Personal Bests

Hey Folks!

Many apologies for dropping off the face of the planet.  SO many exciting things have been happening.  I promise to catch you all up right here, right now.  Strap in.

Two weeks ago, Fortune Magazine, NAMM and Gibson hosted the annual Corporate Battle of the Bands in Cleveland Ohio.  A few months earlier  Clif Bar & Company (my day job) won the regional competition at the Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco.  We were SUPER stoked to have the opportunity to go to Cleveland; The home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

There were some AMAZEBALLS musicians there.  Some of our competition were folks from DeVry, The Mil Corporation, Mesirow Financial, Mattel (The Toys!) and Progressive Insurance.

Some of the Judges included Rob Arthur (Multi-instrumentalist with Peter Frampton), Ricky Byrd (Guitarist with Joan Jett & The Blackhearts), Jeff Carlisi (Founding member and guitarist for .38 Special), Liberty Devitto (Drummer for over 30 years with Billy Joel ) and Antoinette Follet (Editor of Making Music magazine).

Yeah.  It was going to be an amazing weekend weather or not we took anything shiny home with us.

It started off with a super cushy ride on the company jet.  Yep. I’m ruined for air travel for the rest of my life.  What ensued was a 3.5 hour in-flight jam session with the company’s co-CEOs on shakers.


This was only the beginning.

The next 72 hours were nothing more than a rock star dream come true. Music jams, late night benders, and a rock and roll music nerd’s cream come true.

I’ll put it this way; I was there for the competition, but I used it as an education. I was at the Rock and Roll Hall of FAME! Michael Jackson and James Brown were there in the thread. The lyrics of Jimi Hendrix were framed and hung by the restrooms.

After our band played our infinitely rehearsed competition set, I stole away to the museum. We had it to ourselves. I had it to myself.

The museum is built like a cathedral. The Rock Hall was designed by the same dude who designed the extension of the Louvre in Paris.

Ok. So maybe not a cathedral like in the Romanesque or Gothic sense, but a spiritual portal none the less.

This particular portal, after Yoko Ono ushered it into significance with a collection of John Lennon memorabilia in 1994, opened a year later with a full schedule of events.

I had the run of the place.

So I took my leave of the competition which was in full swing and escalated myself up three flights of stairs to the exhibit of Pink Floyd’s The Wall. This display featured the original balloon of the Teacher which was an exaggerated 50 million feet long suspended over a replica of the Wall itself. Eyes aglow and body suspended, it was a breathtaking sight for a girl who had only seen the video and heard the stories. What I would have given to have seen this show live.

I sat alone behind the wall and read the abbreviated conception of Roger Waters’ brain child. I wanted to be there.

Then I continued upward. There was a Grateful Dead exhibit that I couldn’t leave without at least paying homage to. They were our Bay Area brethren, were they not?

So I climbed my way to the chapel of the rock gods. And I sat among Jerry Garcia’s custom 1000lb guitars and I spoke directly to God against a backdrop of live competition music throbbing against the walls.

I can’t tell you what God and I spoke about because I can’t remember. All I can tell you is that it was life altering and and perhaps fortuitous.

Because then this happened.

The Grove Valve Orchestra, comprised of 10 Clif Bar & Company employees (including the CEO) and a couple of very good, close friends are now in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I still can’t book a gig in a cafe to save my life. But my name is in my church of choice. Life is a weird monster. But I love it.

So we came home. And I’m still riding on this high. Can you blame me?

Since my return I’ve been trying to utilize this sense of accomplishment to inform my venue solicitations. I want people to hire me because I’m a professional.

I guess that’s why people have resumes; To bolster a sense of confidence through accomplishment. Because, it seems, no matter what I accomplish in the physical world, I am still my own worst critic.  And she’s kiiiiiiiind of a bitch.

Even though I have convened with my God, even though she handed us a mind blowing accolade, and even though I have never felt more at home in a space, I still haven’t found the place in myself that believes I can honestly do this.

Maybe it will just take time and maybe I should just stop worrying about it.  When I really stop to consider everything, the only reason for much of what I’ve experienced so far is that I’ve been present in a certain space when conditions were ideal to provide a specific outcome.  It’s all chemistry really.  So, I’m just going to let go and ride this thing.  I just have to make sure I’m present wherever I wind up.

I wouldn’t want to miss anything.

2 thoughts on “Personal Bests”

  1. Congrats Emily! This sounds like an amazing experience. I am so happy for you. You are a kick-ass musician and I’m sure at some point, all the stars will be aligned for you, just enjoy the moment and let life take its course!

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