money, money changes everything

Money, money changes everything.

I saw Cyndi Lauper sing that song live just a few years ago, in Minneapolis.

She had massive neon pink dreadlocks and huge black moon boot kind of stompers on.

She was in her sixties at the time.

She's a badass woman, no doubt.

That night, I thought about her singing that song, the first time around, right when her career was taking off.

Suddenly she had money.

At that time I was just falling under the terrible curse of my house not selling, my New York efforts not becoming fruitful.

I was scared out of my mind about money.

Yesterday that era officially ended.

Five years of debt.

I think of the kind friend and supporter who started anonymously putting envelopes of cash in my mailbox or in gifts she handed me.

She put hundred dollar bills once under my windshield wipers when she left a party before I did.

I thought there were leaves stuck under my windshield wiper when I came out to my car parted in the driveway of the house in a very quiet neighborhood.

I got back out to brush the leaves away and saw that it was three one hundred dollar bills.

I was barely able to buy groceries then.

I couldn't move a muscle, that's what it felt like, like being physically caught in a trap.

Many other people helped as well.

There's the story of the young girl who hit my car with her car in the shopping center parking lot three days before Christmas.

I hugged her, reassured her, we got through it.

But my car needed $1500 in repairs and hers didn't.

Her Dad stepped in, paid my deductible, and then met me for a drink the day before Christmas and handed me a check for fourteen thousand dollars.

He said he didn't want me to use it to get out of debt.

He said he wanted me to use it to keep going with my tour plans for Europe, and to finish the album I was telling him about.

I did that.

We kept going, we kept touring, we kept putting out albums.

During that time, my shows didn't make any money.

I just spent money.

Every time I turned around, money had to be spent, and the debts had big minimum payments every month as well.

All this time, it's been this losing game.

I started to make money playing shows about two years ago.

At first it was a big deal to make fifty dollars for a show, and there weren't as many shows.

In the past three years I went from fifty shows a year to a hundred and fifty a year.

All the money went to survival, and to paying the minimum amounts on my debts.

I could keep touring, keep making records, but by the skin of my teeth and with no safety net besides what my fans gave me.

I declared bankruptcy just as the world shut down in March.

I knew I couldn't make the minimum payments if I didn't have shows.

I tried other possible solutions but nobody would budge as far as making deals with me at the bank.

The bankruptcy lawyer was the first guy who just laid it out and said that my case was so clearcut and simple that it would be easy to resolve.

I don't own anything so there's nothing to lose.

I'm not able to work in the capacity I was working because of everything being shut down.

So now the bankruptcy is just about complete and it's worked out very smoothly.

I don't know if it works this well in other scenarios, and I'm sure it sometimes doesn't, but for me it was the answer.

Then the government decided to give unemployment benefits to the self-employed, and that has been the other piece of the puzzle.

It's temporary of course, but for someone in my situation, it's a great windfall.

Rob, who has never been in debt but who works very hard and pays a mortgage and a studio lease, is feeling more confident too.

He's been able to do a lot more than he thought during this time.

His old beater of a car died a month ago, went up in flames on the highway(!), and he's got the money to get himself a new car today.

He's picked out a used station wagon that he's very excited about and he's going to get it tonight.

So the fun part of all this is that Rob and I made steaks on the grill last night.

After my daughter Nina left for L.A. yesterday, we were like we were floating around in the house, it all seemed so spacious and airy.

My mother back at her apartment, Nina out on an adventure.

 We decided to celebrate and we went to the grocery store and the liquor store together.

We bought two beautiful steaks, which we never do, have never done in all the time we've known each other.

We bought asparagus and fresh corn.

We bought berries, we bought olives, we bought cheeses and rosemary crackers.

Then we bought two very nice bottles of wine at the liquor store.

We went home and fired up the grill and celebrated.

It was wonderful to be just the two of us.

Everything seemed so quiet and peaceful.

Rob told me he got choked up in the grocery store when we were picking out our two steaks with the butcher.

I asked why and he said, "because that's how it's supposed to be. The two of us, going together."

Oh Rob, what a sweet man.

Okay, that's the whole thing then.

We're back to a lovely quiet life.

Tobi the puppy got to run around the yard with a steak bone in his mouth for a minute before we took it away from him.

Rob is getting a reliable car.

I get to put on a show this Saturday night in peace and quiet from the comfort and joy of my own home.

Things are looking real good to me, all around.

You've got to let love rule.

Lenny Kravitz is right.



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