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Behind The Barriers Director’s Cut: Lessons from Cyndi Lauper

  • By Sam Smith
  • Published Oct. 22, 2013


Lessons from Cyndi Lauper

It was the first weekend off this season. Instead of the usual traveling and shooting, I was just spending my time at home. It just so happened that my friend, Leanne, was in Boston playing a gig with her band. She’s the bassist in a band called Hunter Valentine, which is currently the opening act for none other than Cyndi Lauper.

I met Leanne about four years ago when she joined the band that I was the bassist in. We became fast friends. After that band ended, she joined another band that, coincidentally, included my roommate and another of my good friends. About a year ago, she auditioned for Hunter Valentine and got the job as its bassist. The band tours regularly, so ever since then, she’s been on the road a lot. With the amount that I travel, it’s somewhat rare that we happen to be in Boston at the same time.

On this occasion, we were both in town, and it was a great opportunity to see what she’s been up to. She got us on the guest list for the show she was playing, which was pretty cool. It was so strange to see her up on the massive stage at Boston’s Wang Theatre, when I’d been so used to seeing her at skeezy rock clubs. It was fun to hear stories from the road, and to hear what Cyndi Lauper is like. It was also a great experience to be able to peak into the giant tour bus that they drive around in.

I started thinking about how weird her job was. But, I realized that what she does isn’t a whole lot different than what I do.

Sure, there isn’t a giant Rapha-Focus tour bus that we all sleep in (yet), but there are a lot of similarities. There’s a ton of traveling, eating weird stuff, never sleeping in the same bed, and not really having much of a home base. It’s an exciting way to live, and it’s something I’ve always enjoyed. But, it also wears me down, makes me feel detached, and makes me think once in a while, “I wonder how long I’ll be able to do this without going nuts?”

Leanne is 24 and has been touring for a year. I’m 30 and I’ve been doing my thing for a long time, but only for a year full-time, so we’re both relative newbies at road life. Cyndi Lauper is 60 and has been doing what she does for over 30 years. I might be doing something wrong, because I don’t think I could do it for nearly that long. Hopefully, soon, Leanne can pass along some of Cyndi’s tricks of the trade. It would be greatly useful, because, as I gaze into the future, I can only see my travel days increasing.

Sam Smith
Producer/Director, Behind The Barriers

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