Saturday, May 30, 2020

Farewell, SoundDiego

Photographer Albert Rascon, me, and Eric Page at the Casbah. Photo by Vito de Stefano 1.23.2020

My time with SoundDiego has come to an end, and I would like to talk about it.
After the jump.

My final SoundDiego post published on Thursday and I got a really nice call from Eric, thanking me for my time with SoundDiego and our friendship and it was a little emotional for me. So much that this post has taken me over a week to write.

I was hired when SoundDiego first launched in 2010 and have been with it since then. My main job was to replicate the daily show listings that I post here, and then write daily recommendations or little 'toppers', as we called them. In 10 years, there were only 2-3 days a year I'd skip, including Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day, which means I've published something in the ballpark of 3500 posts via SoundDiego.

Eventually we launched the television show and I did somewhere between ten and twenty interviews, though I never got used to them and never really found my on-camera stride. My last memorable interview was with James and by the end of it, Tim Booth and I were both bawling our eyes out and the part that aired on television was the boring part where we weren't crying and he wasn't talking about Trump. (SoundDiego maintains 'equal time' standards, thus avoiding politics altogether.) I had some horrible interviews, like with Lou Barlow right after his divorce, or with Evan Dando when he was high as fuck, but I had some pretty great and gracious interviews subjects, too.

When AB5 passed (which I support in intent), I was afraid for my position, but we were able to find workarounds to keep me writing. 
When the pandemic hit, I was sure I was going to be cut because without listings to publish, there was no longer a need for me. But my good friend and editor Eric Page encouraged me to pivot with little daily stories about the music scene. It reminded me of my brief time that I wrote "Notes From The Smoking Patio" for CityBeat, though these were a lot more labor intensive and lengthy. I had to get accustomed to reaching out and calling people. As I write this I realize more and more what a socially awkward person I am, generally avoiding phone calls in my life at any cost. But I had such kind and gracious interviewees who put up with my awkward questions.

Sometimes I loved writing about the subjects. Celebrating Drew Andrews' Covid-19 recovery for example, or Scott Szikla's engagement, or all the rad stuff Ryan Foxe is doing to help people in need. But sometimes it was like pulling teeth. It's really hard to write about our famous former San Diegans like Eddie Vedder or Blink-182 or Adam Lambert off of press releases or transcribing old video clips. Sometimes it was hours of work to barely hit 250 words.

My work-from-home reality, even before the pandemic, is that If I didn't write my post by  about 4pm, I wouldn't even start until after Nova was in bed around 10pm and have spent many nights pulling all nighters or late nighters. In pre-pandemic times, I couldn't go to a show until I'd done my post, so I often missed opening bands. After learning the lesson very early on that I shant write while buzzed, I almost never day drank. I love having beers in Balboa Park, but can probably count on my hands the number of times I could get ahead of writing to actually partake in 10 years.

Of course I'm going to miss the cushion of income that NBC gave me, but I gained so much from my experience, not least of which were the amazing friendships and bonds I have with our team and the amazing memories of our events and the special interviews I got to do, even if I did them through clenched teeth and tightly wound nerves.

I don't know what the future holds for SoundDiego. I hope the site and television show survive and carry on, even if with just a skeleton crew and reruns until music comes back, but whether or not I have a future with NBC, I am forever grateful for the faith they placed in me, for the things I learned, for the opportunities I was afforded, and for all of the amazing friends I've made along the way. 

No comments: