Friday, February 22, 2013
I believe it was the fall of 1996 when I saw Mindy McCready in concert. I'd traveled 287 miles with my sister to see George Strait at the Fargodome. Mindy was George's opening act. She didn't perform well, but she was new, after all; plus, everybody was dying to see George, so maybe we all were a bit jaded.
She'd had two hits by that time; ultimately, the only two hits she would ever have.
I'd read a book way back when, called "Three Chords and the Truth", and somehow I'd never forgotten the passages about Mindy. It's not as if 1996 was dominated by Mindy songs. 1996 was mostly Shania Twain and Garth Brooks, and, of course, George Strait. But Mindy had a story. She'd had a mostly crappy life, with a mother who apparently wanted to experience her missed fame and fortune through her kid; a mom who was unnaturally tough on a little girl; one who, on the one hand, pushed her kid to attain new country music heights; and with the other hand, smacked her down and treated her as little more than a chamber maid. Mixed signals like that can screw somebody up for life.
I didn't know what happened to Mindy after her two hit singles. I think I read in People Magazine that she was engaged to Dean Cain, but after that, she fell off my radar. Then, sometime later, all the sordid stories began, and it was frankly too much drama for me. I hate drama. Drama exhausts me.
Mindy hadn't been relevant in the music world for a decade and a half. Most people don't remember what happened yesterday, much less 17 years ago. For Entertainment Weekly, Mindy's death was a huge story on....what was it? Monday? Now they are bored with it all. That's the shelf life of most entertainers.
I watch The Five, or I, rather, listen to it, on weekdays, after I get home from work. I like having a TV to keep me company while I'm playing around on the computer and de-stressing. Greg Gutfeld said something, when the topic turned to Mindy McCready, about keeping (I'm paraphrasing, because I don't recall his exact words) damaged people at arm's length. His reasons were different from mine; but I, too, tend to keep people like that away from me. Because those people drain you.
It wasn't her fault. There were a bunch of threads snaking through Mindy's life; bad choices, bad people; bad decisions; mostly, bad parents (sorry, but it's true).
I just hope her kids turn out okay, because life is a tough row to hoe, even when everything falls into place just so; as if anything ever does.
I've felt that kind of despair in my life. Maybe the difference was, I didn't have ciphers pumping visions of grandeur into my brain; telling me that if I fail, I'll fail BIG. I was just a "normal" nonentity; and I had to take care of my kids and myself, as best I could. Maybe being inconsequential saved me.
Every life has its worth. Even if EW forgets you in a day, not all of us forget.
Here is Mindy:
Friday, May 27, 2011
Oh, not all musicians, of course. Just us amateurs. You know, those of us who make our own music, at home, in our $1.99 studios.
Maybe I should have titled this, "Musicians = Naively Hopeful". Because without hope, where are we? (That's true of life in general, isn't it?)
My husband and I went away for a few days; a long weekend; just us and the dog and cat (yes, my husband insists that we also take the cat). This makes for an interesting stay at a resort. Thankfully, the resort we stay at does not have maid service. Otherwise, bringing a cat is really kind of a losing proposition.
When we returned, I checked my email, and found the usual.
One email was titled, "Great News!" Okay, what could the great news be? Could we have had one of our tracks licensed? Yippeeee! Oh wait. No, the great news was, one of the sites we use for licensing is recommending yet another website, where we can upload our music. For what reason? Well, just because!
Another email proclaimed, "Fast-Track Your Music!" How much will it cost us? Well, it's such a great deal that the email didn't include the price! But it did say, "It's not going to be cheap!" Cool! Frankly, if it costs more than $50.00, it's a no-go! (I thought I would use exclamation points as well, just to feel like part of the clique!)
Here's one: "Imagine 6,500 Radio Programmers Getting Your Music!" Imagine! Imagine that I have anywhere from $100.00 to $600.00 dollars!
Those were the highlights from my in-box. I also had the usual, you know, "#@@!)$ is now following you on Twitter". Nice. The problem is, I rarely (meaning three times a year, tops) post anything on Twitter, plus all #@@!}$ wants to do is sell me something; some seminar about how to get rich in the music business, or something else just as useful.
Overall, I'll have to say, I felt darn special! And honored, really, to have been chosen to receive these once-in-a-lifetime offers.
Oh wait; you got them, too? Oh, never mind, then.
So, fame, or non-fame, as the case may be, is fleeting. And expensive, apparently.
But on a serious note, and speaking of fame, I don't want to be remiss in not noting the passing of Jeff Conaway today.
I don't watch reality shows as a rule, but I happened, one time, to catch an episode of something called Celebrity Rehab. It was too sad for me to even consider watching any additional episodes. Sad in a few ways. Sad that these people were so desperate that they were willing to air their troubles on a cable TV show, but more sad in that, addiction is a mean, heartless demon; one that will strip you of your dignity and your soul and your humanity. Some people make it through; a lot of people don't. Jeff didn't.
I remember when I watched that episode thinking, he doesn't have long in this world. Well, Jeff had a few more years, but ultimately, I believe he gave up, and said, enough is enough.
I prefer to remember Jeff like this:
Addiction affected my family in an all-encompassing way. My dad, and others in my family, made it through, by the grace of God. It's so easy to say, I give up. It's too hard. My dad said, I give up, and I give my life to a higher power.
It ain't easy. In fact, it's damn hard (and I promised myself I'd curtail the cursing, but I think it's appropriate here).
I think about all the little gripes that I have, and while it makes me feel better to write about them, I know, and everybody else knows, that I'm just bitching, just to bitch.
I do know what's important in life, and it's not some silly song, or somebody liking some silly song. Or somebody trying to wring money from us for our songs.
This is one I wrote for my dad. I wrote it the best I could. And that's what it's really about, right? That's why we do it, isn't it? That's really what this whole music thing is about; truth. It's not some fa-la-la thing. Or the right beats. At least, for me. It's about life.
I'm glad my dad made it.