When In Doubt, Punt

T-minus one day til the big move. I’m sick of writing about it. And I’m sure you’re sick of reading about it. All week long, I’ve fretted about a blog subject. I’ve had several in mind, but all of them require at least a modicum of research and effort. And honestly, time is too tight and my focus is too scattered to do them justice.

This morning, while packing my pots and pans, I had a stroke of genius. Ok, maybe not genius. But an idea, nonetheless. I’m nearly a year into this blog, and I suspect I may have some new readers who don’t know how this whole Foo affair of mine began. So I thought, why not go back to the start? With you newbies in mind, I present the first two blog posts of Will Work For Foos.

Next week will be calmer. And I’ll be back with something new. But for today, please enjoy (or enjoy again) the start of it all.

The Seeds of Destiny

Nope. That’s not a typo. That title is basically the essence of my dream.

I’m 51. I’m a wife, a mother, and a student. I have a good job, albeit not a particularly exciting one. I love to cook, I love tattoos, and I love rock and roll. And I have this crazy idea. I want to work for the Foo Fighters.

I came up with this idea almost two years ago, after first discovering the band (yeah, I know they’d been around for a while, I just hadn’t found them yet), immersing myself in their music and becoming a die-hard devotee. What can I say? Sometimes you pick the band, sometimes the band picks you. But we’ll get to that later.

I tried to tell myself that going to work for a rock band was not something you just did. Seriously, who does this? I have no musical talent. I’ve got no background in the entertainment industry or concert promotion or any of that.  What could I do for an iconic rock band? I was just a middle-aged empty nester with a wild idea that I had no clue how to bring to fruition. What the hell was I thinking?

But still, I couldn’t stop thinking it. Trust me, I tried.

There’s a scene in the movie “Babe”, when the narrator first explains the farmer’s notion to use the little pig, Babe, to herd sheep:

“When the thought first came to him, Farmer Hoggett dismissed it as mere whimsy. But like most of his hare-brained ideas, it wouldn’t go away.”

Yep, that was me. I, too, had a whimsical idea that wouldn’t go away. As much as I tried to dismiss it, it would not allow itself to be set aside.

It, my Foomania, if you will, began to grow and expand and go off on tangents. It distracted me and needled me. I dreamed about it. I tried desperately to put my energy into other things, but it was always there, in the back of my mind, waiting to pounce at any opportunity.  It just wouldn’t let me be. Dear God, I was becoming Farmer Hoggett!

One day, while questioning my own sanity for at least the thousandth time, my brain and I had a serious discussion, the gist of which was this:

Me: “You’re not going to leave this thing with the Foos alone, are you?”

Brain: “Nope. You’re not crazy. You need to see it through”

Me: “What if I never make anything happen with it? What if it’s just a mid-life crisis?”

Brain: “So what? If you don’t follow the thread, you’re never going to know. And do you really think you could put so much mental energy into something meaningless?”

I turned that thought over a few times and looked at it. My brain had a point.

I’m a pragmatist. I’m not mentally unstable. I’m not given to flights of fancy as a rule. And I’ve certainly never had a crazy idea plague me for nearly two fucking years!  I began to accept that there had to be a reason I couldn’t let it go. Maybe I needed to learn what Babe’s farmer knew in his infinite wisdom.  Cue the narrator…

“Farmer Hoggett knew that little ideas that tickled and nagged and refused to go away should never be ignored, for in them lie the seeds of destiny.”

Maybe I couldn’t let go of my Foo Fighters dream because it was guiding me to something else, something important. Something big. I had no idea what it was, but I decided I would not spend any more time trying to talk myself out of it. If I chose to pursue it, the worst that would come of it was that NOTHING would come of it. But I knew that if I let it go, if I chose to ignore it, I would likely spend the rest of my life wondering ‘what if.’ Not pursuing it, and never knowing where it might have led, would eventually send me round the bend.

I don’t know exactly how to begin this journey, except to tell you why I’m taking it. It won’t just be about the Foo Fighters, although they serve as my muses and I can’t tell the story without them. It’s really about life, and dreams, and music, and food, and joy, and disappointment.  Mostly, it’s about believing in possibilities. And yourself

Everybody Needs a Jewish Mother

When last I left you, I had determined that going to work for the Foo Fighters, my favorite band in the world, was my fondest wish.  The hitch for me was figuring out what I could do for them.

What skills, traits, or talents did I have that would be marketable to a rock band?  I pondered and pondered this question.  On the surface, I couldn’t think what practical use the band might have for a middle-aged woman who managed grants for a living. Don’t get me wrong; I’m really good at what I do, but you just don’t think ‘grant manager’ and ‘rock band’ in the same sentence.  I had to dig deeper.

A mental inventory of my abilities yielded nothing at first.  Zip.  I despaired ever finding my Foo niche.  Then one day, purely by accident, the answer arrived.

Back in 2011, on the front end of their American tour for “Wasting Light”, The Foo Fighters had a tour rider – a document outlining their wants and needs at those concert venues lucky enough to host them.  My friend Lynne, knowing my fascination with all things Foo, sent it to me.

We’ve all heard horror stories about diva pop stars and lunatic rock bands with peculiar tastes and weird habits.  Rockers who throw temper tantrums if even the most asinine demands in their concert riders aren’t met.  I could see it now – “NO green M&Ms in the dressing room – EVER!” “All bottled water must be blessed by the Dalai Lama prior to being served!” “A dog walker and pet psychologist must be available for the talent’s Chinese Crested on a 24-hour basis!”

You know, spoiled rock star bullshit.

I approached cautiously.  I felt sure I was going to read a list of outrageous mandates from a bunch of spoiled-brat, guitar-smashing, hotel-trashing rockers and my high opinion of my precious band would be crushed forever.  I dreaded reading that rider, but if these guys were total dicks, I figured it was better to find out sooner rather than later.

The first thing I discovered was that the rider was funny.  And it doubled as a coloring book.  Tour manager Gus Brandt took the time to inject his (and the band’s) sense of humor into each page.  The entire document was obviously written with tongue firmly in cheek.  A few pages in, I kicked back and enjoyed the read.

There were no outrageous demands, really it all sounded pretty reasonable to me.  Hot breakfasts?  Makes sense – it is the most important meal of the day, you know.  Hot lunch options.  Dishes and cutlery NOT made of plastic. Vegetarian selections were important.  Their shocking M&M demand?  That the candy packages be unopened prior to their arrival.

Perhaps I’m just naïve, but if you’re a premiere rock band, do you really have to ASK that the venue not give you snacks that other people have had their hands in first?  What kind of hosts were these people?

The list went on – clean socks, fresh t-shirts and a variety of reading material in the hospitality suite.  Decent booze, a broad selection of beer.  I read it all.  And I felt sad. My band – my fucking heroes! – were having to ask for things that should have been common sense offerings from any venue.  The questions kept coming up in my mind: “Why are you leaving all of this stuff to chance?  Why don’t you have someone taking care of this on your end?”

The Foo Fighters needed a meal planner.  A kitchen oversight officer.  A den mother! Someone who could take care of them out on the road and make sure they were well-fed, well-read, well-hydrated, and well-rested.  Someone who had nothing but their personal well-being in mind.  If the food they were getting wasn’t up to par, they needed someone around to step into the kitchen and make it so.  Did I mention that I cook?  Actually, that’s a bit of an understatement – I don’t just cook.  I throw down.  I’m not bragging.  It’s just how it is.

I knew what a Hoshizaki was.  I had a subscription to The Atlantic.  I knew where to find t-shirts in bulk.  And if the M & M’s had been sullied, no worries.  In less than an hour, I could whip up a pan of brownies that would make you weep with joy.  Just point me toward the kitchen.

I finished reading that rider, and I knew I’d found my place.  I knew what I could do for my band.  I was the perfect person for the job.  I’d been training for it since birth. And I was ready.

I was going to be the Foo Fighters’ Jewish Mother.


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