I really hate the ‘humble beginnings’ stories that you get from every single rock star or famous person in general; it’s cliché as heck. Seems like every VH1 ‘Behind the Music’ episode starts with some somber ballad playing over baby pictures of filthy kids that would eventually turn into superstars.
I’ve recently been doing some business that does make me think a little bit about my start as a musician, though. I was a lower-middle class kid whose parents made enough to keep us comfortable, but didn’t have a ton of extra cash that would give us all the expensive toys the other kids at school seemed to bring every day.
I worked a paper route from the time I was about 8 years old all the way until I was about 17 (with no car, no wonder I didn’t get a date until I was 20…). I never really spent any of the money outside of getting the occasional soda and burger when my friends and I went out to the mall on the weekends.
When I got into high school, on a whim I decided to attend a concert the school’s jazz band was putting on. Oddly enough, that concert altered the entire course of my life, as the guitarist was really killer (and I saw him kissing one of the hottest girls in the school after the concert was done).
So the fix was in – I was going to learn to shred on the guitar, and that was going to land me a really hot girlfriend the next day. Step one of the plan was to buy my first guitar.
Taking stock of my funds from about 5 years of slinging newspapers, I went to the music shop that weekend to see what I could afford. What I could afford was absolutely nothing, but man did I love the look and feel of that place and the cool older dudes who ran it.
So the next stop was asking my dad to drive me over to the local pawn shop where one of the guys at the shop tipped me off as a place to look. When we got there, we found one beaten up old Fender that had half the strings missing, and I bought it without a second thought.
So began my musical journey, one that would take me to a whole lot of highs and many, many lows. Now that that journey is over (in the professional sense), I’ve moved on to others with oddly similar beginnings.
Used items often are seen as lesser, but what they can represent is the humble beginnings of something far grander than anyone anticipated. That goes for anything from musical instruments to something as boring-sounding as office furniture.
Starting off your business using used cubicles, desks and everything else might seem like a pretty shabby way of operating, but it can give you the cash reserve you need to really kick off your business and put it into overdrive. Companies like Creative Office Design out of L.A., the guys who’ve been doing amazing work both selling me the office equipment I needed to start things off and designing the office to get the best use of them possible, can really help get things off the ground.
So, this isn’t really a humble beginnings story, just a helpful example of not worrying too much about where the stuff you start off with comes from. That may be humble, but it is just a beginning.
Creative Office Design
5230 Pacific Concourse Dr #105, Los Angeles, CA 90045, United States
Don’t get me wrong. Retirement is pretty great. Enjoying the other sides of life and putting the focus on relaxation and family has been stellar. I’ve certainly been enjoying it. However, I got to talking with the old band about an original song we wrote back in the day. We always thought it was great, but it never quite fit into any of our previous albums or the times. So, it just kind of got swept to the side.
Now that it was brought up again, we all decided that we needed to record it and shoot a killer music video before one of us kicked the bucket. Almost all of the video would feature us singing in an office building and destroying the place. I’m sure you can imagine the content already.
Well, back in the day we had to search for office furniture for our managers and stuff when we were on tour and for our studio. We worked with this great company, Creative Office Design, who evaluated our space and designed the perfect studio with furniture that fit our exact needs in a cool way. It looked so good, we even would have photoshoots in the corner. It was a great place for creative minds. At the time, we were using brand new stuff. However, for the purposes of this video it didn’t make sense to destroy brand new furniture. It also didn’t make sense to spend the money it would cost for that shiny new furniture.
I spent a little extra time on their website, and this ol’ rockstar figured out that Creative Office Design had an office in Los Angeles and used cubicles and other furniture we could use as well! Looks like they are coming in clutch again. So, I gave them a call and they headed over the next day.
Creative Office Design evaluated our set, and had some great ideas and suggestions for the used cubicles to use in the video. They even found some extra pieces on hand that they thought would really give the music video the aesthetic that the band was looking for. It looked so real, and it was going to look so crazy when we destroyed it.
That first day of shooting, I felt almost guilty when I took a baseball bat to the top of a cubicle. It was genuinely great furniture. But, it wasn’t long before me and the mates really got into it. A highlight of the video was when the Billy, our drummer, used his drumsticks on a glass conference table before throwing a chair into it, shattering the whole thing. Epic. The whole song and production process was a throwback of nostalgia and a throwback of fun.
Once it was over though, my daughter made sure to remind me that I was not allowed to completely go back to the old ways. No more late-night partying. So, me and the boys released the throwback single. It ended up being a huge success. I guess we hit the perfect timing of being old enough to be cool again.
And I still got a little rockstar left in me. I snuck home a chair and desk I knew would look great in my home office.
If you need great office furniture, make sure to check out:
Creative Office Design
5230 Pacific Concourse Dr Suite 105, Los Angeles, CA 90045
Here we are. Another entry from the studio. While some readers may think this redundant, it logically makes sense as a reflection of a musicians life. As a rock star, especially one that had some success, you spend a large portion of your life in the studio trying to come up with your next big hit. When you spend that much time in a space like that, some crazy things can happen. I believe the last entry from the studio was about how we had termite problem that was unknown to us until we were rockin so hard that the mini stage we had built collapsed under us plunging us into a swarm of those damned bugs. Well, this entry is somewhat related to that post for a few reasons. The loudness of our practice, the structural integrity of something, and the need for a solution that keeps us rocking out like there is no tomorrow. Storytime readers! Here. We. Go.
I’m with the band and my producer at one of our local studios working on this killer song. It was all written lyrically and we almost had all the musical parts ironed out. At the point in which I am dropping you into this story, we had been at it for about 4 hours straight. Whenever a band gets on a roll, there is really no stopping them. We had played every part of this song over and over as loud and as big as we possible could so we could really get a feel for this song. We were all jazzed up and aided with energy so were being pretty hard on our instruments. Luckily, we had started making some good money up to this point so out instruments were of the highest quality and held up just fine while producing some amazingly loud sounds. I have no doubt that even though out studio was sound proof, we could be heard outside out walls. This building experience was something else and honestly pretty hard to describe.
In the fourth hour, we finally finished piecing together out last section of this song. Finally, we could play it all the way through from start to finish with a complete song. We were all buzzing with excitement. We turned everything up to 11 and played out hearts out. At the final crescendo of this, dare I say, masterpiece, the table where the producer was sitting and recording quite literally fell apart. We had actually, over the course of this session, been so loud with vibrations that we undid this table we had setup with the equipment. You should had seen the look on out producers face while he sat there in that chair that also looked like it was on the verge of collapse. Priceless. You tell me if you ever heard of band playing so incredible that it undid the furniture in the room. I know I haven’t.
Now maybe it wasn’t a very nice or new table so we had that going for us. Either way we knew it was time for a upgrade. We turned to some of our friends who referred us to a quality office furniture shop down in the OC. We called them up and got great deal on some new furniture for our studio. It was used too! Who would have thought that used office furniture from orange county would be sturdy enough to withstand our awesomeness. That same furniture is still standing today. We certainly try and see if we can knock it down from time to time but alas, it still remains standing strong. So, if you are ever in the market for some sturdy office furniture cool enough for a rock star, check this guys out!