Music News

JOCK RAP

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NT: You've spent 20-some years inside the music industry and you're not a cynic?

L.: There's a lot of good in everything, and there's a lot of good people in the music industry. When you're in the industry for as long as I've been in it, dealing with people in many different facets, you'll discover that. To make an overall statement that the music industry is a big, evil thing is way wrong.

NT: So you don't feel like the industry bought you out in the end?
L.: That's an interesting question. There's a lot of ways to look at it. Here's mine: Let's say you have a career, and you're working very hard, and you want to be rewarded. A reward could be if somebody recognizes you and goes, "Hey, aren't you . . ." and your interaction goes beyond just them complimenting you and pumping your ego and you sit down over a ginger ale or a beer or something and have a real conversation. That feels good. That's one scenario of a reward. Another is if somebody wants to steal you away. Say you're in a happy time in your life. You're making okay money. You're in a solid place, you're respected, and you're doing more or less what you want to be doing. Things are good. Then all of a sudden, somebody comes at you from out of the blue and says, "We've got this job, we've checked you out, and we want to fly you to L.A. to talk about taking it." So you go, and they say, "We want to keep our publication progressively solid. People speak wonderfully of you, you write very well, and you're a name. You have marquee value." You're flattered, you listen to them. There hasn't been any money offered, so you leave the interview, go back home, and continue working and doing the rest of your life when, again, all of a sudden, they want to fly you out again. You're polite and professional, but you say, "I'd like to come, but I'll be very honest with you, I know that you're interested in me, but you've never really made me an offer and I think it would be the proper thing to do at this point so I can really nail it in my mind and think hard on it." And they say, "No, no, we're going to make an offer. Please come out." So you fly out again, and now they're serious. It's a three-hour, grueling conversation, and they hand you a piece of paper with a figure. And you look at it and it's a good offer. But you tell them you want to think it over. And you come back and you're thinking about it, saying to yourself, "You know, this is a really great opportunity. The radio station is great, but it's not going to last forever." No radio lasts forever. Especially alternative radio. It's always changing. I could always go back to radio promotion. I made a lot of money--I made a lot of friends. I had a good time. I could do that again. KQ could last five more years. Maybe I should just stay here and ride out the storm. So the question is, "What do you really want to do with your life?" Well, I figured out that I wouldn't go to L.A. for what they were willing to give me and I called them and turned the offer down. They called me back and said, "We want you to be happy. Look for a fax in your machine." I did, and the offer was not only what I wanted but beyond. So now I had another decision to make. Shit. I didn't expect that. And this time I decided to go. I've worked very hard in my life, and I've never really done anything for money before. And I still don't believe I'm doing this solely for the money. I'm doing it because I think it's a great opportunity for me. I have a lot of longtime, dear friends in Los Angeles, and I think I'm ready for the change, for the challenge.

NT: Do you have a sense of finally getting your due?
L.: Interesting question. I don't want to say yes because that sounds too smitty. But I will say this: I never really knew if I truly was part of the music industry. But I woke up a few days ago and realized, "I am the music industry." And I don't mean that in a snotty way. The industry has been my life. I worked hard, I was out of work many times, and, yes, it is nice to be rewarded. But I'm not going to become complacent and comfortable, because I'm not like that. You have to understand something--I'm not a young kid, and I've never owned a suit. I've been a fucking alternative guy my entire life. That's what I am, and that's what I'll stay.

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David Holthouse
Contact: David Holthouse