …highway time for sure. Gets old and a bit boring at times…but then you think…hell I’m getting paid to travel and see wonderful sights and meet an amazing array of people….so …just shut up and drive!
Enjoy the blog!!
Gordy Wilcher says
Amen my Brother. Our “Tribe” is revered and so so many exclaim “ i wish i would have learned to play an instrument”. Like you i came from a long line of Military & Manufacturing Pro’s but once i discovered the feeling from plucking that first bass note destiny took over. My journey took me from commission sales guy, store manager, store owner, NAMM Board member, imso Chairman, International & National Sales Director over almost 5 decades. All throughout the journey i still managed to throw the bass over the shoulder and make music (& still do).
As my dear friend Joe Lamond shared- we NEVER leave this industry.