Michael Basile is the manager and the “man behind the scenes” of the modern rock band
Mildly Medicated”, a group of very talented young people all sharing the bond of a medical disability. In his old life he was in investment banking on Wall Street until the world changed forever in 2008 and he re-invented himself as the owner of a school that teaches rock and roll music to budding musician’s. He is the modern day Rubin Kincaid to Mildly Medicated, producing their music, booking shows, and of course paying all the bills, which over the last 4 years have amount to around 150K. A diagnosis he wasn’t expecting changed his perspective on life and the work he is doing.
Sometimes things don’t go as planned.
If someone told me I’d be in this position 20 years ago, I’d have said they were nuts. I thought I had cut a deal with the universe that I’d be the modern day Peter Pan. I surely felt invincible at the time. But as I’ve learned, life provides no guarantees, and sometimes you have to play the cards you’ve been dealt. Just to give you some background, I came from a lower middle class family in Brooklyn and an only child because my father really didn’t like children. When I asked him why he even had me, his reply was straightforward and honest, “That was your mother’s idea”, and then he resumed reading the morning addition of the New York Times. My father never quite understood me. When I was in art school pursuing a degree in film, he handed me a copy of the entrance exam to the postal service. In is brute honesty, he proclaimed, “Let’s face it Michael, you’re not capable of anything more complicated than that. Look on the bright side, you put 3 or 4 years in the sorting room and maybe they will promote you and let you sell stamps behind the window. At least you’d have the honor of handling money which is a great responsibility, and after 30 years there will be some sort of pension.” It’s fair to say my father and I did not see eye to eye on most topics. At best he tolerated me. In the late sixties and early 1970’s, dyslexia wasn’t really understood, or even recognized. In the third grade I was labeled “stupid” and a “daydreamer”. I think that was hard for a parent to deal with. Truth be told, I’m far from stupid. I’ve been label a savant, but honestly I think I’m more idiot than savant, but that is a story for another time. In the fourth grade I realized on my own that I had a very strange ability to memorize things, even things I didn’t study. If I saw it sometimes it stuck in great detail, like the electrical schematic of a microwave oven. I wasn’t even conscious of doing it. My best friend Kim from the old neighborhood will sometimes call me and ask “What’s my password for my online checking account?” and I’ll know it. Yes, I’m weird. During the summer between the 3rd and 4th grade, I realized that I had the ability to “Pattern read” so I memorized the entire pattern of words. To make this easy to understand, I memorized shapes. A lot of them. For me “eht” and “the” is the same word. This ability allows me to read very fast. My friend gave me his discarded copies of Popular Mechanics and I found a partial set of the Encyclopedia Britannica in a garbage can. I spent my summer reading them all and memorizing. By the end of the summer I was able to read with blinding speed, because I could read an entire word at a time, forward and backwards, and just to keep myself from getting bored, I tried to read as much as I could while holding the book upside down because the pattern of words would change. I was devoid of the concept that I was different. I actually thought everyone was like me because no one bothered to tell me I was different, just that I was born stupid. When the fourth grade rolled around, we had our bi-yearly standard testing, and my reading level was off the charts. I was many years ahead of everyone, and the school and my parents accused me of cheating. They tested me again, all alone to be sure I had no help, and I scored even higher. The school was forced to put me in the IGC class, which stood “Intellectually Gifted Children”. I hated it because I just didn’t learn that way, and I was bored. To spare you reading more of this, let’s fast forward to High School, that I completed in 3 and a half years, excelling at things that involve abstract thinking, like music and art. I can play multiple instruments, all self-taught because my parents had no money, and those skills were not really valued at home. When I applied to art school in NYC, my father went ballistic. He was right. When I got out, I could barely make a living. I was literally starving. Things needed to change. Continue reading