insurance design

Smoking Charges Ignite

Last night, Amy took Anna, our seven-year-old, to the dress rehearsal for her 2015 dance recital. I was left in charge of Will, our nine-year-old, and Ella, our three-year-old. What follows is a litany of the kids showing me that I exist in their world as a piece of tightly-spun twine, permanently...

[ Swap Article ]

Sad Child


Our actions become our kids' reactions. Not exactly new. Not exactly Newtonian (pause while joke sinks in). But it's a truism all the same. ...

[ Swap Article ]

Car radio

Piece of Sh*t Car Reprise

When I was in high-school, a popular song named "Ode to My Car," by Adam Sandler, spun regularly on the radio. No, it didn't. All foul-mouthed teenage boys wished such happy, unfiltered radio days would appear, but that didn't stop the explicit lyrics from making an impact, even if the song's plot...

[ Swap Article ]


Advertise Here

I overheard some teenagers talking about getting someone to master their demo cd so they would have a product to sell when they played a gig later that week, and I rolled my eyes. These kids are musicians at my …...

[ Swap Article ]


Certain messes in life are unavoidable. If you get a DUI and your hair is sufficiently mussed or you manage to jam your finger into the nearest outlet just prior to the mug-shot, chances are you'll be a big-time celebrity some day. ...

[ Swap Article ]

A Reasonable Explanation

Therapist: Take me back to the beginning. Tell me how it all got started, how you eventually wound up holding the bloody knife in the aftermath of your killing spree. I'm sure there's a reasonable explanation....

[ Swap Article ]

That's a Mouthful

Waking up to the sounds of birds and (outside) insects is alluring, and when you have your second 10th cup of coffee and realize you are on vacation, and this auditory lovemaking is real, not the result of an ambitious-carpet-cleaning hallucination, you can finally relax, letting your bulk stress...

[ Swap Article ]

Stupid Piece of ... Oh, That's Right

I'm a realist. I call things like they are, and if I look stupid in the process, well, so be it. ...

[ Swap Article ]

Deadly Donuts

The morning started off good. Four eggs fluffed with a splash of milk, mixed with Parmesan and salt and black pepper and red pepper flakes and slathered with Cholula hot sauce; four ounces of Bob Evan's spicy Italian sausage (sorry for the smell, honey, luv ya) fried into the wonderful concoction;...

[ Swap Article ]

When Did I Become a Pushover?

I've never thought of myself as the Ultimate Fighter type. As a kid, whenever the possibility of bodily harm came up, I tried to avoid confrontation. But if the issue was pressed, I could stand up and issue fake threats along with the best of them and hope that my manufactured bravado was enough to...

[ Swap Article ]

As I Approach 30

I live in a small town. Colona, IL has a population of just over 5,000. As a jogger, this means I am usually only assaulted with exhaust fumes a few times whenever I decide to go outside to burn some calories. But as far as the type of people passing me on the roadside? Over this, I have no control....

[ Swap Article ]


Filed Under on March 22nd, 2011

Family Maxims #18

By Seth Kabala

I overheard some teenagers talking about getting someone to master their demo cd so they would have a product to sell when they played a gig later that week, and I rolled my eyes.

These kids are musicians at my church, so I’ve heard them perform, and while they might have admirable guitar chops for being so young, their voices are the professional equivalent of comparing apples that have fallen off a tree and have begun to ferment to a bottle of Hornsby’s Hard Cider. One is a fine, finished, mature product. The other has potential, but a long way to go before it’s a marketable product.

As a singer, I’m aware that it is the frontman/woman in a band that get’s all the attention, regardless of how much they might suck. Fred Durst is a sub-par singer, does okay within his milieu. He doesn’t suck, and I’ll bet a number of you remember that he fronted Limp Bizkit–that is to say he stood in front of the band members. Point is, we remember him.

But how many people remember Wes Borland, the guitarist? Maybe you remember his Exorcist-esque contacts, but you probably don’t remember his name. Why? Because he wasn’t the frontman.

Undoubtedly, the guitarist is an essential part of a rock band, but it’s the singer that gets the glory. That’s why bands can live on if instrumentalists quit. But rarely, except in the case of Scott Stapp, who had a good McDonald’s drive-thru voice, does a band survive the exit of a singer.

These teenage wannabees, almost in the same poorly-trained breath, began discussing how much they loved their pointless (my adjective) jobs working as grocery store cashiers. How much fun it was to mess around with the intercom and throw candy bars and then duck so no one was the wiser. How the management at one store was all business, while the management at another store all smoked weed, so that was, like, definitely the one you wanted to work at.

From this incongruence of talking points, I remembered my own foray into the music business at age 23. It went like this:

1. Kid has some talent
2. Kid fails to recognize that talent is undeveloped
3. Kid makes demo
4. Kid expects record contract and instant riches
5. Kid sends demo to artist and repertoire (a&r) people
6. Kid gets one negative critique, his only critique
7. Kid quits the business

Over the ensuing seven years that have passed since my bottle-rocket soared and sputtered in the music business, I have developed my voice into maturity. It took time. It took patience. Ceteris Paribus I now have a realistic shot at making a side-living with music, if only on a small, local scale.

But we all know that things don’t stay the same from moment to moment, and certainly not decade to decade. With growing family and do-this-because-it-puts-food-on-the-table responsibilities, my time is limited to pursue my dreams.

Even so, I am undeterred, because I now know what it takes to achieve success, which is why I wrote the following saying that I posted on my work wall, and which comes to us as Family Maxim #18:

The Kabala family shall recognize that those holding an IOU from the world have a toxic asset, and we shall instead strive to be the banker.

Stating dreams in the same sentence as your assessment of the candy-bar throwing technique of one of your cohorts, forgetting that people really can tell if you’re a bad singer, refusing to push on past the he’s-full-of-shit feelings regarding a bad critique to see the truth (that you’re not ready) are sure-fire ways to fail.

Maybe those kids will make it. But I’m betting not. Not until they quit eating rancid apples. Not until they taste the reality of Hornsby’s.


Leave a Reply

Seth Kabala

About: Seth Kabala
Seth is an entrepreneur, writer, musician, family man, and juggler of balls--big ones. He lives with his wife and three children in Portland, OR.

0 Comments Load Comments


Shuffler's Luck

I never knew a card game could change my life. I'm not talking about a high-stakes poker game, where international gangsters vie for dominance in a world of chance, and if chance doesn't go their way, bullets will do as a nice substitute. I'm talking about a simple card game with suggestions for the...

[ Swap Article ]

Bully man

Meter Mensch

A co-worker of mine dropped her bus pass in the hall. Someone picked it up and handed it to her. She thanked the person, saying she was sure glad she hadn't lost it for good. I poked my head out of my office and said, "You just ruined a fare inspector's day." Got a good laugh, and it got me...

[ Swap Article ]

Chess board made of white and brown sugar with King

Sweetness and Dark

The street is dark. Cars line both sides, hugging the curbs. Streetlamps reflect off of glossy paint jobs and squeegeed windshields, creating alternative perspective art pieces from flipped aspect ratios of bent light. A breeze blows the evening fog up from the water. It lowers the ambient...

[ Swap Article ]

Holy Cow - handgezeichnete Illustration mit Pastellkreide in türkis

Couch Etymology

From where you sit, do you understand seated origin? The reason for said sitting? If not, you soon will. ...

[ Swap Article ]

Pop-art style poster with hipster deer dressed in yellow glasses and scarf, telling I am cool.

Toxic Bambi

Yesterday while I was writing, Ella, our seven-year-old, came up to me and said she had thought of a joke. "My first joke," she announced, pride streaming from her voice and face. I asked her what it was. Here's what she said, "What does [we'll say Bob] want to do for school? Me U. Get it? Me U...

[ Swap Article ]

World Map in Typography word cloud concept, names of countries

Plan for the Journey

Toastmasters is moving away from its physical manuals and static speech-making program into a dynamic program called Pathways. On January 10, 2019, I delivered my first speech in Pathways: a re-imagination of my ice-breaker speech. If you don't know me, know this: if you give me a rubric, I will...

[ Swap Article ]


Battle of the Sarcasticons

I’m raising a band of Little Sarcasticons. Defined term? Yes, yes it is. You can find it in the Kabala Book of Sarcasticisms. New chapters available daily. No longer must we be constrained in our sarcastic witticism production. Oh, no, folks. Netflix has joined the charge with their resurrection...

[ Swap Article ]

Secondhand word cloud

Editor's Note--TFF Issue #20

Some vehicles bring lackluster competitive spirit to dancing competitions. Despite their nimble construction, most compact models lack the energy to stick it out in the most heated scenarios. Then you've got the ones who were made for dancing. Made for not just cruising down the road, but for...

[ Swap Article ]

Plumbing Speed Logo Icon Design

Speed Plumbing

The pipe masters ascended the stairs and entered the arena. They'd come a long way, building rudimentary structures to escape cribs and punish bullies as children, graduating to more complicated designs as adolescents and adults. Mario had been especially proud of his design that transported him...

[ Swap Article ]

Fortune cookie bad set. death and robber on paper prediction. Vector illustration

Imaginative Cookies

The executive stepped to the lectern, his stomach churning with nerves and the remnants of last night's authentic Mexican food. Wonderful flavors. Wonderful and punishing, that is. This moment was shaping up to be a repeat of that theme. Investors, the public, the press--if he could convince them...

[ Swap Article ]

Businessman Drawing on the Whiteboard. Pop Art

Editor's Note--TFF Issue #19

A few months ago, I decided to write a daily quote on my office wall. No, I’m not an irascible child who will not be contained in my creative fury. I have a whiteboard that I use for quote purposes and other work stuff. ...

[ Swap Article ]