Fred LeBlanc of Cowboy Mouth: My parents were very concerned about me becoming a musician. They were not happy about it at all. And rightfully so. It is not an easy way to make a living. There is no guarantee whatsoever. So they talked me into going to college to study Music Theory.
Back then you did not have as many options with higher learning. Today you can go to college and get a Music Business degree. You can study how to manage a band, how to book gigs, etc. That did not exist back then. The only music option then was Music Theory, which is counterintuitive to me.
I am not putting it down. I just did not get it. Because music is an emotional catharsis for me. It always has been. It gives me that release. And they try to turn music into a series of numbers or dots and dashes. It took away the emotion of it for me. I could not relate to it.
Again, I am not saying it is a bad thing. I am just saying, for me, it did not work. I would walk into class kind of bedraggled from playing gigs and staying up until two or three in the morning. Because I was already playing shows back then. It was a waste of money. So I left college and to try it my way for a while.
I put in a good two or three years before anything even closely resembling return was achieved. And even then, it was still on a strictly local level. It took me a long time. I really put in a lot of hard, hard years before anything started to pay off. And even when it did pay off, it was still kind of nuts. It took me a long time to get to the point where I could basically pay my rent doing this. And even then, I had to live somewhere cheap.
There were many times I was afraid of being unable to pay my rent or being homeless. There was a period of living in an apartment that had no electricity and trying to survive on white bread and mayonnaise sandwiches. You can do those things when you are young and crazy and have no real responsibilities. It is that time in life when you can take chances.
But I stuck with it because I love music. I never really had anything else besides music growing up. It saved my life.