All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages…
“As You Like It”
I’ll spare you the reading of the complete passage. Let us suffice to say for those who know or choose to know, that I vacillate between what the Bard called the “schoolboy” and the “soldier.”
Four years ago, when I was 52, I noticed my life had this beautiful symmetry to it. Dividing by 4, I was looking at 4 distinct 13-year periods.
Ages 0-13 were spent growing to adolescence in Kentucky and West Virginia. I had an idyllic Appalachian upbringing. I would not trade growing up on the top of a mountain for anything. Those years themselves could, and maybe will someday, be the source for much writing.
Ages 14-26 were my Indiana years of puberty, high school, college and the beginnings of my music business career in Indianapolis with Sunshine Promotions. Oh, what wild times.
Ages 27-39 I traveled to all 50 of our United States and nearly 30 countries, in service to a wide variety of entertainers and musical groups. These expeditions with so many minstrels and troubadours kept me very busy. That is truly the subject of this “book.”
Ages 40-52 were in one place, with one job, in my adopted hometown of Los Angeles, which I had used as a home base during the quarter before as well.
The purpose of these writings is manifold:
One is to inform those who know me, but have no idea what I did before they met me at the age of 40 or beyond.
Most people who knew me growing up, family included, have no idea about my young adult life.
Another is for me, myself, to put it all together. I’ve forgotten more than I remember. At least it feels that way. With luck, by reflecting and typing it in, I’ll have a mostly complete recounting to share with you.
Additionally, I just may be able to pull together a complete employment resume.
This is not going to be a Hollywood tell-all. Don’t expect a lot of TMZ-style dishing. Under the advice of Bambi’s Thumper and my mother, Mary L. Woolsey, if I don’t have anything nice to say, I will be far less effusive than with those I admire.
I’ll be starting with how I came to love music, especially live music, and how that passion turned into a career. The beginnings of my touring career with Sunshine Promotions in Indianapolis are as important to me as my 13 years on the road.
These weekly Sunday installments are a grand experiment for me. Conflicting parts of me are shouting that I can’t, I shouldn’t or I won’t tell my story. I do and don’t want any commentary.
Done correctly, a week at a time, this will take a couple years at least.
Bear in mind that most long-term touring pros are humble people who simply do a job they love day-in and day-out. They do not boast and brag. They are not conceited. They are not of the “Hey, look at me!” variety. They sacrifice time with their families or maybe decided to forego the family route at all. Some suffer in silence over what is missing in their lives, as other parts are very full. It’s not an easy path to choose. Yet there are many rewards.
I’m not trying to call attention to myself. At least not in the vein of “Look what I used to do for a living!” I generally say, when asked, that I did some behind the scenes stuff in the music business, and hope no more questions are asked.
There are many who have done it much more than me, and done it far better.
I’m not special. Yet, when I stop and recognize that I’ve worked for and with a Nobel Prize winner and 3 EGOTS, maybe there is a story to tell.
Thank you in advance for reading.
I want to thank the following people:
Jim Cimino and Chi Neal for their incessant prompting.
Kelly Morgan for helping me find my voice as a writer.
Fred Schrott, Tony Collins & Sally Mann Romano, writers extraordinaire, for being salient, current inspiration.
Michelle Minor Howard for her constant love, energy and support. We met each other way back when, and we are miraculously and joyfully married today. To you, my soulmate, life-support system and partner for the rest of my life, this “book” is humbly dedicated.
Long Beach, CA
15 September 2019