“And all of that for tips!”

The CRB played a show at the world famous Pappy & Harriet’s in Pioneertown last week but we had a day off the day before, so I decided to head out to the high desert of Yucca Valley to see if I couldn’t gain some perspective on the world and such.  As much fun as it is, touring life can often take a toll on your body, mind and spirit, so if the opportunity is there, it’s good to take some time to yourself every once in a while.  I had a great time, hung out with old friends, played music, ate righteously and was able to sit quietly with my thoughts, although the altitude and dry air really messed with my sinuses quite a bit.  Starry skies, Joshua trees and many lizards I saw, but didn’t get much sleep, that is, until I paid a visit to the pharmacy for some vitamins and meds.  That helped me out a lot.

One thing I will say about people of the desert, they often have unique personalities and (some) see the world through a very different lens.  Many folks I met seemed totally confused that I was a touring musician from Memphis and couldn’t believe I was visiting the desert alone.  Trying on their best southern accent, “Really?  Wow, Memphis.  You kn0w I have a friend in Nashville.  Maybe you know him?”  Of course, what they don’t realize is that Nashville is roughly three hours away from Memphis and is a pretty big town.  Funny.

A friend of mine introduced me to a lady he was dating and she immediately wanted to know how I was able to travel as much as I do and be away from home all the time, or in my case, no home at all.  I told her I loved traveling and everything that comes with it, but when I described to her the rigors of the road, right away she seemed turned off by the idea.  Waking up in a different city every morning, searching for good food in unfamiliar surroundings, working until very late at night then repeating everything the very next day.  It’s a pretty good life, I said with a smile and I’ve gotten to see a lot of the world.  But to my complete surprise and amazement, she looked at me without batting an eye and said, “And all of that for tips!”

It took me a second to realize what she was saying.

What do you mean, I asked?

“Well, you play for tips, right?” 

Really…are you serious?  You think that I play music for tips?  I’m a little insulted, I said.

“I’m sorry.  I just wasn’t sure that anyone could really make a living playing music.  You mean, this is your job?”

Of course, I won’t bore you with the rest, but it was one of the most interesting conversations I’ve had in a very long time and I realized she was (in no way) trying to hurt my feelings at all, just terribly misinformed.  I went on to tell her that as a salaried employee, things were good and although I wasn’t getting rich or anything, my life was full and my bills (for the most part) were being paid.  Later, I discovered she was quite wealthy herself and thought that music was something that people did for fun, on the side as a hobby.  I guess there are those who do.

Lord, have mercy.

Yucca Valley in May

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