The story of my perilous journey this week to play on the 700 Club….
What does it take to make it in the music business? I’ll let you know one day, hopefully… All I know is that you have to dig deeper, and then when you’ve done that, dig some more.
The first leg of my flight to Virginia Beach two days ago to play on the 700 Club with the Machine Gun Preacher had gone smoothly. US Airways always makes me nervous, especially on East Coast connections because of the weather. Just one more short flight to Newport News Airport on a small plane, and I’m there. I booked this flight to a nearby airport (not the main Virginia Beach airport) to save money, only 150 bucks but it adds up when you’re traveling all over the country promoting. The flight was supposed to depart at 6.30pm.
The first delay notice is heard over the speakers.. Flight 3854 delayed 1 hour. Oh well, typical… I’ll just hang out and check emails to kill time. 30 minutes pass and the 2nd delay notice comes through. 10pm departure time now. OK, so I won’t get in until about midnight … not the end of the world. It’s annoying but it will still be fine as I don’t have to be at the 700 Club studio until 9.30am.
So a couple more hours pass and it’s 9.45pm, only a few minutes till boarding. I get a phone call about scheduling logistics for an important show coming up and for about 10 minutes I’m distracted from the gate. I get off the phone, look towards the gate and it’s deserted. In fact the whole airport is deserted. No call over the PA that the flight was cancelled, not even FLIGHT CANCELLED notice on the board. I grab my guitar and bag and head for the nearest help desk…. the news is not good. The next flight is 10am in the morning.
Keep in mind that I’ve travelled all the way across the country for a chance to play 1 song, no guarantees. Everything at the airport is shutting down and the clerk quickly tells me that all the car rental places would be closed by now for the night. What am I going to do?
Only one thing to do… pray, keep walking and dig deeper. All of a sudden I am encouraged as I see an attended rental car desk in the baggage claim area. Maybe I can drive the rest of the way and still make it in time. Enterprise is the first, no cars left… then AVIS. They refuse to do a one-way rental. Budget have nothing left either. Everywhere I turn is a roadblock. Maybe I came all this way for nothing… but I can’t give up. I walk up to AVIS again and ask, if I’m willing to drive back, do they have anything? The guy searches the system and all that’s left is a 12 seater passenger van. $200 for one day, plus fuel. I think for a second and then tell the guy I’ll take it. So at 11.30pm I leave CLT airport with a 330 mile drive ahead of me. I decided to dig deeper..
I made it to my hotel in Virginia Beach at about 5.30am.. lay down for 3 hours. At 9am I head to the 700 Club studio, find the visitor car park and eventually the lobby. ‘Hi my name is Aaron… I’m supposed to meet Sam Childers and play a song today’, I say to the receptionist, a very nice lady. She phones the producer and asks me to take a seat while they find out. I’m so relieved to be there and relax in the waiting area lounge, thinking ‘I made it’!. A few minutes later the producer walks out… ‘What was your name again?’ she asks… My heart begins to sink. Surely, they new I was coming. I tell her that I wrote a song for Sam, and was asked to be here today to perform. I could tell by the look on her face that she knew nothing about me… then she tells me, ‘No one told me you we’re coming’. I’m not the sort of person that likes to push myself into a situation. I find self promotion very difficult. Even so, after traveling for almost 24 hours I have to try to sing this song. I give her the CD and ask… ‘I’ve come all this way… can I please sing the song?’.
It’s almost 10am and the producer finally returns with Sam…. ‘Hey man’, he says… ‘I sent your CD but it must have got lost along the way somewhere’…
Sam and I are led through some corridors to a green room where I await my fate.. I’m pretty tired at this point, running on adrenaline and whatever traces of Red Bull still in my system from the night before. Word finally comes that I can play my 4 minute song in the Chapel… and it will be filmed and streamed on the 700 Club website. I still feel like the ugly stepchild but at least I get to play the song, and maybe a few people will be moved…
The program goes well, Sam is introduced and introduces me in turn.. I sing One Mans War with the kids voices in the background. The audience responds well and I sit down to listen to Sam speak. Everyone’s excited about the movie and Sam does a great job as usual. He wraps up and apologizes to the audience that he has to rush to catch a plane to DC for another premiere that evening with Gerard. He closes, shakes my hand and leaves the building. I look at my watch and calculate the next 8 hours. If I rush to pack up and get back to the van… If I drive without stopping I’ll just make my flight home at 8pm. Gotta dig deeper again… 1 speeding ticket and 6 hours later…
I made it home that night. Got to Charlotte with 10 mins to spare and made my flight.
Was it worth it? To fly for 10 hours, drive 700 miles, to sing one song? I don’t know… but I do believe that it’s one of the countless times you have to go the extra mile and dig deeper if you want to make it in the music business.
One thing I know for sure, I’m never giving up… gotta keep digging deeper!
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