JUMPING DARKNESS PARADE WITH EYAL LEVI: THINGS I’VE LEARNED, PARTS 9 & 10
Eyal Levi from Dååth, Levi/Werstler, and Audiohammer Studios has obviously been in this business for some time now, and he’s learned a thing or two about a thing or two. This week, he imparts ten lessons about the music biz — and life in general — to you, our beloved readers, once a day, two installments at a time. You can read lessons one and two here, and lessons three and four here, lessons five and six here, and lessons seven and eight here; check out the final two lessons below!
#9: IF YOU’RE NOT GOING TO SETTLE IT YOURSELF, LET IT GO
I am wholeheartedly against turning the other cheek. That’s my disclaimer before I get into this. I’m a big proponent of the Nicky from Casino way of life. Two eyes for an eye all the way. There’s a wild card, though. And it’s a wild card we all know and love. It’s called the internet. Gone are the days when you could just settle a beef between just the two parties involved.
Take this scenario. Band makes a statement to the press: “We have fired Dick Cockfacemanton from our band. He was not on our level. His playing and attitude were contrary to the ideals we strive for and have achieved time after time with our music. We are god in musical form. He is a mere human.” If this band has a huge fan base it immediately is up on everything from Lambgoat forums to Blabbermouth to MetalSucks to Bob’s Insanely Brutal Vaginal Desecration Internet Radio Extravaganza.
Now, Imagine that you were Dick Cockfacemanton. Imagine that you were sick and fucking tired of putting up with the band’s self-righteous, holier-than-thou wannabe religious savior mentality. Imagine if you just wished the band would practice, but instead you’ve got a situation where it’s not about the music. So you quit. And before you reach the press, the band says they kicked you out, and they talked shit in the process. How would you feel?
Probably fucking PISSED. And you would naturally want to set the story straight, right? So further on with the scenario we go. Dick Cockfacemanton issues his own rebuttal statement online and a “feud” begins. We all know where it goes from here. Metal news sites pick it up just to make fun of the whole thing. If it goes too far and somebody gets hurt, someone else develops a “reputation” for violence. Basically, things get blown way out of proportion over something that happens every day; people get kicked out of bands. If there were no internet, it wouldn’t be a big deal for the band to have their fight amongst themselves. But with the internet here, it’s spread everywhere, and there are no winners — besides the readers and the blog owners.
With very few exceptions, it’s best to just turn the other cheek when it comes to public battles. If someone talked some major shit about you in the press, give him or her a phone call. You’ll already have the advantage, because they only said that to the press because they were afraid to say it to your face. Use that advantage and win your battle mano y mano.
If you go public, you may have some good points and you may make the other person look like a fool. But the fact that you responded means that whatever they said holds enough water with you to merit a response. Trust me, that is NOT lost on the readers. Want a quick way to validate shit talking? Respond to it online. And by validating it, don’t make the other person look as bad as you think you are. You are more than likely bringing the tag of drama queens onto the whole situation.
So think again. If you get shit talked and think it’s wrong, make a phone call. Handle your business.
#10: THE ULTIMATE INSURANCE POLICY
I don’t believe in the inherent evil in humanity, but I also don’t believe in it’s inherent good. I’m more of a blank slate kind of guy. I believe that unless somebody’s wires are crossed either from birth or from some traumatic event (see serial killers) that our character is basically formed by our upbringing and life experiences.
I believe that most people enter their chosen field with enthusiasm, idealism, and naivety, because they aren’t familiar yet with the politics that drive situations. Think of the cliché story of the band that doesn’t read their contract, then makes it big. While label reps are flying first class to dinner meetings at five star restaurants, and managers are buying houses in the Hollywood hills, the band are struggling to pay rent on two bedroom apartments in shitty areas of town, working part time jobs to make ends meet.
There’s an infinite set of variations to this example. It can go from the person who’s been cheated on too many times to a person who helps invent something then somehow gets cut out of the profits. If you’re going to be an active part of this world — and by that I mean interact with others — there will inevitably come the day when you get screwed, had, fucked over, raked over the coals, hung out to dry, left for dead, passed over, etc. As a matter of fact, it’s going to happen a lot. Fact of life.
However, an even bigger problem than getting fucked over is how people react to getting fucked over. The emotional hurt is normal. The blow to the ego takes time to mend. But these are feelings and unless we let them rule us they are temporary. Fleeting at best in the grand scheme of things. What’s going to happen is going to happen and some of it may not be what you had hoped for. But if you let the proceeding down period fester into a world-view, you will become what we all know as jaded.
And what do jaded people do? They do to other people what was done to them, because they don’t see another way of going about things. So somebody who went into an industry as a positive go getter comes out the other end as a bitter, jaded, resentment filled person who will fuck people over at the drop of a hat because they’re always in fear of their spot being taken. Think of dogs fighting over a bone.
It definitely takes work not to become a shark when surrounded by sharks. And sometimes the benefit of not being that way isn’t very clear. I mean, eat or be eaten right? Dog eat dog… all that shit. While there’s no scientific proof it seems pretty common that people work hard and step on others to get to the top. To me the benefit is that when things take a dip, and you hit hard times, if you are a jaded piece of shit, nobody will be there to help catch your fall.
You can sign up for the new Jumping Darkness Parade mailing list here! You can also keep up with Eyal by visiting the Audiohammer Studios official website, Dååth on Facebook, or the official Levi/Werstler website.