The World Wide Web had happened and I wanted to be part of it; I got a new job in about five minutes.
What I did next isn't important for the purposes of this essay. What is important is that the change seemed to rekindle the dormant musical flame. Before I knew it I was on the phone spreading the word that not only was I more available to play, I wanted to play as much as possible, every weekend and then some, if circumstances permitted.
This was a reflection of another important lesson learned. If you're playing part time, you don't tell anyone you're playing "just" part time. If you do, the phone doesn't ring. Other musicians subliminally think (and perhaps they're right) that you're just not that interested. As soon as I put the word out I wanted to play more, more gigs started happening, including a lucrative wedding band that while not musically the most intense thing I'd ever done, had me up and running a LOT.
I began to grow musically, for the first time in years. My enthusiasm for playing was brimming and I was playing more musically, and with more energy and enjoyment than in a long, long time.
It has been that way ever since: working a day gig I find challenging, even thrilling given all that is so exciting about the Web and the new networked economy, combined with a healthy dose of playing as much as possible, which is usually four to six times per month.
The great burnout of 1991 is a long ago memory, and as with the sleazy freelance contractor, good riddance. Music is alive and well, speaking its honest truths and generously doling out its sublime energy, now sans the trauma of endless travel and exhaustion.
Andin addition to making a decent living, getting to choose with whom I play, playing as often or as little as I likeI'm happy to report, given today's trend in casual workplace attire, I needn't feel freaked out if I want to wear my Tony Lama's to work.