• April 2011

What Makes Your Business Rock?

“So you want to be a rock ‘n’ roll star / Then listen now to what I say / Just get an electric guitar / And take some time and learn how to play / And when your hair’s combed right / and your pants fit tight / It’s gonna be all right.”

Those lyrics are by Roger McGuinn, our April Entrepreneur of the Month, and the advice in that song could easily be adapted to business. The legendary rock star is a founding member of The Byrds, the 1960s band responsible for giving us scores of iconic tunes such as “Chestnut Mare,” “Turn! Turn! Turn!,” “Mr. Tambourine Man,” and “Eight Miles High.” Scroll down to read our interview with McGuinn and his wife and business partner of three decades, Camilla, who share insights into the world of business, and the realities of fame.

Also in this issue: Read about our Truly Amazing Woman of the Month, Kathi Kamen Goldmark, the founder of the Rock Bottom Remainders — the band composed of award-winning authors — which Roger McGuinn toured with last April.

In our Education column, you’ll find insights into whether your child is ready for college in an interview by Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Ann Monday with the county’s Asst. Superintendent of Instructional Services Peter Noonan.

In our Management column, Dr. Alice Waagen gives tips on how to take control of your business. Our Medical columnist, Dr. John Jones of Simplicity Urgent Care, wants us to rock steady, and warns us about the addictive potential of prescription painkillers. And for everyone trying to maximize their visibility, we added a Public Relations column this month; so don’t miss our 12 Tips for PR Success.

Deciding which networking events to attend this month? Be sure to check out the April events happening in DC, courtesy of Kim Villa, our director of InkandescentNetworking.com. She also teaches us how to calculate our “Networking ROI.”

We leave you with this parting thought by business rock star Richard Branson, who said: “A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts.”

Here’s to being Inkandescent. — Hope Katz Gibbs, founder
Be Inkandescent Magazine / Inkandescent Public Relations

Illustrations (above) by Michael Glenwood Gibbs, from his book, Blue Moons, Yellow Cows, Green Tambourines.

The Business of Rock: Insights from Roger & Camilla McGuinn

APRIL 2011 ENTREPRENEUR OF THE MONTH

What does it take to sustain a career in rock and roll for more than five decades? The Byrds founder Roger McGuinn, and his wife and business partner Camilla, show us the way.

By Hope Katz Gibbs and Michael Gibbs Publishers,
Be Inkandescent Magazine

At 68, legendary rock star Roger McGuinn is going strong. On April 1, he performed at the popular DC music venue The Barns at Wolf Trap, where his one-man show wowed the packed house. McGuinn strolled out onto the stage singing “My Back Pages,” which was penned by his long-time friend Bob Dylan.

For the next hour and a half, the minstrel in the Stetson sat before a beautifully lit ruby backdrop surrounded by his favorite three guitars and a banjo. As he eloquently shared the history of folk music and told the story of his career, he sang and strummed dozens of the songs that he and The Byrds have made famous.

For the finale, he sang “May the Road Rise,” an old Irish blessing he turned into a ballad with his wife of more than three decades and official roadie, Camilla McGuinn. April 1, in fact, was their 33rd anniversary, and the inspiration for the name of their music label, April First Productions.

Our Lucky Stars

On March 18, we sat down with the down-to-earth couple when they graciously invited us into their home in Orlando, FL, for the interview, a little music by McGuinn, who picked on his guitar as we talked, and a toast with Camilla’s favorite champagne, Veuve Clicquot.

How did we land this interview? It began last April when the McGuinns were touring with the band of authors The Rock Bottom Remainders, and our firm, Inkandescent Public Relations, helped promote the 2010 Wordstock Tour when it came to Washington, DC. Founded back in 1992 by musician and author Kathi Kamen Goldmark, the band came about when she got to talking to her friend Dave Barry and they decided to pull together a handful of literary icons who loved to play music. “We figured it would be a great way to have fun while giving something back and raising money for charity,” says our Truly Amazing Woman of the Month.

Sam Barry, who is Kathi’s husband and Dave’s brother, explains it like this: “The Rock Bottom Remainders are a literary rock band that has been lurching its way through middle age by making lots of noise for a good cause.” Other members include Mitch Albom, Roy Blount, Jr., Greg Iles, Stephen King, Matt Groening, James McBride, Amy Tan, Ridley Pearson, and Scott Turow.

It’s All About the Hat

While the band was truly entertaining, when McGuinn took center stage — he stole the show. A humble McGuinn, however, suggests that his signature Stetson is what the audience noticed most. “I learned this adage decades ago, when I was playing with Bobby Darin, and I believe it’s true: People hear what they see.”

Perhaps. But it’s clear that this man, who at 13 was inspired to play guitar when he heard Elvis Presley singing on the radio, has more than a stellar Stetson going for him.

Seated on the pretty patio of their solar-powered home — which includes a guest bathroom filled with awards, trophies, and some cool rock memorabilia from McGuinn’s vast career — he dons a black T-shirt featuring the cover art of one of his most recent CDs, “22 Timeless Tracks From the Folk Den Project.”

Camilla notes: “When Rolling Stone reviewed this new, shorter cut of our second CD, The Folk Den Project, they called it nearly perfect. We figured that if fans didn’t have the hours to listen to all 100 songs recorded on the 4-CD boxed set, we’d cut a 70-minute alternative.”

Those two CDs, produced by April First Productions, are among four that the McGuinns have created to date. The others include “Limited Edition,” which features folk, blues, and rock and roll songs, and “Live from Spain.”

Many of the tunes on it are ones that he learned decades ago when he was a student at the Old Town School of Folk Music in his hometown of Chicago, where he learned to play the guitar and banjo. He discovered the electric 12-string guitar after hearing The Beatles play one, and that led him to develop the unique “jingle-jangle” sound for which The Byrds became famous. His 12-string Rickenbacker, in fact, is now the stuff of legend.

Practice Makes Perfect

McGuinn realizes that he didn’t get to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991 without a lot of hard work and determination. “Being good at something requires total dedication. You have to decide that you are passionate about one thing, and that you don’t want to do anything else with your life, and you have to practice until you are good at it.”

McGuinn told Iconic Guitar magazine, “I practiced eight hours a day on that ‘Ric. I really worked it. In those days, acoustic 12s had wide necks and thick strings that were spaced pretty far apart, so they were hard to play.

“But the ‘Ric’s slim neck and slow action let me explore jazz and blues scales up and down the fretboard, and incorporate more hammer-ons and pull-offs into my solos. I also translated some of my banjo-picking techniques to the 12-string. By combining a flat pick with metal finger-picks on my middle and ring fingers, I discovered I could instantly switch from fast single-note runs to banjo rolls and get the best of both worlds.”

The Byrds — which included David Crosby, Chris Hillman, Gene Clark, and Michael Clarke, then later Clarence White, Skip Battin, and Gram Parsons — recorded 14 albums, including “Mr. Tambourine Man,” “Turn! Turn! Turn!,” “Sweetheart of the Rodeo,” and “The Ballad of Easy Rider.” The group disbanded in 1973.

“We were a ship of pirates; it was every man for himself,” shares McGuinn, who released several solo albums after the breakup. He also toured with Bob Dylan’s “Rolling Thunder Revue,” and played guitar on the track titled, “Ride The Water,” on Bo Diddley’s The 20th Anniversary of Rock ‘n’ Roll All-Star Album. In 1978, he again joined forces with former Byrds Gene Clark and Chris Hillman to form “McGuinn, Clark and Hillman.” They recorded an album with Capitol Records.

May the Road Rise To Meet You

In fact, 1978 was also the year McGuinn met Camilla. The couple happened to be taking the same acting class in Los Angeles, and were paired as acting partners. While it wasn’t quite love at first sight — well, not for Camilla, at least — it soon became clear to both of them that they were destined to be together. “At the time, I was dating a professional actress, who had encouraged me to take the class,” says McGuinn, who admits he was also in debt after the breakup of The Byrds.

Camilla adds, “As for me, I had spent years studying to be an actress, but to support myself had worked as Playboy Bunny. So I had a car, and $500 in the bank.”

“I married her for her money,” jokes McGuinn, who on a serious note explains that this was also a time when he was on a quest to get healthy—mentally, physically, and spiritually.

Click here for more from our interview, and to read their Tips for Entrepreneurs.

Turn, Turn, Turn: Roger and Camilla McGuinn's Tips for Entrepreneurs

By Hope Katz Gibbs
Editor & Publisher, Be Inkandescent Magazine

To Everything Turn, Turn, Turn
There is a season Turn, Turn, Turn
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven

These words from Ecclesiastes have been immortalized by Roger McGuinn in the popular song, Turn! Turn! Turn! He says that this is probably his favorite tune — perhaps because the lyrics typify the philosophy by which he and Camilla, his wife of 33 years, live their lives.

A Love Story

When the couple met in 1978, McGuinn, who had two sons from his first marriage, had recently begun reading the New Testament and found great peace in the teachings of Jesus. Camilla, although skeptical at first, soon joined him in his studies.

The shift came the day he took her a museum that was showing hundreds of paintings of Jesus, she explains.

“At first I thought to myself that this wasn’t what Jesus looked like, but the longer we spent walking around — the more calm and at peace I felt. By the end, we both felt like we were walking on clouds. It was transformative.”

Soon after, the McGuinns knew they were meant to be together. They married on April 1, and began actively studying The Bible (they still spend an hour each morning reading the Old and New Testaments).

They started on the slow, but steady process of repaying the debt that had accrued during the years that The Byrds were together.

“Everyone seemed to have been making out financially, except for the musicians,” says McGuinn, who acknowledges that the band could have managed its finances better. “It’s simply very expensive to have a big band on the road. Part of the problem was that we weren’t getting publishing royalties, and there were other contractual issues. But also, it costs a lot of money to make a giant, live rock show happen. The bottom line was that I owed people money, and I had to figure out a way to pay it back.”

Life on the Road

By the late 1970s, McGuinn says the life of a troubadour seemed much more appealing than being in a famous band. It didn’t take long for him to convince Camilla that taking their act on the road would be a grand adventure.

“We weren’t married for two years when it became clear that I’d become the roadie,” she says, noting they first began touring the country to get from gig to gig in a Mercedes sedan, but quickly realized that if they needed to sleep in the vehicle, something larger was required. Soon after, they invested in a VW van.

“You can put a couch in there, a TV, and a hot plate,” Camilla explains. “It’s great. We loved the camping life.”

They spent years paying down debt remembers a few cold nights spent sleeping between giant four-wheelers in a dark parking lot. But those days were also packed with fond memories.

One night after a show in New Jersey, they sat on the van’s sofa watching their tiny TV as they drank champagne and munched on lobster tails given to them by the woman who owned the venue where they had just played. “It was fabulous,” Camilla recalls.

In the years since, the couple has also gotten to travel the world. Seeing herself in the picture above, in fact, Camilla says: “A highlight of this trip for me was zip-lining through the trees in Caldera, Costa Rica. Does it get better than that?”

It’s Show Time

The McGuinns know that show time is a demanding time, and the day of the show they take care to be as prepared as possible.

“We eat a steak dinner at 2 p.m., which carries Roger through the entire night,” Camilla shares. “Our goal is to make the audience feel special, and the songs in each show are designed specifically for the audience. We can change the arrangement in an instant, which is why Roger and I stay in constant communication.”

They also take much pride when they look out into the audience and see that some of the guests have come dressed to the nines.

“More than once, people have shown up in tuxedos and ball gowns, and I always make it a point to go up to them and say thanks,” she adds. “They always tell me that Roger’s concerts are special to them, so they felt like dressing up was the perfect attire. I love when it happens. If I wasn’t crawling around on the floor and forced to wear my backstage black attire, I’d dress up, too.”

In fact, the McGuinns are careful about the concert venues that they book. They won’t play where there are a lot of distractions, such as bars, casinos, or country fairs. They also shy away from outdoor events because, McGuinn says, “It never fails — it will rain.”

They also aren’t keen on playing at dinner theaters. “People are always talking through the show,” McGuinn notes. “I am telling a story; I want people to pay attention.”

Tips for Entrepreneurs from Roger and Camilla McGuinn

While the McGuinns successfully climbed out of their financial hole years ago, they live frugally as they continue to build Roger’s legacy.

As they embark on their 34th year of marriage, these six pearls of wisdom also seem like great advice for couples that work together.

1. Be a team. Camilla says she prides herself on being a good roadie. In fact, she’s the sole member of McGuinn’s road crew. “It’s kind of fun climbing around on the floor making sure everything is plugged in right and that the sound is perfect,” she notes. “I don’t know a lot of other musicians’ wives who would want to do that. A few might, and I’d encourage it. It’s a lot of fun being so involved in the production.”

2. Know how to read a contract. “I remember one negotiation where several people in the room pulled me aside and asked if Camilla was a lawyer,” McGuinn shares. “It made me so proud, because a lot of musicians are clueless when it comes to knowing what they are signing up for — or signing away.”

Camilla explains: “When we first got married, I made it a point to read every contract that was sent to Roger. At first, it felt like I was learning a foreign language. But I kept at it, and made good friends with a very smart woman who is a lawyer and is now my dear pal.

“And I studied the jargon so that I’d understand what was in those legal documents. After all, this is our art. This is our money. This is Roger’s legacy. I’d not be doing a very good job as his business partner, or his wife, not to know how to read a contract.”

3. Start your own label. The McGuinns say that they finally got fed up having others take the lion’s share of their sales.

“That’s one of the reasons Roger was so in debt when we met,” Camilla says. “So we started our own label, and now we’re the boss. Plus, with technological advances, we now can record our own records right in our home. That cuts out a lot of the expenses, and helps us stay in control.

“For too many musicians, controlling their music, money, and future is a big problem. That’s why we decided to take the reins and founded April First Productions. We love being at the helm.”

4. Keep your overhead low. “Never, never, never get yourself into debt,” insists Camilla, who manages the books for the business. “Just find ways to do fun things that don’t cost a ton of money, and you’ll never have to worry about not having enough.”

McGuinn adds, “In my experience, when you get nervous about money, you make bad decisions about your career. You’ll do anything to get out of debt, and that can lead to making bad music. That’s not something I have ever been willing to risk. So we have a serious no-debt policy.”

5. Only work with people whom you know you can trust. “This might be one of the most important lessons that we have learned,” says Roger. “In the beginning of my career, I was a lot more trusting than I am today. But I have found that if you are straight with most people, they’ll be straight with you.”

6. Try not to bite at each other. “This is true for work and love,” Camilla believes. “We don’t usually do it, but sometimes — when we’re mixing a song — well, the biting happens.” Adds Roger, “We just both want our songs and CDs to be perfect. And when we get a little too excited we step back, take a breath, and relax.”

If you missed Roger McGuinn at The Barns at Wolf Trap, click here to view the rest of his tour schedule.


May The Road Rise Up to Meet You

Lyrics and music by Roger and Camilla McGuinn

May the Road Rise (Roger & Camilla McGuinn)

Summertime the sun would shine we’d lay across the field
Sheltered in the shadow of a tree
We’d write our poems to take along
And sing out on the road
And you would always sing this song to me

May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your land
May the rain fall soft upon your face
Until we meet again
And may God hold you in the palm of his hand

Autumn leaves would change our tree
To colours on the ground
Swirling patterns beautiful to see
I’d lay my head down on your lap
I wouldn’t make a sound
And you would always sing this song to me

May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your land
May the rain fall soft upon your face
Until we meet again
And may God hold you in the palm of his hand

Though the winter days our tree would shiver in the wind
Waiting for the warming touch of spring
I’d hold you in the firelight
We’d stare into the flames
And this is what you always used to sing

May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your land
May the rain fall soft upon your face
Until we meet again
And may God hold you in the palm of his hand

And may the rain fall soft upon your face
Until we meet again
And may God hold you in the palm of his hand

Roger explains that this song was adapted from an old Irish blessing. He and Camilla McGuinn put the verses around it, and he wrote the music.

Click here to watch him perform the beautiful ballad on YouTube.

When a dog runs at you, whistle for him.”

– Henry David Thoreau

A warrior cannot complain or regret anything. His life is an endless challenge, and challenges cannot possibly be good or bad. Challenges are simply challenges.”

– Carlos Castaneda

In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.

– Robert Frost

That which grows fast withers as rapidly; that which grows slowly endures.”

– J.G. Holland, novelist

Never cut what you can untie.”

– Joseph Joubert

When you are asked if you can do a job, tell ‘em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.”

– Theodore Roosevelt

My goal was to tell the life side of the story. We have become a nation of voyeurs that expect sensationalism, and that offends me.”

– Kathleen Jo Ryan

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”

– Anais Nin

Do you believe it is important to give back some portion of your wealth to support charitable causes?”

– Steven Schussler

Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same.”

– Francesca Reigle

Find somebody to be successful for. Raise their hopes. Think of their needs.”

– Barack Obama

If you want to be busy, keep trying to be perfect. If you want to be happy, focus on making a difference.”

– Lisa Earle McLeod

My job is my hobby. I come to work to play.”

– Uli Becker, president, Reebok International

Remove those ‘I want you to like me’ stickers from your forehead
and, instead, place them where they truly will do the most good—on your mirror.”

– Susan Jeffers

The goal of Life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with nature.”

– Joseph Cambell

I find out what the world needs, then I proceed to invent.”

– Thomas Edison

Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.”

– Leon Joseph Suenens

At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.”

– Lao Tzu

The mind is everything. What you think, you become.”

– Buddha

We are not meant to resolve all contradictions, but to live with them and rise above them.”

– William Blake

Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value.”

– Albert Einstein

Do one thing every day that scares you.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. 
Now put foundations under them.”

– Henry David Thoreau

If you would create something,
 you must be something.”

– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I was taught at a very young age that you can do whatever you want to, but you have to make it happen — not just talk about it.”

– Kathleen Jo Ryan

Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”

– Eckhart Tolle

Whosoever knows how to fight well is not angry. Whosoever knows how to conquer enemies does not fight them.”

– Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

Treat the attainment of happiness in the same way an entrepreneur would approach building a business — with a vision, plan, goals, and a systematic approach.”

– Ted Leonsis

The biggest flaw in our existing theory of capitalism lies in its misrepresentation of human nature.”

– Muhammad Yunus

Don’t wait for someone else to lead you to your right life; that privilege—and responsibility—is yours alone.”

– Martha Beck

There is only one success – to be able to spend your life in your own way.”

– Christopher Morley

We never know how high we are
 till we are called to rise;
 And then, if we are true to plan,
 Our statures touch the skies.”

– Emily Dickinson

Most people never pick up the phone and call. Most people never ask, and that’s what separates the people who do things from the people who just dream about them.”

– Steve Jobs

If you do work that you love, and the work fulfills you, the rest will come.”

– Oprah Winfrey

‎That which grows fast withers as rapidly; that which grows slowly endures.”

– J.G. Holland, novelist

A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.”

– Bob Dylan

No longer talk at all about the kind of man a good man ought to be, but be such.”

– Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

You only live once. But if you do it right, once is enough.”

– Mae West

We need to learn to set our course by the stars, not by the lights of every passing ship.”

– General Omar Bradley

When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”

– Jimi Hendrix

Women once had the goal of being Superwoman; I think most of us now simply strive to have a super day.”

– Author, Activist Lee Woodruff

The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.”

– Nolan Bushnell, founder, Chuck E. Cheese's

We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.”

– Winston Churchill

What is the point of having free will if one cannot occasionally spit in the eye of destiny?”

– Jim Butcher, White Night

I may not be able to change what takes place, but I can always choose to change my thinking.”

– Michelle Sedas

Practice kindness all day to everybody and you will realize you’re already in heaven now.”

– Jack Kerouac

Persist and persevere, and you will find most things that are attainable, possible.”

– Lord Chesterfield

If you think you are too small to make a difference, try going to sleep with a mosquito in your room.”

– A wisdomism

Friendship is the only cement that will hold the world together.”

– Woodrow Wilson

But all the while I was alone, the past was close behind, I seen a lot of women, but she never escaped my mind, and I just grew, tangled up in blue.”

– Bob Dylan

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