by Andy Capp
Here I go again, excuse this compulsion to explain myself.
For those of you just tuning into my soap opera, I left my lifetime home state last February to follow the yellow brick road, taking a dream job in the Emerald City. In the last eight months I've got a few more brains in my head, the courage to live in a big city, the heart to tackle major market production, and the ability to confidently order my favorite variety of latte (double tall mocha, no whip). The flying monkeys of doubt had more or less been grounded--ding dong, the witch was dead--and yet I clicked my Nikes together three times and declared, "There's no place like home!"
"What's wrong with you?!" "What's wrong with KidStar?!" "What's wrong with Seattle?!" "What's so great about South Dakota?!" Just a few of the questions tossed my way of late. The fact is, nothing was wrong professionally. KidStar is amazing (more gushing in that direction later in the column), and I seemed to have found a job where my childish personality was actually an asset. There was also nothing wrong with Seattle, other than the occasional lunatic on the bus declaring that he was born and raised in hell. I take that back, there was another thing wrong with Seattle, the same thing that makes South Dakota so appealing...my wife and kids are in South Dakota.
The whys and why nots of it all would really be impossible to explain, but the bottom line was that it would be better for me to return to the Heartland to join my family rather than a trek northwest for them, so really there was no choice to make. I've come to realize in the past months that I've made my job what I did for a living for too long. A job is what you do for a paycheck. Living needs to happen, at least for me, when I'm spending time with the ones I love, and if that sounds corny, so be it.
So, breaking all the rules I've always set for myself about leaping without a parachute (in this case, without gainful employment lined up), I handed in my notice and prepared myself for a stint in sales, as in, "Do you want fries with that?" Then a funny thing happened, I was actually offered a job, several even, in radio no less! As it stands now, I will be returning to KELO in Sioux Falls as a production coordinator of sorts, plus playing DJ again when they need me, and I'll also continue to voice and now write for KidStar, thanks to the miracles of modern science. This means that a real honest to goodness home studio must happen, complete with ISDN line (a shameless wink wink, nudge nudge if your studio is so equipped and you're looking for voice talent...), and I will still have little family time, but when I do, they won't be 1,500 miles away.
I suppose there should be a moral to this story, like the grass isn't always greener or never forget your family when you're packing the truck, but morals are generalizations--what works for me could be disastrous for you. The only universal truth I can pass along (and have been, between the lines, as I re-read my last few columns) is to follow your heart. It knows what you want and where you need to be to get it.
As with the column that marked my first good-bye, there are several people I must thank. First, the people I've left behind in my Moonwalk back down the yellow brick road: Klem Daniels, my boss at KidStar, my friend, my mentor, my brother and the most gifted Production God I've ever known. Klem, you shared your family and your vision with me and handed me a dream job come true, then understood why I had to walk away and still offered to continue my relationship with KidStar. YOU da man!
Robb Davidson, another KidStar Producer, the youngest and brightest Producer I've ever met (I hate him for that!). Remember that name, he's going to be one of the giants! I could do gearhead talk for hours over a latte with this guy, plus he showed me the best Mexican place and the coolest little bar in Seattle, and his "Chinese take-out food" openings to voice mail messages never failed to floor me! I found a kindred spirit in Robb, and I hope when he's a big, important record Producer, he'll remember me when he needs someone to, er, carry his drum kit. Robb, YOU the man!
Other producers, other names to look for in the future: Scott Kirk and Shelli (with the long last name that starts with G that I couldn't possibly pronounce, much less spell correctly). Somehow, with the possible exception of myself, Klem put together a staff of truly gifted producers who also happened to be wonderful people. Scott and Shelli, I'll miss our adrenaline-filled days when Klem would take a day off, yet somehow we'd get everything covered. YOU da men! (Well, Shelli, I guess you NOT "da man," but, well, you know....)
Speaking of da men, Mark Malleck and John Dodge, the Program Directors. Mark, you helped fix my dying 4-wheeler. You taught me how to play two person Doom over the modem. You drove me to some of the sights when the dying 4-wheeler just didn't cut it. You made my Production better. John, you listened. You gave me confidence. You believed in me.
I could list the rest of the KidStar staff, really. A more talented, more determined, more friendly group would be hard to find, and I always felt lucky to be in their midst. You all remain in my thoughts and in my heart, and as I said before I left, I'm still one of your biggest fans.
Back in South Dakota, my old friends who were so willing to let me return to the fold: Reid Holsen, PD of KELO FM, who always cheered me up with his e-mails, when mine were moody and ridden with homesickness. Reid is playing a major part in my return to KELO, as is current GM Leigh Anglin, who is about to embark on a new adventure of his own. THEY da men! Also, thanks to everyone else at KELO for making me feel like I had never left when I walked back in the door. It's rare to find such true friends at work, yet I've found two whole staffs filled with them, some 1,500 miles apart!
Last, but not in my heart, my family: My wife is without a doubt the most patient and strongest woman I know (if not the craziest for putting up with my foolishness all this time). My kids have been willing to allow me to be a "phone in" Daddy these months away, yet still show no signs of needing therapy in the future (they must get that from their Mother). I love you all and I'm glad you still want me around now that I'm back.
So, with a fresh perspective, the journey begins anew, back where it started. The Scarecrow, the Tin Woodsman, the Lion and I have all got what we wanted. Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home.