Behind the music: I got 99 problems but a pitch ain’t one

I don’t know how many of you have watched old episodes of VH1’s Behind the Music (post millenials, I forgive you), but their intros all have similar themes. Band meets: a collection of poets, jocks, nerds and one token college dropout decide to take a chance and pursue their music. They tour the country, visiting thousand-person towns and playing to bartenders during the 3 am slot until one guy, who happened to stumble into the bar after his car broke down, validates their belief that they could be big.

Their first album drops. They get bad reviews. They get rave reviews. There’s something about them that’s different, it’s weird, but people love it. Some people hate it. The band fights, what is leadership to the guitarist is power hunger to the bass player. Then, amidst an ambivalent atmosphere, they get their bigger break, opening at Madison Square Garden. What? What’s that you say? They’re not opening anymore? They’re the lead act? They enter the stage naked and rock the stadium, forever engraving their name into legend and, for another night, keeping rock and roll alive.

So, imagine me, sitting on my couch watching these reruns (Styx and Red Hot Chili Peppers, to be exact) and thinking, Hold the phone. This is my life. 

Sure, I’m still very much (read: VERY MUCH) in the scraping by, playing at bars at 3 am, looking-forward-to-my-big-show-in-rural-Michigan part of my life, but, and I do mean but, I’m still holding out for that next gig, wherever it may be.


Two years ago, when I decided to pursue skiing full on, the poet, jock and nerd inside of me came together and collectively decided to become the token college dropout. We believed in our music, whether or not anyone else did. We love to play, for ourselves, for other people, in the woods or in a stadium. Spending time on skis in itself is incredibly stimulating, it’s not the podium or the crowds or the hardware that keeps me going, but…those things would be nice.

Another thing that connects me to these bands pre-big break is my utter dependence on followers, believers, fans. In the 80s and 90s, musicians counted on record sales to keep their dream alive, today, when downloading is free on the internet, they rely on t-shirt sales, Facebook likes and concert tickets.

You’ve liked my Facebook, now, I’m asking you to buy my figurative t-shirt so I can make it to my own concert. Remember the guy who stumbled into the bar and gave the band their big break? You could be that guy.

This Saturday, September 20th, I, along with my SMS T2 teammates, will subject myself to 100 kilometers of roller skiing (bonks, speeds and road rash included) in our annual fundraising event, the 100K Ski-A-Thon. In addition to the support I receive from The T2 Foundation, Bolder Band and other incredible, wonderful, pretty sponsors, I need to raise $10,000 to fund my year of travel, training and volunteering (and, er, eating).

Thank you to Ryan Brewster and Ron's Closet for his poster design.
Thank you to Ryan Brewster and Ron’s Closet for his poster design.

I don’t have t-shirts made yet (next year. dream big.), but I have offered my online social dignity in exchange for money. As voted on by so many poll lovers, if I can reach my fundraising goal by the 100K (so, in five days), I will dance publicly in every place that I travel and produce proof for your viewing pleasure. My teammate Jessie Diggins, ex dancer and future dance instructor, has choreographed a dance for me that can be performed anywhere, at any beat. I haven’t quite gotten control of all of my limbs, but here’s a preview:

Don’t let Jessie’s work go to waste. Keep rock and roll alive. Help me continue to live the dream, I promise to keep writing it down.

To donate (100% tax deductible!! Say what?!) online, follow this link to my team’s Ski-A-Thon page and click on the donation button. Be sure to indicate that your donation is for ANNIE POKORNY in the checkout comments.

To send a check, make one out to the ELITE NORDIC FUND/ANNIE POKORNY and send it to:

Annie Pokorny
07 World Cup Circle
Stratton Mountain, VT 05155


P.S. I stole the title of this blog from Ira Glass. I’m telling you now because you are one of those readers loyal enough to read the entire page, including my donation information. I think you’re special.

Annie Pokorny Ski-A-Thon photo


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