Rock School 

Lesson #62: Don't Take It Personally

It should've been a celebration. After selling 200,000 coies of the ominously titled Stay What You Are, Saves the Day hoped for a big commercial break with its major-label debut, In Reverie. Instead, three days after its release, the band got a call from DreamWorks A&R guy Luke Wood. "'Well, I've got some bad news. No one in radio is biting at the single, and MTV doesn't want to play the video. I'm afraid the album is -- we should consider the album dead and start thinking about the next record,'" recalls Chris Conley.

Shocked, Conley, the band's chief songwriter, went into a creative spiral. He began questioning his songwriting skills -- and even whether Saves the Day should continue. "I didn't trust my instincts, and I didn't think I was good enough. I thought maybe I was never going to have fun making music again," he says.

Three years later, after being dropped from the label, Saves the Day is back with a new CD, Sound the Alarm. The turnaround came when Conley read Mansion on the Hill.

"It's kind of about rock and roll and commerce," Conley says. "I started to see the industry for what it was -- a business.

"I thought, 'This isn't personal at all,'" he says. "'This doesn't really mean that In Reverie wasn't a good album. It means it was harder for them to sell . . .' [The book] got my eye back on the ball."

Speaking of Shorts

More by Alan Sculley


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