The Day We Almost Lost George

The Day We Almost Lost George

Imagine you’re in a band. Yes, as an adult. It started out as an ironic hobby, something you did almost as a joke. But then it started gaining actual traction. You didn’t have to seek out venues anymore…they started seeking you. You’re getting calls, messages from friends you haven’t seen in years, calls from people you would’ve never expected..surprisingly, you’re on your way to becoming a financially successful ensemble. That’s how we started out years ago. Now, we’re back together for a reunion tour.

Everything was going great, but then all of a sudden, the drummer in your band gets a phone call during a rehearsal. He steps outside to take it while you tune your guitar, and comes back in like he’s seen his own ghost. Defeated, he breaks the news.

“My application to extend my time here was denied. I have to go back to Canada in two weeks.”

This is what happened to me only a few days ago. No one knows what to say. The band is nothing without George…his drum solos are the reasons many audience members make second appearances. The band chemistry, the specific and unique talent each member brought to the group…it only worked when everyone was on board. You can’t have the Four Seasons without the fourth man — and no one could replace him.

“No,” the keyboardist pipes up. “That’s not happening.”

For the next twenty minutes, we all dispute what little knowledge we have regarding immigration law. Someone says he’d be an undocumented immigrant if he stays, another says it’s fine if he’s a rock star, someone says he could seek asylum, another says “…from Canada?”….nothing really gets done. That is until we finally decide to use the wealth of information at our fingertips.

“Has no one Googled this yet?” I ask. The band members sheepishly stare at the ground.

After a dejected sigh, I finally put “immigration law orange county” into the search bar. The band members grab their respective devices and do the same. The first fifteen minutes were discouraging, but I realized why so many people go into law (spoiler alert: it’s because they make BANK). The band was making a decent amount of money during the tour, but not that much…money was still very much part of the equation, and it made the search more difficult than expected.

“Wait look at this one,” our keyboardist says. He had found a link to a more affordable lawyer via a Yelp review, and she was local. Not only did she have an impressive amount of positive reviews, but every one of her clients agreed that her services were definitely worth the price. George called the number on the website and she picked up in seconds. After briefly explaining his situation, she assured us that he had several means of legally staying in the US longer. They set up an in-person consultation, and from then on, we were never worried about George having to leave us again.

We only hope more people take the time to find these lawyers, rather than thinking their only options are staying illegally or leaving their entire life behind. These kinds of lawyers often unsung heroes, helping people when they need it most and keeping their prices affordable so people don’t spend their last dime just trying to continue their life in the US. And if that isn’t honorable, I don’t know what is.

Here’s one of these great lawyers:

K Nair law Group, P.C.

31897 Del Obispo St Suite 225, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

(949) 493-4150

Lightning Strikes Twice

Lightning Strikes Twice

Termites: the reason your neighbor’s house gets covered in a ridiculous circus tent. No one likes dealing with them, which is why so many people put it off until their ceiling foundation looks a little shakey. But believe me, termite infestations are nothing to put on the backburner. In fact, coming face-to-face with the termite problem early on might just save your life.

I had my own personal run-in with these “delightful” little creatures in my own career. I was halfway through a set with my band the other week, we were doing a little reunion tour, getting the guys all back together sort of thing. So we were in the part in the lineup where the energy really starts to pick up. The skies were blue, the crowd was pumped, and stage safety was the last thing on our minds. However, it became painfully relevant all too quickly when we heard a loud creak in the stage.

I am typically in charge of group morale, so I didn’t acknowledge it as a problem right away. After casting a quick nervous glance to my bandmates, I “played it off” (so to speak) with a laugh and continued in my favorite indulgent guitar solo. But I knew it was a problem I could no longer avoid when the stage literally sunk beneath my feet. I felt like we were on the freaking Titanic!

Call it far-fetched, but there is no other way for me to properly explain this. Whichever beam was supporting the weight of me, our drummer, and our equipment had just given up six inches of its original height. I had no idea this was even possible, at least in terms of physics. It was then that we knew it was an actual problem, not the kind you can just dismiss with “peace, love, and rock n’ roll.”

The rescue mission is my favorite part of the story, and I only know it because my manager told me what happened in full detail after the event. After the unfortunate sinking event, our manager went directly to the guys that saved us last time. Longtime readers of this blog may remember a story where termites took down the stage in our recording studio. Because of that, we had a little experience with termite extermination, my manager literally dug through our old records and somehow, by the grace of God himself, found their number just in time.

A fine exterminator from Garden Grove by the name of Marky Mark (okay not really, but wouldn’t that be amazing??) sauntered in with his knowledge of all things extermination. He had saved us once, we were hoping he could save us again. And just to reset the scene, while all of this is happening, we are still jamming away on stage to a huge crowd. Lord knows how he did the job so quickly — I thought the process involved several days-worth of fumigating and quarantining, but apparently, it is doable without such drastic measures. Within what seemed like minutes (one’s sense of time is severely compromised whilst on stage), the problem had evaporated into thin air. The concert continued, the crowd was pumped, and we completed the set on a termite-free stage,

Now I know this sounds far-fetched — termite extermination within a few hours? That’s too science-fiction-y for my taste. But folks, the advances of technology go way beyond SpaceX and self-driving Ubers. The future is now guys, it’s pretty dang cool. And in tribute, I’m writing a new song dedicated to this amazing man who has now saved us twice. Be on the lookout for that! Until then, keep rocking!

Shoutout to my guys at:

Natural Science Exterminating

11642 Knott Ave, Garden Grove, CA 92841

(800) 246-7378

Time For A New House

Time For A New House

Beep, beep, beep… Snake Robins rolled over in his bed and smacked his alarm clock. The clock read 5:15, not AM but PM. Hmm, he thought, I must have slept all day again. He really needed to get better about setting his alarm clock correctly. Oh well, he thought. 

He had a dinner meeting with his friend Rob Reynolds in 45 minutes. He threw some clothes on and headed out the door. The restaurant was walking distance from his old house, so he strolled down the sidewalk in its general direction. His friend Rob was actually working on building his new home, that’s how they had met. 

Snake’s fame had revamped within the past year after millennial celebrity Justin Boston had released a cover of his famous 70s song, “I Just Want to Rock”. All of the sudden his music was cool again. He went from being a washed up 70s rocker to a modern-day celebrity. On top of that he had made a pretty penny. So, it was time to ditch his old, run-down bachelor pad. The years of partying had not been kind to it anyways. Snake was moving on to something better, and that’s where Rob came into play. He was known for building some of the nicest houses in the city. 

Snake entered the restaurant and saw Rob was already there. “I would complain about you being late but I wouldn’t expect anything different,” Rob said with a grin. Snake noticed it appeared he had already ordered because there were no menus on the table. “I was getting hungry, so I ordered for both of us, I hope you like burgers.”

A waitress approached holding a tray with two plates just as Snake was taking his seat. 

“Two ultra deluxe burgers with extra sauce,” she set the plates down in front of the guys.

“We’ve had too many meals together,” Snake said laughing and putting his hands up in surrender. It was nice to have a friend that knew him so well, Snake thought. 

‘I thought you might be hungry after a big night,” Rob said smiling. 

“How do you know I had a big night?” Snake replied, to which Rob just raised his eyebrows. “Okay fine, thanks,” Snake laughed. “So, what do you need from me?”

“I’d like you to review these plans and sign on the dotted line,” Rob said. He slid a folder and a pen across the table to Snake. Snake began to look over the plans. 

“Woah, I’m going to have a pool, cool!” Snake exclaimed. 

Rob rolled his eyes, “Haha, Yeah, we’ve been over this, you are going to have a killer home! If everything looks good, you can sign there at the bottom and I can get started actually building your dream home.”

“This all looks righteous man,” Snake replied, signing his name at the bottom of the document. 

“Great, now that I’m your new agent…” Rob replied taking the paperwork back. 

“New agent?” Snake asked. 

“Ya, you just signed papers giving me 30% royalties on your hits,” Rob replied. 

Snakes face reddened, “what are you talking about?” He was pretty confident Rob was joking, but in his world he couldn’t be sure. 

“Just kidding!” Rob started laughing hysterically. “Didn’t anyone ever teach you to read everything before you sign?” 

Snake punched him in the shoulder and replied, “Let’s start eating, and tell me more about my new home.”

“Well, let me highlight some of my favorite features. In the basement, you are going to have a full-fledged recording studio with soundproof walls so that you don’t disturb the neighbors. You already saw the pool, and we’re going to put in some fountains that spray into it. O, and, there’s a secret room in the library! Like something straight out of a movie. Pull the right book and a door opens up to a little wet bar where you can host private parties.” Rob could tell Snake was pleased with the ideas and was excited to get the job started.

“Rob, what can I say, you work magic, I cannot wait to get into my new home.” Snake said as he was finishing devouring the burger. Snake went home thinking to himself, “I am sure lucky I met Rob and his team, this new house is going to be killer!”

Sailhouse Custom Homes

170 Newport Center Dr Suite 220, Newport Beach, CA 92660

(949) 281-6044

Making The Best Of Bad

Making The Best Of Bad

Okay. So.

 

No one wants to talk about divorce. It’s about as exciting as discussing payment plans or leasing agreements. They’re long, messy, boring, and involve all sorts of legality nonsense that no one wants to deal with.

But let’s say you’re in a situation where you just really, really need a divorce lawyer — or at least someone who can seal the deal so both parties can get some closure? Where do you even start? Just Google it and wait for the ones who charge the most to come up first?

 

This is the conundrum that Ben Greenheld had, the drummer for an up-and-coming rock band in Southern California. The life of a touring musician doesn’t exactly facilitate the separation process, especially when funds must be so carefully handled. This is when Michael Rena, the band’s lead singer, came to the rescue.

 

“The separation with my ex-wife was painful enough, but not being able to find someone affordable enough to give both of us some closure? That was the really cruel thing. All we wanted was someone who would make the process go as smoothly as possible.”

 

Luckily, a referral from a friend solved Rena’s problem. This referral pointed to a lesser-known alternative to pricey lawyers: divorce mediation.

 

“It literally accomplishes the same task, it’s just like a fraction of the price,” Greenheld explained. “When Mike told me about this, I was dumbfounded. I had never even heard of a mediator. Why wasn’t this option more discussed?”

 

Divorce mediation is one of the best-kept secrets in the industry of family law. Why? Because they don’t have the huge price tags of divorce lawyers that allow them widespread advertising. Think about how both of these men were referred to mediation — through word of mouth.

“Without having a mediator for divorce specifically, I’m not sure how we could have done it. I kept thinking there would be some sort of catch — but it was the exact same result for a tenth of the price. I would give it my highest recommendation.”

 

Not only is it more affordable, but a mediator can make the divorce process significantly shorter than a divorce lawyer could. Since neither Greenheld nor Rena had children, the typical process could last up to a year. However, when they used a mediator, it took a little over 90 days for everything to become finalized. But, if you do have kids and are going through a divorce, they have amazing support for that as well!

 

“They certainly don’t rush you by any means,” Rena clarified. “They make sure it’s not one those “on-a-whim” or “power play” things. Just like a divorce lawyer, these guys really have seen everything. And they’re completely professional about all of it.

 

At the end of the day, most mediators have the same goal: to take something that is already unpleasant in nature, and to make the process as smooth as possible (while not setting fire to your savings account). Rena and Greenheld were shocked that more people weren’t aware of this resource, and I wanted to make sure the word got out. If you have been a reader of this blog for a while, you may remember my own divorce dealings which I wrote about here.

If you are looking for a great divorce mediator, you can check out:

McNamee Mediations
4590 MacArthur Blvd Suite 500, Newport Beach, CA 92660
(949) 223-3836

The Rock Star & The Millennials

The Rock Star & The Millennials

Arthur Duvall is 55 years old. He’s been playing in a 70s themed rock band for about thirteen years, but he’s been running to same old pitfall as almost any marketing campaign:

 

Those dang millennials.

 

No matter what he does, he can’t seem to connect with this group of people who were born between 1981 and 1996. It should have been so easy; they love vintage things, especially music. Why was playing 70s music not adding young people to his steadily growing fanbase?

This is where Dr. Larry Schimmer came in. Dr. Schimmer, or Schimm as we like to call him, is the bands business coach and has been studying millennials inadvertently ever since the birth of his daughters in 1986 and 1992, long before he thought about becoming a psychologist for adolescents. His background led to some groundbreaking discoveries on the lost connection between marketers and this “stubborn generation.” I had the privilege of recording one of their converstations about how to connect with millennials and this is how that went down:

 

Duvall: Why don’t millennials like us old guys?

 

Schimmer: The first thing you must understand about millennials is that they’re not a fan of the title. More often than not, their generation is associated with laziness, lack of ambition and attention span, when they might be one of the hardest working generations this country has ever seen. They are also a lot smarter than people pin them as, so they can see through many  “millennial-catered campaigns” in a heartbeat.

 

Duvall: What do you mean by “millennial-catered campaigns”?

 

Schimmer: Have you ever seen a commercial that ends abruptly with a “hashtag” or uses outdated Instagram terms non-ironically? These campaigns essentially communicating the following message to millennials: “we know you don’t understand or care about anything unless we make it ‘shareable,’ so here’s our attempt to reach out to your poor forsaken generation.” It’s essentially calling someone vain and stupid at the same time.

 

Duvall: Okay, so avoid tech talk. But phones are how millennials are getting all their information — it’s how they even find out if something is trending. How do I even show up on their radar if I am not active on the internet?

 

Schimmer: Oh, please don’t misunderstand me — your business will definitely not grow without building an internet presence. I merely suggest that you hire a social media manager who matches the age of your target audience. Modern day marketers often think that age=experience, especially in the area of social media. You need someone who has grown up with it, someone who has seen how quickly internet trends come and go, and how ineffective it is to use a trend that will become outdated so quickly.

 

Duvall: What’s a good example?

Schimmer: My sister used to write for an online magazine that was targeted to women significantly younger than her. There is no problem with this, but she ran into trouble when writing about Snapchat. She constructed this beautiful article about teaching one’s grandmother how to use it, thus creating more consistent connections between extended family. However, the article became defunct within a month when Snapchat updated its entire platform, rendering all her information incorrect.

 

Duvall: And a younger person wouldn’t have written it?

 

Schimmer: A younger person probably wouldn’t have spent their time, and your money, working on a campaign that does not have “evergreen” value (by “evergreen” I mean content that usually stays relevant no matter how much time passes).

 

If I could leave you with anything, it would be this: if you want to connect with millennials, hire a millennial who is experienced in social media work. They usually know to choose good content over trending topics, as well as finding the niche within the huge “millennial group” on which to build your foundation. If you start there, you’re in a good place to start building your reputation with them.”

If you are in the southern California area and could use similar consulting, you can check out:

PerSynergy Consulting
5 Somerset Dove Canyon, CA 92679
(949) 543-0415