Do or Do Not – There is No Try

June 19, 2011

What works for you might not work for me. I know that.

Everyone has to make their own way in this world.

It’s often a hard lesson to learn on your own. Teachers you can connect with are extremely rare. And learning never really seems fun in the moment.

Because Yoda wasn’t hanging out in Brooklyn when I was a kid, I learned from my parents, the people that taught me in school, and those I bumped into as I navigated life.

If it looked as though I could respect them, I liked to ask the secrets of their choices. What went wrong.  What went right. And whether they have any advice for those just starting out (in case I ever wanted to start down that path).

Music was always my ticket to ride – to another place… time… dimension. I loved all types, the do-wop of my older brother’s generation, the classical music of my high school, and rock and roll on the transistor radio… just exploding as I was coming of age.

Much later, my career in TV gave me access to scores of great singers, songwriters and performers.

Below is an excerpt from conversation I had with Brian Wilson – the creative genius behind the Beach Boys.

This interview was conducted in the late 1980′s – when Brian was trying his hand at rejoining the Beach Boys on tour (I think they were going out with the band Chicago). He was brutally honest, as someone who really wants to successfully recover has to be.

Prior to hitting the road, they rehearsed at the Culver Studios, where I worked for the USA Today on TV news program. While I often snuck in to music video shoots or rehearsals like these (Michael Jackson, Rod Stewart, Prince) I actually was covering this as a news story. If my memory serves me correctly, it was shot by the great LA videographer Patrick Higgins.

Brian was very willing to speak – and after some b-roll of the band rehearsing – I followed him to his dressing room… asking the usual PR type questions and then delving a bit into Music and Advice. I think it was the first interview with him as he tried to re-emerge onto the public scene.


Funny –

He gave me the same advice Yoda gave (see title of blog above).

And he was pretty right-on about country music as a vehicle for new musicians.  Who won the most popular TV show in the US (American Idol)  this year.  Who is American Idol’s most saleable alum? What genre do they do?

And on this father’s day… I would be tempted to offer the advice about doing versus trying to do to my children to help them as they are starting out in life.

Honestly, though, the lesson is for me, as it always has been.


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