If This Ain’t the Big Time….


The Fame Game – The Race to the Castle

As most of my friends know, I’ve been a musician all of my life. My first professional gig was at the tender age of 16 singing in a blue grass band that consisted of men twice my age performing in a dive bar along the Sacramento River. It was at that moment that I knew I was to continue on this path and was to be a life long player in “The Game”. As I found out, the path of the Game was full of danger, deceitful people, tricksters, naysayers and many obstacles! Many before me have played this game and many more long after I’m dead and gone. The goal is to make it all the way to the CASTLE. This is the place where the “Possibility” of riches and fame are given to the travelers who makes it to the gates. The inhabitants of the Castle hand you a record deal along with some money and promotion. They then send you off where the GAME continues beyond the Castle to see if you have what it takes to win a Kingdom of your own. Your very own “Throne” (ultimate mega-stardom).

How many people travel to the Castle? Millions! How many people make it through the gates? Only a handful. How many people get their own kingdom and throne? Only a handful out of the handful that make it to the Castle.

The Fool’s Journey

So in the Game, the path isn’t all obstacles and misery. The players obtain rewards along the way. Some people that play the Game find that the Castle and the trappings of running a Kingdom isn’t really what they want after winning a few rewards. Is it giving up? Well, maybe to some. However, everyone’s path is different. Some people just don’t have good luck when they roll the dice. They keep rolling the dice, have to go back a few spaces, move forward, back more spaces, and well… time just runs out on them.  Some get a good roll of the dice that lands them on a reward that is a fast-pass right to the Castle. Its all a matter of luck in the Game.

Where did I land in the Game?

Well, I guess I landed someplace in the middle of the Game. I did get some good rolls of the dice that landed me on some pretty sweet rewards along my musical journey. I had one of my recordings get played a whole bunch of times on a major radio station here in Sacramento. That was a sweet reward. I got to perform for James Brown at his star studded Grammy celebrations, another sweet reward. The game led me to a career in radio where I had some name recognition, got back stage passes to concerts and got to meet and interview some pretty famous people in the music industry. I consider that a really nice reward. I got a glimpse of some of the behind-the-scenes of the Game’s inner workings.

I did make it to Los Angeles where I tried very hard to get to the gates of the Castle. However, when you get close to the Castle, you will find dragons that breath fire and other monsters that guard the gates. (In Earthly terms, these would be called Agents, Managers, producers, record company executives and all the posers in between!)  Their aim is to keep you away from the Castle as long as possible and torture the crap out of you. You have to fight to the death to gain entrance to the gates unless you land on a space where you are awarded one of those sweet fast-track passes that gets you past the dragons and monsters. Examples of a fast-track pass rewards are: being personally introduced to a high level executive in the music biz, being a distant cousin to a famous person, or better yet, the KID of a famous person.  None of which happened to me. I seem to have always met the posers in between. Ugh..

Winning the Game has its Price

Many that win the Game become bat shit crazy because of the pressure that comes with running the Kingdom and some even die much to young. Janis Joplin, Jimmy Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Curt Kobain, Elvis Presely, Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston… just to name a very few.

Here is a big list of the artists that died of drug overdose: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_pop_musicians_who_died_of_drug_overdose

Changing the Game (the Overthrow of the Kingdom)

Antsy McClain is a songwriter, poet, artist and all around good guy that played the Game well. I think he might have made it all the way to the gates of the Castle.  I know, he’s had some very sweet rewards while playing the Game. ( PBS special, famous industry people involved in his albums, touring with legendary guitarist Tommy Emmanual just to name a few.)

However, the Kingdom and the Throne (by the terms of the Game) did elude him; like many others. So, Antsy did what many have done out of frustration of the Game and the people who run it and make the rules. He decided to make a Game for himself and make his own rules. Like many others that have rebelled against the Game, he produces and releases his own records (there are many, I’ve lost count) and created his own following. He became savvy in the world of marketing and he grew a Community instead of a Kingdom. His community grows daily as the people of the community have become friends and one big family. His community gathers in large theater venues and festivals all over the US and Europe to see their Cousin Antsy perform his awesome songs that resonates with the community. His songs are about them, about life, about real things that everyone relates to. Kingdoms hardly last and have a habit of falling, communities and families thrive forever! I consider this a HUGE Reward!

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER –  Yes ME! (and 9 other cousins)

I had the opportunity to be a part of his last project. Me along with nine other “cousins” got a chance to sing back-up on one of the songs in the last CD. Because we paid for this chance, we were named Executive Producers. This is how family works! Pretty Cool, right?

So, my fellow BRAVE game players…..

If you wish to play the Game or make your own version, its all about what makes you happy. We are on our earthly journeys for such a short time…. So be happy!

In one of Antsy’s songs, he writes about a true life situation where a guy asks him

“Whats it going to take for you to hit the big time?”

Antsy replies “What makes you think I’m not there now?”


Here is a video snippet of some behind the scenes making of the title track to his new album “Somewhere Past these Gravel Roads

Here is the CD with my name (and 9 of my cousins.. one of which is my sister..(wrap your head around that one)


cuzins lable(3)
Antsy gave me his hand written lyrics of the title track.  I might have stolen them.. I don’t remember, 



2 thoughts on “If This Ain’t the Big Time….

  1. Sister/Cousin/Co-Producer and Flockstar Jan, this is an awesome tribute to our friend Antsy. Looking forward to hanging with our friends again tonight (and tomorrow) and making some new good old days!


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