Lessons In Starting Over

Mitch JoelPosted by

“If you had to start a blog today, what would you do?”… Would you do it?

I can’t imagine the degree of complexity and much more competitive nature of trying to start a blog today. I started blogging back in 2003 (and have not stopped since). I don’t really blog… I just write. I just write, and I love the fact that I have this tiny little publish button that enables me to distribute whatever is happening in between my earholes to the world (or, the small amount of people who care to read and engage with it). Starting something like that, today, would require a whole other approach. I would probably build my content into existing platforms (larger publishing channels and on places like Medium or LinkedIn… a “fish where the fish are” kind of content distribution model). Still, trying to make something new happen in this evolving digital publishing environment is alluring.

With that, I started a brand new podcast.

“Brand new,” is not exactly true. About one year ago, I launched something called, Groove – The No Treble Podcast. Yes, a podcast that is similar to the one that I do at Six Pixels of Separation – The Mirum Podcast, but the in-depth conversations are not with business leaders and marketing experts. With Groove, I wanted to dig down deep with bass players. Being someone who plays the electric bass – with more of a passion for the sound and music that comes from it than the playing of it – it felt like an interesting project to take on, that is an extension of the work that I do. Musicians – as you know – are hyper-creative types. Personally, I was curious to see how these conversation would flow considering that I spent a large part of the late eighties and nineties interviewing hundreds of musicians for a myriad of print magazines.

What happened today?

Today, No Treble published the twelfth episode of Groove – The No Treble Podcast. I could think of no better way to celebrate the one year anniversary of this show, than to dive into the amazingly, unconventional and beautiful playing of Stuart Hamm. Back in the late eighties, I made the mistake of thinking that Hamm was a full-on rocker, due to his work with Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and Frank Gambale. While his first solo album, Radio Free Albemuth, came out in 1988, I got sucked into the vortex of his magnificent playing and composition on 1989’s Kings Of Sleep. Rock, jazz, country, classical… you name it, and Stuart has a flair and approach that is uniquely his own.
A bassist since the seventies, Hamm has seen the evolution of the instrument, and how much the music and songs that emanate from the bass has evolved. In fact, he has been at the forefront of pushing the instrument forward. Live, in the studio or educating others, Hamm is just as enthused about the instrument as he ever has been. He recently released his latest composition, The Book of Lies, that includes a seven piece suite for bass soloing. He is an amazing artist.

What a new show has taught me.

There are so many lessons from starting over. There’s the standard stuff: struggling to find the voice of the show, building the audience, publishing with consistency, maintaining the energy in between episodes (this one is published monthly) and more. What I’ve learned is this: dig deep into the niche. Bass players are a uniquely close community. They are on the fringes. I like that. The reason that podcasting still resonates (for me) is the ability to not only experiment with audio as a format – in way that radio can’t – but also in producing content that you can’t really hear anywhere else. Most people will have little-to-no desire to listen to a forty-five-minute-plus conversation with a bass player that may never have heard of. That’s too bad. The content within this podcast about bass players is so directly applicable to leading a creative life that it has, literally, struck me at my core.

Take a listen. It’s a journey…