Two of our favorite topics – gaming and music – are once again talked about.

Stephen had a couple fun game day experiences and Alan tells what he loves about attending Mensa mind games. If you enjoy gaming, you’ll understand the fun stories.

Does gaming affect your life choices? We talk about what gaming can teach us and how we evaluate taking chances in life. Maybe you play games differently than life?

We don’t just talk about music today, we discuss what it may be to be considered a sellout and do we think that way. Many groups are examples of this, and we have similar feelings on it. Do you have a group you think sold out?

And lastly, what would you rather have – a nice long talk with a creator you admire or their signature?


FAN EXPO Cleveland (fanexpohq.com)

Marvel Fluxx | Board Game | BoardGameGeek

American Mensa’s Mind Games | April 20 – 23 (mensamindgames.com)



Alan: There we go. That should give us some good space sand mount contrast. Look how cool we

Stephen: are. Yeah. I’m avoiding tie fighters, .

Alan: It’s Star Wars month. I hadn’t thought of embracing that theme. I’m sorry about that. Thought of cold. It was old enough here. I, our house is well insulated and warm and so forth, and yet last night I got cold in, so I went and got like another comforter and threw it on top of us and we’ve been sleeping with a comforter and a bedspread on us.

Cause it was kinda like a weighted blanket. It really is. It like swaddles you and makes you sleep. I guess because we had switched to just, anyway, it was, it’s very weird. I’m usually pretty temperature, self-regulating. I’m hardly like, stinky cold blooded or anything like that. And yet waking up when everything is usually nice and like cuddly warm and it’s not, it’s like I must correct this and so I’m I think around in the dark.

Stephen: I think it really does feel more cold when it’s damp and it’s been raining for days off and on.

Alan: It may have, you it, it’s funny. We, it has been the overcast I talk about this, I’m sure every year I have a touch of sad, seasonal effective disorder where every morning when it, when you wake up and it’s not sun, but it’s just that kind of overcast gloom and stuff like that.

I really, I used to spring out a bed , and nowadays it’s just so tempting to be like, I could just kinda roll over, fluff the pillow and go back down. And. Oh and I’m heading out at the end of the week for my next California trip and I usually that’s a tonic cuz hey California. But as you probably know, they’ve been having torrential rainfall, atmospheric rivers as they call them, parking on top of the state.

And they really haven’t reached down to San Diego as much as Sacramento and more like center and upwards. And yet I’m scheduled to have four days of rain when I get there, like Saturday through Monday or something like that. I whate whatever Nick, I was expecting to go walk on the beach.

No, the pier is closed because the surf is so high. , you know that

Stephen: Ju just let us know if it feels any different to roll over and go back to sleep in California as opposed to Ohio .

Alan: And that’s true. There’s gotta be some type of magnetic thing, anyway. Okay,

Stephen: So also one of the things that we both do that kind of helps sometimes is getting together with people and playing games.

Both those things, are pretty much known mood lifters During the winter, the last couple years I’ve been getting together with my cousin and some friends. And playing games. And we’ve never really done that before. I never thought of my cousin as a big game player. We used to play rummy with my grandparents, we kinda got into this, Hey, you got lots of games, bring some over and teach ’em to us.

Okay, we’ll see how it goes. And they’ve been loving it. We had a great time the other day with some new games. One of the games and, flu. I’m sure you’ve played Flux before. There’s about 300 variations and themed flux versions. But for people that don’t know flux is exactly what it sounds like.

It’s a game where the rules and the goal of the game are in a constant state of flux because of game play.

Alan: They change like every route if not every card. You know what I mean? It really and if you’re a planner, it’s really frustrating to be like, oh, I had three quarters of what I needed for victory and now that just is trash

Stephen: to the side of the road, absolutely. I’ve got one friend that refuses to play that game because what’s it matter? I might as well just throw cards down randomly. And it’s okay, you not your

Alan: type of game. Nobody thinks that way. She’s not a big fan, yeah. And once I like it, cause it’s so different than every other game.

It’s the Yes, absolutely. That they did to come up with all the ways in. They can play with those expectations of what a game is. I find that intriguing. So yes.

Stephen: Okay. So we were playing the Marvel version of Flux. I figured, okay. They had played flux before, but I figured playing nice theme that they know you feel more comfortable with and Sure.

Oh, I laid down a keeper that was grouped. Grut says that you and it’s a good one to have cuz there’s several goals that use group. Keepers are always good and whatever. You got branches.

Alan: Haha. That’s okay. Yeah.

Stephen: Well, Grut says. That you, as long as you have grouped down on the table, you are not allowed to say anything except I am grouped.

If you say anything else, exactly, you can, you have to give the card to someone else. And then they have to do that until they miss it. So of course they’re all sitting there and they start going we don’t understand this card. What’s it mean? And wait, how do I play this? And what do we do next? And I’m going, I am.

Alan: To lure you. Exactly.

Stephen: Yes. So I’m explaining it as if I was really explaining. I picked up the card and I’m like, I am gro. I am. Listen, I’m gro. I am. And then just tears are rolling, cause we’re in that goofy mood and I just kept doing it. And then yeah, some other friends came to the door and I opened the door and I said, I’m groomed.

And they look at me and they walk in and it’s

Alan: oh, ok. Yeah. What’s going on here? What’s the game night or something, right? . But then

Stephen: my sister, that’s hilarious. Then my sister called Cuz she had a question. And the phone rings and I went, I am grot. And they’re all laughing. I pick it up and I go, I’m Grot.

And my sister goes hi. And she goes, I’ve got a question. Do you have a moment? I said, I am Grot. And she’s I dunno what you’re doing. What? And my cousin is just laughing. So I hold the phone out to him and he’s I don’t wanna talk to her. And I’m like, he’s not explained.

Alan: They’re gonna leave you hanging.

Exactly. Yeah.

Stephen: I went through the whole conversation. My sister kept asking me questions, and I’m just going, I am grouped. I am grouped. I am grouped. I am grouped. And she’s okay, whatever you’re doing, call me back later, , and I’m going crack this up. Because it didn’t even phase her. It’s okay, I don’t know what my brother’s doing now, but I’ll talk to him when he’s backing his right.

Alan: It’s not like he, cap it with a gun to his head. This is just something that he does. Exactly.

Stephen: That’s very funny. And then the interesting thing was I pulled out another game called Zombies with three exclamation marks. I don’t know if you’ve ever played it. It’s a tile, it’s a map building game.

Every turn you lay down a map piece and each map could have zombies on it and health and bullets, and it’s an action movie. The idea is to survive so you can get to the helicopter and escape and right. You get to move the zombies every turn. So you’ve got hordes of zombies moving around the city as you’re trying to get through and get health and stay alive and all that.

And I play Be trying to avoid yourself. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And it’s a cute little game, it’s one of those games that if you play a lot of games that you’re like, it kinda loses steam after a little while. There’s not enough

Alan: to it’s avoid the zombies, kill the zombies, send the zombies towards your, co players et cetera, et

Stephen: cetera.

So I played it with them. I thought, let’s give it a try. I haven’t played it for a while. I spent money on this stupid thing. They loved it. They thought it was great. And that’s the thing. Different people like different types of games and they thought that one was a load of fun. So I’m like, all right,

Alan: we’ll do it again.

It’s cool. Bring over a bunch of games and get to see, I got I have said this many times. I think you can learn so much about a person in an hour of game playing more than an hour of talking with them a lot of times. Yeah. You know what I mean? They just who they are, what matters to them, what they find funny, what they find interesting.

It all comes out, what, like it we have our monthly game thing with a couple of Colleen’s family and and they, there’s preferences amongst them. We play a lot of cars because the family grew up playing cars much like mine did. But we also they’re really good at finding the $10 little card game that is, you’re gonna try to match another person in, in an odd.

Characteristic. Exactly. So if you say flightless Bird, and I say this in case Maureen and Erin ever listened to this I, I said ostrich and she said Penguin. And she was certain that the only good answer was Penguin, how could I not match her on Penguin? And so that has lived on beyond the game that whenever there’s some weird little , not even rule anomaly, just something penguin.

And it’s could be ostrich, couldn’t be ostrich . So yeah, it, we have tried various different games and some of them stick and others are like, I don’t know. It isn’t so much often that everybody loves it. Sometimes people really they have such bad luck in a game sometimes. And even if the game is.

They just don’t wanna play it because they’re always in fourth place and after one, you get tired of, I don’t know what it is about this game, but my luck is bad, your play is good. Whatever it might be. So please, let’s not play this anymore than we have to. Once a night at most with knuckle, you can all play because there’s a good luck skill.

Balance, anyway, ,

Stephen: the one thing about zombies that I thought of after playing it again, cuz it’s really been years since I even touched that game. It’s just cute with all the zombies on there, the rules are fairly easy, straightforward, but they, the after, you reach a point where certain things are like, oh, really?

That’s not it. It’s making the game less fun. So we said, why don’t we would be better. Yeah, exactly. So it’s a definite game that lends itself to a few house rules to make it more fun and balanced for your playgroup. It’s a good game for that. A lot of games, you don’t mess with the rules too much because it really changes the game and changes the gameplay.

Alan: We’ve talked about this, mind games, Mets has an event every year called Mind games where hundreds of us, like 340, I think is the last count, get together to play test 60, 70, 80 new games that, we do it in April, so it’s gonna be coming out for the next holiday season and so forth.

It, there’s often part of what you’re supposed to do is not just play test it, do you like it or not? You give pretty specific feedback about how original was it, how good it is it in Replayability. Are there any suggestions you would make as to the quality of gameplay and Mansons are really good at compare and contrast, but between other games they’ve played and and what might make this game better and I know that we must have seen over the course of, I think it’s 30 years running now.

Any number. Requested changes that were incorporated into the final version because the game manufacturers the what’d you call ’em? The authors really said, yeah, that it’s a better game. It’s a balanced game. It’s a, that we would be a card that does that because we don’t have a currently.

And I love that event because it really is that incredible immersion. It’s a sleepless weekend. You’ve got like 48 to 72 hours to play a ton of games. And sometimes it’s with your clutch of people that you enjoy playing games with. Oftentimes it’s just someone says, Hey, I gotta play, zombies on the Run and then six people go over there, however many the number of players is, and you really get to know people, like I was saying.

And I must admit to some people, I can’t wait to play with this guy again. He was game, he was funny. He was like, and there’s some people that are this. Rules Nazis. Slow, so pedantic about various different things. It’s like I, I could do without not joining in a lot with certain people , and it’s, so

Stephen: I love that you say that because I had two instances recently.

The ELF Card game, which I may have mentioned before, I’ve been working on for a couple years, and I took it to the RG in December, down in Cincinnati, and I thought it was like, this is the pretty good, maybe a few tweaks here and there. And it played well. And then over the break I had sent it to someone else down in Cincinnati and their family played it.

I didn’t tellme rules tellme the cards. I just sent it to ’em with the rules. And then I played it here again with my cousin and them when, and they hadn’t played it for a while. And even after all that I’m like, oh, this doesn’t play well. This doesn’t play well. This, I could be changed. But then the friends down in Cincinnati, They said, oh, they got on a Zoom call with me and said, here we did this. And they had a sheet they had made up and they made some different cards and they said, here’s what we were doing for this. And I’m like, those are great. Those are amazing. And it was just sometimes you get too close to something. Yeah.

Alan: Yeah. That’s true too. After you 10 times, you’re like into the mechanics of it and you might not be able to take that step seat with fresh eyes. Yeah, very

Stephen: much I think this last round of beta testing really enhanced the game a lot. Now I’ve got probably a couple hours of work ahead of me of altering some things, but it really great there.

Exactly. Yeah. And that was interesting. But then I got another friend group that I play a lot of different games with. Totally different style of play. There’s some games I wouldn’t even bother playing with them and they wouldn’t. But we’ve joked about this in the past that they like to alter the rules to house rules.

So every single game becomes a build up your force and overwhelm everybody. And whoever can do that quickest wins because they

Alan: love those resource management games.

Stephen: Yeah. Yeah. But they even do that with things like flux. They would hate flux. They would change the rules to like, here’s the goal, that’s the only goal for the game, and they changed Katon and I played it and I was kinda like what’s the point of this game? To build up faster. Okay, but you got rid of all the other rules for reasons we wanna build up. Yeah, it’s a cooperative game. So we help each other build up and they weren’t trading cards, they were just giving each other the resource cards they wanted so they could build up.

Yeah. And they created gold that’s so that you could no robbers if you got a robber card, you just took that from the bank and they created gold, which let you choose any resource you wanted. Wow. And

Alan: I, if you’re that group that wants to I like cooperative games when, it’s such a change from everything usually being competitive, that it’s cool.

It’s very interesting to take a thing that is very much in the heart of it about competition and small advantages and withholding information and et cetera, et cetera, that, to change that into a cooperative game and just like throwing out no, no crime. How interesting. Yeah, I, it’s, wow I haven’t maybe way back in Champaign or Bannon, when I was in school at University of Illinois they had a couple good gaming groups and.

Backs back when I was still playing d and stuff like that. And so sometimes there were groups that was like, we as a group, you’re new. We really don’t like to have it, that we have to worry about internal dissension. Thief is not going to be thieving from other players, backstabbing, et cetera, et cetera.

And I was okay with that. I’m not here to unmake friends. Boy, there’s some games as like diplomacy or something like that where it’s all about making alliances and breaking alliances and you can really have like friendships break up over you really portrayed me. You really set me up.

You look me in the eye and lie to me and now I’m not sure that I can trust you in real life. . You know what I mean? , it’s so I’ve, there’s a couple things that, and maybe just for certain people that for certain games they’re hyper-competitive or they’re rules Nazis or whatever else it might be.

I I know that when I’ve been to mind games, I really am. One of the another things that I really like about mind games is there’s a continual suggestion by people who specialize, if you will, that is there any way that I could just play strategy games or word games or, trivia games. Cuz that’s what I really like and I think it’s an important thing to take yourself outta your comfort zone.

Yeah. And there’s not, it’s not like reading a dictionary. There’s maybe what, 2, 4, 8 pages of rules. You should be able to internalize that what’s the end condition, what’s the winning condition? What do I have to worry about in terms of resource management or whatever else it might be.

How read you the pieces move? And that’s just part of keeping your brain nimble. You just played a game over here. This is different in all different kinds of ways, but put that new set of rules in and play this game instead. And when you do that 60 times, it might be a, an exhausting thing, but it’s an exhilarating thing to say, what is it? Resilience is often talked about as one of those things that’s gonna keep you alive longer. No mental deterioration get through trauma more, and mind games is very much about that. That it’s all about resilience, not hyper specializing, being like, I don’t know I’m a big trivia guy.

All those thoughts stay in my head for whatever reason, all those little factoids. But that’s not the only kind of thing I like doing. And in fact, I like being forced to be I’m not usually good about abstract strategy and honestly, I am at tattoo. I’m, it this is, once in a while we have to get on our little, whatever brain un humbleness,

I really like all different kinds of games and. I often catch on quick and can get ahead of other people that are still learning and figuring out. And I’m far from the best. Steve Gates is great. Oriel Maxim, I, I’ve met some players that really are like, they’re the guys that explain games to other people instead of reading the rules because they really get the essences of games so well.

But having said that, if there’s ever like a game Dec Castle on, I got a pretty good shot because r bm good at Scrabble. Good at Monopoly, and good at choir and good at Katan, formerly settlers of Katan. So it’ll be a trivia contest one day. What is, what was Katan

Stephen: called before? You know what I mean? Two ass, right?

I think the original German had two. Exactly. Yeah. And. Go ahead. I’m sorry.

Alan: No, it is I think that I’m not the only guy that’s like that gal too that there’s all kinds of people that like all those different kinds of things because they really do activate different parts of your brain. And I talked about this a little bit too.

If you play a roleplaying game, it’s really cool once a while to say, I often play the tank because I’m big physically and I’m used to what the advantages are being like that how if I play the nimble, ninja that I’m about quickness to the attack and things like that. And it just, it’s cool to put yourself into a different mind frame.


Stephen: absolutely. It’s healthy. Yeah and one of the interesting things for me, it’s really been a lesson in gaming to create something and try and make it balanced and write the rules and come up with the rules because that elf game, it’s a simple little card game designed for kids, but it took so long to come up with the right combination of playing cards to make it fun and enjoyable for people.

And and then having other people play it and give feedback and, what their minds are thinking and saying, oh, you, you gotta, really evaluate it. Oh, that was a good idea. That was a good rule change. That was a good whatever. And the really interesting thing was my friends who liked the games that, altered Katan, they love that version of it, but I was like, oh my God, how much longer is this game going to go?

And what really cracked me up is one of those friends who loves everything we ever play is always build your power and attack and win. He loves access and allies and was at a gaming store and a group was playing Access and allies and he asked if he could sit in on it cuz you don’t see a lot of people playing that game.

So he is oh man, somebody played not anymore. Yeah. He said he had to leave and quit because they altered the rules and he didn’t enjoy it because it, he said it wasn’t balanced and it changed how you played the game and stuff. And I’m looking at, I’m blinking, I’m like thinking, dude, that’s what you always wanna do to every game.

Exactly. And,

Alan: and man, I have so many good mind games, memories. We’ve been I wasn’t it on the first probably eight, 10 years, but it was only in New York City, but as soon as it started traveling around the country, I was one of the guys. If it’s within reasonable distance, I’ll go and then reasonable turn to eight hour drive.

Sure. I’ll go, I’ve driven to St. Louis and stuff like that. I haven’t flown, I don’t think I’ve ever flown because that just seems to be. I don’t know. I’m willing to spend, 300 for a hotel on it and maybe 500 because of the fee, but I’m not willing to spend a thousand on it.

Stephen: Whatever that is from it’s your seven, it’s your seven limit.

Alan: It’s, there’s something about, I, I have a reasonable mis test. Having said that, I’ve had so many good times. For instance off almost always, every single year, there’s one game that you can tell when it’s being played because there’s such laughter at that table.

You know what I mean? There’s all, there’s social games and one year it was curses, I think this was up in Albany, if I remember right. And it’s wow, I can’t wait to play that. Curses are one of those things a little bit, going back to your first story of what, you have to say, I am group only.

You get cursed with various different things. Hey, you can only play with your left hand or you have to, and if you don’t obey, then you lose resources or whatever else it might be. And if I remember right, the curses were additive and so you’d have people getting really, Contorted into the kinds of things that they continually had to do.

I once had, I was cursed. I had to speak like Elmer fun. And so everything was, oh, you Alaska, you have it, you that kind thing. . And then I had a card where I had to sing a Bruce Braunstein song, and I was like, the highways jam with woken noses on a west couch. Why? And I, honestly, I did it pretty well.

Again, now everybody at the table fell out of their chairs because it wasn’t like you steal yourself and do it, you just go in and some people are with mimics, they’re unpassable it. We had so much fun, and in fact, the people that were like, I’m not gonna do that. It’s come on man. You couldn’t be in a safer, more accepting, more goofy place than right here, right now.

Do your little store, walk,

Stephen: whatever the card is telling you, just try it. Yeah. You don’t, you step

Alan: outside yourself for a moment. Yep. We, I,

Stephen: Anyway, , but my Axis and Allies buddy he would hate that game. He would refuse to play that game. He social, interactive, fun games like that he doesn’t like, and we played dominion and he said, yeah, that’s okay.

I don’t mind that. He, I like the deck builder aspect and stuff. Then we did a different layout that had a witch with curses. So suddenly he’s getting these curses, which are negative points and a, he’s okay, if you ever play with Curse with Witches, again, I refuse to play. And he won’t play legendary if we’re getting weaknesses or DC deck builder with weaknesses, it is just no, that’s no fun.

I’m not playing that because it has to be building up to this huge thing and anything taking away from my powerful army. I don’t wanna deal with and play with. And I’m like, but that’s what I hear you, the deck builders so much fun because you can’t just have one strategy and play every time.

Alan: You have to change as you see what else is being developed by other players.

Yeah. By the game itself. Exactly. I, Colleen and I have actually talked about this, maybe we have, there’s a streak in America that when we started to play a lot of taxes, hold them and started to actually televise that there’s a certain kind of person that they don’t play poker or the wise way where every single hand is a new occurrence.

You always judge pot odds as to what you know, the quality of your hand and what you’re seeing, however others are betting and what’s in the pot. And you bet by the odds. And it’s kinda funny cause I said that’s one of the things we should talk about today is risk management and other people.

All there’re about is getting to that point of I’m all in. They want the big drama. They want that I. I’m gonna just make it all in one swell FOP instead of, no, I made a hundred different small decisions that led me to have an overall advantage and now I’m the winner. They really want it to be a lightning strike or something like that.

And I’m not sure what that is in people’s psychology. They liked the home run that wins instead of a series of singles that got two runs and, kinda thing, right? So it’s cool for the drama and stuff like that, but the difficulty is when you start people have they start doing that in real life where that’s not the right strategy

Stephen: at all.

You know what I

Alan: mean? So it can’t be that you always wanna just say, I’m gonna play until I get to my, I’m all in point. You have to like, raise a kid so that they have 18 years worth of instruction. Not did the best I could by five and now they’re on their own. what? . You know what I mean? It’s right.

I’ll have to maybe we’ll talk about that further when you see evidences of that, but like very much when you hear about How things develop, like always getting to a championship, always getting to there’s Bracketology that says the way you get to a winner is by having a series of small winners to get to a large one.

And oftentimes it’s how does the decathlon work? It’s, you get points for various different events based on their difficulty and comparisons to others and stuff. And so it really is an accretion of points. Instead of being in the final event, you’re gonna declare the winner. It’s more they really killed such an advantage that the final event is like, it’s already decided unless this guy falls down during the marathon and can’t continue, or something like that.

Whatever. It’s 10 k I think it’s that, it’s America. But I guess that’s, I, maybe because I am an a criter, why is my IPO collection so cool? Not because I wanna buy the one book that is the rules them all. And in the darkness behind them. It’s cause I like having series of things, like having a lot of different things cuz you get.

A variety of heroes, a variety of possibilities to add to your collection. I, that’s, I have that maybe preset in my mind as well, but I’ve always been a series guy instead of a single thing. I don’t want the one best diamond. I like having a whole bunch of pretties, that kind of thing. And,

Stephen: and anyway.

It’s funny you mentioned that in conjunction with games, the risk taking, the choice in decision making, because you can play games and think differently than you would normally and sometimes that. Affect how you look at a real situation. Investing’s an interesting one. I know you do a lot of, because people, oh my gosh.

It’s dropping, sell everything in panic mode and because they feel like it’s a risk for them and they get panicky, but in a game, in that same type of situation, they may ride it out. They may test it cuz the stakes aren’t real, and I, I think being able to use that skill in real life is beneficial.

But I think a lot of people miss

Alan: that. I think, honestly, I wish I saw more of that, that what the people talk about, I learned this from a, they’re actually, there’s all kinds of good studies now and books written about it and so forth, that gamifying things Yeah. Is a great way to get people to, to make a better life.

How do you finally lose weight? Not by saying, I’m gonna eat healthy and exercise more, but it’s more like, Hey, I get a point every day if I eat my my more fiber. And then those, those points lead me to, oh, I get a reward. And all those little things you can make it that. It’s kinda like a dungeon crawl where you, what do you do?

You explore, you find, various different magic items that make you mightier. So they, wow, if I can see that I’m getting bigger, better, faster, stronger, it not only is better in and of itself, it enables me to be better for everything I’m going to encounter in the future. And that’s straight out of gaming.

That my stats have gone up. My, my weapons than armor are better. That kind of thing. So I hats off to the people that are really working on that, especially if they’re doing it not as an adult, where you might be a little bit set in your ways, but for kids where they’re teaching ’em, here’s a great way to learn how to like, have good study habits.

You know what I mean? It’s straight outta like the old gold star on the refrigerator theory, if you will. It’s okay to have positive reinforcement and incremental reinforcement and stuff like that. And then you also get a chance to talk about addiction, that if they start to be, I can’t not be thinking about what should I be doing now in order to gain more points instead of, you could just relax and go for a walk.

You could play too . You could just to play This is, I .

Stephen: I’ll,

Alan: I usually don’t get vulgar on this, I swear, but I just, this cracked me up. They had a little, a whole list of, memes from parents. They have various different sites that people can do The Art Link letter thing. Thing the kids say.

Yeah. And the parents said part of being a parent is learning that a kid will really break into tears if they weren’t the first person to fart in the new year. .

Stephen: You know what I mean? That

Alan: they’re like, that was gonna be my moment I was gonna, and then someone else beat ’em to it. And like I said, it’s so vulgar, but there really is that thing in kids that some kids will make a big thing out of who gets the backseat the correct part of the backseat.

Yeah. And others are like, ah, anything’s wrong.

Stephen: And how does that,

Alan: how does that show up in your life? You know what I mean? And there’s memes that say, Hey, don’t settle. Always go for the best. And there’s others that say, pick your battles. You know what I mean? Yeah. it’s gotta be somewhere between, especially when you have really wise people that said Exactly.

Opposite things, . Now what do you do?

Stephen: And you, it’s funny you mentioned, cause I know yeah. I’ve been working for this company for 11 years now, and we do a lot of human resources and talent management with companies and stuff like that. And the gamification of work has grown in that decade.

We’ve we do surveys about it, whereas, 10 years ago it really wasn’t even heard of. And, anywhere even in Amazon Warehouse, oh, I picked this many items, oh, my items weighed more and I got these, those types of things for the employees. And then you get an extra break.

You get they, they do that type of stuff. And the funny thing is that doesn’t really affect me and work so much for me that, giving me these points to lose weight, eat better. Oh, I forgot to do that for the last three weeks, but I’ve lost five pounds and I’ve been eating my oatmeal. I still do it for my personal goals, my personal I guess I set the goals myself to win, but, being, open to everyone else tracking me and following I, I could care less or a celebrating, when I win, lots of times I’ll hit some goal of mine and, I, I move on.

It doesn’t really, I don’t want all that attention just for this type thing. Yeah. Yeah. A,

Alan: a kind of a connected theme. We, Colleen and I love watching the Olympics. We’ve been watching I’ve been watching for all of my life, probably since, if I don’t remember, if I’m 60, I remember from 64 when I was five years old.

One of the things that you’ll hear about is there are some people that are really great trainers and they know exactly what they want to be doing and that the way that they become mighty is by being like a perfect machine at the thing that they’re setting out to do. There’s other people that are saying,

I find that when I blank myself, I go Zen mode. Like skier Bode Miller was all about this. Everybody’s saying, how you’re represented in the United States, you know what do you think you’re gonna do? It’s gonna go out there and ski. Like I always do. I do it for the joy of it. And sometimes, nature and I have this beautiful dance that we do together and it’s wonderful and sometimes not, and I’ve heard musicians say that.

I’ve heard various other people say that you have to take yourself out of what you’re doing. You have to do the mindless aspect of it instead of the really mindful, concentrated thing. But then beauty can still occur because you’ve so internalized what it is to do that activity that you just let your body do it, let your muscle memory do it, and stuff like that.

So again, multiple ways to pursue that. It’s I have noticed that sometimes when I have given a talk, I really don’t remember all of what I said. . I was so perfectly in the moment that I was like, I was. I’m riffing while I’m doing it. I’m kinda like the guy, the observer over my shoulder that’s saying, Hey, that was a good one.

I’ll have my own self conversation and it doesn’t ever sound like I’m insane. It doesn’t sound like I got voices running around in my head, but I can tell that it’s wow. I’m in a place of such capacity that I really can have like multiple threads going and I choose pluck which one is gonna come out this time, but doesn’t have to be a certain one.

I never memorize, I never just recite. And so it’s cool to be wow, everything came together for that one. I got a lot of people nodding and good laughter, and I got through all my material and all that kind of stuff, and yet can I count on that the next time? No, it’s kinda like I, maybe I was, I had exactly the right breakfast that day.

The light in the room was just right. You, I always go talk about this flow lets, you know how you can summon that kind of thing. You know how to avoid interruptions, how to get yourself into that mind where you really are hyper productive and hyper in the moment. . And so I try to do that. And in fact, those times when I’ve seen myself not be as verbally I have been able to then think back, wow, there was something that was jarringly wrong.

I had to troubleshoot because the connections and you had that, where my cable’s not right. I, this cable always worked. What the hell’s going on here? Yeah. The guarantees that they made me that I’m just gonna hook in H D M I to their monitor, and then it doesn’t, it’s now I gotta go into deep tactical troubleshooting mode.

And that’s not necessarily talking mode at all. You know what I mean? So I can, I could tell how I was taken outta my game, if you will. It’s right. It’s important to be self understanding enough to go and Robert Fripp, my hero from King Crimson, he’s. Many times talked about when he performs, like the music moves through him, it comes through him, and he often has talked after the shows, and at one point someone from the audience yells out, we don’t really wanna hear talking, pick up your guitar and play some more.

And he was like, that moment has passed. That’s not what I can do now. This is what I can offer you and. Interesting to have him been aware for a long time that you really have to be in the right frame of mind to miracles. Yeah. And then when it’s not, if you try, you’ll just look terrible. You’ll stumble you’ll frustrate yourself with, oh, this is usually so easy.

And it’s just not

Stephen: common. I know that. And the risk reward thing, we doing talks, there are so many people that would refuse to do a talk when really, what risk is that you flub up, you move on. No one’s taken a knife to your chest or anything if you mess up. But with that, with the writing, the books whatever endeavors I’ve done, I’ve learned for me that if I ask somebody, so what’d you think of the.

I stop asking that. I’m like what could be better or what didn’t you like? That’s more what, because for me, when I have someone that says, oh, I liked your talk. That was good and great. It’s cool. Good. I’m glad you enjoyed it, but I didn’t get anything outta you telling me that. It doesn’t make me like, oh, pumped up.

But like when you listen, you’re like this part here or this could have been better. Or somebody like Maggie and them that just played my game. They said, oh, we loved it, but here’s what we did different. Here’s the rules. We changed, here’s the cards. Let’s talk about different kind of feedback.

Yeah. And that I got done with that conversation and I was much more jazzed and happy and felt all right. They, they played it and got so into it that they discovered problems and holes and how can I improve it. To me, that is the reward more so than just having a roomful. People go, oh, that was so good.

Music planes different though. I definitely can feel the flow. And when I played with people on stage, if the audience wasn’t getting into it, you could tell, and it’s, I do wanna see it

Alan: does affect, it makes you more led, know, it’s like why am I not, why am I connecting here?

What’s going on? Exactly. Exactly. I don’t know if I’ve ever had a talk where. People weren’t enjoying it. I’ve been very lucky to do it. Mostly in front of, it’s a self-selecting audience. People already like the topic. If they don’t know me, they might like the topic kinda stuff. But, and, but I’ll tell you one of the reasons I’m a pretty funny guy, but one of the reasons that I haven’t ever gone to try standup comedy, not once, not have gone to an open mic or anything, is because I really have this vision of people just sitting with their arms crossed, going make me laugh and wow.

I don’t, I want collegiality, I want my friends. I want that joyous. Like we’re ready to do this. Instead of it being a competition thing and standup comics maybe have that. Many talk about that, that they have a chip on their shoulder. They want to, they wanna slay, they want to kill the audience.

They’re gonna be the one that, everybody in the room has to pay attention to. Or that it was a, an escape for them when they were young and they were shy and bullied and stuff like that. They found they could avert violent by being the guy that could get the group to crack up.

And I haven’t had many of those experiences. I’m funny just all the time and off the cuff, but never have I had to do it. Where now I’ve got a got to, I have to

Stephen: make, gotta work at it. Yeah.

Alan: Yeah. And maybe that’s it. People talk about that all the time. When most of you mean work in play, it’s when you have to, it’s like I have had the joy of having a job that I’ve always enjoyed doing instead of. I can’t say always, most of the time have, it’s not been a slog. It’s been, I get to solve problems today. I get to create order outta chaos today. I get to learn new things today. I get to create something beautiful and powerful and it’s not just going in and struggling through it.

You know what I mean? Most of the time it’s been like that,

Stephen: right? Hopefully everybody. Yeah. So that reminds me of a good story. When I was playing with my friends in the rock band, and we started touring around a little bit, not much a little. We got a gig over at a frat party for Carnegie Mellon University.

Now you, we were young, like 19, maybe 20, and we’re like, whoa, we’re going to play at a frat party for a university. They paid us. And it’s this is cool, right? We were so jazzed. The whole trip in experience was really a buddy comedy movie, A Buddy Trip, road, trip Comedy . It was just one, problem and error after another over and over for the whole trip.

But when we got there, and this is that flow, that feedback and stuff when you’re playing, we got there and the frat party, first of all was a dry frat party. There is no alcohol, which I’m not condoning alcohol, but it’s very difficult to mix rock and roll party with out having alcohol. It just, they go together most of the time.

Social lubricants there. Ok. Yeah. Ok. And so we were like, okay, we’re good with that. It’s not like we haven’t played in front of dry audiences before, but they all did what you said. They sat in chairs like this the whole time and no singing along, no clapping, no swaying, just everybody’s sitting there like this, like they’re evaluating the music and afterwards it’s, oh man, that’s all they did.

They were like,

Alan: Like it was an engineering friend instead of a

Stephen: maybe but I think what capped the whole thing, the whole end of the evening, we were covering stairway to Heaven Zeppelin. And, who doesn’t know Stairway to Heaven? So playing Stairway to Heaven and just going along and our guitarist just playing and our lead guy who I could tell you more stories about, but I won’t dis him in this conversation.

He’s up there singing and he stops and pauses and we keep playing. He looks, he goes guys stop. I forgot the lyrics. And our guitar player just looks at him and he is strumming and he just holds up on the neck of his car, his middle finger, and we kept right on plane. So the rest of Stairway to Heaven was an instrumental.

Wasn’t instrumental. Yeah. So very quickly after that, we shut down, packed up and left. That’s funny. Yeah, it was not funny at the time. ,

Alan: I I of course it time and distance. Get my humor outta credit. Exactly that. But just think of that, you’re like 19 like they are. You know what I mean?

You’re really doing something that they’re going to college and they’re getting their degree, but you’re doing something that they can’t or they might dream of but are not pursuing it. What an interesting situation. What

Stephen: an interesting contrast. Interesting. Yeah. Okay, I’m gonna switch shift gears a little bit talking about music, which we’ve been talking a whole lot about.

Let you know, Sunday when I was with my cousin playing games, I was telling them about the revelation you gave me on Prague Rock being classical based and rock and roll being music based. And they had no idea what Prague Rock was. They didn’t know what I meant by blues bass versus classical. So I was trying to teach them.

Okay. And, pulled up Spotify and was playing songs. They’re like yeah, I, good example. Yeah. And it, they just didn’t grasp the concept and it got to the point where it was like, okay, it’s just marijuana. Steve’s crazy things, . So I stopped, but, oh man. But they mentioned so I pulled up closer to the edge by Yes.

And I said, okay, now listen to this. And they said, oh yes, we saw, yes, we liked them. And Pam goes actually I remember the concert. We were there and they started to play a song and we went, oh, we know this one. And then they’re like, no, we don’t know this one. They said all their stuff sounds alike.

And I’m thinking I’m guessing you went to the 9 0 1 20 concert when that went around cuz everybody knows those songs, but not the, 15 years previous of stuff. So there was I started thinking about that. I’m like, wow. Yes. Had a whole career, a whole long list of album.

And then they came out with 9 0 1 20 oh or whatever that is before the

Alan: beep, right? Yeah. Nine five by the way. Cause it was their catalog number at whatever, okay.

Stephen: And they had some pop hits, some radio play with that, but they disappeared and died after that quite a bit.

And I’m like, I’m sure at the time a lot of people were saying, oh yes, our sellouts. And I know when the black album from Metallica came out, which drew in a lot of fans, that was their first experience with Metallica. But it was a different feel. And a lot of people say, oh, they were good before they became a sellout or Van Halen before they got rid of David Lee Roth and got Van Hagar and they were sellouts.

So I started. What are your thoughts on sellouts? Because a lot of these groups get that moniker of a sellout because they shift and change, but somebody like Rush, who would be one style for four albums, then do a live album and then change their style, they had a long career with fans all throughout that and they were never really accused of sellouts as much as some of the others.

So I thought that would be an interesting thing to ask you about. It’s

Alan: boy, like when you mentioned it, in text, it was like, wow, there sure is a lot to talk about here. , my idea of a sellout has never been where a band changes its direction. I’m okay if they decide to try things every single album, or if the personnel changes bring in different elements.

I think the sellout thing is where, wow, they used to do more complex music, more heavy music, more 10 minute song type things, and now you can tell that they’re catering to that three minute radio friendly. Pop confection stuff and even if it’s the best that pop confection can be, it isn’t the same as good.

Yes. Or good Metallica or good, I think sometimes I think softening is a lot of what happens there. That if they had an edge, if they were, and maybe this also happens not because they brought in, like I, for instance, Doobie Brothers, once they brought in Michael McDonald, his vocal and his style of music very much changed them from a jam band kind of sun rock deeper, harder rock to being more radio friendly.

But I don’t think that was to sell out. I don’t think they got together and said, let’s bring in this guy to make sure that we get more radio play. I think that was just the tenor of that that it was Michael McDonald, that’s his style. , whereas, let’s see where, what do I think are some of the bigger sellouts?

Yeah. I really like a band called Gentle Giant, and they were known for being really difficult, really syncopated and odd time signatures and all kinds of stuff going on. And yet they have an album called Civilian that is three and a Half music, radio friendly songs, and I think maybe one of them got on the radio, but and it was like, I very much, I love that album.

I really love that they’re still doing all kinds of interesting things and they still sound like Gentle Giant, but that might have been the label finally said, you know what? Unless you give us a hit, you’re, we’re not e we’re you’re off the label kind of a thing. And I think that there’s evidence sometimes of.

Did the Beatles get told that, that, were already making such great tunes. And then when they went into the Revolver, Sergeant Bur , they went into a fake, how they were doing their own thing. So they had earned not having to listen to them, but their I like Emerson, Lincoln and Palmer and all the pomp and circumstance of their big things and if they have ’em called Love Beach.

I don’t know that I think it’s a sellout album, but it definitely seems like a remainders album. Like these are the things that didn’t make it onto other albums or they have, I know that there’s a couple places where it was a contractual obligation album. They got a five album commitment and they just run outta steam.

They don’t like each other anymore, whatever it might be. So sometimes they’ll do a live album and a greatest hits plus a couple new hits albums, and you can kind tell that’s what was going on. I really like to band Kansas. I even just wrote a little, love note to them about, listen to those first six seven Cal Candace albums.

I can’t think of a better stretch where there’s not a single bad song. It fantastic music being made within such a small period of time. They were just at the height of their powers, but then two members of the band went very Christian and all of a sudden they were making like Christian rock in the lyrics and in the kind of music, the lead singer that was very one of the lead singers, cuz they had two, really didn’t like the direction he was going.

So he left for a couple albums and the guy they brought in, Steve Walsh, John Avante came in and everything was just a little more Faye, a little more easy listening. Harry Living was still writing great songs, but it wasn’t the deeper stuff that Kansas had one done. And in fact, Those guys left and Kansas came back with Steve Walsh and Steve Morse on guitar who’s he’s, this is the guy that they actually he won guitar player or musicians guitarist of the year, like 10 years in a row.

And they actually said, we retire you from competition because you’re kicking everybody’s ass every single year. So he came and joined Kansas for a while for power. And in the spirit of the things I’m so geeking it up about Kansas, but I was like, it really was a return to, this is real Kansas, this is atmospheric, this is complex, this is heartfelt.

Instead of just being kinda like do you know? Kinda a little poppy. I know. I’ve seen, wow, I think I talked before one time about sticks and how they had an hour and 10 minute concert, and it was like, that’s not what I paid for. That’s not what I came here for. I don’t know what’s going on with you guys, but this ain’t right.

I actually fool me once. Shame on you, fool me twice. Shame on me. I went to see Dennis De Young in concert. No lie. At halftime. At intermission, he brought his wife out to do a hair care ad. I wish to God I wasn’t. I was making that up . I, it’s like you have a captive audience and now you’re gonna, what are you doing?

How could you possibly think that this is what anybody here came to,

Stephen: to see in here?

Alan: And I every band nowadays with merch has to tread that fine line of, they get to mention that the merch is out of the booth, but they can’t like harp on it. Because, it just seems like a sellout, it seems like even if you are, if you’re struggling to be on tour because album sales are down and Spotify doesn’t pay you anything, et cetera, et cetera, but there’s still a way of making it, witty or engaging that could be like, Hey, support the band and buy some of their stuff.

Not saying it after every song, it just seems wow, you really, you’re really bad at this . You’re really bad at promoting your own stuff, let’s see. Who comes to mind for you? Those are all my examples where the direction changed and I thought it changed materially software.

Right? And there were signs, again to mention sticks for the Paradise Theater album, if I remember right. Or maybe it was Kilroy was here. They actually did like a public survey thing as to which cuts do you like? And that’s what we’re gonna put on our album. And wow, don’t you want to be like the artist that has integrity, that you choose what’s on it and the running order and it makes the statement that you wanna make instead of pandering to the public?

It just seemed really too close to Please love me, please. Fans love me. Yeah. I respect .

Stephen: Yeah. Here’s my thing. Another one I could think of is Genesis, who changed quite a bit, lost one member and they adjusted their sound totally. Also at that time, they got a lot of new fans.

They got people that had never listened to them or liked them. Same with Metallica, with the Black album. So yes, almost everybody who bitches about a band being sellouts and changing their style. I always kinda roll my eyes because number one, 90% of the time that person doesn’t play a bit of music, just listens to and consumes music, which is fine.

But until you. Play music for decades with the same guys and go on tour and you’re away from home and you’re in the studio for 14, 15 hour days till you go through that. Don’t bitch and moan about somebody else being a sellout number one, number two. It’s actually extraordinary

Alan: for people who have done it for 30 years to be able to change a direction.

Yeah. You know what I mean? Say, Hey, we’re gonna, we’re gonna try something new. It’s but we’re already really good at this. There’s such a lure to just out doing what you did

Stephen: well anyway. And a lot of times I then also, I also hear people saying this album sounds like their last one. If they changed, you would call ’em a sellout.

So it’s like a no win scenario for the musicians.

Alan: What’s the band that did Pocket Kryptonite? The Spin Doctors. Spin Doctors. The criticism that your friend had about Mo every single song they did. Sounds like The Spin Doctors. Yes. It’s a nice song. I like that Backbeat sound and yet wow. When you can, yeah.

You can just as they’re interchangeable. That’s a little

weird. .

Stephen: It’s escaping me and I apologize. Who, what’s the band that came out in the nineties with Eddie Vetter? The first album. Pearl Jam. Pearl Jam? Yes. Pearl Jam. One of the great things about Pearl Jam, if you listen to that first album, which is a freaking phenomenal, amazing album, is they had slightly different styles already cooked into that album.

So if you liked it, you pretty much could put up with anything. And what you were saying also about asking what songs you like, that’s the type of environment we’re in today’s world a bit. Albums are dead its making, it’s singled. Yeah. Yeah. Weird. Al was one of the first, he released a whole slew of songs on his website that you could go buy individually, and then whichever one sold the most, he put onto the next album.

And here’s the last thing with sellout for me is first of all, people change over time. I don’t like the same music in movies and things as I did 30 years ago. So if you play music, you change over time. So it’s just an evolution of them. And a lot of times people are remembering stuff from 30 years ago with rose colored glasses also.

Okay. Who are we to tell people, Hey, you had 10,000 fans for the last four albums, 10,000 fans, and that’s what you were, that was your max, but you changed your sound. Yeah. And now you just sold 2.5 million. You might be a sellout, but who out of us would say no. I can’t put that album out and make two 5.5 million sales.

I, I wanna put this other album out and only make the 10,000. Who’s going to say that? Not the people buying the lottery tickets. ?

Alan: Yeah. Yeah. I’ll tell you. Oh. Just boy, things do change over the course of time. I was Listening to a ton of music, like seventies, eighties, nineties.

What happened in the eighties? The a lot of maybe seventies as well. A lot of disco and a lot of punk, and then a lot of grunge. And there’s various different like so much punk was just based on I’m so angry, I can’t find a job. I’m not gonna really learn to play my instrument, but I need to get this energy and this ox out.

And then if you’re doing that when you’re 18, and then you’re asked to do it when you’re 40, . That’s gotta be a really weird thing of actually I have a wife, two kids, a white picket fence, couple dogs. Yeah. I’m not really spitting on people like I once did. I’m not, I don’t have all the piercings I once did.

I might still have the tattoos cause they’re more permanent. But it really is. That’s why I’m pretty sure you don’t see a lot of you might still see sixties tours where, you know, hey the the monkeys and the association and they’ll they can still do their hits and maybe even dress up in their weird little Paul Revere in the Raider clothes and stuff like that.

But you kinda can’t do that and carry it off if you’re gonna do God save the Queen where you’re swearing and spinning and like breaking your instruments and stuff. It is obviously then just opposed then instead being the difference between a sellout and a You know what I mean?

And that’s a, did you release some of that anger that you

Stephen: once had? That’s such a good point, because music changes through generations in time. Just like the author business. I see that a lot at sometimes certain types of books are more popular than others, and people try and, oh, I’m gonna write this type of book.

By that time the fads gone. If you wrote, if you came out with the disco album now, it’s not going to sell as well as it would’ve in the seventies. So in the heart. Exactly. Yeah. So you wouldn’t be considered a sellout because it wouldn’t sell. But if you used to do disco, but now you do heavy metal and it makes lots of money, does that necessarily make you a sellout or does that make you a musician?

Yeah, who knows the audience and knows the environment. And it’s funny you mentioned punk because Culture the Clash is a really good example. So many people, oh, they’re, I’m behind them. They against the institution, blah, blah, blah. They were a corporate form boy band essentially is what they were created specifically to be a rebellious band.

And even what is Johnny Rotten? The Lead guy or whatever, or is that No, that’s a,

Alan: actually, I think so I think you’re talking Sex

Stephen: Pistols is the Yeah. Sex Pistols. Sex Pistols not The Clash. Yes. Exactly.

Alan: That’s right. And they, there really are those Svengali managers that have been around for a long time that now we’re seeing it for K-Pop.

Now we’re seeing it still for boy bands, like you’re saying. Yeah, they were created, Hey we can tap into this. Everybody in the UK is unemployed. , everybody is UB 40 was that band name. UB 40 was the unemployment form you filled out in England. That’s where that, I didn’t know that.

That’s funny. So there’s all kinds of things like that, and I. Sometimes albums are just like, they’re not as strong as what they had done in the past and I worry that they’ve lost their muse as compared to that. They sold out. Alan Parsons project had like great albums maybe, but then like up through I in the

Stephen: sky maybe, and then they had

Alan: ammonia Avenue, not as Good Vulture culture, not as good what’s going on.

He’s tired. He still had a lot of the same good instrumentalists on his albums and still had, maybe cuz he worked with Bernie Wilson or didn’t, that the writing wasn’t as good. I’m not sure. But sometimes people hit a dry patch that there’s no hits forth coming. There’s not even any really like great Alan Parsons projects.

But having said that, then he had a return with an album called Try Anything Once that I still listen to in heavy rotation whenever I’m sure what should I be listening to? How about Astronauts and Heretics by Thomas Dolby? I for whatever reason I love that album and Try Anything Once by Alan Parsons project.

These are like my, What do you call Desert island disk. If I had this, I’d never get tired of listening to these, that kind of a thing. And boy, try anything once ends with a song about suicide that is terribly effective.

Stephen: Wow.

Alan: Like it’s, I’ve heard it. Ah, it’s terrible. .

Stephen: Okay.

Alan: Not go.

Yeah. Really? Oh God. There must be more if anybody has listened to this and want to go listen to a great song, even though it really might affect. This is that song. Or at least must

Stephen: wait till after we’re out of the doldrums of the winter months. Wait till the summertime .

Alan: Exactly. Don’t do this. Wait, there’s a lot of sun outside and that puppy is coming, running up to play and all that kind stuff.

You’ll have the the cures for us. Exactly. A,

Stephen: another good example I just thought of too, you mentioned a Parsons, but I thought of Boston because Boston’s first three albums I think are fantastic and they do change just a little bit. But that third album is one of my top favorites. But then after that, it was kinda like, eh, they didn’t change enough with the times or my musical tastes.

So I remember the first albums fondly, but the ones after that, it’s eh, And another more recent one is Darius Rucker. He was riding high with Hootie and the Blowfish, and that band was Blowfish doing really good. And that, I don’t know if they broke up or he left, I don’t know what the situation, but suddenly he’s a country artist and I like his country stuff too, but I wouldn’t say he was a sellout.

So I, some people might, I don’t know. Yeah.

Alan: It’s I think that sometimes people, even if they don’t know what they wanna do next, they’re in a bad situation and they have to get out. And then I’m always curious as to, okay, now that they’re not in the group, if they’re doing solo work or if they join a new group, like I since you mentioned Van Halen, I think that nothing was as strong as the initial Van Halen type stuff, but Gary Shone, who was the vocalist after Sammy Hagar for an album, he was in a band called Extreme Right.

That I wish to God they stayed together. Yes, because him and

Stephen: Newport. Bat

Alan: accordingly. An unbelievably great guitarist, if there’s anybody that could be like, go toe to toe with Eddie Van Halen, it’s this guy. And Extreme has another great like 3, 4, 5 great albums that I another that the second one maybe it’s just extreme two, maybe it’s porno graffiti, right?

They’re so good. Every single cut is good. And maybe cuz there’s also certain periods of time I really loved living. Yes. Yeah. Living color and in color, that, that album with cult of Personality. Yeah. That had such incredible crunch. And what’s funny is, I really thought, hey, there’s a hard rock band, if I remember right.

And I’m so much not a prejudiced guy, but you can’t help but notice four out of five guys are black. That’s uncharacteristic

Stephen: that they’re not doing. Especially name, it was a funk

Alan: thing or the, let me get, I had, I really love Parliament Funky Del I really love a whole bunch of different other black band.

These guys did not sound like you’re stereotypical. Find the groove. They were aggressive, hard rock and roll. You know what I mean? I love those anomalies, if you will.

Stephen: Heck, couple things there. P Funk who has that joy at George Benson? Is that his name? The main.

Alan: George

Stephen: Clinton.

George Clinton. George Clinton. Yeah. That Clinton. Yes. Clinton. We all remember Ben is great

Alan: guitarist. Yes. He’s more like jazz as opposed to, okay. Yes.

Stephen: Okay. . Clinton we remember a P-Funk is another band that was created as a reflection of the Times, specifically to be a band that would be popular at that time, cuz he, he knows what he’s doing.

He went on to do movie scores I was watching. Home alone. Plane trains and automobiles, one of those type of holiday movies. And I’m like, oh my god, George Clinton did the music for this and you don’t. And it’s christmasy Poppy, because he was a smart businessman that knew what the audience wanted at that time.

Created P-Funk to do that. There’s an example. Is that a sellout or is that a smart musician, businessman, Hey, I could play in little clubs and live in a hole in the wall, or I could create this music and I’m still playing music, but people will buy this.

Alan: I think there’s something to be said for, if you really understand a genre of music so well that you can put together a band that will epitomize it.

There’s something really powerful about that. It isn’t, cello is not the term that I would use. It’s more like a super band, like when cream got together or not. During the Dominoes more than Cream. You know what I mean? There’s certain plate people that they really. I love that Steve Wynwood has worked with any number of bands like that, that he’s done a lot of solo stuff, but also it was, has been a phenomenal guy for 60 years in music, and that’s an incredible thing to be able to have worked with that many great people and done that kind of stuff.

This is again not a sellout, but I wonder about this. Someone asked Don McClean, so what does American Pie really mean? And he said, it meant I never had to work a day in my life. I could do what I loved for the rest of my life, as soon as that was in the cannon of greatest American songs.

and you know that plus his Vincent Van Goun, yeah. And that he is guy there seems to be, doesn’t need to do the stadium tour. He’s content to like, I get to travel half the year, 150, 200 days, or whatever like that. Maybe play smaller halls and clubs. But he’s always in demand. He’s never stopped being in fashion, if you will.

If that’s what you wanna do is have a nice dinner, go out and play two hours of music, repeat . That’s not a bad

Stephen: life. No. You know what I mean?

Alan: So

Stephen: some people that are like that, what made, what you just made me think of and is the opposite of a sellout and that could have been, is Daniel Radcliffe from the Harry Ponder fame that, that kid grew.

To be in Harry Potter. He will always be Harry Potter, but he has so much freaking money he could give it away every day and never run out. And he specifically has chosen a project since then just because he enjoys ’em and they’re interesting and fun. He did weird Al just the fact that he wanted to be weird.

Al Whoop is

Alan: amazing. Frozen. Oh, your back. Ok. Yeah, it’s, you froze there for a minute. I’m sorry. But I like, I love that too where you find out that I, and I might have mentioned this, I always thought that one of the ways in which like I had friends that I thought were amazingly talented that I wanted to myself get enough money that I could say, don’t work in a garage.

Go and do what you want to do because I think you have such potential. And kinda like the Medici thing, sponsor various different people and I love that where they have made enough money that they can make our actors often talk about, I do one for the crowds and one for me. That they make so much money off of the latest mission impossible, that then they can go do.

Often called vanity projects, but often they’re just cool, independent, quirky, interesting. So David Tennant, another guy that like, yeah, made his votes with Dr. Who, he’s one of the most respected doctors who, and yet he’s been in all kinds of interesting stuff since then. Instead of just, no, I’m stereotyped.

Oh no, what am I gonna do? He was like I will break that stereotype. I’ll show that I can do all kind, I can be a villain as well as a hero. I can be, it, yeah. I really like seeing people, Matt Smith is on the same thing, that they have careers beyond the role with which they might still most be associated, but that’s not where they stop.

They didn’t just start going to nostalgia cons because of it. Maybe, no, boy, am I getting to a bad place here. There’s all kinds of people that go to those nostalgic coms, comic-cons that, that I think if that’s a sellout, cuz like you said, if someone’s gonna say, Hey, just show up and talk for two hours and we’ll give you $10,000 or whatever else it might be, and do that once a weekend.

10,000 times 50 is pretty good wage for one little kiss. Yeah. You know what I mean? I like more where they’re like, what’s your current project? As opposed to, oh, tell us more about star treking. 40 years ago, , I hope that they would’ve enough vitality. They’d still be doing something.

Stephen: Anyway, my favorite, one of that was an Akron Comic-Con I went to years ago, and I’m just wandering around. I like to stay back and get a feel and look around the, what I’m interested in, and then I go back to the things I really like and I’m just wandering and there’s a guy set up at a booth and he is out front, like barker, like trying to draw people in.

And he. Catches my eye so I don’t wanna be rude when I walk over. Here he was the actor that played Captain America in the really bad 1970s Captain America movie, which I didn’t even know about at the time. Nobody had heard of it. Really? At, in today’s world.

Alan: Yeah. Earth breakers or whatever the earth breaker anyway.

Okay. Okay. But

Stephen: know, It was a seventies superhero movie. Cheesy even cheesier than anything else.

Alan: Zippers in the costumes,

Stephen: Exactly. Yeah. Not popular. People are not buying it. It’s not been re-released on Blu-ray or anything like that, but he is like coming over, oh, hey, I was Captain America before this new guy and really talking himself up and you want an autograph.

I guess he goes they’re 60 bucks. I’m like, yeah, no, you’re calling me over. I don’t care who you are really and know who you are, and you want me to give you 60 bucks for an autograph? That was like, I’m sorry for your life. I’m sorry you didn’t have any other project that was better than this, but thank you.

Alan: That’s I, because I go, I love the Cleveland ComicCon and I’ve been to various other places that is always an odd thing where there’s I don’t know, small claim to fame type people, minor stars and stuff like that, and this really might be where the, this is their best chance at making a certain amount of money but it, they don’t.

Boy, I never pay for signatures. You know what I mean? If I have a nice conversation and I get somebody to sign a comic book of mine, Mike Grell just did it for me. Jim Steranko just did it. Maybe actually, I don’t think I had him sign anything because I just was having such pleasure talking with him.

I didn’t want him to think, Hey, the whole point of the conversation was to get something I can sell on eBay. It’s never that for me, but I don’t even want to have that sour note injected into things. Whereas there are people that they go on the hunt for signatures in every way. And actually, this is funny.

I had a good friend Mark in Chicago that he got his daughter a Tyvec jacket, fabric that you could write on, and he went to Comic-Con with her and said, Hey, sign my daughter’s jacket. And he had the biggest collection of great signatures on one thing that I’ve ever seen, ever, because she was adorable and everybody was willing to do it, and nobody was creepy.

It’ll just sign on her poop. You know what it was all just the coolest thing in the world that he found a way to make this artifact. Wow. It was a really cool thing.

Stephen: Collins’s got kind the same thing with a hat. He’s been trying to get every Green Lantern creator sign this hat because he got a drawn green lantern from the guy who I guess originally drew Adam Scott I don’t remember quite before he died.

Allen Scott. Exactly. Allen Scott, yes. Yeah, sorry. But he has no, it would’ve been

Alan: yeah, let’s see. Martin, no Nolan. Anyway I, yeah. But anyway, I’m

Stephen: sorry I’m not, so now, a lot of those creators aren’t the big name draws. It’s not Ditco or Bei or, whatever. And. He, so he goes up to him with this hat and they look at it.

They’re like, oh my gosh, this is so cool. And they love it because of all the other green lander and creators and

Alan: the generations of people. Exactly. Yeah. That

Stephen: is a cool thing. And yeah, and my personal story is when I ran into Dean Haglin at a para he was Langley from X-Files and Right. Like

Alan: who was the lone gunman?

Exactly right. Yes. It was, that’s her free lone

Stephen: gunman. , yes, . It was so perfect because the conference wasn’t done well. There’s literally only 21 people there at the conference. So Friday night there was no one there. He was sitting at his booth and I’m like, Who the hell is not talking to Dean Haglin.

So I went up, sorry. And we talked for two hours and he remembered me when I saw him a couple years later and I gave him, so I think I told this story before I bought some stuff off of him cuz he, he did talk to me for two hours. I felt obligated almost, but I still wanted it. And he was having trouble with his Stripe reader and getting it to work with his phone.

And he had an error, he had to update it and he’s struggling with it. And I said, weren’t you the tech guy on the X Xbox? He says yeah, shut up . So when I saw him shut up, yeah, when I saw him the second time, I made a t-shirt with his face, said I’m not really a tech guy, I just play one on tv. And he remembered the incident and I gave him the t.

But he mentioned on his podcast, so I got a shout out from Dean Halan on his podcast, .

Alan: Yeah. Honestly, that, isn’t that like relentless geeky? Isn’t that what it’s all about? Yeah. I love people that I really have admired from afar, and they get a chance to do it from a near, and you find out that they’re really cool people, that they’re witty, that they like being joshed with not just worshiped.

You know what I mean? My best interactions have always been not where I got to spend 10 seconds in the line to shake Billy D. Williams hand, but where while everybody else was doing that, I got a chance to meet this lesser actor only in terms of fame, not in terms of equity and famous comic book creators and stuff.

I ha we, one day we’ll have to just do a whole episode of. You know what I’ve had so many wonderful opportunities like that to talk for, at length to let people know that it’s just, you shaped me, reading Ray Bradbury, reading your books when I was young. It gave me such a sensibility for the rest of my life of what quality this can be, that it isn’t just, it’s not about rocket ships, it’s about the people in those rocket ships.

Stephen: Yeah. And stuff like that. I took the, my kids to a New York Comic-Con once, and we were walking around and, they had the signature row and everybody’s this much money.

And I told the kids, I said, look guys I just cannot afford to bring us here, go through everything, buy a couple things and go down the road. Yeah. And get, and they didn’t care. They were young. They were like, oh, we don’t need signatures. But we’re walking and I look over and I’m. That gentleman looks very familiar.

There was nobody around him and he was sitting down, his wife was next to him, and I went up, said, are you Peter Mayhew? And he goes yes I am. And I said, yeah,

Alan: outta, he’s not recognizable, but yeah, you know what I mean? Who else is the tall as a Wooki?

Stephen: Good for you, man. He and his wife. Talked to us and the kids 20 minutes and they were astounded cuz he’s sitting down and he’s as tall as they are when he is sitting down.

And they talked to him and we got pictures. His wife took 20 pictures with us, with him and the kids had such a good time. And he said you guys want a signature? I said not to be, rude or anything, but how much are that? He says, ah, I’ll just, I’m just giving ’em to you. I’m like, yeah, please.

And the kids were so excited. And then when he passed away, they both cheered up a little bit cuz they remembered that so fondly. And we would we did, when we met Stan Lee, it was go up, handle the thing, shuffle sideways, how you doing? And move, and it was done,

Alan: thing. Exactly. Oh boy.

Yep. I have been going to ComicCons long enough that before there was that, Wizard world, creating con kind of that weird effect. Yeah. Of celebrity sightings. It really used to be that you could do that with everybody. You know what I mean? Yeah. I met Jack and Ross Curb honestly, I don’t know that there’s that many people that I didn’t meet.

If they went to Cons at all I had a chance to meet ’em because everybody came to Chicago. Everybody came to, I’ve had really good luck in regard by being in early on it, and like even back then it was, you, I hardly ever brought things to cons, but sometimes I would find things and then by coincidence I’d buy a mad magazine and here’s Sergio or Agonist.

And it’s if you could just do. Can you just gimme a little sketch? And as he’s like the fastest guy ever. So he opens the magazine and gives me an extra drawn out drama, an extra marginal, and it was like, I have the only copy of all the, in the world. Yeah. The bad magazine, this extra thing.

But, and it was such fun to talk to him and it, he’s very recognizable. He was, he looks like the guy that he used to draw on the covers of his mad about Mad and, the various different books he did for Mad Magazine and whenever they, he looked like Salvador Dali, had the stuff like the, but and it just, Like I said, I’ve had such luck and this is there’s t-shirts now that say, hey, I might be old, but I saw all the good bands in comic.

I’ve got that t-shirt pretty much like that. I got, 50 years. When did I start going? Probably when I was like, in my teens, even before going to college, I was going to Comic-Con. So 14, 15. I’ve been going to ComicCon for almost 50 years and all kinds of people who passed away, all kinds of people they don’t do it anymore.

But I was so happy in those early days, you really could meet the entire Marvel bullpen. You could meet, Stan Lee and Roy Thomas and Steve Ditko, everybody. Wow. They were all, they’re just having a great time for the weekend, yeah. And it wasn’t a big merchandising display. It was just a bunch of guys, and while you were goofing with them, they were goofing with each other.

They, there was so much love between them. You could tell maybe not everybody, and not everybody liked working in the bullpen thing, but. That was a big part of it, was that they came into work, they didn’t work at home and then kinda fax it and digitize it in. They all sat there in a room, eight people creating the Marvel universe.

Wow. What a cool image is that. Yeah, it’s nexus of incredible creativity. So wonderful times, .

Stephen: Wonderful. All right, hey, good talk, good topics. Absolutely.

Alan: Next time about risk management, whatever we missed today, I honestly we really I what a wonderful conversation. Thank you for your great stories.

I thank you for just your sensibilities. I love doing this. Here we are years in and we’re still like, I’m not tired. Are you tired? I’m still doing fine. Let’s do some more

Stephen: of these. I got some ideas for some little clips and getting YouTube, TikTok and trying to get people drawn to us a bit.

We still gotta do our, still gotta work. Top 10 list. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Okay. So I gotta send you some credentials for that again, Remi, for that. We’ll get that in there. We’ll start, plugging away at that more often. Okay. Very cool man. Thank you. Appreciate

Alan: it. Okay. You bet. Bye-Bye.