"About 20 Years Ahead Of Its Time..."
Photo (left): Ginger Baker, The Rock & Roll Chef & Karen
I recently made the online acquaintance of Mark Brown, a writer for the Rocky Mountain News. That happened because I found and commented via a Facebook page about Caribou Ranch, and what I used to do at the legendary Colorado resort studio: one of the chefs. Mark is interviewing the owner and other key people & musicians, putting together a documentary on the place, but that’s a different conversation for later.
Regardless, what we did so long ago does seem to be pretty cutting edge – even compared to today’s cooking/entertainment vehicles which position chefs as celeb entertainers; it just seems to have staying power. Just this week, I got an email “blast from the past” from a girl named Karen who appeared with me on the pilot (?!?!) of “The Rock & Roll Kitchen.” She attached some screen grabs and a photograph (hell, I don’t even have photos from my OWN damn show!) It’s bittersweet stuff, to be sure. FYI, notice the “Mitsubishi Electric” text on the screen grabs? That’s only one example of the zero-control/zero-creative direction situation I got myself into – I can only imagine what these “producers” had going with my concept without my consent or knowledge. Another real crappy thing: I don’t have – never did have – the footage from my show. I got an email from one of the producers a few years ago, trying to get me to pay for my own footage (“I’ll give you a good deal,” he says). And no, that has yet to happen.
And so, here are some quick headlines on the history of my cooking/music/entertainment show called “The Rock & Roll Kitchen”:
* A full episode was never edited, even though there was TONS of multi-camera footage shot;
* I learned some hard lessons about compromising myself and my vision in lieu of someone with “experience.” Although someone may have a lot of experience in one area, it doesn’t necessarily mean they know jack about another area, especially an innovative one that’s never been done before. FYI, that lesson re-emerged at an industry party we did in Chicago in 2008; the “big time” live music director snidely assured me he could handle doing my “little cooking show,” but then neglected to get even ONE SHOT of the food or cooking. WTF, big time director?!?!?!
* I learned how most people need a scapegoat, vs. looking at themselves first to examine why the resulting outcome was the way it was;
* I learned that, for whatever reason, I’m pretty good at getting people to open up on camera (then & now);
* Just like cooking, art and entertainment are infinitely adaptable and completely subjective; it’s all about one artists’ interpretation of that art, their skill set, energy, style, etc., towards making it unique to them. The lesson I FINALLY learned for good when producing my pumpkin carving kit for X-Acto? I’m as good an artist as anyone out there, and I no longer doubt my talent, vision, intuition or creativity – and although I’m as non-religious as they come, I do have unshakeable faith in my own talent/luck/intution, and also have faith that stuff always seems to work out one way or another. Why do I say this? Beyond attracting some of the best musicians on the planet to play in my kitchen band (then & now), I finally took a page from the most successful artists in the world, stopped trying to reinvent the wheel, started doing what they all said they’d done: learned to S T E A L!!!!
So if anyone wonders why I’m not all that knocked out with any of the chef/entertainers these days who may add a little live music, or chefs who tap away at playing music a bit as a hobby – now you know why.