Tempus Fugit, LLC
500 West Street
Camden, NJ 08105
August 7, 2010
Dear Tempus Fugit:
I must admit my hesitation to communicate with a company named after a Yes song. And I’m not fond of New Jersey, either. Two strikes, Tempus Fugit.
I want to go back to a time when my girlfriend and I decided to move out here to California. I’d played in bands for years and got into the business of booking and promoting them. I soon owed money to nearly everyone, and club owners weren’t exactly forthcoming with cash. So we split. She trusted me to make things right.
If you’re going to fail, you should fail big–so my girlfriend (a woman I lived with for seven years) quit her job and we sold our possessions and drove west. I’d decided, hey, I’m in the music industry and people already hate my guts, so why not get paid for it?
My car broke down in the desert a few days later. An old man stopped to help. He put us up for the night and fed us, and let us stay there the next day while the car was repaired, even though he had to leave on business. But before he left, he changed my life forever. This industry is all about connections. Who you know. I’ve made tons of money signing bands long before anyone has heard of them because friends I’ve made, people who attend shows in dive bars and swap tapes and CDs and mp3 files to spread the good word, clue me in to what might break out in a big way, and then my fine ear does the rest. This old guy in the desert had connections, too, and tempted me with the chance of a lifetime. When we reached Los Angeles, I had a job waiting for me at C— Records. One of his clients was the head honcho, rest his greedy soul, and he took me as his protégé.
That trip broke us to pieces. The fine print on an offer like that might have made clear the dangers a couple like us were up against, that we were on a precipice and only the slightest nudge would cause us to fall forever. The woman I should have married returned home. I stayed here, where I’ve been getting rich for nineteen years. I’ve lived through race riots, an earthquake, the rise and fall of Limp Bizkit and Britney Spears and plenty more not worth mentioning. I’ve made it through each new challenge. I only have to ask, “What’s the morally precise path?” and then mosey down the opposite direction. It’s hard to be good. I’ve had to become part of this world.
Thanks for reading this far, Tempus Fugit. We’re both in the business of selling empty dreams, and I know you’ll agree that it takes a toll. Now that I’ve put down the words, I realize how wasteful is it to dream of changing the past. I can’t deliver on my promises, and neither can you, but at the heart of this wicked business is one clear truth: I can’t stand the thought of being broke and hopeless and powerless again, not even for a day, even if it means I get to see her again.
Sorry for wasting your time. I’ll leave my name off, if you don’t mind. It’s the least I can do, a trait my girlfriend would surely recognize.
[Postmarked in Burbank, CA]