Dave Carroll Gets A Big Break

My husband first alerted me to Dave Carroll‘s video, United Breaks Guitars, and I watched it again with renewed interest after my trip to Syracuse, because I did drive my car and still got in trouble with a corporate entity (Canadian Tire Auto Club).  CTAC couldn’t call a tow truck for me on the I90 when my car battery died, which made me reflect on the “automotive peace of mind” I thought my dues were purchasing for 17 years.

Dave Carroll, a Canadian from Halifax, Nova Scotia, responded to his frustrating experience by using his musical talent to convey a message. In his own words:

In the spring of 2008, Sons of Maxwell were traveling to Nebraska for a one-week tour and my Taylor guitar was witnessed being thrown by United Airlines baggage handlers in Chicago. I discovered later that the $3500 guitar was severely damaged. They didn’t deny the experience occurred but for nine months the various people I communicated with put the responsibility for dealing with the damage on everyone other than themselves and finally said they would do nothing to compensate me for my loss. So I promised the last person to finally say “no” to compensation (Ms. Irlweg) that I would write and produce three songs about my experience with United Airlines and make videos for each to be viewed online by anyone in the world. United: Song 1 is the first of those songs. United: Song 2 has been written and video production is underway. United: Song 3 is coming. I promise.

That first video, United Breaks Guitars, had more than 3 million views in 10 days. Art is a powerful medium, and if you manage to tap into a widespread feeling (in this case, that the airlines don’t care and do not take good care of us or our belongings), you can reach a HUGE audience.

Dave’s broken guitar eventually garnered him an interview on CBC and other radio stations, many newspaper, magazine and internet articles (including Rock & Roll Daily, The New York Times, Forbes: United Airlines Shows How Not To Run Your Business, Canoe.ca, and Los Angeles Times). The best analysis of the impact of this video that I have seen is on MktgCliks, which pointed out that by the third week, Carroll’s video had instigated:

TV coverage on BBC World News Americas, many articles in the UK press, and further TV interviews with Dave Carroll on the major US networks – ABC, NBC, CNN, and Fox. The result for Dave Carroll is positive. In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Dave Carrol mentioned that since the upload of his United Breaks Guitars video on YouTube, his website has enjoyed over 50,000 hits compared an average of 40-50 in previous weeks. He is thrilled people are enjoying his music which is increasing in sales from 1-2 sales per day to hundreds. This week his song, United Breaks Guitars, has made the top 20 list of iTunes downloads in Canada and yesterday, after 8 TV and radio interviews in the UK, United Breaks Guitars was the #1 country music iTunes download in the UK.

Personally, I think angels break guitars, just like they break batteries.

What, you may ask, have I received as a result of my broken battery? Well, it’s much easier to put United into a lyric line than Canadian Tire Auto Club (no offense regarding your writing ability, Dave). Acronyms are never as effective: who would know what CTAC meant? That avenue (or venue) felt closed to me. And creating an art quilt that shows exploding tires or a roadside rest stop didn’t inspire me either. Batteries were dead boring as well (especially if you sat for four hours by the side of the road because of one). I couldn’t conceive of a creative way to illustrate my complaint.

But I definitely collected compensation. The following facts are relevant:  (1) After the battery was replaced, the car was driven to a parking lot less than a mile away. (2) Shortly thereafter my front springs broke, the front of the car slammed down onto the tire on the driver side and punctured it. The tire was so tightly wedged against the car that trying to budge it forward produced a loud rubbing noise and the stench of burnt rubber.

I am very happy ~ ecstatic would be more accurate ~ that I was not on the I90 when the front end of my car collapsed. That flat bed tow truck carried my defective 2000 Ford Taurus, and me, safely, to my destination.

So here I am, elated that I remain alive and well (as opposed to being mere remains). Whether or not you agree that angels “broke my battery,” you can celebrate the timing that saved me from an accident, and reflect with gratitude on the many similar incidents in your life when near misses allowed you to continue on your life journey.

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About CarolWiebe

Art entices, inspires, and delights me. Art is a vehicle for laughter, tears, wonder, enlightenment--taking me on a constant path of discovery. You can't say that about housework (except, perhaps, for the crying part).
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6 Responses to Dave Carroll Gets A Big Break

  1. Deb Sims says:

    Ah, Tow Truck, there were many miracles here. Not only did the angels drain your battery and in so doing keep you from having the spring break going 65 mph on the Interstate, but even after all the hassles of getting from your house to Syracuse, we had a grand week! I won’t comment here on the summer camp accommodations or the key fiasco or the toilet paper rationing, BUT, in spite of everything, you received absolute affirmation that your art work is taking you where you want to go. So many people, new quilters and veterans alike, were blown away by your show quilts, amazed by the process that created them and energized to learn the process themselves! That’s the holy trinity of approval for an artist! You go girl! You spoke your intention to the universe and the universe answered in a huge way. I can’t wait to see where you go from here. If you can accomplish all this in spite of all the stumbling blocks put in your way at QBL, just imagine what awaits you on a clear day with your sails flying and the wind at your back. I look forward to saying “I knew her when” and sailing along in your slipstream!
    Hugs to you, dear friend,
    Deb

  2. carolwiebe says:

    Deb, thank you~you are supportive and kind as usual! YOUR affirmation and support meant so much to me that week. I know we forged a lifelong friendship there.

    (I won’t reveal your nickname. Hint: it has to do with that license plate suggestion, and you are definitely wearing them!)

  3. That United Breaks Guitars video is so clever! Thanks for sharing, and I do think that angels were watching over you that day when your battery died…so glad you weren’t in the car later on!

    • carolwiebe says:

      Thanks so much! I was absolutely elated when I realized what that battery had done for me.

      Perhaps I should write an Ode to my Battery:
      Battery, dear battery,
      You lent me years of energy
      And even when you petered out
      I have no shadow of a doubt
      That your dying, in this case,
      Let ME go on, in your place.

      How’s that for noble sentiment and appropriate dignity of style.

  4. carolwiebe says:

    Danke, dahling.

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