Wednesday, November 17, 2010 reflections...

Posted 2010-11-16 17:04:37 by Ryan Michael Painter

Yes, I happen to like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s music but that’s not what this is about. A few years back my life was stagnant, which is worse than a disaster. I had been working music retail for nearly a decade and the luster had long since worn away. In the late ’90s it had been a fun adventure where I made a lot of friends in the music industry. I was able to help small bands get national distribution and played a role in breaking a few others. I loved my job. By 2005 most of the friends I had made lost their jobs and bands either split up or were forced into utter obscurity, as illegal downloading became the norm and record sales flat lined. Whatever passion I might have once had for the industry was lost and work eventually stopped being fun and became just a means to keep my head above water.

Over the years I had the pleasure of seeing BRMC a handful of times and met them following a private show during the Sundance Film Festival and more or less became friends with the band and their crew. Still it was a surprise when I received a phone call from their tour manager asking if I’d be interested in going out on the road with them and helping out by selling merch. I had no idea what I was getting myself into but I instantly agreed. It took a couple months for all the details to get sorted but in the fall of 2007 I found myself living on a tour bus and traveling all over Europe meeting.

Following a couple months on the road the band took a couple months off and that afforded me the time and just enough money to spend a month locked away in Croydon, a London suburb, working on my book. It isn’t nearly as glamorous as it sounds but it was a dream of mine to be able to simply be a fulltime writer working on a personal project rather than an assignment. I soon found myself back on the road with the band for a few months in 2008 before returning home and landing my current job as a film critic. Without the kindness of the band I could very well still be working retail. With the holidays approaching not working Black Friday is definitely something to be thankful for.