Having a son who aspires to be in the music business in some capacity, I try to stay up on things like the probability of “making it” and what you can do with a background in music if you don’t make it. First, I will note that I’m his biggest fan and want him to pursue his dream, whatever it may be. That’s the way my Daddy was, that’s the way I try to be. My Daddy always said, “We’ll figure it out.”
Speaking of musicians who thought they were down for the count, there have been quite a few who were knocked to the mat only to come back to be big successes. The Beatles were rejected in 1962 by Decca Records, being told that “Guitar groups are on their way out.” In 1954, the Grand Ole Opry kicked out a fellow and told him he’d better stick with driving trucks – Elvis Presley. In 1967, Jimi Hendrix was booed off the stage because the crowd wanted to see the headlining group, “The Monkees.”
The list goes on and on. Colbie Caillat auditioned twice and was rejected twice for “American Idol.” Another singer, Hillary Scott, tried twice to get on “American Idol,” but never made it past the preliminary rounds. You know Hillary and her band as “Lady Antebellum.”
The bottom line is rejection, failure and criticism are part of the music and recording business and it is the way you respond to them and learn from them that determines where you will go.
In 1960, a couple of fellows named Peter Kilham and Alan Bemis started a Rhode Island record label called “Droll Yankees.” They used their record label to preserve the humorous and often off-color stories unique to New England. I had no idea what the word “droll” meant until I looked it up. It means “having a humorous, whimsical or odd quality.” I don’t think these fellows did very well with their record label, because they found a better way of making a living.
They got into the bird business. They are known for their many different styles and in particular the “tubular” bird feeder which Peter invented in 1969. If you’ve seen bird feeders, you’ve seen the tubular ones which they say “revolutionized” bird feeder designs and continues to be an industry-wide best seller. Yes, I would like to have owned the patent on the tubular feeder.
Peter and Alan’s company, “Droll Yankees” bills itself as having “The World’s Best Bird Feeders.” I believe them. What impresses me is that they offer a lifetime warranty and will replace defective or squirrel-damaged parts.
That’s right, they say they will replace squirrel-damaged parts. I’ve had two plastic tubular bird feeders gnawed up by squirrels in the last six months. They weren’t Droll Yankees bird feeders though, so I was out of luck.
To say that I was happy to get one of these Droll Yankees bird feeders as a gift recently, would be an understatement. When I realized it was the “Yankee Flipper,” I couldn’t contain my emotions. First with a name like the “Yankee Flipper,” any good Southerner should be encouraged and perhaps play a Hank Williams Jr. song…
However, this Yankee Flipper, flips squirrels. Droll Yankees notes that it will “Send squirrels on a wild ride and keep them away from your bird feeder.” This thing has a motorized perch ring that is calibrated such that a bird can sit on it and eat seeds, but the weight of a squirrel causes a tornadic spin whipping the squirrel off the feeder, hopefully disorienting him in such a way that he stands drunk under the feeder and is an easy target. No, I haven’t taken aim at any drunk squirrels yet, I’m still waiting on them to find my new feeder.
The birds have found it and are happy with it. The squirrels seem to be curious and quite possibly have planned attacks while I’m at work. I do sleep a little better knowing I have that lifetime guarantee against squirrel damage. If only I could get that for my house.
So some folks start off spinning records and end up spinning squirrels. I like success stories and I can’t wait to see a squirrel trying to hang on for dear life.
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