“Ladies and gentlemen, thank you so very much for waiting. Would you welcome please THE ROLLING STONES!”
It was Fall 1981 in Torrance, CA. I had just started the 4th grade. My uncle Jamie ordered the Rolling Stones Live from Hampton concert on one of the first pay per views on “ON TV”, which was an early cable TV provider. He had the concert piped into 3 rooms, which was a big deal at the time. It was also simulcast on 95.5 KLOS and playing on about a dozen speakers throughout the house. There were about 30 people hanging out. It was a party. A great party. At the young age of 9, I got to see how the grown ups did things. What an impression. Lots went on that night. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about the party, but one thing in particular hit me right between the eyes. Without even looking, I found my thing; I wanted to be a rock star. I wanted to be on stage.
Jamie had one of the early VCRs, so he recorded the show. I was able to replay the concert over and over and over. And I did. I studied it and learned nuances and details in my sub conscience that could never be taught. Technology is cool.
Ten years later, in 1991 I was playing gigs of my own, and eventually had a band called The Names. We were shopping an EP we cut all over the place.
On a trip to London a year later, I even sneaked into the Sony Records building, trying to get my tape into the right hands. I got to a receptionist who said she’d get it to the right people. 3 weeks later I received a package in the mail. It was from Epic Records, who I guess was a part of Sony at the time. The tape was about half listened to. There was a letter enclosed saying “thanks for your submission, we enjoyed your music but don’t have a fit at this time. Please send us your next recording.” Hey, at least they listened to it! I was stoked about that.
By 1993 The Names were a local favorite in my college town of San Luis Obispo, CA. We’d pack places, and even have people singing along with our own songs. We finally got label interest from a company called Statue Records in Redondo Beach, CA. We were starring at a record deal, although it was clear there was no such thing as a “deal” in the record business. It was more like a student loan. It didn’t matter, because that’s what I had been working toward. Then John, my longtime friend and band mate, quit the band. I thought the band could carry on, but then my girlfriend became pregnant somehow. With a year left in college, a recording contract, a serious girlfriend, and a child on the way, I had some decisions to make.
It’s now Fall 2006. It’s a rainy Sunday after Thanksgiving. The Stones just played at AT&T Park in San Francisco, CA, on one of their longest tours ever. I married my girlfriend, we have a 12 year-old girl and an 8 year-old boy, I’m the CEO of a technology company called Jangl, east of San Francisco, I play in a rock band called Big Breakfast, I also play in a Latin jazz band called El Desayuno, and I stumbled upon a DVD of The Rolling Stones Live from Hampton from 1981. I’m watching it now. I’m just now connecting the dots of how this journey has come together. It has everything to do with how an utter and complete outsider got inside Silicon Valley. I think I’ll write a book. If nothing else it will be a documentary of things for my kids and their kids and their kids. On the other hand, it might entertain you some and share some insights I gained along the way.
Update, it’s now Spring 2008. I haven’t opened this document on my mac in 18 months. I’ve been busy. Real busy. It’s time to write this thing already...