From Wembley to Web Standards
*why musicians should learn to code
There’s a kind of mental blankness that being on the road encourages. You have to shut down a few things in your mind, or you’ll go crazy. — Matthew Houck (Phosphorescent)
Hello. I spent many years of my life playing drums in White Rabbits. We made appearances on Letterman, Jools Holland, Conan, Fallon, and Kimmel. We played Wembley Stadium, Lollapalooza, Coachella, toured the world, drank lots of beer, and made several albums
Any musician that spends a fair amount of time touring knows that most days are not filled with excitement. Touring can be a lonely and often times damaging activity. I decided to do something more productive for my (outside-the-van) life.
Musicians should learn to code.
Between tours one summer in my adopted home of Chicago, a friend of mine mentioned that Threadless was looking for an entry-level developer—basically someone to handle their HTML email campaign. Having spent a fair amount of time installing Wordpress for friends and bands, I was familiar enough with code that I figured I’d give it a shot. Turns out I was enough of a cultural fit that they decided to overlook my lack of actual, real-world experience as a developer, and best of all: I could telecommute while on tour.
Most days I would tether my phone’s internet connection to my laptop, log on to a VPN, and code while the band was rolling down the highway on a six-hour drive to the next show (*not recommended if you get car sick). Even though the connection was extremely unstable — we were in and out of networks on a minute-to-minute basis — I somehow got the work in on time. I also found that I really enjoyed coding. Learning to code was opening my brain to analytical thinking previously occupied by blurry landscapes and constant re-watchings of “The Wire”.