Don Muzquiz, Tour/Production Manager on how meditation kept him strong during the music business shutdown – Ep050

Conversation with Audio Engineer & Tour/Production Manager, Don Muzquiz, on the benefits of meditation and how it kept him strong during the music business shutdown caused by the pandemic. During that time, he created his podcast, The Road Dog Project. Don has a lot of wisdom to share on leading teams through the high stress environment of life on the road & creating a strong presence through the practice of stillness.

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In this episode:
Production Manager for Alanis Morissette, Don Muzquiz talks about the difficulty faced by everyone in the music touring industry during the pandemic and how he used the time off to engage in a regular meditation practice. The results are lasting and though he can only carve out a fraction of the time, now that he’s back on the road, he finds that just ten minutes a day can make the difference from living with the effects of stress to his ability to maintain a sense of calm and stillness.

SHOW NOTES (for Audio Version)
4:08 – The origin story of The Road Dog Project podcast – find it on YouTube @TheRoadDogProject

5:50 – The job of creating an experience to take people out of their problems and into the escape of a world where everyone is having a great time.

10:40 – The music production industry is heavily male and it involves a lot of high stress situations on the job. How does Don manage his own stress and the stress of others around him? He’s learned how to use meditation to stay calm in the midst of chaos, to set an example as a leader by setting the tone for others to follow. He keeps things in perspective, saying, “There’s nothing serious about what we’re doing.”

16:00 – How does the ego, masculine posturing, get in the way and prevent men from enjoying their work and their lives more? Bad attitudes “wreck the room” and it makes it difficult to create a good vibe for everyone else involved.

17:44 – Everything is energy. Constantly moving frequencies affect everything and everyone else, so we have a responsibility to bring our best energy to everything we do.

19:45 – Don has been experimenting with meditation for years and considers it to be essential for keeping him grounded and focused. So many things can go wrong on a tour due to many moving parts and the revolving door of crew members. Add to that, a pandemic, and touring became even more challenging. Finding a calm quiet space in each day made the difference in managing the challenges.

26:28 – Meditation and mindfulness practices have continuing benefits.

28:23 – Don’s podcast co-host, Leon, briefly joins the conversation before returning to his nap. He’s a true road dog!

29:40 – “If you think you don’t have time to meditate, you need it more than anyone else!” Meditation helps Don to let go of persistent, useless thoughts and helps him “to deal”.

32:00 – How does a 10-minute meditation help to get everything else done more easily and efficiently?

38:13 – Story of a crew guy on an Amy Grant tour, who had just come from a metal tour, experiencing a big difference in the energy of each of those jobs.

38:55 – Kim asks Don about his ability to come back after the pandemic, when a lot of people had to exit the business.

Don attributes his staying power to having mentors, both good and not so positive.

41:33 – How does Don determine which creative projects he wants to make manifest?

Don uses both his creative mind, as well as his organizational thinking, in his business as a Production Manager and Tour Manager.

45:12 – The music touring industry was the last to go back to work, being considered non-essential. It was frustrating to hear people talk about it being “time to get a real job”.

47:15 – Managing people and balancing the creative/thinking mind, is the same pattern as being a drummer. The drummer holds down the foundation and creates structure, using all the limbs at once!

Kimberly talks about Remo HealthRHYTHMS® & the science behind the drums as a healing practice.

Music IS essential!

50:00 – Don talks about the creativity in being a sound engineer coupled with the organizational tool of the mixing console.

51:30 – The treat of seeing Bruce Springsteen on his 2023 tour. His sound engineer was phenomenal!

53:40 – Buford Jones’ quote he heard while working with Linda Ronstadt, referring to the job of the sound engineer – “Mama bakes the cake, but you serve it up.”

53:57 – Working with Alanis Morissette for seven years and preparing for her upcoming tour. First, a tour with Runaway June for U.S. troops overseas.

56:45 – Don got an eye-opening experience when he started his podcast, The Road Dog Project. It was a lot more work than he expected! But, he loves the process & is working on the next series.