Tag Archives: Madman Across the Water
A month ago I was preaching about taxes and organization. (Our Qualified Joint Venture blog) Ashley and I have a very complicated tax situation, nobody wants me to drag it out and explain it, but I emphasize that it’s very complicated. Thats why I bought the army file cabinet and promised not to fill it with shoe boxes, but use folders rather, and intermittently affix staples and paper clips.
That’s not all it took. The local bank has been easy enough to let Ashley and I conduct our regular business through our alter-identities: those being the fake names Levon Walker and Ashley Addair. Truth is, there are no such legal persons. Maybe you know my real name, which indicates our relationship predates 2008 when I adopted the name Levon from the 1971 Elton John hit song “Levon” from the Madman Across the Water album.
(note: “Levon” like “Levi’s.” Say it: LEEEEEEE, not leVon. end of note).
As for Ashley, well, she took “Walker” back in the summer of 2004. Addair is maiden. Dawn is the given middle. We go to the local bank I where I used to work, nobody bothers us about it. I’m getting to my point, after this one.
An artist is a small business like any other self employed entity in the great city of Knoxville, the county of Knox, the state of Tennessee, and the U.S. of America where the artist may be regulated and taxed at each level by its respective authority. That being the case, and in the spirit of owning a large, green file cabinet, we finally decided to organize.
We opened a small business entitled “Ashley Dawn Addair and Levon Walker,” obtained the city and county business licenses, applied for the state sales tax I.D. number and finally opened a commercial bank account. Our fake names exist now as a legal entity, although the owners remain the mysterious Mr. and Mrs. R Walker.
All of this babble has not been coffee shop conversation. I thought it worth sharing in part because having just gone through it, I’d be glad to assist the steps of another fellow who needs to get it done.
Also, for the story begun in this blog, it’s important to note the full circle. I’m back to the days of walking away from the desk (actually several of them) and classifying it all as “that stuff.” ”That stuff” doesn’t go away just because you want to be a songwriter. True, if one stays broke they aren’t forced to look at much of it. Unfortunately, ignorance is prohibiting.
Business principles aren’t the first thing I think of when focusing creative energy. I think of Jack Donaghy. No seriously, when I’m squandering I don’t do good work, or at least I can’t get it to stick. It takes an organized effort.
Especially when taking the last, tender step away from part time jobs and trying to stay off them.
I’m going to be a dad soon, and at times I think about going back to what some would call security. What I’ve learned most clearly in the last couple rambling years is that security exists, but it has nothing to do with the external. You can be secure in yourself and that is all. Beyond that you need faith, and when you can’t find faith, look for hope.
When I worry about it, I remember what David Johnson told me recently, “If it’s good for you, it’s good for your kid.”
Ashley and I are going to do this. Life is going to change, oh yes. But it won’t change to anything that doesn’t align with where we are now. And, we have a file cabinet to tell us where that is.
Tuesday was my first day of self employment. Instead of moving to New York we went on a little road trip. Before we left we showed the house seven times so we knew, just knew, that someone would sign a lease when we got back. So we went to Nashville.
We lived in the back apartment here that was the original utility room, I think.
We took Let somewhere exotic,
From here we shot up into Kentucky to see my parents in Madisonville, KY. Then to Salem, KY which is in Livingston County to see my Memaw and Papaw. Then Paducah, KY for dinner with some more family. Then down to Dukedom, TN to see my grandmother and a quick trip to Dresden, TN and back to see my great aunt who is 96. We stopped again in Nashville on the way home and got back to Knoxville last night.
I’m glad I went and spent time with family and the places where I am from. Let me say something about them. Everyone farmed in my family, including us until I was about 4. We had small family farms, where you’d still have to do something else to make it. My grandfather welded and my papaw core drilled. My dad farmed and sold insurance. Finally it got too hard to have a small farm anymore and we went to Madisonville to live in town. My grandmother still lives on hers and rents the land out. My papaw sold his when the core drilling became a larger operation. My dad built one of the largest State Farm Insurance Agencies in the region and my brother will soon be doing the same.
Elton John’s song “Levon”, although the lyrical credit must go to Bernie Taupin, is about the passing on of heritage.
Alvin Tostig had a son today. And he shall be Levon, and he shall be a good man, and he shall be Levon, in tradition with the family plan.
Listen to the song on Elton’s 1971 “Madman Across the Water”. Tiny Dancer is on that one, too.
Levon came up from humble roots in hard times and is trying to teach his son to understand the importance of where has come from. I’m not using the song as a metaphor for myself and my family but it does hit enough points to inspire me. My grandfathers worked the land and worked for themselves. My father made a new way and helped us get on our feet. He even sent us around the world. Now I’m going to Brooklyn as an artist and it doesn’t look that much different to me. There is an art to welding, there is an art to drilling, and there is an art to building a good business in a community. Our world is smaller now and if my fathers were standing in my shoes today, I believe they would go for it. They came home from war in hard times and got started. Dad sold the farm in the recession of the 80′s and hung a shingle downtown. I guess I’m a traditional guy in my own way.