From the Desk of Doug Daniel: How ECE’s CEO Blends Work + Passion

I love music. I really do. It’s why I do what I do. I love listening to it, watching it live and playing it. My everyday is full of at least two of those. I love the bands we represent at ECE. I am constantly blown away by the musicianship and entertainment of them all. I’m sure many of our presenters are busy dancing and socializing and that’s what we want, but I see ‘em! I hear ‘em! That tiny, very insignificant little drum fill or bent note… I hear those, too. And it’s the best. It is an honor every day to come in here and help lead a team of the best people we can assemble to take care of our artist family, who then, in turn, takes care of their families.

I was hooked at an early age. Saw some bands, learned how to play drums and guitar… and I was ruined for life. I can still remember the shows I saw as a teen at the old Charlotte Coliseum. Standing on seats, waiting in line (because all shows used to be festival seating back then !@#$), and coming back home so deaf that it took a couple days to bounce back. In fact, as an adult, they eventually renovated that coliseum. I bought those seats to look at every day as a reminder of how it felt to be a kid leaving my house for this other world that rolled into my town and having my hair blown back.

But as fun as all of that is and as lucky as I am to be able to make a living associated with the very thing that knocked me out as a kid, we all need diversions. We all need that time to take a deep breath and listen to the air coming in and going out. Because working in your passion often requires you to grab a few more passions as a break. For me, there are three things. Guitars, reading, and movies.

I keep guitars in absurdly conspicuous places at home and at the office. I figure if they are in the way and I have to walk around them, then I may as well pick one up and play it. Playing is the true definition of meditation to me. My brain goes to that place where it is in idle. Not off and asleep and not going 100 mph like at the office. But idle… completely engrossed in that moment and blocking out all of life around me.

Reading does the same thing for me. I get to go to another world, live in a story, and be taken to a place that is far away. Now, as weirdly poetic as I’m trying to make this sound in my crude writing style, I have to admit that I am not reading any high brow masterpiece that promises to save the world. Remember, I’m still just a musician, so my favorite books are all about bands, musician biographies, old Hollywood, Bowery punk scene in NYC, etc. I could go on and bore you forever. But that’s the stuff I like.

I want to tell you about the book I just finished because you need to check it out. It was Noel Monk’s Runnin With The Devil. He is the former road manager for the Sex Pistols, then Van Halen, and later became Van Halen’s manager. Now, whether you like or ever even knew of Van Halen, you gotta still read this book. I could tell you about the road stories of excess and indulgence and those are great. I could tell you about the sheer goliath task of making it in the record business and then even greater task of staying there and that’s great too. But you gotta read this book because it is a testament to grit, hard work, patience and the political line I think we all walk each day to survive in our careers. Go get it or download it. Go ahead. Seriously. I’ll wait.

Ok, you back? So speaking of grit and hard work, you have to check out The Defiant Ones on HBO. I know I said earlier that movies are the last part of this three-headed relax and chill part of Doug Daniel. I count documentaries as movies. And, like I mentioned earlier, the music ones are the best. If you haven’t heard of The Defiant Ones yet, it chronicles the professional and personal lives of Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre. From Jimmy’s beginnings in the studios with the likes of John Lennon and Springsteen to Dre’s childhood and NWA to the founding of Interscope Records and their partnership in Beats, this four-part doc series covers it all. And it will knock you out.

Like the book above, there is plenty of splash. From a front seat to the whole East Coast/West Coast thing to Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson, the piece I keep coming back to is this meaning that continued to shine through. The meaning of two people who found success by having an unbelievable passion for music and an insane work ethic. That’s what separates these guys. Their unwavering conviction and drive to make their lives what they were passionate about. And I loved it.

And maybe that’s a good place to wrap. Like the famous quote from the legendary basketball coach, Bobby Knight: “The key is not the will to win. Everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.” Those dudes had it. And in my attempt to relax and be diverted, I ended up coming right back to being inspired to be great. To play the game and to play it fairly and with integrity, but to play to win it.

So that’s it. Until next time, my wish for you is that you listen to your soul and feed it in times of needed relaxation. Also, that you know what has that ability to do that for you so you are able to then go out and do it. You might even find inspiration that you were driving 100mph in the daily grind to reach.

Later!

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