In October 2014, my band, the Suffers, played CMJ Music Marathon, the SXSW of New York City. We did six or seven showcases that week, and at the last one this guy walked up to me before the show and said, “I work for David Letterman.” I was like, “That’s not a kind thing to lie about.” Then I thought, “Wait—what if he’s telling the truth?”

The guy was gone when we got offstage. But a month later, we got a call from his office, asking to speak to our publicist . . . we didn’t have a publicist yet!

Back then I worked as a gas and power trade support analyst at the Houston office of an Australian global financial services company. My job involved checking the gas and power deal tickets—everyone regarded it as tedious work, but I was really good at it. Since I had pretty much convinced myself that music wasn’t going to happen, I’d committed to making that my career.

And then Letterman came calling and I changed my mind.

On my last day of work, in January 2015, my colleagues got me a really big card and filled it with cash. They knew how hard making it in music was going to be. “Follow your dreams,” they wrote. “Don’t come back here.”

Everyone else in the band quit their jobs too. How did it work out? Well, we’re working on our third album right now. And I haven’t checked a gas and power deal ticket in a long, long time.

This article originally appeared in the April 2020 issue of Texas Monthly. Subscribe today.

The Stories Behind the Music

Texas musical luminaries reveal the family histories, powerful influences, and big breaks that made them the artists they are today. Read more.