2014 - What Happened

I Joined a Punk Rock Band

I came across Not Half Bad through my friend Chris. He’d mentioned his friend Matt was in a local punk rock band, and since I love punk, I thought I should check it out. I’d talked to Matt a few times at a local Starbucks, where he worked, and one day after work, Matt told me that he was interested in having me play drums for the band, since their current drummer was wanting to take time off to take care of his newborn.

I took a listen to their most recent album (Good People) and was impressed enough to agree. Sure, it’s a shitty punk rock album, but I’ve always wanted to be in a shitty punk rock band.

The first show I played with them (after about 6 practices) was an opening gig for Off With Their Heads and the Menzingers, who are one of my favorite bands.

I was pretty rusty at the time; I used to play punk and experimental rock all the time, but I had been playing slower, singer/songwriter music for the previous two years. It took a few months of practice and working out for my muscles to catch up.

In August, we wrote and recorded a 6 song EP, Sorry Dudes. I’m super proud of it.

I Quit a Texas Country Band

At the beginning of the year when I joined Not Half Bad, I was also playing with Kolton Moore & the Clever Few; a pretty solid Texas country/rock band. I liked the music fine, we played a lot of shows, and the pay was great, but I didn’t really fit in with the scene. Sometime around the middle of the year, I stepped down.

Many musicians dream of being able to make money playing music. After all, there’s no greater joy in life than to be able to do what you love. But I found that money changes the reasons you’re playing.

There’s a freedom that comes from playing music that you love, just because you love it. There’s no pressure to perform because the venue or concert promotor is expecting you to please the crowd; you’re just playing because you love the act of playing and the songs.

Luckily, when I quit the band, I was making good money between my front-end web development job and my podcast editing.

I Went Full Time Podcast Editor

Sometime around April, I realized that I was editing a ton of podcasts every week. I’d spend a few hours every day after work editing podcasts, writing show notes, and talking to clients. I did some math, and realized that the income from my clients would be enough to cover my bills (with a little leftover for extra spending).

So I put in my two weeks notice at AM Design, and became a full time freelancer.

The first two months felt like a dream. I felt like I’d won the lottery. I couldn’t believe that I had achieved freedom from a day job. Of course, I knew that I still had bosses. I really had more of them, but they weren’t looking over my shoulder, or watching my time when I left for lunch, or telling me that I couldn’t take an afternoon nap if I felt like it.

Starting my own business has been one of the most rewarding and exciting things that I’ve ever done. I’ve achieved a goal that I’ve had since I was 23; find a job that I could do on tour.

I Went On My First Tour

Speaking of: I went on my first real tour. I’d done a few days up to Colorado and Wyoming with Kolton, but this time, I went with Not Half Bad out east to Nashville, up through Kentucky, Indiana and Iowa, then back down through Oklahoma to Texas. I was gone for a week, I saw a bunch of crazy things, ate a ton of great food, met lots of strangers, and had an all around blast.

I even got some editing work done, although it’s hard to really get focused work time in while touring. There are tons of things that can take your attention. I found that I was even enjoying just watching the scenery go by, and it’s hard to work when you stop in Chicago for an afternoon. In the future, if I know I’ll be going on tour, I’m going to arrange for someone else to pick up a large portion of my editing work for me. Finding a solid wifi connection for downloading large files is still a challenge on the road.

My Goals for 2015

Besides raising my rates, focusing on providing more value to my current clients, and generally getting better at what I do, I’d really like to launch two courses. One will be for anyone who wants to launch a podcast, and one will be about how I edit podcasts. They should be launched on my friend’s platform, seanwes.com. I may end up working full time for him as well, but we’ll see. That’s a story for another day.

I’d like to do more writing and screencasting, in general.

I’m going to play shows with my band, and hopefully we’ll write and record another EP or LP. I’d like to get them into the habit of writing and producing content weekly, if not daily.

That’s it for now.

I’m off to take on 2015.