I was walking by the Tower Records earlier and thinking of the Guns N’ Roses song PATIENCE. The store no longer exists but West Hollywood agreed to put the storefront sign back up to preserve the history of the world famous Sunset Strip. Long before it was the instrument showroom it is today, it was just another Tower Records selling CDs, used instruments and concert tickets. Some of those who used to frequent this mainstay would become successful artists in their own right, including Guns N’ Roses. Long before they made it big, they were just another act patiently plugging away at their craft along Sunset Boulevard. Thirty years after their moment of mega success, I find myself in much the same position: patience.
SWEET CHILD OF MINE is probably Guns N’ Roses biggest hit. It hit number one on the charts two months after I was born in September of 1988. When we look at the final product, this masterpiece of stadium rock, we often lose sight of all it took to get there. Beyond all the wild parties, the drugs, the women– there was a group of men who just dared to make it happen. By the late 80s/early 90s they closed out an era of rock with a bang (and a little of Kurt Cobain’s spit on their keyboard). But it’s not glamorous to sing a song about patience is it?
Yet, they did. Along with all of these crazy drug fueled solos and songs about women and wildness, there is this song about “we need a little patience.”
Nobody wants to be patient any more. Certainly not in your 20s. I am 29, and just moved into my first place without a roommate. It is not far from the clubs where GNR, The Doors, and numerous other LA acts began their journey. While not a musician apart from hobby I am in absolute awe to call this neighborhood my home. When I show the photos of my newly renovated home and tell them where it is people look at me with skepticism. Their eyes read “how do you afford this as an assistant?” The answer: patience.
I got my Hollywood start late because I saved for four, nearly five years before moving. I have no student loans, very little personal debt and ample savings. So I can afford to work for little (and still do extra work on the side) and call this place home. I had patience, because I knew that once I finally decided to make the move that I wanted to be comfortable and secure, live where I most wanted to be.
Yet, many who’ve only recently met me don’t know of the struggle I endured to get here. One which included two failed moves, one which saw me temporarily homeless. No- that’s because most people only look at the final result. They know SWEET CHILD OF MINE, but not the night spent living out of a van.
Patience. If only I could have told my younger self it’d take all of my twenties to get to this point. I guess it wouldn’t matter because I didn’t want to hear it from my mentor (‘Paris’) then either. Along with patience comes learning about it only through experience. As I walk around my apartment, I can finally appreciate all the hard work it took to get me here. It’s surreal sometimes. I’ve failed so much, and now at 29 everything is falling into place.
Yet, it’ll probably be another ten to fifteen years before I start to make any decent money from this business. I know that the lessons I’ve learned from patience will only continue to come into play. But now I am relaxed and can appreciate one day at a time for I am patient. I am patient in learning. I am patient in paying my dues. I am patient with ‘Paris.’ I am patient in working on my craft. I am patient because it took all of my twenties to learn that. It will require utmost patience to continue to grow, and I look forward to it.