“Don’t second-guess yourself. That’s the advice I would give my younger self if I could go back in time. I was offered to do a tour for this guy, G.E. Smith, who used to be the leader of the Saturday Night Live band. A friend of mine was playing in the band and he told me he’d put in a good word for me. But when I heard the pay wasn’t great and it was only for six months, I have to admit it scared the crap out of me. I mean I already had a stable job with insurance, and everything in New York works systematically job-wise. You get 3-5 percent routine raises every year. Sure he can put in a good word for me and maybe they’ll take me. But will that catapult me into doing something that builds into a career or will I just be another struggling guy? I was looking around me and the people who were doing it, well, their lives weren’t that cushy. They were always struggling to find new gigs.
“They seemed like they were kinda like me so I thought, ‘Why am I gonna jump off a cliff just to be where I am?’
“Looking back now, I should’ve at least tried. I didn’t even go to the audition. At least try. Even if you don’t make it, it would have been a great experience just for that. But you know, hindsight is 20/20.
“So moving to Japan is a way of rehashing that feeling. I have a lot more confidence in my playing and my abilities now. It’s cheaper here, too, compared to New York, where I probably would’ve gotten eaten up. Plus I needed to make a change and I recently got a divorce. I wanted to move to Japan so I was like, ‘I’m gonna do this now before I get way too old.’ I feel I can redo everything here; start over. I can go into music immediately and be like, ‘I’m a musician. I wanna do this. I wanna meet people. This is what I wanna do.’ But I wanna do it my way.”
(Darryl Baker is a marketing consultant, drummer for Audible Bond, and golf instructor.)