Control the Chaos had our daily band meeting with our manager, Ed Fassio. He was droppin’ some knowledge and we had a great discussion around it. Thought we’d share it with everyone. Go Itchy Metal!

From the “Fassio Files”:
I first came across the term “co-opetition” when working in the tech field. It was how we described companies that were known competitors; however we still had frequent direct business dealings with them including joint engagements. Not sure when the term was “coined” or if it’s even yet managed to finagle its way into the English language but it definitely describes the situation.

I find myself using the term more and more in my dealings within the music business. Talk about your fiercely competitive environments. Especially for the musicians, as there’s literally a one in a million shot at someone caring enough about you to get you that slim advantage over the next guy. But is it really that dire? Isn’t the market big enough for more players? Do we all have to chase the same carrot? What if some of us want apples instead? Regardless of the answers to those questions, the fact remains: Everyone’s trying to get some attention (Love) out there, and it can be brutal warfare.

In the same regard, we’ve all heard the term “two heads are better than one”. That goes along with common knowledge that we can accomplish more if we work together. It all seems nice and practical, but not the common reality. The fact is that only a few can make it through the tiny door of opportunity and it takes extreme diligence and agility to gain a position where you’re as close to the entrance as possible. We haven’t even talked about getting inside the door, or what happens when you’re in – that’s another blog.

I think this happens in almost every environment we encounter: From our elementary school classrooms to our professional careers. We compete in our own families. We compete for the best seats at a show, the lines at the grocery store. We drive erratically in order to get there faster, sooner and before YOU! I suppose that’s just nature. Yup, only the strong survive and if it were any other way we’d taint the gene pool, throw the universe off balance and create sub-par standards for quality, quantity and progress. Hell friggin’ NO!! THIS IS SPARTA!!!

All jokes aside, civilized societies have created rules and laws to try and balance things out in an attempt to “control the chaos” (a great band by the way). Within these rules we’ve learned to work together. We’ve learned to set our differences aside and create things for the common good. Or so it seems…

You see, there’s always somebody winning out there: Someone or a group of like-minded somebodies in control. For us common folks, we refer to them as “THEY”. Those that make the rules, the ones that judge and deal out the consequences. THEY are so powerful that the lower folk do as THEY say without so much as a peep. THEY have the ultimate control, the power and influence. We’re just on the receiving end- Literally! And what happens when we try to band together and revolt? Unfortunately as soon as things calm down then we’re back to square one. We begin to fight amongst ourselves. We get all “Cain and Abel” with each other. Hmmm… Maybe THEY know what they’re talking about.

Maybe competition is bred out of the fear of blame. Our own internal guilt and fear of being inadequate or downright wrong! We want choices, but if we should make the wrong ones then we don’t like the consequences. However, if we could make those same choices and shift the blame elsewhere if things should go awry then maybe that would be okay. Right??

But what if you’re meek? Humble? Willing to get along and have the discipline to self-manage the natural inclination to be competitive? Are you therefore, weak? Are you destined to lose, or come last – you know what they say about the “nice” guy, remember? Society’s ideals are that we admire the weak but reward the strong which is in direct opposition to a theological perspective.

Yes, everyone wants to get on top but so few know what to do about it when they get there, or even why they desire it so badly. You “wanna be a billionaire so freakin’ bad” but for what? What would you do with all that power that comes from having all those resources?

So, what’s the answer? Here’s what I think:

Balance and dedication. Yes, it’s that simple and yet so hard to obtain; Even more difficult to maintain. The key is to be competitive enough in this world to get attention. If you have my attention, you must know what to say and do in order to keep it. This is not the time to choke on the mic (this is where you hear Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” in the background). This is your time to shine, so your credo must align with me as the individual, but inspire the entire community. Now sold – I’m more than happy to let you do the work. Congratulations, you are now my leader! My lazy ass couldn’t do anything about it, but I’m totally down to follow you!!

Careful now, this is VERY different than being my entertainer. Both get the stage but the entertainer is done at the end of the show. The leader is always performing, always criticized, forever challenged and constantly measured. There are some similarities but here’s the point: Entertainers live to show. Leaders show to live. We get this twisted all the time. Entertainers are often thrust into leadership situations, only to fail miserably. Don’t believe me? Glance at the latest tabloids. Enough said. True entertainment leaders are extremely rare because our most creative folks aren’t always our best leaders. The personalities tend to clash. Perhaps it’s a structure versus non-structure thing.

Back to the point: Once a leader, you must then defend that position, for being on top comes with massive responsibility that requires a huge amount of discipline and humility (go Spiderman!). Your daily focus changes from a struggle to get there, to the battle to stay there. One must stay grounded in the ideals from which they came (Keepin’ it real) while at the same time looking for and sharing ways to improve the situation for more, in order to share the experience. For life is best lived when shared (Alexander Supertramp learned this, albeit too late). Remember, it is only from a position of influence that any real change can happen…

And that’s definitely worth fighting for.

Keep Bangin’ – CTC


Here’s some of Control the Chaos’ picks/examples of great creative leaders:
Bill Gates, Bono, Angelina Jolie, George Clooney, Oprah, Rage Against the Machine, System of a Down, Tupac, Boogie Down Productions… please add to this list.

Name as many prominent (or non-prominent) people in the entertainment realm that you can think of that utilize their celebrity to influence real changes or drive awareness in our society. How big can we get this list???

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