It’s October 2011, and the Allen Stone Band’s playing “Unaware” on Conan O’Brien. It’s our first national TV spot, and I’m so nervous I black out on-air. But that’s ok, because I also look homeless. I’m wearing billowing Levi’s and an Iron Maiden t-shirt. As we’re escorted to stage, the journalist traveling with us insists I wear his over-sized suit jacket. He’s taken pity on me.
You should really check it out. Both our performance and the jacket.
If I’m honest, we all look like we’ve wandered onto the soundstage accidentally. We’ve been a band for, what, four months at this point? We’re green. As green as Kermit the Frog singing “It’s Not Easy Being Green.”
But there’s something powerful about our performance on Conan almost seven (!) years ago.
I’d say we were unprepared, but that’s unkind- in order to be unprepared, there has to be some sort of reference point, which of course we didn’t have. We’re a band that makes deals with God every morning that our van sputters into life. The week prior, we’d played in San Louis Obispo to five people. That’s including the bartender and doorman. National TV? Really?
That’s like Giselle saying she’s had enough of Tom Brady’s dimpled chin and wants to leave it all behind and start a new life with yours truly. Zero reference point. You either run for the hills, or put on some deodorant and try your best.
It’s precisely because we have no idea what we're doing that makes our performance that day special. Preparing, and therefore overthinking, wasn’t an option, so we just put on some deodorant and tried our best. We winged it. And, honestly, we captured a vibe we haven't corralled since.
As artists, 100% of us are prone to overthinking. Experiences like the one above remind me that, at some point, we have to throw ourselves out there. Rolling with the punches really isn’t that bad. Often, it’s the most enjoyable part of the whole deal. AND, Conan has a popcorn maker in the green room.
But if Giselle actually comes calling, run for the hills. Unless you want a life of obscure moisturizers and not eating strawberries.