Posted on 02.12.2018

So Different, So Similar

I have been in business for sixty years, and although lots of people think that the business I'm in is not really a business all, but rather a frivolous undertaking populated by those who never really grow up, but bounce around the world walking on stages, showing off their wares, picking up a check and moving on to another place with bright lights and extravagant amenities to do it again.

I can assure those of that persuasion, that opinion is something like 180º from the truth, and the tip of a gargantuan iceberg, as it were.

When I was younger, people would say things like, "If I could play a fiddle like that, I'd never work another day in my life".

And I will readily admit that I thank Almighty God that I can make a living doing exactly what I want to do, with a bunch of talented people I enjoy doing it with, and it is definitely not drudgery. My time in front of an audience presents a challenge I am happy and blessed to accept every time I walk on stage.

So, let's just say that I'm happy... no, ecstatic, in my chosen profession.

But to say it is not a business or that those of us who have achieved some success at it are lucky, or that people in the entertainment industry sail along, just hitting the high spots, tornadoes, dipping down just long enough to do another show and then go along their glorious way, carefree and without a worry in the world is a total fallacy, perpetuated by those who have not a clue what happens between the brief times spent in the spotlights. But in actuality, if we do our jobs right, it's all you're supposed to see, our problems are not included in the ticket price.

First of all, there is no other business that I know of, with the possible exception of professional sports, that is as competitive, mercenary and quick to condemn as the music/entertainment business.

You're only as good as your last show, your last record, your last interview, and things can change with mind-boggling speed, both for the good and for the bad. A record you thought was on its way can suddenly start falling off the charts, or the opposite can happen and your record can suddenly take off.

Constantly changing public tastes, the availability or non-availability of radio airplay on any given record is a release-to-release roller coaster ride and unless you're the Beatles or Michael Jackson caliber of artist, you never really know what's going to happen with your next record.

Then there is the matter of the unrelenting payroll every two weeks, heavy vehicles with heavy repair and maintenance bills to cover, getting to where you're contracted to be despite weather, breakdown, hell or high water, cause if you don't show up you don't get paid.

You work while everybody else plays, and travel while everybody else sleeps, no subsidies or government programs to help you over the rough spots, just what you're worth on the open market, a most mercenary place that can chew you up and spit you out.

Then there's the competition, unrelenting, high caliber competition, that renews itself perennially, with a new crop of talented kids that are dying to be where you are, to do what you're doing and will do everything in their power to get there, and if they have to step over you to do it, they'll wave on their way by.

So, you'd best be at the top of your game all the time, on stage, in the recording studio, writing new songs, adding new material to the show, or just meeting people, who may remember you if you're nice, but will for sure remember you if you're not.

So, you see, my business is not so different from the company which has to constantly add new products, improve on old ones, meet the competition and maintain good public relations.

And for every business, the bottom line is what you constantly deliver to your customers, the quality, the consistency and the compassion and energy it's presented with, year in, year out.

If you're out late at night and you see a tour bus headed down the road to the next show and think, how lucky those guys are, remember, the glamour fades with the spotlight and the real world begins, a world with expenses, loneliness, competition and, more than likely, that bunch of lucky guys on that bus are dog tired and have 700 miles to go, before it starts all over again.

But I'll bet, if you took a survey, like me, they wouldn't trade places with anybody in the world.

What do you think?

Pray for our troops, our police and the peace of Jerusalem.

God Bless America

— Charlie Daniels


Feel free to comment on Charlie's soapboxes, but please refrain from profanity and anonymous posts are not allowed, we need a name and you MUST provide a valid email address. If you provide an email address, but leave the name as "Anonymous" we will pick a name for you based on your email address. No one other than website administrators will see your email address, not other posters. If you post without a valid email address, your comment (whether positive or negative) will be deleted. — TeamCDB


Mr. Daniels I am a 54 year old man who has grown up and old with your music. I just want to say thank you for the countless hours of joy you have brought to my life. I just recently started following your politics. Spot on sir! Keep up the good fight. Sincerely, Troy
Posted by Troy
Charlie Daniels
God bless you Charlie Daniels! I have been a fan of yours for many years and recently started following you on Twitter. That said, my grandpa played the fiddle, and I had the pleasure of playing piano with him. Have a Happy Valentines Day with your wife.
Posted by Velma
Thank you
In 1979 my brother introduced me to your band. I think 1983 was when I went to my first volunteer jam. From Uneasy Rider to this most recent soapbox post, you have never disappointed me. It makes all the difference in the world that you are as good a man as you are a musician. I thank God for your place in my life, and I thank you for all hard work you put into your business. In short, I’m a fan. God bless you.
Posted by James
Hero to Zero
Amen, Amen and Amen Charlie, the expression Hero to Zero probably applies in the music business more than anywhere else, and kinda like any form of art, beauty is in the eyes, or ears, of the beholder. Congratulations on your continued success in your chosen profession sir, for lately I think good entertainers are like good preachers, or good leaders they get harder and harder to find. nuff said God Bless you, President Trump and Israel, Plowboy
Posted by Plowboy
Working till I Drop
There was a guy who made wonderful guitars and mandolins and was a big success at it but his wife had to keep working so that they could use her health insurance. I could only imagine the challenges for musicians. Even so, it is hardly a simple matter to hold onto a job, any job, till retirement age, and most jobs are not nearly as fun as playing music or painting portraits or acting in a movie. Most of us are not talented enough or brave enough to look for work as a musician but the road is still a tough one. We have just got to watch out for each other.
Posted by dana
I gonna give mine a title Working the Blues
Yes Mr Charlie I have been coming to watch ya go as long as i can remember in the biggest cities and the smallest towns and Prayers you all need it each and every day when your on the road as much as ya are then you pray for each other. But the High you gotta get when you go on stage and know your fans are there to watch a great show put on by the one and only Mr Charlie and his band that’s gotta be a blessing and you are alway so good to everyone one yes we are thankful you get to love ❤️ playing that great music for we Your Fans looking forward to seeing ya real soon and on that Prayers for safe travels
Posted by Carolyn
So different so similar
Hi Charlie, have enjoyed your music for years. My son has a restaurant Papa KayJoes here in Centerville. Will be open for 18 years this coming Oct. He would agree with you 100%. Folks look at business/entertainers like the both of you and never see the blood sweat and tears that has happened. They only see the end results of your hard work. It’s a 24 hour, 7 day job. His restaurant was completely destroyed by fire on April 27, 2016...he reopened June 26, 2017. It was a long 14 months but thank the good Lord his restaurant is bigger and better. Best wishes to you, and prayers for you, your family, and band.
Posted by Debbie
Does luck play SOME role?
Charlie, you mentioned that entertainers aren't successful because of luck. I'm sure that it is mostly work ethic and talent. But I'd think that luck plays at least SOME role. It seems that being successful, not just in entertainment but in anything, would involve many factors, many of them beyond one's control. I would think that there are lots of entertainers just as hard working and talented as those who are successful, and yet haven't reached that success.
Posted by Tru