I like to cook. Probably too much. I can easily waste a whole night doing nothing but drinking wine planning some elaborate meal, then cooking it for like 3 hours and being totally engrossed in the process. If I wasn’t a musician, I would try to be a chef. Yep. I’m that kind of freak.

And funny thing is…I think I’d blend right in. Because I would chain smoke and drink and smartass everyone under the table…pretty much like I do now.

Ever since Anthony Bourdain’s show came out, I’ve been obsessed with it. Nevermind that he’s an affirmed vegetarian-hater and half of the episodes I can’t watch because first they f*ck a goat senseless before gutting it mercilessly to make a nice tasty stew out of it.

But I have come to terms with this. In most parts of the world, eating meat is not a moral consideration, it’s a privilege that people don’t take for granted. I get that. So momentarily, while Anthony blatantly goes to town with meat porn galore, I put my own Western food morality aside and I gobble up whatever I can of his show that is so blatantly an orgy of all things culinary. Food pornaholics thank you, Anthony.

And then there’s Gordon Ramsay. I LOVE that guy. I love that he’s brutally honest. I love that he makes people work for it. I love that he doesn’t take crap from any ridiculous newbie a-hole with a massive overdeveloped ego stuck on top of underdeveloped skills. And I watch all of his shows like a total effin’ addict. I have to see every one. In fact, if I haven’t seen one, I will watch all the others in the series all over again just to make up for it.

The other night, while watching Hell’s Kitchen, I figured out why. “That is just like being a musician…” I found myself saying out loud at one point, when somebody was bitching about everything, and six team members wanted to scratch each others’ eyes out and everyone was operating on about 9 seconds of sleep and had to haul 9000 pounds of ice out of a flippin truck without a dolly.

“Only better…” said I.

Yes. Better. That’s what I said. Out loud. To myself. And everyone (all six fur children and one other human adult) else.

To a musician, Hell’s Kitchen is a walk in the park. A day by the pool. A vacation on the Riviera even. It’s an easy lilting Sinatra tune in a room full of 80 year olds buying you cosmos and dropping cool 100’s into your tip jar.

Cuz there ain’t no day in music land that isn’t filled with all the same shite: endless amounts of people who can’t be pleased no matter what you do, sleepless nights, catfighting team members who can never see eye to eye, a relentless manager who is going to hang over every little thing you do and critique it not WHEN YOU FINISH THE NIGHT – but every second that your are still working, endless crap to memorize, prep work that you barely get paid for, more gripes than compliments, and the monumentally demeaning experience that every schmoe who’s ever held a fork (or a guitar) gets to tell you how the hell to do your job.

So…why is Hell’s Kitchen better? At the end of the show, someone wins $250,000. And the chance to run their own restaurant. Or more importantly…they win respect.


Something musicians never really seem to see anymore. No matter how hard they slog.

So next time you watch Hell’s Kitchen, just remember…in the words of rock icon, Pat Benatar…”Hell is for children…”

And musicians.

Originally posted 2011-08-26 06:39:20.