Contract Killers For Hire
One of my earliest memories is waking up to my dad bleeding all over the carpet, in our living room. I was 8 years old when our next door neighbor hired three gang members to kill my dad.
I grew up in a small suburb of Los Angeles Country, called Norwalk. You probably have never heard of it — most people haven’t. Just picture laundromats, liquor stores, pawn shops and a lot of fast food joints. Our neighbor sold drugs out of his house, when he wasn’t running a mechanic shop on his front lawn.
Despite this environment, I had positive influence from my parents and grandparents that guided me in a very different direction than most kids who grew up in Norwalk. My grandfather was on the city council; and, my grandmother led the charge to stop a casino from being built where an AMC Movie Theater would eventually end up. Political activism was something I was exposed to often.
My parents were very involved in church, specifically a Presbyterian church that was a five minute walk from our house. My dad lead the youth group, which gathered together on a weekly basis. It was after one of those youth group gatherings that three gang members approached my dad, as he was getting in his car to leave. They demanded that he get out of his car and pointed guns at him. Whether instinctively or not, my dad slammed on the accelerator, driving away from them. They shot at him multiple times.
One bullet hit the steering wheel, another ended up in the back seat and another hit my dad in his left arm. All things considered, my dad was very lucky. Though the bullet was lined up with his heart, it only grazed the outside of his upper arm. Physically, he was fine.
When I graduated high school, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life. One of my first jobs was working in a warehouse doing things like: drilling holes through steel with a hand-held drill, cutting metal, welding and cleaning paint off of metal with toxic chemicals. The only thing more toxic than the chemicals were the people I worked with. Misery — that’s a good word to describe the environment. No one would have blamed them.
It took a few years; but, I eventually got to a place where I decided I was done working at that job. I couldn’t take it anymore. My work schedule was twelve hours a day, six days a week (not exaggerating). I was making $10 an hour, which was a lot of money at the time. Still, I knew that no amount of money was worth selling my soul to that job. One day, I decided not to go into work and quit.
Many people experience a time of reinventing themselves. Some experience this later in life; I experienced it in my early twenties. Barnes & Noble became my new classroom. I’d spend up to ten hours a day reading books about business, self impovement and biographies about the greatest people in history. I was looking for something, anything to help me pull myself up and make something of my life.
When you want something badly enough, you’ll find it. One day, I read a book called “Awaken The Giant Within”, by Anthony Robbins. Some of you may know this book. It changed everything for me. The way of thinking that was presented in the book was completely new and the opposite of what I had learned through religion. I didn’t have to lean on an imaginary deity for strength. I was powerful and had the ability to make my life what I wanted it to be. I didn’t have to wait for external circumstances to change. I could change, from the inside out and effect every area of my life in a positive way. That’s what I did.
I bought a journal and started writing down everything I did and didn’t want. By this time, I was going to a small, private university in Southern California. I still had no clue what I wanted to do; but, writing down all of my wants and desires in that journal opened my eyes… Music!
I dropped out of college, after realizing that a degree would not help me make it, in the music industry. It didn’t take me long to talk my way into a job at Apple and The California Philharmonic Orchestra — both jobs were a far cry from cutting metal in a warehouse that was either freezing or blazing hot.
I took what I learned from The California Philharmonic and started producing events in Los Angeles. After several years, I had produced more than 300 events, ranging in size of attendance from small to large (50 — 35,000+ attendees). This put me in a position to start consulting for tech companies and lifestyle brands that wanted to do deals with powerful people in the music industry. I still do this today; and, I no longer clean paint off of metal. Every day presents a new opportunity to do bigger and better things.
It’s funny how you don’t realize that events in your childhood have dramatically shaped you life, until you are much older. I am twenty-seven now. When I started my journey into the music industry, the main catalyst was that memory of my dad bleeding all over the carpet in our living room.
The fact that my parents couldn’t afford to move was something I hadn’t really though about, until my early twenties. It was then that I felt the true pain of that night. I promised myself that my family, my kids, my wife would never have to be in a position like that. I wasn’t going to let my family want for anything, especially not security and the peace that comes from knowing that your next door neighbor didn’t try to have your dad killed.
This is the first time I have shared this story, in such depth. I don’t know if anyone will ever read it. If you are reading this, think about whatever you are struggling through right now. Whatever circumstance you are in, it does not have to control you. Most people from my neighborhood would say that I have no business working in the music industry… but I don’t care what anyone thinks. I live to create, contribute and inspire. I don’t let circumstances control my life. I create my life; and, my family will never have to worry about being visited my some contract killers.
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