Or, I Paid a Lot of Money To Turn Down What I Thought Was My Dream Band
By any conventional standards, last weekend doing California band was a complete failure.
Not only did I fail to earn a spot, I failed to even let myself earn a spot.
Furthermore, it costs a lot of money to fly across the country and stay in a hotel just to stop yourself from earning a spot. Someone overly concerned with money, like my mother, would think that the weekend was not only a failure but a complete waste of time.
For the five days leading up to camp, I thought that it would be a failure. But the plane ticket and hotel had already been booked, and the only thing worse than buying the unnecessary plane ticket is not using it.
The camp ended up not being a failure because I had to face my fear–killing my wildly ambitious dream. If anyone had told me after my first camp with the Surf in November of 2011 that I would find myself in this situation, I would have been absolutely appalled. This was an incredible experience and situation, but it was entirely up to me to realize and decide that it wasn’t for me. And I had to kill it.
During rehearsal on Friday night, all of the callbacks played an exercise or two down the line. I hoped that my playing was bad enough that they would cut me on the spot. I was using both a mouthpiece and horn I had never used before. It’s somewhat reasonable that it would sound bad.
Saturday was better. I didn’t want to get cut, and I thoroughly enjoyed visual block. During subs that night, I didn’t have to go for an individual audition–I’m not sure if that was a good thing. I don’t even know if being closer to being offered a spot would have been “good.”
By Sunday morning I hadn’t told anyone that I didn’t want a spot. I told myself that I just hadn’t found a good time to do so. As you might expect, there were plenty of chances to say something–I was just too afraid.
Afraid of what–I’m not sure. If I was afraid of some negative reaction, waiting was clearly the worst thing to do, as the reaction could only get worse with time.
During lunch on Sunday I put on my big boy pants and asked the caption head to take me out of consideration. Considering that the camp ended at 6pm, telling him at noon seemed reasonable. This was actually the absolute last chance I had, because they were doing music on the move and making final decisions right after lunch.
To answer a question before it is asked: I had to tell them because in their selection process, there isn’t a way to say no. Saturday morning was when we filled out a ton of forms, and one of those was the contract. We were told that if we made it, they keep the contract. If not, they shred it.
This thought plus the observation that they cut people at the same time that they accepted people led me to believe that waiting until a decision was made and then possibly declining would potentially mess up their process. Starting some kind of fiasco was not the priority. In fact, not starting any kind of fiasco was very high on the short priority list.
My conversation with the caption head went something like this:
“Hey John, I’d like to take myself out of consideration for a spot. I thought for quite a while this was my dream but I signed a contract last week and I can’t do this. I know I should have told you earlier, I am very sorry.”
And then I ran away and cried.
Or something like that… There were a few tears.