Lex Rocks episode 10 — Sturgil Simpson’s Old Band, Sunday Valley
This has been, bar none, our weirdest post-production process ever.
I originally got the idea for this episode pretty early. I wanted to wait a while and build a slight following before I chased it down, though. Plus I was nervous about approaching Gerald, Edgar, And Billy. I didn’t know exactly where they stood on the old Sunday Valley Days.
I figured Billy would require some convincing and Edgar would be pretty into it. I had no idea about Gerald. Turns out Billy was in quickly, and Edgar required a little romancing. So, I tried my best to communicate that this was me wanting to celebrate Sunday Valley and what they meant to me, as a band.
Edgar got on board. Gerald and Billy were already in. We scheduled the shoot. Billy didn’t show but texted us that he’d reconsidered. I was disappointed but still excited to shoot. I put Ethan behind the camera and love what he brought to it. I would recommend somebody hire this kid fulltime before I can afford to, because that’s first on my to do list.
So we shot the episode and started promoting it. We promoted it pretty heavily using Sturgill Simpson’s name because right now he puts the Ziet in Ziegeist. Connecting this vlog to his rising star seemed like a great opportunity to maybe pull in some new viewers.
That’s when Sturgill wrote me an email.
I haven’t talked to Sturgill in years. There was a time I would have called him a friend (and would again, as it turns out), but the number I had for him stopped getting to him some time ago. I was thrilled for his success, but a lot of people in this town have Sturgill stories, so I didn’t hold mine as being all that important.
In his email Sturgill said some every nice, complimentary things to me that I’ll be printing on a t-shirt in the coming weeks. He also expressed he was disappointed not to be approached about my Sunday Valley episode because he would have loved to be involved.
I was… shocked? I love Sturgill. I recognize him as a good guy and the real deal. But the man has been on Conan, The Late Show, WTF, and been nominated for a Grammy. There was no way in a million years I imagined he has the time nor inclination to be on my little vlog. Lesson learned. Make the ask. Give people the opportunity to say no.
I explained my reasoning to Sturgill and offered to let him contribute to the episode. He explained that his 48 hours in Lexington were going to be jam packed with tour and family business. He then went on to give me a little advice. Some friends of his “on the local scene” had seen my promotion of the episode and brought it to his attention. They had interpreted me launching the episode on Tuesday, the same day of his show, as opportunistic, exploitativee, and grandstanding. As posting, “old news and gossip.” He suggested I wait to post it after his show, because he was afraid people might get the wrong idea. He in no way told me not to post it. He was very clear that it was my material and my choice. He was extremely kind and professional about it.
Here’s, the thing, though. His friends are at least part right. Posting this thing on the day of his concert is opportunistic. Sturgill’s gonna be on a lot of people’s minds that day. So using that as an opportunity to reminisce in public and bring a little attention to Gerald and Edgar seems like a no-brainer to me. Our episode in no way trashes Sturgill. It’s not a hit piece. So, no harm no foul in my eyes. As to what his friends on the local scene might infer? Who cares? People are gonna think what they think and I can’t stop them. I’m trying to build something and I’ll use every opportunity I can, short of hurting anybody. If that’s exploitive or grandstanding, sign me up.
Plus, it can’t be gossip, because the people talking were the people involved, so…
I assumed that was the end of it, but then his manager emailed me and wanted to talk. We spoke on the phone the next day. He expressed some concern about the vlogs timing, much like Sturgill’s local pals. I told him the timing was no coincidence, but there was no malice. He seemed to accept that. It was a very pleasant conversation.
So, I’ll close with something I touch on in the episode. Sunday Valley, as in Sturgill, Edgar, Gerald, and Billy, changed my life. They helped keep me out of a potential depression. I don’t know that I can ever repay them for how their music helped me. I like all four of them and think they deserve whatever attention and success comes their way. “To The Wind And On To Heaven.”
Watch the episode: