The Summer of Stop II: Jobs In, Jobs Out

Strange thing happened this week.

On Monday, I was thinking to myself that I’d missed out on certain opportunities in life, relating to music. Very specifically, I remembered declining a chance to join Judge Nothing on a short tour. Even though I was on-staff at the RFT at the time, I’d likely have been able to get a story out of the experience, making it a doubly-enriching chance to get outta town and live life. But I passed, for reasons long since forgotten. A couple other bands, over time, gave me the same offer: come on tour, drive a bit, sell shirts at gigs, hang-out, write what you wanna. The same result came with every offer: I didn’t go along.

Again, these thoughts were running through my head on Monday, just two days ago. Yesterday, on Tuesday, I met with Jimmy Tebeau, who heads up The Schwag, a group that’s rebranding itself as Grateful Dead Experience, while retooling for a big year of touring and festival play. I walked into an interview with Jimmy thinking that I’d do a journalistic side-job, writing an updated bio for the group, maybe a press release, too. The conversation, almost from jump, was heading in a different direction. Leaving 80-minutes later, I’d signed on to do the publicity duties of the group going forward: typing up releases, bios, Q/A’s and some social media stuff, fielding some interview requests, ghost-writing, what-have-you. Jimmy views The Schwag as an organization, one that takes on all the needs of a major touring act and this was a slot he saw as a need.

While not a full-time gig, by any means, it will offer a chance to make a bit of scratch, do some light travel and write some interesting pieces on a subculture that’s as strong as it’s ever been. While I didn’t grow up with Deadheads, I’m about to get pretty familiar with a whole bunch. Thinking that I’m up for the experience.

Interesting is that the opportunity to latch-on with the group came not long after walking away from some other gigs. After 17 years of adjunct work at Webster University, my last class is currently winding down; only the final’s left. And after a couple years of proofing/editing work for the OnLine Writing Center, at the same school, that side gig’s coming to a close in about 10 days. The amount of time freed up for new projects is significant. The opening up of mental space is even more important. While trying to do these jobs to my best ability, the last few months have been challenging, balancing these responsibilities with others. Writing. Opening a tavern. Exploring freelance options of various media stripes. All have been pulling at me, with stress often overriding satisfaction.

That phrase of “one door closes, another opens” ran through my head when posting a note to FB about the new Schwag arrangement. Right about the moment I thought that, an FB friend typed something almost exactly the same on that thread.

There’s something funny happening right now, as in “funny-good-kinda-funny.” I’m cool with that.