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Tim
Pickett

Tim Pickett projects the cavorting energy of a perpetual 25 year old. Approaching middle age, he pivots easily from mischievous smirk to an all-business brow furrow.

He and his nine-year-old son sport the same stylish haircut, the only difference being Tim’s light silvering at the temples. In fact, the entire Pickett family are enviably photogenic. If their portrait came in a picture frame, you’d be tempted not to swap it out. However, Tim’s story is more than what can be seen in a photo.

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When he was 18 years old, Tim Pickett cut class to interview Marilyn Manson.

He waited backstage at a downtown nightclub while his entourage looked for what Manson said he wouldn’t start the interview without—Fruit Loops. 

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Once inside, they spoke for over an hour. Manson was shirtless in leather pants and sunglasses, eating cereal. Tim was in his Catholic school uniform. Despite Manson’s best attempts to freak him out, they ended up getting along pretty well. At the time, Manson had a combative relationship with the mainstream music press. But Tim was different. It wasn’t just because he was a teenager who should’ve been in school. He was genuine and without pretense. He wasn’t some sycophantic wannabe or poseur. The two quickly established an easy rapport.

Before leaving school that day, Tim told a classmate who he planned to interview. The classmate, being the product of persuasive and conservative Midwestern values, was horrified. Remembering this as they finished up the interview, Tim asked Manson if he would record a special message for his friend Casey. “He’s a huge fan, I told him.”

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Manson bent down, his lips against the microphone, lowered his voice to a throaty growl and snarled, “Hey Casey. This is Marilyn Manson. Fuck. You.”

They exchanged numbers. “He was in my phone for years,” Tim recalls. “Under ‘Brian.’”

Tim went on to become an Artist Development Representative for Sony/BMG in the late 90s and has since accumulated hours of stories about rock stars. “Name an artist that was on the radio then and I’ve met them.” He says, almost wincing. Retelling these stories, he sounds more like he’s divulging an embarrassing secret rather than bragging. 

In every story, there’s an echo of that afternoon in Marilyn Manson’s hotel room. They reveal an earnest passion that isn’t limited by convention or popular opinion and a sense of humor just short of churlish. They are stories that feature an uncommon ability to shrewdly discern talent while remaining completely unimpressed by hype or celebrity. Recalling how alt-rock one hit wonders Eve6 were too young to drive to their audition or growing mysteriously demure when recounting his work with Gwen Stefani, it’s easy to see why Tim was good at this job. They liked Tim, but more importantly for ego-fragile musicians, they wanted Tim to like them.

This mix of self-awareness and confidence is rare. In recent years, Tim began curating his mindfulness insights on a blog called, “Mind Righting.” He approaches the practice with the seriousness of an athlete. Whatever the image you have of someone who meditates, it is unlikely you picture Tim. He doesn’t wear drawstring linen pants or go barefoot in November. But he wholeheartedly believes in meditation, equating it to healthcare. This discipline may seem at odds to his days as a metalhead, but to hear him talk about it, hardcore music and meditation both strive toward the same goal—catharsis. He’s surprised more Slipknot fans don’t meditate. His blog explores the idea of mental self-care without a whiff of pretentiousness or hoaky gimmicks.

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Being able to assess situations with a clear mind came in handy in the early 2000s. Before it was too late, Tim saw the writing on the wall. File sharing was changing the music industry and record companies were struggling to adapt. Instead of going down with ship, he shifted to pursue a career in the digital space. With his background in developing creative talent and his burgeoning interest in web design, he eventually found a home at Paradowski and a path that would lead him to become our Director of Project Management.

Like a lot of people with dynamic personalities, Tim’s value exceeds far beyond his title. His role isn’t defined solely within project management, just like he isn’t singularly defined by any one of his myriad interests. His extensive experience in the music industry and media make for good happy hour talk, but Tim is more than his collection of rock ‘n’ roll stories.

He’s not particularly forthcoming about his work with a local pit bull rescue shelter or how he has been mentoring someone through Big Brothers and Big Sisters for 13 years. These parts of him are precious and he’s careful to keep them sacred.

For Tim, giving back isn’t a way to get the perfect social media picture or pad out his already impressive LinkedIn profile. Like the unafraid and bemused teenager backstage with Marilyn Manson, adult Tim wastes no energy on cultivating an image. He simply isn’t impressed by anything you haven’t earned.

Now, at 40, living with his wife and two children in an idyllic neighborhood far west of St. Louis city, Tim only appears to be slowing down. In reality, he still keeps an impressive amount of plates spinning. He finds balance in being a work in progress. When asked if there’s anything he’s not good at, he shrugs and smiles.

“Project management,” he says laughing.

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