Performing with my old band at our college reunion last weekend was a trip (so to speak) down memory lane. The original members of our group—The Morning—were back together, as we banged out three hours of originals and covers for our cheerfully inebriated audience.
I shouldn’t be too surprised that we sounded like our former selves (whom else should we sound like?) but I was impressed we played as well as we did while wearing earplugs. (The drummer plays too loud.)
We hadn’t gigged in 17 years—and hadn’t played together much at all since 1975—so it was fun to reminisce about our “golden years” in NY and LA, opening for the Dead, Sly, Joni, Zappa, Alice, etc. It was also fun to be reminded of a valuable rock & roll business lesson.
Our band, truth be told, went through managers like Henry VIII went through wives. In one nine-month period we had four different managers. In some cases we “auditioned” the managers and told them that if they could get us quality gigs and a recording contract we’d keep them. In two cases the managers were nationally renowned nightclub owners in NY and LA respectively, but each failed to deliver, so we moved on. That was because they worked for us, not the other way around.
It struck me later that this could be applied—in some cases—to mainstream organizations. What if business teams could actually recruit, hire, and fire their bosses? Don’t laugh—there are a few companies that actually do this, including Brazil’s Semco. (Of course in start-up companies this is tricky because there’s no team that predates the founder/owner.)
But even if there are practical considerations that make this arrangement difficult, wouldn’t it be useful for managers to act AS IF they were working for their teams, and not the reverse?
An earlier post—“Who works for whom?”—tackles this subject in more detail.
By the way, don’t bother to google The Morning. We never recorded an album or single—and only appeared on one local TV show (in Hartford, CT) decades ago. We’re pretty much a Google no-show. But in an era of instant hype and social media sunburn, this guarantees a modicum of mystery about the band—which we'll happily exploit.
[7/1/14 breaking news: I spoke too soon. The Morning now has a website at TheMorning.org with vids & pix.]