6 Music Biz Tips from the Desert
Music biz tips? The desert?
This year after NAMM, I took a few days to hang with my family and friends in Southern California. Three of my cousins are avid extreme sports enthusiasts We spent a few days in the desert (specifically Ocotillo Wells, a popular off-roading destination on the Salton Sea). While only about 2 hours East of San Diego, we were within a mile of the US/Mexico border at one point on the way (close enough to see the wall).
The locale was super cool — several hundred thousand years ago, the place was under water before the ocean floor became the desert floor, and that provided some great rocky terrain to navigate. The spot is known as “Truckhaven” because it’s a magnet for 4×4 Jeep off-roading. (It was also the location that The X-Files series finale was shot, if you’re a fan of Mulder and Scully.)
The trip was great — we drove Razrs (sort of a cross between a dune buggy and a quad/ATV) and dirt bikes through miles of rough desert terrain, day and night. I was out of my element, but that was a nice change of pace from the craziness of a few days in LA and on the NAMM floor.
Here are a few lessons I learned:
6. Know your role and choose it wisely.
When you’re on a desert ride, you’ve got a few choices: lead, follow, or fly solo. If you’re confident in your driving skills and know where you’re going, you can be a leader for your pack. Every pack needs one. As the leader, you get several benefits: You set the pace for the rest. You choose the path. You can even blaze your own trail if you feel so inclined. You don’t have to worry about the dust from other riders clouding your vision. With those benefits comes great responsibility, of course — your fellow team members are counting on your split-second decision making, navigation, confidence, and pace.
Of course, there can only be one leader. It’s actually fun to be in the middle of the pack. Just worry about keeping up and staying in your lane, and you’re cool. Without the responsibilities of the leader, you can just enjoy the ride.
5. Prepare wisely and then enjoy the ride.
Preparation is key. Learn what you can so you can be prepared for what lies ahead. Make sure your gear and vehicle is tuned and ready. Take precautions. Once you’ve prepared as much as you can, understand that you can’t predict everything the road will throw at you. Enjoy the ride with the confidence that you can think on your feet and trouble-shoot as needed.
4. If you want to go fast, go alone; If you want to go far, go together.
Sometimes all it takes is a good fast ride to clear your head. You get to be the leader and follower, going wherever you want. However, at the speed you’re going, taking other risks (like obstacle-filled routes, uncharted territory, near-blind night rides, and long distances) can be dangerous. But if you know the route really well, have assessed and prepared for all the unavoidable risks, and just want to go fast, go solo.
Of course, most terrains are not built for speed. Flat, easy routes aren’t the most fun, especially when you’ve got no one to appreciate it with. That’s where the team mentality comes into play. Your other team members can pool expertise, resources, and roles to help the pack achieve long distance rides to some of the most rewarding destinations. You can do some cool shit as a group since you’ve got the shared confidence that the rest of the pack has your back. There’s safety in numbers.
3. The most challenging route is often the most rewarding.
Most journeys have at least two routes: easy and rewarding. The safer and more manageable route is often crowded and takes longer; the more treacherous route is usually just way more fun. As they say, the high road is never crowded – most people take the flat/easy low road.
The high road is usually way more rewarding — there’s something about climbing some massive boulders and hills and navigating sharp turns and tight spaces that’s just way more fun, and you feel way more accomplished having overcome those challenges.
2. Help others along the way.
No matter which route you choose, you’re bound to encounter others struggling. It’s your duty to help out not just the other members of your pack, but those from other packs as well. See someone stuck in a ditch? Time to pull over and give them a push. Engine trouble? Grab your tools. A fellow rider not sure how to get to the next point? Share some advice. Others helped you, and it takes a village. There’s room for everyone to be successful, and someone else’s success doesn’t diminish your own.
Easy to overlook, but it’s super important to not be too stubborn to accept help and advice from those that have done this already, and to be appreciative that they took the time to help.
1. Enjoy the journey and the destination.
Sounds cheesy but it’s true. It’s critical to keep your destination in focus, otherwise you’re just exploring in circles. When you finally reach your first destination in one piece, stop and enjoy it. Celebrate with the pack. Snap a pic. Pop open a cold one. Savor the moment. Rest up. Then pick a new destination.
But even more important than that is the realization that your destination is only one of many – once you accomplish that one, you’re ready for a new challenge. For that reason, it’s critical to stop along the way — take a breather, make sure you’re headed in the right direction, and to simply appreciate where you’re at. Enjoy both the journey and the destination.