Business-and-music-related observations and comment.

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Passion and profitability.

Canaligator Of the dozen musical ensembles I performed with in my twenties—the "artistic period" of my life—the most interesting one was a street-singing band, Uncle Crusty and the Venice Canaligators.

The group was named after the scenic canals of Venice, California and the scenic Uncle Crusty. His real name was Hook McGuire, a lovable, grizzly, one-armed harmonica player (he lost his hook in prison) who sang like Howlin' Wolf.

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The long and winding high road.

Imagine being unexpectedly and hastily canned from a small business without ever receiving an explanation why—a business that you had worked diligently to build up for two years.

And imagine the customers of this business being so distraught at your dismissal that they rioted at the injustice of it.

And imagine this small business achieving worldwide popularity a year-and-a-half later, and your former partners becoming multi-gazillionaires while you scraped around for any job you could find. You could be forgiven for being a tad bitter. In fact, no one would blame you for being indefinitely pissed-off.

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Growing leaders

I came across an old Rolling Stone article on the Police—the '80s rock trio that completed a 15-month, 358-million-dollar reunion tour in 2008. (My first band did a 358-dollar tour, which is almost the same thing.)

In the article, drummer Stewart Copeland was singing the praises of Sting, the lead singer of the band who originally broke up the group in 1984 (at the height of their glory) to begin his triumphant solo career.

But instead of being resentful of the superstar status Sting achieved on his own, Copeland actually took pride in it because—as he explained—he was the one who discovered Sting back in 1976. "Sting's my guy! I found him. I'm proud of him. When they shouted his name at shows, I was like, 'Yeah, that's my guy.'"

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Rock and Roll politics.

Oh boy. Another anniversary is on the horizon—and another thirty-year marker. November 7, 1978 was election day in Connecticut, the conclusion of my breakthrough campaign for governor of that state—the most rock & roll campaign in state history.

I've previously mentioned the auspicious beginning of my candidacy. My independent campaign had picked up speed later that summer when I encouraged David Sewall to run with me for Attorney General.

We had crossed paths in college a dozen years earlier (in Astronomy class to be exact) and knew immediately that we were destined for greatness together. I was an Ancient Greek major and he a Music Theory major, so it was obvious even then that we could be a powerful political team with a practical grasp of the burning issues of the day.

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You need to be willing to kill chickens

In a previous post—"Taking Care of Business"—I argue that the great rock bands have been worthy exemplars of aspiration, ambition, motivation, and drive. But that's not sufficient. There are obviously other qualities needed to be successful.

I thought I'd illustrate this with a story of a particularly hardworking rock & roll group—one of several "almost famous" bands I performed in a few years back.

The Berries—later known as The Band of Angels—were a four-piece Hollywood proto-glamor-rock band. (I'm not sure what that means either.) Our claim to fame was our residency in the early '70s as house band for Gazzarri's, a legendary dance club on Sunset Strip.

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