Look, If you had one shot, or one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted, in one moment…would you capture it…or just let it slip? – Eminem
Rapper Eminem wrote these lyrics in 2001 while filming the movie 8 Mile. Fourteen years earlier, the band Guns N’ Roses lived out the scenario in real time. Guns N’ Roses were the bombastic, rowdy and over the top rock band that was too crazy for their own scene. Nobody wanted to tour with them. Radio stations refused to play their music. After their debut album Appetite for Destruction was released, Geffen records did nothing to promote the album or the band.
Because of their reputation, media mogul John Malone blacklisted the band with multiple influential outlets to “bury the band”. MTV- the golden ticket for success in 1987- was afraid to play their video, Welcome to the Jungle. They were told that they would be dropped off of various cable systems if they played their video even once.
Tom Zutaut, who signed the band to Geffen in 1986, was convinced that Guns N’ Roses would be a huge success. Geffen was just about to drop the band when Zutaut made one final plea to owner David Geffen. Pleading that this record will sell millions, he convinced Geffen to call MTV personally and use his influence to get them on the air.
MTV relented- slightly. The music video channel agreed to play the video one time and one time only. To add to it, the video would play late on a Sunday night at 4am EST. A time when assuredly nobody would be watching and where Malone would be asleep to not see it.
With the band throwing a party with friends to watch the video together, it finally aired deep into the night. And that was that. The one shot with no support for the record label to do any more for them. Zutaut woke the next morning to an extraordinary number of voice messages about the band. He had no idea what was happening and was summoned into the office of Al Coury, the head of promotion for Geffen Records. Coury was freaking out.
Coury informed Zutaut that the switchboards for MTV blew up the night before. That’s wasn’t metaphorically- it was literally. So many calls came in to their switchboard that it sparked the electronics, blew up the switchboard and it melted. In the six year history of the network, they had never received that many calls for any band or for any other reason.
All from a video that was aired one time in the dead of the night.
There was no way to stop it now. Every kid was calling and asking about it and MTV bowed to their demands. They quickly went into regular rotation throughout the network and this band that had been scraping and clawing for years became an “overnight success”. They went from selling 200,000 records- which were all sold though touring and a heavy word of mouth presence- to selling 200,000 records per week.
Appetite for Destruction went on to become the biggest selling debut album in United States history, selling more than 30 million copies worldwide.
It all started, though, with that one shot. When they got that one shot, did they seize it or let it slip away? It’s obvious that they grabbed hold with two hands and did not let go. Yet, it wasn’t what they did in the moment to seize it. It was everything they did leading up to it that made it happen. Their practice, their dedication to not quit, their unwillingness to bend on who they were is what made the reaction so fierce. That they were so authentically them, regardless of who was trying to blacklist them, is what made thousands of kids light up the MTV switchboard because it wasn’t another prepackaged hair band looking to cash in on the scene to make some money.
So, you might be looking for that shot. That opportunity. The big break that will get you in front of the audience that wants what you do. The question is, what will you do with it? And I’m not talking about simply making it a success. Many people pretend to be something they aren’t for the fame and the fortune. What’s more interesting to me is that when you get that one shot, will you be authentically you? Will you be true to yourself and your vision? Or will you do it simply for the money?
Because the people that really want and need what you do don’t want something fake. They don’t want someone pretending to be something they aren’t. The ones who will truly love what you do, are the ones that will truly love who you really are.
Every week in the Total Life Freedom Community, we celebrate the wins and victories that the members have had in their businesses and building their life of freedom.
As usual, these were hard to choose because of so many good things happening, but…
Jennifer Harshman entered into a collaboration with Dan Miller on leading a workshop on writing, completed a content repurposing package for Christine Wheatley and finished editing of Mike Kim’s upcoming book, Brand You.
James Banker became his own boss, and realized that he made enough money in one day to pay his mortgage for the month!
Steve Sponseller was invited to speak at a large university and is set to release his podcast!
In the first week of February, Brad Imming already earned more income than during the entire month of January, which is the third straight month of new record revenues!
Kimber Morgan got her consistency going and posted a blog each week for the past three months! That has been a challenge and the continued consistency is huge!
Nick Pavlidis was asked to speak at a number of big virtual events, including MicroCon and Podfest Global.