It was October 2007. The Red Sox were playing Cleveland in the ALCS. Joe Castiglione was telling me all about it from the shitty AM radio in my friend Jack’s car. We were driving back home to Rhode Island from New York where CMJ had just wrapped. I saw the best Xiu Xiu show I’ve ever seen and sang the worst karaoke you could imagine. I also met Maggie Vail for the first time in person on that trip, but it’s not time for that part of the story yet.
Jack had this story about a friend who would drive up to a toll booth, pay the fare, then say “well…gotta go” as he drove off.
It’s funnier when he tells it.
But here we are at a toll booth so we decide it’s time for us to be cool. Neither of us had ever really been cool so we thought we’d give it a try. Jack pays and says “well…” I finish it with “gotta go.”
Jack missed the gear. The engine revved. We didn’t go anywhere. Makes a better story in retrospect, and it’s a good reminder that sometimes shit just doesn’t go the way you had hoped.
That trip was the first I made as part of CASH Music, only a few months into a ten year journey. This is my last post as Executive Director of CASH. This isn’t the ending I had hoped for, but it’s been a great fucking story.
Here’s the real talk part: it’s a bad time to be a small nonprofit. Revenue is down. Giving is gone. Focus is nonexistent. CASH doesn’t have the budget to support a full staff and I’ve taken on a lot of personal debt to subsidize my work on CASH Music. I’m not in a position to continue, and to be blunt: I carry a lot of intellectual baggage after ten years. A change in leadership is for the best of the organization.
Leaving CASH Music is bittersweet but I’m nothing but thrilled to say that Maggie will take the Executive Director position and make this organization I love so dearly her own. She has a vision for where CASH needs to go, a plan to revitalize the organization, and my full support.
I’ll still work as a volunteer to help guide the CASH Music platform development and I’ve taken a seat on the board. I’m not gone, but it’s time for me to play a support role for Maggie and I ask that you do the same. The mission of finding open and sustainable career options for artists is vital now more than ever. It’s getting dark here in America, and artists hold the light that can lead us to better times. The idea of CASH Music more important than you realize.
A few things before I go:
- If you work in the music industry: stop being so fucking stupid. Stop letting startups fool you over and over again, building the longest daisy chain of middlemen the world has ever seen. Collaborate on open technology and use your shared strength to compete.
- I mean I get it: fuck this president. But while you’re out there working to #resist you need to work for a world you want to live in. Don’t just look to fight against the things that make you sad. Look to support the things that bring you joy.
- Buy music.
- Buy music from musicians.
- Buy music from musicians at their shows.
- Buy music from musicians at their shows and on their websites.
- Thank the people who inspire you. They don’t hear it as much as you’d think and there’s no shortage of assholes tearing them down.
- Fight for a fair, free, neutral, and inclusive Internet.
- Eat more vegetables.
I’m not sure how to end this other than to say, simply, thank you.