September 13, 2016 / Posted by admin / COMMENTS (0)

Seanie Mac and Springsteen

Anybody who’s moved to Los Angeles from somewhere else knows there is a transition. Those of us who did it from the New York Metro area, know it is almost an immigration scenario. It wasn’t easy to get started out here, which I think angers the natives when we call it “out here” but to an interloper it is another planet.

When you work in finance, law,  or tech and you move from coast to coast, it’s called re-locating. When you are gifted an ’89 Honda Accord and have no job, it’s called a “what the fuck are you doing with your life,” by the people who care about you. Or a “fingers crossed.”

At a particular time of stress and worry, I reached out to a friend in Philly, Seanie Mac (thank god for the advent of unlimited phone plans). I’ve known him since college when we bonded over Springsteen and a shared penchant to argue. We also liked to bust chops and quote Raging Bull, incessantly, leaving some to think it was a light comedy.

Sean was the first person to give me a daily calendar and explained that he used his to set goals, and keep track of his life. I used mine as a joke book for a week and lost it. He wasn’t in my field of study, so he could be a sounding board, and I often leaned on his sensibility. He took my shit out of the dryer once before it was dry and we almost came to blows, and he used my room over the summer as an art studio, but those were the worst of the times his quirkiness conflicted with my inflexibility.

Seanie Mac has had an uncanny knack for finding employers who would allow him to work a flexible schedule, a skill that would serve an actor well, but for Sean it seemed to be a need for his work to fit his life, and not the other way around. This left him available to talk at odd hours of the night, even with the time zone difference, many times he stayed on the phone while I smoked cigarettes and drank beer, and sometimes we just kicked it and laughed. But, on this certain night I was spiraling into a dark hole.


Things weren’t so bad that I was facing eviction or a health crisis, but I was losing hope. I was not taking care of myself. I was worrying about the rest of my life and felt like it had to be fixed by sun-up.

Seanie listened and asked me if I needed anything. I said I was ok, but he persisted. He said, “would 100 bucks help?” I told him there was no way I was gonna take his money. He said he knew it wasn’t much and he said it wouldn’t fix everything, but if a hundred bucks would ease a little stress he was happy to do it. I managed to get off the phone without accepting his offering. I was grateful for telecommunications and for the friend on the other end.

A few days later, there is an envelop in the mail, from Sean. In it is a check for a hundred dollars, it’s folded into a picture of Bruce Springsteen and Steve Van Zandt sharing a microphone. The image carrying so much: the friendship, shared history, tough times survived, time apart, singing together. Sean and I share a love of music and it covers the gamut. We’ve seen Springsteen together many times. When the E Street Band reunited with Bruce, we had first tier, front row seats with some of our mutual best friends. When they started “Badlands”  we all freaked out, and I screamed, “I’m gonna fuckin’ throw you off this balcony.” to Seanie, he laughed, and we fist pumped in all our suburban glory. It is a few moments in life when a piece of paper can transport you to another time and place.

Under the photo was a quote from Springsteen’s “Darkness on the Edge of Town”

Tonight I’ll be on that hill, ’cause I can’t stop/
I’ll be on that hill with everything I got/
Lives on the line, where dreams are found and lost/
I’ll be there on time, and I’ll pay the cost/
For wanting things that can only be found in the darkness on the edge of town.

More impactful was the personal note on a post-it, it read,

Hang in there, bro. Things are gonna break your way real soon.

Thank you, Seanie Mac.

April 4, 2013 / Posted by admin / COMMENTS (0)

That’s Branding

The Holy Grail for a company is for their name or brand to become a verb. When was the last time you looked something up instead of Googling something? Sending something overnight, even at the post office, has become FedExing. You can Facebook someone, or aerobicize, or Victoria’s secrete, wait, that went too far, but you get what I’m saying.

People in the walk-a-day world are talking about branding themselves, because instead of rock stars we look up to business people. Seriously, guy-who-sells-books-on-the-street, you need to think about whether your brand message is working?

I can’t assume the pose of someone who hasn’t thought about this. I refer to myself in the third person on my website, have posed for pictures voluntarily, pass out business cards, and do intend to market myself. I just can’t find a way to make my name a verb.

To FedEx means to send mail or merchandise. To Google something means to search for information or nude celebrity photos. To Facebook is to waste time looking for bald high school friends or to brag about something in an effort to stave off feelings of desperation and inadequacy.

What is it to DeGregorio? Last night I had a set in Irvine and it didn’t go great, after the set I had an hour drive that was extended by a freeway closure. I was on the phone (hands-free) with my girlfriend and started complaining about my circumstance.

“I didn’t have to worry about this in New York, I live the life I live to not have to get stuck in traffic, it’s not like they have a solution after all this road work, I just ate shit and now I’m in my shitty car, changing gears manually, fogging my windows, what did I do wrong in my previous life?”

To which my girl replied, “Do you need to get off the phone?” Which is code for stop ranting or I’m hanging up. It worked to some degree and I didn’t explode.

So maybe we can get some traction that DeGregorio-ing is to have a verbal anxiety attack, extrapolating long term doom and gloom from simple hiccups and inconveniences of life. Not exactly the branding I was going for.

They say you start with the ideal for your brand and try to make it happen. I’d love for my brand to be about thoughtful humor, with hard work, and good bone-structure. I have to remember that I coined my brand as Carl D. does it, not complains about it. I have a lot of work to do.