Keltie Knight's Blog
You have blown me away with your continued effort and excitement over my book giveaway. Together, you helped me get pretty close to my goal of selling 500 books, and totally got the word out. Thank you for all your shout out's, tweets, facebooks and instagrams!
The winners of an authographed paperback copy of Rockettes, Rockstars and Rockbottom are:
Please email me at email@example.com with your names and addresses , and remember that you can join my FANZY on FACEBOOK starting July 1st to win all kinds of crazy amazing prizes just by talking about me (and also, I love it when people talk about me.)
I was pretty excited when Tom Gates first fell into my life. He entered as a facebook name, writing Christina about working with her, and has had to slap me around to not give up on myself a few times since then, he also shares the same sense of wanderlust that I do.
Tom spent many years managing one of my favorite bands of all time, Brand New (insert: he has inside scoop I want) and then took a year off to travel around the world, and eat dog. Yes, he ate dog. You'll have to read the book. "Wayward" is an adorable little collection that can be read on a flight, or a weekend. It made me long for adventure, and it made me want to be brave. I think that is all we can ask for from the best books, a little pat on the back that says "keep going" or "you can do that too." The book had a throughline of acceptance and adversity. I'm really proud of Tom, now back to the scoop on Brand New. (and Fun. oh ...and a little gal named CP.)
You started your career as the manager for one of my favorite bands of all time Brand New, What is your favorite Brand New song and why?
It’s an unreleased demo called “DVD Song”, which was a placeholder title. It was written in the batch before "Devil & God" and never leaked, like many of the other demos did. It was recorded in a living room. Jesse would just keep playing the chorus during the Deja tours, taunting me because he knew that I love a big hulking hook. I listen to it every once in a while and just grin ear to ear that nobody has ever heard it but Sapone, the band and me. Fans would stone cold faint. It’s a smash.
Why leave the uber magical world of managing famous bands (something everyone wishes they could do) to go travel and write?
I had always wanted to take a year to travel. I got so wrapped up in the music world that a decade went by with that dream still in the back of my head. I looked around and saw that I was, in fact, getting old. If I was ever going to do it, it needed to happen soon. It was incredibly difficult to walk away from, especially because Nate, Andrew & Jack had just formed Fun. and were making that first album. I knew I was doing this great thing for myself but I kind of felt like I was abandoning all of my kids, all of the bands. Big lesson:Everyone’s going to be fine.
The other thing is that for so many years I had promoted other artists’ work. I knew that I had at least one book in me and wanted to go through the experience of creating something myself. Now when I have to do a phone interview at 5am I want to hang myself. I have a lot more empathy for what artists have to do to promote their stuff.
What lessons did you learn on your journey that you now implement in your life now that you have returned to managing huge musical acts?
My life has a lot more levity now, after the trip. Anyone who travels will tell you that one of its greatest gifts is perspective. Being trapped on a desolate island in Fiji (it happened) – that’s a problem. Realizing you’re out of ketchup after you’ve just made a burger, not a big deal. I’ve been in places where wells ran dry, I have been on a 15 hour train ride through India, I’ve been completely lost in third world countries, I’ve ridden in the back of pickup trucks with livestock…the bad days aren’t really that overwhelming now.
As someone who also self-published? What are the positives and negatives about self publishing? I think many bloggers and Buzznet user's dream up excellent ideas for books, what would be your advice to them?
You really need to commit to an incredible amount of work if you self-publish. I’m a one-man sweatshop that operates out of my kitchen table. If you think it’s about one day’s worth of promotion, or one week’s worth of attention, you’re wrong. Book sales can spike and fall in an hour. Your heart will just about blow out of your chest with excitement one day, and then next day you’ll falter when you see a big goose-egg in your sales report.
Most important, I think, is to work your ass off to make the book feel like it’s been edited and isn’t rinky dink. Have every person you know comb through it and pick it apart. If it feels self-published, you’re doomed.
I always think of this book as my first EP, in music terms. I wouldn’t do this book any other way. It’s my little statement and mine to champion. I can’t imagine the cover art would have been done by anyone other than Sam Means. It’s 100% my thing. I love the little wins, when a bookstore takes in ten copies and I have to find a way to sell them. It reminds me of all of the hard work my musician friends have done for all of these years.
One night I was dancing around my bedroom while my friend Christina sang, and the next morning we woke to a facebook message from you- inquiring about Christina. That still seems bizarre. What advice would you give to aspiring musicians in order to attract the attention of a top manager?
Don’t wait around. Christina was busting her ass waitressing and was recording music when I met her, and putting it out there on Youtube. She was storming down this path and was going to get her break no matter what. She pushed it all to happen, I was just there to pull at the right moment and then listen to you two scream like maniacs when it all got going.
Also, you’d be surprised at how many unsolicited emails I reply to. I listen to music that people send me, videos that young directors send me, photographers looking for a break, I always have. It’s pretty easy to track me down, the hard part is gathering up the nads to write the email. I’ve ended up working with some great people through some rather loose connections. Don’t be afraid to cold call. We aren’t all robots, but I will tell you if I think what you’re doing is terrible, so beware!
Favorite book you have ever read?
I think that the book that influenced me earliest and hardest was A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving. My favorite thing that has ever been writtenis a short story by Dave Eggers called After I was Thrown In The River and Before I Drowned.
The one that carried me through as a writer was Stephen King’s On Writing, a must for anyone who wants to write anything.
Favorite song you have ever heard?
If you’re going to push me into it, it would probably be “God Loves Everyone” by Ron Sexsmith.
What places have you yet to travel that you haven't yet?
I get physically anxious thinking about this, the way some people get nervous before a sporting event. There is so much world out there and I feel like I have way too many places to see. I would honestly go anywhere, any time, barring countries where people want to chop my head off or hang me. I have been daydreaming about Bhutan a lot lately. They only allow a certain number of tourists a year, and once in the country you pay them a daily amount and they take care of you. You actually can’t even book your own travel inside the country. I love the idea of handing myself over to someone else like that.
Reading your book made me feel incredibly small and like I haven't even lived yet. Was your intention to set fire to asense of wanderlust in your readers?
Not at all. The book for me was more to report back about what I took from the trip. I really never thought about readers when writing it, which is probably why it’s a naughty read in a couple of parts. My writer heroes do it selfishly, and I guess I’m a selfish writer too.
I am a big fan of being open and honest, sometimes to my own determent. We you at all worried about publishing sure a raw, honest book, and then returning to the business world?
Terrified. I certainly didn’t want Aunt Becky to ever hear about what happened in that club in Argentina, or what happened on that Island in Fiji, or that I ate dog. I grew more brave as some of these pieces were published online, and people seemed to get what I was doing.
The breakthrough came when I blogged a story called "On Drowning", which is about a band that I managed called The Format breaking up the same day I’d found a dead boy in a pool. There was never going to be a moment where I put it out there more, and the response really encouraged me to follow my own path. It also helped me reckon with it all.
Would you choose to become a writer or stay on the road?!
You all know how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE crafts, and when BUZZMEDIA threw their big summer party with KARMIN, I was so excited because they let me set up a table and make crafts with people. woooot! I was scanning the internet for a craft that would be awesome for both boys and girls, and I found one of my favorite DIY bloggers I SPY DIY had posted this awesome photo to pinterest about how to make a bungee cord bracelet, so I picked up the supplies and began making them.
The awesome JOHN at Buzznet stopped by my table and filmed a little video of me + my crafting sister Kelsey of HALE Jewelry making the bracelets! They are super easy, and I know most people can find an old bungy in their garages somewhere to make this!
I meditated on this today:
I will suppress the urge to win arguments and prove I am right.
I will measure my words ever so carefully and make sure I speak the truth in love.
I am not a slave to the opinions of others.
I will keep silent when the opportunity comes to talk behind someone's back.
I will take responsibility for my reactions to people and stop blaming others for how I am.
I will not stand on the side and allow the music in my heart to fade away.
We can all be better, each and everyday is a new day to reinvent ourselves.
i guess it is...
that we all want the same basic things.
to be loved.
to be recognized.
to have purpose.
to give love.
as different as we all are.
it all comes down to the simplest needs.
and i am reminded how easy it is
to give what is needed
and how easy it is
to take it away
i hope i look to give myself
to the right people.
people who recognize me
as something they need
someone who makes them feel
and maybe complete
i also hope that
i slow down
and accept the love i am given
instead of grazing other pastures
full of empty things.
boxes tied with strings.
i want to know what home feels like.
i want to search for what is really real.
so i am making a plea.
of a brighter day.
so that i can see clearer
what it is
that i honestly
This got my thinking last night about how nice girls finish last. It's a rough life when you feel like you help, love and support everyone one else, and are constantly disapointed, that giving doesn't always mean getting. Karma doesn't work like it should, and friendships and relationships are never equal. Maybe we are all nice only when we want to be. Here is what I refuse to give up believing.
I believe I am irreplaceable.
I believe that each and every single one of my dreams will come true.
I believe that I deserve more.
I believe that honesty is the best policy.
I believe that hard work and dedication are the keys to success.
I believe that one day I will look back on this and laugh.
I believe that a tittie pop and a cup of tea can solve almost anything.
I believe that musicals and books make for the best stories.
I believe that the best kind of love comes from doggies and mommies.
I believe that I am talented and unstoppable.
I believe that I am a wonderful and loyal friend.
I believe that I choose to only see the good in people and sometimes that can be a flaw.
I believe that I am worth 40 zillion dollars.
I believe that there are a million pretty blonde girls but only one Keltie Colleen.
I believe that a high left kick can book me any dance job.
I believe that sewing, knitting, and crafting make time better.
I believe in the power of a good soundtrack and a good glass of wine.
I believe that all the wonderful things coming to me right now are the karma I deserve.
I believe that trust is the most important thing in life.
I believe that Nicole Richie braids can save any bad haircut.
I believe that people can see through the lies of our idols.
I believe that there are good idols out there if you look past the US Weekly first.
I believe in true love.
I believe in me, my strength and my future.
What do you guys believe?
I've been stupidly sick all weekend, laying in bed, sleeping 22 hours and coughing, and I really wanted to have some ultra-amazing inspiring blog written for you for today - but that just isn't in the cards. I'm trying to be kinder to myself and not forcing work when my tank is empty. The good thing is that I have been holding this amazing piece of lifeforce in my back pocket for you. If you do one thing today, take 20 minutes and watch this video, it will change your thoughts on the afterlife, on life now and if what our brains tell us to do.
- Terence McKenna
"We have to stop consuming our culture. We have to create culture. Don’t watch T.V. Don’t read magazines. Don’t even listen to NPR. Create your own roadshow. The nexus of space and time where you are now is the most immediate sector of your universe. And if you’re worrying about Micheal Jackson or Bill Clinton then you are disempowered, you’re giving it all away to icons. Icons that are controlled by an electronic media. So you wanna dress like X or have lips like Y. This is shit-brained this kind of thinking. That is all cultural diversion. And what is real is you and your friends and your associations, your highs, your orgasms, your hopes, your plans, your fears. And we are told no, we are unimportant. We’re peripheral. Get a degree. Get a job. Get a this, get a that and then you’re a player. You don’t even want to play in that game. You want to reclaim your mind and get it out of the hands of the cultural engineers that want to turn you into a half-baked moron consuming all this trash that’s being manufactured out of the bones of a dying world."
- Terence McKenna
When you do not succeed you get to feel really terrible about yourself. Failure brings up thoughts of every single thing I have ever done wrong, and throws years worth of mis-steps and other disappointments in my face.
An even weirder thing happens when you actually succeed, yesterday I had an audition, nothing huge, pretty much like every other audition I have ever had before. I think I did a really good job. When I walked out of the room, I gave myself a giant pat on the back. I was a pretty good version of myself for 4 minutes. That’s rare when all the nerves, expectations and watching eyes threaten you inside auditions.
So, I was good, I felt high when I got into my car. Good when I drove down the street but by the time I got to the stop sign I was overcome with guilt. I felt guilty for my own success. I felt badly that everyone would hate me because I did a good job. I felt scared that the girl in my audition with me would feel sad about herself because I clearly knew more about the topic than she did. I felt bad that she would feel bad. She is a complete stranger and we are competing for the same job. I shouldn’t feel bad, I should feel happy.
But that is the weird thing about success, the closer you get to it, the less you feel like you actually deserve it. I guess it is easy to scream- I deserve the stars!!! But when the stars actually are in front of you, and you know the real you is probably not as fabulous as you have made everyone believe- it’s hard to accept that you deserve it.
The waitress always asks us for tea, and we always say yes. It was the time in my life that the only social media I was using was match.com, I was a big fan. It was like a candy shop of men, and you had a pretty good idea of what they would taste like before you bought them. They make it easy while online dating to be the truest version of your asshole heart. You get to click boxes and cut out hundreds of potential suitors based on things that they most likely cannot control. Things that you would never admit to anyone else that are total deal breakers for you. The boxes you click are honest, but also make you feel like the worst human in history.
He must be over 6 feet tall.
He must make over 150,000 a year.
He must like dogs.
My favorite thing to tell my friend while sitting at the 101 drinking tea was:
“I met someone.”
Sadly, her answer would always be, “like, met met, or met online?” I would look at her, wishing so badly that the next words to come out of my mouth were: "Met, in real life. I was jogging in the canyon with my dog, wearing an adorable hot pink sports bra and booty shorts with my shiny long ponytail blowing in the wind and he just came up to me and we started talking, running, then he let my dog lick him in the face. Then he licked my face and in between the water bottles and sunshine and spandex it’s a match made in heaven." When actually, my answer would be, I spend hours of time each night snuggled up to my computer searching through hundreds of make profiles, while in my sweatpants, the ones with the bleach stains. Having not showered for 2 days, and also eating mozzarella cheese, just a big old ball of it with a fork chewing with my mouth open, looking for a mate. Doing all of this because the thought of showering, living, being anywhere where I could meet someone in real life would involve talking, eye contact, and being out of my sweatpants. All of those things seem really overwhelming.
“Haven't met yet met.”
Insert friends awkward eyeroll.
“But he's super cool. His profile is bascially everything I want, photog, skinny, tall, sexy, lives in LA. He's been sending me the most insane emails. We are perfect for eachother. He's amazeballs.”
Insert second awkward eyeroll.
The problem is that I live in an online culture, I buy all my clothes online, I get my restaurants recommended to me online, I get directions, photos, status updates all online. I’m more comfortable with online, we are a generation of human beings with robot hearts and we like it that way.
The easiest thing to do when someone is pointing out your own flaws is to focus them back to their own.
“You need to start playing shows” I say.
"I know. but where? With who?" she replies.
“You should just find some random open mic night in Silverlake and go, I'll go with you.”
And of course, at that moment, like most moments in Los Angeles, a group of impossibly charming, sexy rock n roll hipster boys walk by the table and obviously check out the girls. Their pants are ...oh so tight. I am instantly in love, and questioning why I am not looking for love out in the real world because the real world is full of the really tight jeans, and really tight jeans are...
“Can I bring them?" I say laughing.
It is nighttime and we are walking down the poorly lit street in Silverlake. The street is home to charming store fronts, record stores, outdoor coffe shops and people riding by on cruiser bicycles. She is carrying her guitar case and we are the chichest looking poor people I have ever seen. The sign says, SUNSET JUNCTION, a little cafe filled with trendy looking people. A little yelow sign hangs above the window that says "Open Mic Tonight- $10 minimum purchase"
We find the entrance to the coffee shop, and enter into a dimly lit room filled with books, and random excentric art on the walls. Inside are five small tables with chairs and in front of the window is a single mic and mic stand. In the back of the room is a cashier selling coffee, muffins and bananas. There is a staircase going down beside the cashier. The sign reads "Open mic upstairs, narcotics annoynomus downstairs" There are four middle aged men sitting all at their own table, looking nervous, ready for open mic.
We sit down at a table in the back.
"Everyone understands? Ten minutes maximum, then you're off. Whose first?" says the host of the night.
All four middle aged men raise their hands.
A series of men wearing oversized leather jacket and Nike running shoes takes the stage. They all tell bad jokes. We start out trying to be encouraging, but by the time the third awful comedian takes the stage, our eyeballs are rolling and our heads are in our hands.
Finally, it is her turn.
She heads up to the mic and unlocks her guitar case with a loud click. Sets herself on a stool behind the mic and looks out to me with a nervous smile. No one in the room claps for her, but I go mad, hooting and hollering and making a big deal about it. She struggles with the mic, closes her eyes and begins playing.
The room goes silent, all eyes are on her for a moment, the a few people from the downstairs narcotics annoymus meeting even climb up the stairs to see what this sweet music is all about. For a few moments we think this is going to turn into a magical dream coming true montage of greatness. But it doesn't.
The song ends.
I am still the only person clapping.
"Thank you." she says.
We leave the cafe and walk back out into the night. She is visibily dejected.
"It was really good?" I say. "It was. I wouldn't lie."
She says to me, "You know, in the movies they never show this part. The awkward musical showcase at the comic circus bullshit."
I know what she means. It's like, I wish my mother had been a total dick and forced me to go to school and get a real job. No one ever tells you how hard it's gonna be to follow your dreams.
"It's just hard to believe that with all the people carrying guitars around LA, that there might be something so special about me." She says.
Sometimes, being a friend means speaking the truth, and being a mirror to reflect how wonderful the people who cannot see their own wonderful, are. I was that.
"Well, there is something special about you, but you just can't see it because...you're...you" I say.
And we walk back into the night convinced that we deserve it all, and that we deserve nothing all at the same time.