Notice “The Moments”
Study the careers of great musicians and you will discover the moments that changed their lives. Almost anyone who shines in their respective field, whether they be business people, entrepreneurs, actors, or inventors can tell you about their life changing moments. Notice your moments and why they are so life changing. Study the people or events behind these moments.
For me, one of those moments was October 26, 2003.
I was flying from Raleigh to Las Vegas to oversee part of the Stryper reunion tour, their first tour since 1991. Wanting and needing to be as hands on as possible with the regrouping of an iconic band, I went to as many shows on that tour as time would permit.
On my flight there I finished reading Gene Simmons’s book “Sex, Money, and Kiss”. I’d call that a life changing moment, not necessarily because I subscribe to all of his philosophies (although I do admire him greatly as a businessman), but more so because the book is a compelling read on success in the music business. Those who have followed Gene’s career know that he’s quick to sing his own praises, so to speak. He’s quick to point out his greatness, and the book is no different. However, in his book he also discusses failures, both professionally and personally. He discusses the marriage of art and commerce in great detail, and how to make smart decisions in life whether you are a musician or not. This book would have been more appropriately titled “The Gospel According To Gene.” It’s chock full of his opinions on how to be successful and many of them were incredibly insightful to me.
As I was exiting the plane I even made note of this life-changing moment, saying to my business partner, Andy, “Wow. I’ll never forget this day. October 26, 2003. The day I finished Gene Simmons’s book.”
In the afternoon we went about business as usual with Stryper sound-checks and band meetings.
The show sold out that night. After congratulating the band and some post-show small talk, Andy and I decided to head out. The concert was over relatively early, around 10:30pm or so.
On our way back to the hotel we wanted to stop off somewhere for a drink and to re-cap the evening. We found a quiet empty bar with only about 5 or 6 people inside. I like quiet bars after a concert. After ordering a round of beers, Andy and I were standing near the bar making small talk when his eyes lit up. I had never seen such a surprised look on Andy’s face and he quickly, but quietly, said, “Don’t look now, but Gene Simmons is standing right behind you.” I could only assume this was a joke, since it was just hours earlier when I told Andy that reading Gene’s book was a life changing moment for me.
Sure enough, I indiscreetly glanced over my shoulder and Gene Simmons was standing not more than an arms length away.
October 26, 2003 just went from life changing to surreal. I didn’t know it at the time, but Gene was in town with Kiss playing a show with Aerosmith. And of the 9,723 bars in Vegas, he just happened to be in the same empty bar at the same time as me.
Imagine this. Think about the best book you’ve read in your entire life, and think about the day you finished reading this book. Now imagine being in a city where the author does not live, and imagine running in to that author in a small bar… all by chance. What are the odds?
“It’s meant to be,” I said quietly to Andy. “I’ve got to meet him.”
From reading Gene’s book I knew that he was not a drinker, so two sips in on my first beer, I sat it on the bar, pushed it away from me, and turned around to introduce myself. I don’t get star struck, and I wasn’t really star struck then, but I did want to carefully plan my introduction. “What should I say?” I debated.
Like ripping off a Band-Aid, sometimes it’s best to not over-think things, so I just jumped right in before I lost the moment.
“Hi. I’m Dave Rose. I own a management company called Deep South. We manage Stryper who happen to be playing in town and I just wanted to introduce myself,” I said nervously. Was that too forward? I thought. Too much information in the first few sentences? What if he’s at this small bar because he doesn’t want to be seen or talk to people?
“Nice to meet you, Dave,” he said extending his hand for a handshake. “That’s great, how long have you been managing them?” the fire-breathing God of Thunder asked quietly, and seemed to be genuinely interested.
We continued our conversation for another 30 minutes or so. Word of his presence had started to spread and the bar began to fill up. Within the hour, beautiful ladies and fans were all around us. It was still relatively subdued — it wasn’t a party bar, but instead more of a lounge. Each time someone would come to introduce themselves to Gene, I would politely offer to bow out of the circle, saying to him, “Well, I’ll let you do your thing. It was nice meeting you.”
“No. No. No. Stay,” he would say. Then he would say to whoever was wanting to meet him, “Hi Jim / Nancy / Ms. August Centerfold… Have you met my friend, Dave?” and he would introduce them to me. Have you met my friend, Dave? Really? Less than 5 hours ago I was in the middle seat on a Southwest airplane eating peanuts and drinking diet coke reading (more like studying) his book. Have you met my friend, Dave?
True to his words in the book, Gene was not drinking that night. When I read that Gene never drank, I didn’t believe it. No way could that be true — but it was. We stayed and talked and met his fans for hours — each time, he made sure I was introduced.
Gene is very secure in himself. Many would call him pompous. At one point in the evening Ms. August Centerfold (Disclaimer: I don’t recall that August was the actual month — I just remember meeting a monthly centerfold model) introduced herself to Gene and the first words out of his mouth were not, “Nice to meet you,” instead they were, “Do you think my friend, Dave here, is attractive?”
Confused, she hesitantly responded, “Uh… Yeah… Sure, I guess.” I’ll take that. I’m okay with “Uh, yeah, sure. I guess” from Ms. Whatever-her-month-is.
“Give him a kiss,” Gene said directly. Again, hesitant and somewhat confused, she looked at me and shrugged her shoulders and said, “I’ll play along. You okay with that?” I was equally as puzzled and unsure, but always up for a good game of “Kiss the strange Centerfold model,” we proceeded in an awkward peck on the lips with as much passion as kissing your aunt Trudy.
She chatted for a brief while and then went on about mingling.
Gene, unlike anyone I had ever met, was acutely aware of his celebrity status and the power it could carry, and he was not ashamed to notice the effect a celebrity could have on people, nor was he ashamed of exploiting it.
In his book he talked about how he might be the oldest, ugliest guy in the room, but if he wanted to, he could steal your wife away. I believe it.
Hours turned into more hours as Gene and I continued to chat, and meet his fans. Regularly I would gauge my welcome by offering to remove myself from what had become somewhat of a fan-frenzy. He continued to encourage me to stay with him.
Eventually, closing time came. Yes, apparently some bars do close in Vegas. Gene and I exchanged genuinely friendly parting words. He even asked me to walk outside with him so we could say our good-byes in less of a crowded area. I obliged. We shook hands along with the standard pleasantries of “Let’s stay in touch” and “Nice to meet you.”
We didn’t stay in touch. But that’s okay by me. October 26, 2003 changed my life. I read a book from one of the finest branding and marketing minds in the music business, and in the same day I got to spend 5 or 6 hours being known to strangers as “Gene’s friend, Dave.”
When your moment arrives, notice it. When you have an opportunity to spend time with someone who can teach you something, don’t blow it. Take a chance. Talk to the person. Even if you learn something small, it’s all worth it. Notice your moments. Pay attention to your opportunities. You never know when that moment may come but when it does, seize it.
COUSIN RICK SAYS: Write down your 3 most life changing moments. The sheer act of writing them down will help you analyze why they were monumental and will help you study how they can relate to your career.