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Guest column - 10 "interesting" jobs I did before music by Grandaddy's Jason Lytle

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Grandaddy frontman Jason Lytle is a busy man. Not only did he play a tour of reunited shows with his band at the end of the summer, buthe releases a solo album, Dept Of Disappearance on Monday (15 October). So what keeps him going? Well apart from the joy of music and creativity, the fear of returning to any of his pre-band jobs, we suspect. “Before I became a recording artist, I had some interesting jobs,” he grins. Here are ten of them…”

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1. Hazardous waste water treatment technician My ex-girlfriend’s dad pulled some strings and got me this job. It pretty much funded the purchase of the gear that became my first home recording studio. I was under-qualified as were most of the knuckleheads I worked with. It was dangerous, it was sketchy, and the company eventually went broke due to over-spending, inner company thievery, and lawsuits.

2. House painter This was one of those “starving student painter ” companies. I wasn’t a student, but I was definitely starving. I soon realised my obsessive attention to detail would be unappreciated in this field. It was more of a “slap on the paint, trample the flowers, and leave a big mess” operation – with Guns’N’Roses blaring from a boom box.

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3. Paint store employee I only got this job because of my house painting experience. It was some weird religious family business. I was skating in contests at the time and therefore used to call in sick a lot due to traveling and road trips, so they fired me. I think the “skate” tattoo on my hand freaked them out a bit too.

4. Dishwasher I have actually had a number of dishwashing jobs, and I have to say I kind of like washing dishes. I always got to listen to music, there was usually free food, and it was behind the scenes which suited me well. Waiter, and even busboy, positions never appealed to me. Unfortunately, the pay really sucks.

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5. Waiter (almost) I finally caved in and got hired to wait tables in the restaurant of a Holiday Inn. I showed up the first day in some uncomfortable “waiter clothes,” and the boss said something to me that just rubbed me wrong. I told him I was going to use the toilet and then continued on out the back door. I walked to the store and bought a beer, tore off my shirt, and then walked home shirtless in my dumb waiter pants, relieved that I never did end up waiting any tables.

6. Forklift driver I lied to the supervisor at this 7Up bottling plant and told him I knew how to drive a forklift. After he went home, a fellow employee of mine was kind enough to give me a quick tutorial. Later on I got another job that required me to get my “forklift operator’s certification”. It’s been a while since I’ve been on one, but I think I could still get a shipment loaded up, pretty fast and smooth.

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7. Floor maintenance at Kmart One of the strangest jobs I’ve ever had. They would lock us in the store at 9pm (for security reasons) while we swept, mopped, and waxed the floors.

Then they would “release ” us at 6am in the morning. My fellow employees were mostly ex cons who would hide away and sleep while I did all of the work. I got revenge on everyone by stealing candy, drinking wine coolers while I worked, and smuggling out T-shirts and boxer shorts in the morning.

8. Nut processing plant worker I worked on an assembly line with a bunch of non-English speaking Mexican and East Indian women, sorting walnuts and/or pistachios (depending on the season). Thankfully this job didn’t last long as I was slowly on my way to going insane. I ended up getting promoted to “guy who watches and occasionally maintains the nut cracking machinery”. Fascinating stuff!

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9. Meat processing plant processor I actually got this job assignment through one of those temporary employment agencies or “temp agency.” I only lasted a few days. It was a total horror show. Blood everywhere, weird meat products all over the place – and the stench! I felt like I should have been smuggling in undercover cameras for some secret television crack down. Alas, I escaped, never to return.

10. Optical Lab technician This is the one that ended up “breaking me”. It wasn’t even that bad of a job: grinding and polishing eye glass lenses in a clean environment, full time work with benefits, etc. I just used to get home from work and be so empty and depressed. I knew if I didn’t’ make a move and start filling my days with something lasting and fulfilling I would become more and more miserable as time wore on. The boredom and the sameness of the days just made me feel dead.

So I quit… and I committed myself to writing songs and recording music. But that’s a whole other story.

Jason LytleJasonlytle

For more on that story head to Facebook.com/jasonlytle.


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