It’s a snow day!

The band should be working today, but the customer has postponed their event and it is now a snow day. I figured I’d write something, but I’m still not even remotely sure what to write about.

I’ve decided to day-drink, but the alcohol is going down pretty slowly. 

My magical smoking stick of inspiration isn’t helping me come up with any ideas.

I do have an article written, but it’s not very good. I still have a @crazy_eyes story, but I’m not in the mood to edit that up. It didn’t look like it’d need much work, but I’m still not in the mood.

I’m a wee bit feeling sorry for myself today. That’s because the two young ladies are out snowmobiling and I’d normally have been out there with them. The missus drives a Subaru and she’s gone out to do old people stuff. She even took the dog.

Normally, I’d be pretty happy to have the alone time but today I’d rather be doing something better than sitting here and day drinking. It’s a good day to pick out some old country tunes.

Yet, here we are!

So, let’s move on.

Moving on is hard to do. I really can’t think of a damned thing to write. That’s a problem, ’cause I’ve made it this far. This ride doesn’t have a reverse!

Boy are you in for a letdown, when you find out that I’m not kidding!

I guess I can write that the missus is happy. She’s finally getting fired.

We will have two new folks who will be working ostensibly as roadies, but will be tasked with more than that. That means we’ll have a warm body to sell merch.

That means we won’t need the missus and I can fire her as soon as we have these two new people. I have not met either of these two new people. It won’t be too difficult to train them up, as needed.

They’re people that the drummer knows, I’m pretty sure. That’s how it was explained to me. He’s the one that has to work with them the most. He can make that decision.

The band can afford it. That is good. They universally want the extra help, so there was no question about our doing so. I think it’s a good step for them to take, given that they’re being tossed into the meat grinder.

This will help them keep their energy up, save them significant time, and maybe gets the job done better than might have been done by people who have multiple tasks assigned to them. There’s even some potential safety benefit, doubly so if we’re bringing our own stage into the mix. So, it’s a good choice.

This week’s performance is postponed until next Sunday, by the way.

Things will get a bit easier for the band as things progress. They’ll be able to be a bit more selective about what they take for jobs. This particular niche has growth potential and we are well prepared to do so. We can fill a rather large area with sound.

Anyhow, back to the subject at hand.

The missus is pretty pleased about being fired. She says she might still come watch certain shows, but I’m skeptical! She doesn’t even want to come keep an eye on me to make sure I behave myself! I know this, ’cause I asked!

It was also only originally for a year. We approach that mark rapidly. She was never really pleased with this decision. Her year is pretty much up. We appreciate her service.

We’re going to have a going-away/happy-firing party for her, I’m pretty sure. We’ll have to have it here. I’ll order a cake. This will please her.

She is not really a people person, which is odd because one thinks of circus bears as being outgoing. Maybe old bears hibernate longer?

Ah well… I’m just glad she stuck with it as long as she did. I’m glad she won’t have to come to the shows unless she wants to. I suspect she’ll be pretty selective about which shows she attends. I can’t say that I blame her.

So… Umm… That’s all the news I can really think of. The two new people are supposed to start in like two weeks, something like that. They work regular jobs that allow them the time to do so. We don’t pay ’em that well. We do take care of ’em pretty well, however. You’d know that, if I’d published my other article, which I have not.

I’d set out to write something good enough to share with multiple sites and then submit this to multiple sites. As you can see, it’s not that good. I did warn you that you’d be letdown. I wasn’t even kidding! I don’t know what to write about today, but I wanted to write something.

In my defense, it is a snow day! Until next time…

Shut up and play us a song!

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The Drummer.

Where to begin?

I decided that I should write something. This, of course, requires a bit of creativity. See, I don’t actually know what I’m going to write about.

Allow me to suck on my Stick of Imagination +3.

I’ve got a whole list of things that need to be written. But, they need to be written. That means I pretty much don’t want to do them. I don’t want to do anything that needs to be done.

Right at this moment in my life, I have many things that need to be done. Writing should not be one of those things, at this moment in time. Writing should be something that I want to do.

No, no… I still have no idea what I’m going to write about – but I have a vague starting point! Get in, we’re going on an adventure!

First, I’d like you to stop and think back…

Think back as far as you can…

Have you ever seen @crazy_eyes say, “That sounds like a horrible idea! Don’t do that. That’s just retarded!”? (Yes, I just looked that punctuation up in a style guide.)

I haven’t. Well, I’m pretty sure I haven’t.

I’ve never even heard them say, “That might not be a good idea.”

I suspect he’s the kinda guy that’d hop into the car if I showed up and said, “Get in, we’re going on an adventure!”

And that’s wonderful!

In fact, I have a new @crazy_eyes adventure that just needs to be edited up.

I’m pretty sure we just went over how I currently feel about doing things that need to be done. That will save some time.

So, that’s not what I’m going to write about – but it would have been a pretty sweet intro to that story.

Moving on…

A comment from @COF made me think that there are some relative unknowns, by even the people I speak with frequently. I work hard to keep this site relatively disconnected from the band. There are lots of things I don’t share.

I’ll try to explain what I mean!

When I say, “the drummer,” it doesn’t really paint a picture for you. You know very little about him. There is no context.

So, I am going to tell you a bit about him. Well, more accurately, I’m going to send him a text and ask him if it’s okay that I do so. I will start writing it, and it’ll get published if he allows it.

Continue reading “The Drummer.”

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Hmmm… I wonder what this will be about?

You know, I’ve been using multiple devices lately and my password is only saved on one of them at a time. Because I’m retarded, I often use a pretty obscure browser that doesn’t actually have a working password manager, never mind the ability to sync them with anything.

So, to login, I pretty much reset my password every time I change browser. By the time I figure that out, I have forgotten what I was going too type. I don’t think I can fool you into believing I do this sober.

That’s the state of affairs here, currently. Doesn’t look likely to improve any time soon.

With that in mind, you’re free to continue…

I had company today, as was expected. Remember how I told you the drummer had work to do and that he’d eventually need to stop by. Well, he was here to rehearse this weekend and here today, as expected. It’s snowing today, which amuses me. He had to drive in it.

And, of course, we talked about new contracts. That’s what I was going to talk about, but let’s take a quick side trek.

Before we get to that, one of the things that pleases me most is that now the entire band will continue making their entire income from their musicianship.

I’ve been pretty careful using that phrase, it’s a bit more complicated. Some of them have been augmenting their income by teaching. None of them have a lot of students, I believe the most is just two. But, it means the torch is being passed.

This pleases me. I shouldn’t need to tell you why.

Now, back to the subject at hand!

We have a new idea! It’s instructive and beneficial. It begins with this (not verbatim):

Drummer: I need to like feed my kids and my wife is really mad at me.
Me: That’s why you make the big bucks!
Drummer: No. I need to make more because … (Drones on while I pointedly ignore him.)
Me: You need to bring more to the table if you want to earn more in the new contracts.
Drummer: (Droning, something about ramen, blah blah, something about rent.)
Me: I have it!

The person(s) that get us an acceptable performance will get a bonus. That is, it must meet our minimal standards, including compensation and general agreeability (That’s definitely a word, spell check. I will it to be so!) within the band.

In return, I am not agreeing to personally perform at those venues. If they decide, for example, to take a wedding reception that meets our minimal standards, they can do that. I ain’t playing. I do not do weddings.

I doubt they’re going to find many weddings that pay our appearance fees. But, there you have it. And this goes for other venues. The more performing they do, the more money they make.

This will give them some more freedom and some more education and experience. This will incentivize them to take charge and put our name out there. Hopefully it’ll prompt them to make new promo material!

And, yes… Yes, I’m kinda pushing us into the meat grinder. Yes, it’s what they need to do.

However, they have one saving grace. Our bill is pretty high. Not too many shitty venues are going to be willing to pay that. The bill doesn’t go down because we need the money. We can eat slightly better than ramen without the extra.

I’d like them to make a modest middle-income salary that will be reliable and regular income. And, I’ve been through the meat grinder. I’ve got my scars and chops. I don’t need to prove anything. And, in addition, I’ll let them keep splitting my salary when I do not perform.

That was a plan that was concocted while I was day-drinking and I’d eaten some opiates, but it seems like a pretty good idea. I’m sure I’ll be at every performance, just to observe. It’ll actually result in me being even busier, but I already obligated myself to this.

It means there’s likely to be a whole lot of missed Friday nights. I’m not going to be able to be as selective as I’d like to be. I’m also not always going to be the person totally responsible for that selection. The band outnumber me and have earned their right to have a say in their determination.

I see this as a very positive thing, but I am not sober. This is absolutely not in any contract language, at this time. What do you folks think? I can’t see this backfiring in a way that negatively impacts me! I can just say I ain’t playing!

Frankly, it’s a much better grind than what they were doing. They will make a full two orders of magnitude greater income than they made when we met.

If I don’t perform enough, I might have time to pick up another act and see if I can shop them seasonally around the eastern part of Maine! (I kid. That’s not on my list of shit to do.)

Hmm… I could have like a minor league of musicians and a major league and become a “live act kingpin,” using tyranny, bribery, corruption, and violence to extract maximum revenue from the venues.

I could be like the live act union boss! I’d be a music tycoon!

Best day ever!

Alright, this is silly and short. I’m really curious about what you think of this idea. Either leave a comment, or you know where to find me. Until next time…

Shut up and play us a song!

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Take this job and shove it!

So… I’ve been thinking…

I have, too! I’ve been thinking I should write something, but I’m pressed for time and shouldn’t smoke pot. I have like important things to do today. Like, responsible adult things… Mostly…

Today has potential to be pretty much the best day ever, but I still have adult things to do.

So, I figured I’d bitch about my job for a few minutes. Y’all will read anything! You read this! You have horrible taste! You deserve so much better! Today, it’s just gonna be me complaining – but there’s a point to be had. (Ed. Note: Not really a good point.)

Today, I need to call the storage lot and ask if I can get another unit. That will take some time. (Ed. Note: That day was Monday.)

Why and what does this have to do with the band?!?

‘Cause the drummer will need to drive up here and unload all the equipment into the storage unit. I gave ’em permission to hire a helper! Besides, this is why he makes the big bucks. (Ed. Note: He frequently reads this.)

I need to find a shop that I trust and that can fit it in this week. That will take some time.

The drummer will then need to drop off the truck at the shop. (My clever plan to let them hire someone means that he has a ride home!) This is why he makes the big bucks.

I need to call my large tire guy. Yes, I have a large tire guy. He’s not very large, but the tires he works on are. They have a special truck. They’ll go change the tires at said shop, but this will take some time.

The drummer then needs to drive back up. Now is a good time for him to clean and maintain everything. That’ll take a day, maybe two. That’s why he makes the big bucks.

By that point, he’ll be broke and also need to come here to get some cash. That’s not today, but that’s going to take some time. I doubt he’ll even want to wait and do it on rehearsal day! Also, that’s why he makes the big bucks.

I then need to keep up with the garage and tire shop. Inspection and registration are nearly due, so I might as well get those done. By “I might as well,” I mean him. Still, that’ll take some time.

A rough estimate is a total of about $4000. If the truck is going in for brakes and tires, it might as well get all the fluids drained and replaced, new hoses and belts, a real lube job, and shit like that. This is not cheap on a giant truck. Writing this list is going to take some time.

He then has to drive up again. His duties will be to clean the truck like it was detailed professionally and find a way to get the embedded stench of fast food out of the cab. I didn’t look inside, I could smell it when I walked past it. That’s disgusting! Which, again, I remind you is why he makes the big bucks.

I’d make him drive it here for an inspection by me, but that’d take some time.

He then needs to load all that stuff back into the truck! This might actually involve another trip – from south of Augusta all the way to a bit north of Farmington. Do I need to point out that that’s why he makes the big bucks?

Anyhow…

My point is that my job is sometimes horrible! (Ed. Note: No, not really. It’s not ever really horrible and that’s not actually my point!)

I actually have it pretty easy. Cushy is a good description. I haven’t even carried my own guitars for quite some time. I’m gonna see how long I can keep that streak going!

But…

Those are the things you never see, unless you’re a performer. We don’t have the luxury of crashing the truck. We don’t have the luxury of breaking down. We need to maintain everything and keep it in proper functional condition. Of course, had the drummer told me about this last December…

I’m not actually sure why he makes the big bucks! (He does, too. He gets a bigger salary than I do!)

We can’t have the truck dead on the highway. We can’t have it stuck in a ditch. We can’t afford to have any more of the crew hurt. We have obligations to the venue and sometimes we even have obligations to our fans. So, we have to be there. As much as we care for our instruments, so too must we also care for the rest of our gear. I’m pretty sure I’ve told you about that before and I’m pretty sure I mentioned spares.

I don’t actually have a spare truck. It’s a pretty big truck. I don’t really want a spare truck. I suppose I could stick it in the barn? I feel as though a spare truck might make them care about the existing truck even less. They do not appear to appreciate my truck – and it is still mine. They appear to drive with one foot on the brake pedal, fill the cab with refuse, and don’t even wash anything on it. I should fire them!

*a while later*

Yup. Today is going to be the best day ever. That is now confirmed!

*a while later*

So many buttons! I’d elaborate, but this is not an automotive site! (Ask me about the car!)

Today, I also need to go to an appointment with a qualified medical professional. I want to hit publish while I still have time to stick around for another hour and a half. So, until next time…

Shut up and play us a song!

*two days later*

So, that stuff has all been scheduled and will be attended to. Everyone knows what they’re doing and when they’re to do it. We rely heavily on communication and time management. We will be cutting it a little close, as we need the truck like ten days from now. It’ll be fine! (If not, we’ll be renting a truck and that’s REALLY going to add some work, for them.)

The reality is that we don’t always have time to do the things we’d like to do, when we’d like to do them. Which is why you’re getting this late. When I wanted to publish it, something far more pressing needed that time allotment and so this wasn’t published – as I’d have no time to respond to anything. Today, I have that time. So, I’m going to publish this in a few minutes.

I’m not sure what the new publishing schedule is going to be like. It’s not going to be daily, I don’t believe. However, I’d like to still get a few articles out every week. We’ll see what happens and there’s still plenty more to write. I’m going to edit this up, publish it, submit it, and enjoy being able to watch the snow fall. Until next time…

Shut up and play us a second song!

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If you guessed this is about the last performance, come on down and collect your prize!

It was late Friday. The weekly guitar thread had slowed a little and I was enjoying a conversation by PM with someone who seems to think I’m a source of quality advice and trustworthy enough to keep our exchange private.

Their trust is not misplaced, don’t worry.

It was during that conversation that I created this .txt file, and named it ‘start.txt.’ As you can see, quality file naming and file management is not my best trait!

It was in that text file that I typed the following:

“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.”
– William Shakespeare

Why?

Because, almost without exception, every performing musician chooses to achieve greatness. Almost invariably, as true vurtuosos are quite rare, we have worked very hard to acquire our skillsets, often with multiple instruments. Our skills aren’t limited to music playing, but extend to performance and all the various labors that entails. We must understand the people we play for. We must know how to make ourselves appealing. We must understand the audience’s objectives, even when they don’t articulate it well.

But, we choose greatness, meaning we choose to put those hours in to master our instruments and the art of performing. We choose it. We aren’t usually born with it, nor do we usually have our greatness thrust upon us. Though, curiously, that does sometimes happen. For example, the bass player for Dropkick Murphys hadn’t even played a bass when they did their first show. (Which, I suppose, says a bit about bass players in general!)

Which leads me to…

Last night, the band was great. Notice, I did not say they were perfect.

I tried to offer as little influence as I could, allowing them the chance to make the show what they wanted it to be. For the most part, they did pretty well.

This last type of event isn’t an easy event to do well. They did make mistakes. Rather than concentrate on the positive, I’m going to share a few and try to explain what those mistakes were. (Ed. Note: Not very well.)

If you don’t remember the event type, picture a reunion of academics that are beyond their midlife crisis. Now, make them getting a bit rotund, experiencing fiscal success, and sharing a lot of commonalities. They’re maybe balding, going gray, and drinking.

At least this one wasn’t a key party! (Oh, the things we see…)

Movin on…

Once again, they’re there to enjoy each other, food, and booze. They drink and dance and feed. Then, presumably, they leave and couple up in hotel rooms not their own. I don’t actually know that that’s what these folks did, but I’ve seen that type of behavior before.

With the length of my career, I’ve been responsible for so many people getting laid! You’re welcome!

We aren’t supposed to monopolize an audience’s attention at this type of event. You, the audience, is actually the center of attention.

In theory…

Let’s pick up at the beginning. This story has to start somewhere! (This is so poorly written. I hope editing helps.) (Ed. Note: It won’t.)

I showed up before the speeches were done, which is good. That’s when I was supposed to be there and when EH and J were supposed to be there. We were on time!

Things went immediately wrong when the guy at the door didn’t want to let me in. I believe what he said was, “I’ve seen them. I haven’t seen you.” Then, he demanded I show him my invitation. I had no invitation.

What I should have replied was, “Fuck you, I’m a rock star.” Instead, what I said was, in my most snotty tone, “You don’t know who I am?” I then hobbled past him. He made no effort to stop me and I looked for the bar.

I found the bar and wandered through the sea of reunioners to reach it. I ordered a double of Ice 101, on the rocks, and two beers. The bartender could see I was on a mission and seemed like they were a person that knew things. So, I tipped them a $20. I then made my way to sound and sat in a chair, contented by my libation acquisitions. The band had taken the stage, and I was watching EH push a few buttons and slide a few sliders while pretending I actually knew what she was doing and approved of it.

The band began and did the whole get the crowd pumped thing. That was going over about as well as a fart in church when the dude from the door and some guy I never met (but had talked to on the phone) came up and both were visibly upset.

The door dude began with bellowing, “He’s not supposed to be here! He didn’t show me an invitation!”

Manger dude had never seen me and began to say something. I realized this could escalate quickly and, not wanting to let them get the upperhand, I interjected and pointed out that I was, in fact, sitting here in sound – making it painfully obvious to all but the dullards that I am, in fact, with the band.

Door dude turned bright red as manager dude stared at him as though he had made his life very difficult and that manager dude was going to respond in-kind. He shuffled off and manager dude was saying something that I couldn’t hear.

This amused me and I tried to return to my all-too-important duties of drinking and observing. The manager dude was having none of it and he figured that both of us should yell at each other over the now blasting music.

Which is where I made a mistake… Fortunately, it went unnoticed!

My mistake? I yelled at him that I didn’t have time for this shit and that I was busy. Fortunately, he didn’t hear me!

He got closer and yelled that he would make sure that my drinks were were on the house to make up for the door dude. Crisis narrowly averted, and seeing my chance, I motioned for him to follow me and hobbled my way to the bar. I wasn’t going to let this gift go, and I wanted to make sure the bartender knew it.

At the bar, the bartender smiled and asked if I wanted the same thing, having noticed that I’d cleverly left my drinks behind – or at least had none in my hands. I agreed that was fine. I tipped ’em the same amount and told ’em I’d be back frequently.

Manager dude was still wanting to talk and we’d deduced that I was actually the person they’d spoken to on the phone, multiple times. He wanted to talk about future engagements, so I pretended to listen while trying to get these fresh drinks into me before I’d have to walk back to the booth. I nodded where it seemed appropriate and noticed that EH had turned the volume down a bit and that maybe 30 people had made it to the dance floor.

The band had done well, having noticed their mistake and fixed it.

I continued to pretend I was listening, drinking, and watching the people in the audience. He continued talking. I drank rapidly and asked them where the bathroom was, as I figured I’d learn something useful. He seemed to think this wasn’t me acquiring data for later, and that I needed to use the bathroom immediately. He was kind enough to offer to show me and I told him that I could see it and that I’d use it when I finished my drinks.

This seemed to satisfy him that I was satisfied, and he meandered off after informing me that he’d check in on me later. (Ed. Note: I never did see him again.)

I cracked a few jokes with the bartender, asked if he liked his job, and finished my drinks at a rate that’d make a frat party cheer in appreciation. Then, I headed for the bathroom.

I found the bathroom unoccupied and decided that I’d use a stall to fortify myself a bit further. I went into my stall and, of course, made the usual sniffing noises. Which is is when I heard a toilet flush… I’d made a mistake!

Thinking quickly, I hollered out across the stalls to ask if they wanted some, as they’d obviously heard me. They asked what it was and I told them. They decided that they wanted some and next thing I know, the music had stopped and I’d spent most of the set in the bathroom with a stranger. Knowing this meant there’d be a rush for the bar, I figured I’d stay in the bathroom and continue fortifying myself and my new buddy while we waited for the bar to clear out.

That was probably a mistake, as it also means there’s a rush on the bathroom and some of them also wanted fortification and two other guys had also brought fortification. The music began again.

Seeing my cue, I headed for the bar to get new drinks to bring back to add to my collection in the booth. The bartender saw me coming and had them ready for me. I tipped them again and asked if they liked fortification. They indicated they did, so I found a dark corner and tipped him some fortification. He seemed pleased with this.

Taking my drinks back to the booth, I had to stop and talk to a few people that I’d fortified with – but I made it back to my chair without needing additional fortification. The band played on! They were probably about half done with that set when I made it back to the table.

I don’t know if the band saw me and interpreted something, but they tried to bring the stage more energy and get more people on the dance floor. I thought that was possibly a mistake, except they managed to get a bunch of people out there wiggling. I sorta suspect it was the fortification that helped drive it. Doesn’t matter, it worked and EH gave everyone a bit more volume. Good.

I did notice my schnapps were gone, but I’d brought a nearly fresh one with me. I settled into my chair and observed. I’d managed a few sips of my delicious schnapps and to finish a beer, and then the band was going on another break.

Damn it! I had screwed up my timing!

Hobbling with a bit more vim and vigor, I took a beer and headed to the bathroom. I’ll let your imagination fill it in and I escaped the bathroom fortification fairly quickly, stopping at the bar before returning to the booth with near perfect timing.

I noticed my schnapps were, once again, missing. I was going to ask EH about my missing schnapps, as surely someone must have stolen them, but she was busy. She’s actually pretty busy in there. She’s controlling lights and sound, all remotely of course. She can steer a spot better than I can. I made no effort to help. At that point, I was even less qualified than I normally am! In sound, with her hands moving to control sound and effects, it almost looks like she’s dancing.

And, I watched that set – almost entirely. The band managed to bring up the energy levels in a way that didn’t jar the audience. They’d somehow made themselves almost the center of attention – while still letting the dancers focus on each other. The volume was rather excessive but they seemed to enjoy it. The only people with hearing protection were the ones working. Eardrums were harmed.

The other sets had been 45 minutes and this one went on for the same amount of time. The band then pretended to talk among themselves and then played an encore until after 21:00. They even told the audience that they were going to play one more, because that audience was special. Yeah, sometimes we have to lie!

Then, they made another mistake…

They said they were going to ask a guest to come up and play. Knowing what was coming, I rapidly turned one of the booth’s corner lights onto EH and clapped for her.

Mission averted! Nice try, suckers! I told ’em that I wasn’t playing!

EH was happy to run up on stage and my schnapps had somehow gotten lost in the shuffle.

You’d have thought she was a rock star, and she certainly played the part. It was, of course, Free Bird… It’s always Free Bird… Well, it’s almost never not Free Bird. Either way, this really wasn’t the venue to be a rock star at.

None of this was appropriate for this venue. I poked a few buttons on the board, but they did not seem to change anything. The slider labled “MSTR VOL” did not not do a damned thing! I’m pretty sure EH was clever enough to lock me out of it. I don’t actually know how this board works. It’s got a ton of buttons, sliders, and displays. It’s got shit connected to it that I don’t have a clue about! ‘Snot my job!

Anyhow, the band did fine and the audience actually loved it. The vast majority were dancing and having a good time. Either that or the audience was making a last-ditch effort to get laid? Either way. the band had pulled it off! That’s not something I’d have tried at a gig like that.

And, as I said, EH’s antics were certainly not what I’d suggest at this type of venue. No, no that’s not what I’d have suggested. She managed to somehow channel the spirit of Jimi Hendrix’s stage manerisms. I shouldn’t need to remind you that Jimi didn’t actually play Free Bird! When she was ‘taking a taste’, she was doing this passionate dance with her guitar that is best described as ‘spastic.’

They left me in sound without adult supervision. I didn’t flash the light to tell them to get off the stage. That right there was a mistake. Never leave me unattended.

So, they went around again and did more solos. EH seemed inclined to try to lean back every time she’d do a long string bend and, for some unknown reason, was down on one knee at one point, and moving to a rhythm that wasn’t anywerre close to the beat of the song. If she’d fallen over, I’d have expected her to start speaking in tongues.

Oh, how I giggled! This was the funniest thing I’d seen all night!

Of course I wasn’t going to remember to flash a stupid light. I’d have watched that for hours!

The audience seemed to enjoy it. There were dancers and people watching the band. So, it worked out pretty well. Either way, I was having a good time!

The band figured out that no light was ever going to shine and gave up, bringing the song to a close. The dancers, perhaps in a daze and certainly with hearing loss, milled about for a while, perhaps a bit confused, and the band began the long process of tearing down and loading out. I fortified myself, secured a few more drinks, and found backstage.

Which is where they gave me shit about not flashing the light and not playing! So, I told them they were all fired. They paid that statement no attention. None!

I fetched stuff for a while, as EH and J packed their stuff. I fortified myself until I was out of fortification. I gave them shit but it was my brilliant work earlier in the night that had gotten the bartender to serve as he was cleaning up.

By then, I was pretty well fortified and kinda tipsy, which he greatly appreciated. I never did pay for any drinks other than the first three. I just kept tipping ’em! (I ain’t sorry for bad puns!) (Ed. Note: I should be.)

My schnapps disappeared. I never did find out who was taking them!

Anyhow, that’s the mistakes that were made. Their set choices were standard fare. They know they are down to 5 players and they adjust accordingly. They did a few things we’d not normally do as a band. Remember, they all played together in a band before I pretty much stole them from their other leader.

I believe I fired them all, several times. They paid this no attention. They’re insanely efficient. They’ve got a pretty good system for moving the gear. At one point, one of ’em told me to get out of the way and that that area was able-bodied people only. I fired them.

I’m told the truck needs brakes and should probably have winter tires to go on it, at least next year. The band doesn’t have enough in the kitty to cover all that. Those are safety issues. They’ll be addressed this week. Once again, the band can owe me money. I should fire all of them! They ignored their firing and kept working.

They’re pretty great! They’ve chosen greatness and worked to achieve it. Choose greatness, even if it is a lot of work. Until next time…

Shut up and play us a song!

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In a surprising twist, it’s yet another article about performing!

It seems I’m going to be doing a lot of performing, coming up. Stands to reason that you’re gonna hear about it.

It’s what you’re gonna sorta hear about it this time.

How to write this? I’ll go with the ego shtick again. Seems reasonable!

I’ve decided that I’m pretty good! Damned right, I am!

Allow me to explain…

Last weekend hurt – a lot. I’d like to avoid additional pain. I kinda like the opiates, but it still hurts. Opiates don’t really make the pain go away. Opiates make it so that you don’t give a shit about the pain. They’re pretty awesome like that.

I have a point.

The audience we’ll be playing for doesn’t need a lead that has issues moving around on stage.

In other words, I’m only taking the stage for the encore and maybe not even then. I’m gonna sit somewhere and maybe fetch drinks. I ain’t even bringing any guitars. (There are a few on the truck, if I change my mind.)

I’m good, because I can do this.

Once again, allow me to explain!

I’m good, because it also means the audience will probably enjoy it more. I’m good, because I put together a band that can step up and do this. I’m good, because I know my limitations.

See, it starts (for them) at about 09:00. They’ll need to get everything setup before the people attending start arriving. At 12:00, people start showing up.

The expected number of guests is 200ish and it’s a reunion type event held in a hall. They have a bar and food. They have tables and will sit at them, while someone pipes in some quiet music. They will walk around and shoot the shit, they will have speeches and drink heavily.

This is not my first rodeo. Trust me, that’s what they’ll do. That’s what they always do.

At 17:00, something like that, our drummer has to emcee some shit. The band goes on at the end of that, however long that takes (probably about an hour), and plays until 21:00 (with the usual breaks).

The band is to play very period-specific music. It’s mid-80s to early-90s stuff. It’s the kinda stuff the band can play just fine without me. Yes, Poison is on the musical menu. I am not going to miss performing, much… I think… Not for this show. I doubt I’ll suffer a single pang of regret while observing!

Moving on…

I am good because I have, and can trust, a band that will do that just fine without me. They’re capable of pleasing this type of audience without me at the front. This is an upbeat and happy thing. We want no sadness, sympathy, or regret. We almost want to be in the background, but visually appealing and energetic.

We don’t really want them paying too much attention to us. We want them to dance with their old girlfriend/boyfriend and have drunken affairs in the hotel after they leave. We want them to still be able to talk in the back and not be rendered deaf if they approach the stage. We want smooth transitions and very little talking. We want to pretty much be a live version of ye’ olden thing known as a ‘mixtape.’ We’re pretty much supposed to be their old radio experience, without any of those commercials.

We’re not even selling merch. At this type of event, that’d be tacky as fuck. (We’ll probably have some in sound, sitting in boxes.)

It’s not the type of affair where we go in and melt their faces off. It’s not the kind of affair where we are really the center of attention. It’s more of a gig than a show, in those regards.

And, I’m good because I know that my going on stage would bring unwanted attention, as I’d have to explain that I have a smashed femur. Because I’d have to explain that, it’s going to get a negative vibe, instead of the sympathetic vibe that we’d get at the last venue. Thus, I have no business being on the stage and I recognize this. They’re not going to react like an audience that knows us and is there to see us. They’re there to see old friends, not us.

Oh!

Here’s something you may not think of (and it’s entirely unrelated)!

Sometimes, it falls on you to emcee strange stuff. Like, it has been too emotional for the group and you have to announce the death of one of their alum. You may have to do a rememberance of all those who have passed since the group last met. That’s dealt with in a few ways. You can try somber reverance, factual, or even humor. I’ve made up whole eulogies on the spot. “They say that John Doe once ate fifty pancakes in one sitting, but I’m sure he’d rather be most remembered for his ability to burp the entire alphabet.”

I have no idea what he’s going to be emceeing. ‘Snot my job. It’s why he makes the big bucks!

Everyone has to get up pretty early tomorrow, except the missus and I. I can show up whenever I want. The missus is not going. We are not bringing the missus. You’re welcome.

I’ll sit in sound with EH. I’ll probably drink heavily and make someone drive me home. The audience won’t even know my name. Sweet! They won’t even remember the band’s name on Monday, and that’s just the way it’s supposed to be.

If I were on the stage, it’d not be the kind of place where I’d chuck t-shirts and picks into the audience. If someone approached the stage then I’d probably give ’em something. I expect them to be paying attention to each other, and not me. That’s how nameless and faceless we’re to be – if we’re good at our job.

And, that’s a fine line to walk. It’s not easy to be just a live version of a radio but still be active enough to be called energetic and entertaining.

They’ve got this. They know what they’re doing. We’ve done this same type of event before. They don’t need me for anything. Sweet! This is also pretty much my least favorite type of performance that we do. I’m much more comfortable being the center of attention, oddly enough.

I’ve even left set list finalization with them. They’ll have, shall we say, a whole lot of time to think about it. They’ll be starting their day at 09:00, remember? They’ll be putting in a 14 to 16 hour day. Including driving time, it may be longer for some.

I suspect they’ll be coming here afterwards, some of them. I should take something from the freezer, now that I think about it.

I don’t actually know what the band will be playing, now that I think about it. They’ll be fine! (I’d tell you another story, but that’s too much digression!) I have no idea what they’ll pick and exactly how they’ll present themselves onstage. It’ll be fine, trust me!

Ha! The band got to let loose last weekend. This weekend, they’ll be reminded that vacation is over. If they want to get paid, they must perform. I’ll let ’em split my payment, ’cause I’m not performing. They, on the other hand, have work to do.

I’m going to observe and critique. I am going to do this while drinking, quite probably. It’s better that way, trust me!

If they fuck up, I am going to give them so much shit! I’ve got a wireless headset available. If I can figure out that board, I’ve even got a mute button!

I will actually give ’em constructive feedback, and probably not live. I doubt they’ll need any of my input. I told you up above, I trust them. I’ll probably wear the headset to keep ’em on their toes and to keep the drunk audience members from trying to talk to me.

If you’re curious, this is the grind. This is what it takes to make a living from your musicianship. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

I haven’t weighed it, but they’ll probably move several tons of equipment tomorrow, twice. They’ll probably have to climb up on ladders to assemble at least one rack, lights, a screen, a backdrop, etc… They’ll lug in hundreds of feet of cable – which is actually very low, as we use wireless for many things. (Which is an art in its own right.) Then, they’ll practice in the back, eat, dress, and wait around a lot. They’ll wait for hours.

They’ll be bored. They’ll probably leave and go out to eat, leaving some sucker behind to watch the gear. They’ll bring ’em back something! I am pretty sure the venue is supposed to feed them but I doubt they’ll want to all sit there for at least six hours.

It pains me to do this, but I must give the drummer a compliment.

He and the roadies are pretty good at getting just the right equipment off the truck – and only the right equipment. That’s an art in and of itself. That doesn’t get nearly enough recognition. It takes some skill to do that and to do that well. Someone should write an article or ten about it!

Anyhow, there’s some more stuff about performing that you probably don’t think about and seldom get to see. I’d like to point out that I do have it pretty easy. If you try to do this, your experiences may differ. You have been warned.

I’m very, very grateful for these experiences I’m having. I’m grateful that I have a lovely band that can do this. I’m very grateful that I’m surrounded by talented people who are willing to invest the energy to do this.

And, I’m grateful that I’m good!

One more time, allow me to explain!

A year ago, you could have seen them for, at most, a $5.00 cover charge. I’m good, ’cause I’ve taught and led them well. 😉 I’m good because I’ve helped enable them to do this and to do it on this level. I’m good, because I’ve helped them grow the confidence needed to perform at this level, or higher. I’m good because I know they’ll do this job better without me.

Damned right, I’m good! I’m pretty much a national treasure!

Alright, this is long enough. I strongly suspect that my next article is gonna be ’bout how they did. It seems pretty likely, but we’ll see. I make no promises. Look at how long it took me to get into writing every day. I am still putting my writing shoes on. I’ll try to keep them interesting, informative, and entertaining. We’ll see… Until next time…

Shut up and play us a song!

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I ain’t even sure what to call this…

I’m not actually sure where this is going. I think you could call this another view from the stage, or maybe a lesson for performing musicians?

See, I wanted to write something. Nothing that needs to be written looked appealing to me. So, I smoked some weed.

What I really want to write about is set lists. I suppose, I’ll start by telling you why – but I might get distracted and forget to tell you what I wanted to write. It could happen.

As the seasons change, so too must we. As a band, a band looking to expand, we’re needing to also expand our music varieties.

We have a few jobs coming up that I’m really looking forward to. We’ve been invited to perform at a blues restaurant that’s quite popular. It has two lounges and pays well. We might be going to a folk festival, that is still not decided.

Doing this means writing up set lists for just a few, sometimes single, events. We’re not actually going to get to play folk music at a regular performance, as much as we might want to. Ain’t no way I’m gonna bust out Lemon Tree in front of a few hundred drunks. Well, I might… I shouldn’t. The key point is that I shouldn’t!

One of the ways I look at set lists is by asking myself, “What albums, in that genre, can I listen to entirely and not want to skip any songs?”

That’s harder than one might think. There aren’t all that many albums like that – to me. Such is a very personal thing. My choices will not match your choices. I want to write about that, but not today. That’s like a whole series of articles, and might actually be better suited for MFU.

It then gets harder.

The next question I must ask myself is, “What makes these albums special?”

That’s a harder question to answer – but that one is much more objective. In short, they make you emote or think, or both.

This is could start fights in certain spheres…

Some of the best albums are actually greatest hits type of albums.

There… I said it…

Either way, I don’t feel like writing that today. So, you’ll just have to accept that I’m right.

No, what I want to take is just a single aspect of set list writing that you may not know about and that I enjoy. I use it to great advantage.

Sometimes, you get to have fun. The audience isn’t the only one that gets to have fun!

That’s right… Fun… How?

I often refer to it as, “Punching the audience right in the fucking mouth.” Let me give you an example.

Let’s say we’re doing 80s and 90s rock genre hits.

For no seeming reason, play a country song that they all know. Get one in the right era. Say, throw in the Alan Jackson song ‘The Chattahoochie.’ Don’t warn ’em. Just run right into it.

Congratulations. You’ve punched ’em right in the fucking mouth.

Wait for it…

Yup…

Those drunks are gonna try to do line dancing and country dancing. A few of them will maybe even know what they’re doing, and even fewer of them will be paired up with someone who also knows what they’re doing.

Trust me… It’s one of funniest things you’ll ever see and they all have a good time, even though you punched them in the face with a goat ropin’ song.

When you’re done with it, don’t say a damned thing and just run right into another song from the right era and genre. Don’t give them time to think about who just punched them in the ears with country music, or why they did it.

They’ll resume their gyrations and not understand why they had a good time.

They had a good time because it was familiar, unique, drastically different, short, sudden, and brought back emotions while they had time to let go of some ego and do something they’re not used to doing on the dance floor.

Also, they’re drunk.

You overwhelmed them. It is like a sensory flood. You can’t do this too often, or they’ll get uncomfortable. It’s never something to do in a single short set or an opening set. Get ’em in the second set! It’s funnier than hell to watch you wiggle in a different style and not doing well at it. It’s pretty much the best day ever!

It’s not all work and no play. There are all sorts of ways to punch ’em in the mouth, too. There are all sorts of ways to have fun with the audience. Your set lists will help facilitate that.

Also, I think I’m gonna write more about performing for a while. That’s what it seems like. Dunno… Until next time…

Shut up and play us a song!

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View from the stage – mostly.

So, I should write something…

I’m gonna tell you ‘bout last night! It was awesome.

a very long time later (the next day, in fact)

I know how I can explain how awesome the show was. Those of you in-the-know will understand. I’ll try to explain it for the rest of you.

I’m still at the hotel.

I’m pretty inebriated, but still not slurring or falling over.

The venue brought us coffee and donuts this morning.

They laid a pretty good spread out the night before. Probably too good. We still have alcohol left over, put it that way.

You can imagine the only possible outcome from that.

Fast forward a little bit and my actual reason for still being in the hotel is that we want to go see tonight’s act at that same venue. It’s research!

This is not a task to be undertaken sober. We’ve never met, but I’m sure they know who we are. We will certainly meet them, if we feel inclined to do so. We can stomp right backstage, if we want.

See, I called and asked them to reserve some tables for us and to prepare for a party of 11 to 15. I asked them if they had a taxi service that I didn’t know about, ‘cause we’ve got like one sober legal driver.

They said they’d send drivers to pick us up and that tonight was on the house.

It gets better.

I called the hotel lobby and said we were staying another night. They gave me some discounted price that they probably charged the venue. We’ve got 8 rooms. That’s actually not really enough. We brought some extra people with us.

Anyhow, it turns out that the hotel occupancy goes up when we are here. It’s not just us that stay here when we have a show.

However, I know sorta why this is happening with the venue.

Our price is going up in June. They know this.

If they treat us like this, we aren’t going to raise their cost. In fact, we gave them a bit of a discount for doing this, this time. They can have us at this price, every time. We drank more than their discount was. We ate like kings.

Well, no… We had like finger sandwiches and assorted snacks. That’s pretty much royalty treatment in this business!

The owner already started asking about the next time. I told ‘em to call me, but they didn’t seem to take the hint. I don’t want to deal with that. I’m drinking.

Alas, I’m going to have to. That’s okay, I’ll have news he likes. If they treat us like this every time, they can have us at this price but we can’t do it that often, as we have better paying stuff.

We do better than break even here. That means everyone gets paid. They love us here.

This is kinda short… I’ll write some more about last night.

Last night? Last night we wanted to make it special. We’ve been here before! They love us!

So, instead of two sets, we did three but a slightly shorter format and the last set kinda being played a little bit for us. They didn’t mind. We told ‘em what we were doing.

During the last set, we had guests on the stage. The eldest hoodlum came up to play, so long as someone stood in sound and pretended they were doing something. We had my son and his friend join us, even though they only partially knew some of the songs.

And we played. We had a quick discussion about what we’d play and left the script more or less behind. There are many songs I can tell a good guitarist to just follow my lead.

We finished up the set as just the band. We went backstage. We had a quick drink. We then went and played a 20 minute encore with all of us on the stage.

Afterwards, we did a floor walk and received much adoration, flirtation, and drinks.

Then, I left with a sober driver, and went to the hotel. Didn’t even pack my own guitars up. Didn’t even lug ‘em. They stayed and tore down.

I kinda expect VIP treatment at tonight’s engagement. I don’t see why I shouldn’t expect it. They’ve given it to us so far. I bet tonight, they turn a spotlight on our table and tell ‘em we are there – unless we ask them not to. (Edit: It was slightly different. Still good.)

Tonight, the band will truly be stars. (Edit: Indeed, they were.)

Bastards are getting a raise. They deserve it. They’ll earn it. They pick things up quickly. They’re very motivated. They can even do a good show without me. They passed that test with flying colors, while I was in the hospital.

But, this will be (quite probably – and I should prep them, or at least warn them) one of their biggest amounts of time with that many people who know us. There are pretty much no other bars around for miles. ‘Snot like they’re going anywhere else to get drunk.

I might not warn the band, for my own amusement.

Anyhow, I have to go get ready. We’re going early, so we can feed and drink. Tonight, we shall live like kings!

time mysteriously moves forward

I told you I was doing research!

The act that played was not terrible and they’re hungry. We met ‘em before they even went on. The owner brought them over. They draw like 150 to 300 people. That’s respectable.

It was much as anticipated. I was asked to go on and play a few songs with them. I begged off and said I have a smashed femur. The table was having none of it. So, I went up in their first set and then joined them in their encore. They play bar music. Finding songs we all knew wasn’t actually difficult.

Even if I don’t know it, I can pick it up pretty quickly and play something along with it. But, they knew Layla which we stretched out into like a 15 minute jam showing off, and as an encore we did a mash-up of Who Do You Love and One Bourbon, One Scotch, and One Beer.

I was forced to play an Epiphone Les Paul. I did not bring a guitar. It was just fine. They still howl.

Their band is not terrible. They need a manager. Not a job I’m gonna accept and they had the decency to not ask. We talked about them going on at 18:00 and opening for us. They’ll do. We figure that would fill the place to capacity for two weekend nights.

I’ll think it over. It means letting them use a lot of our gear, without any experience with it. What will happen is we’ll change out instruments and drum kits while they get the fuck out of our way.

That’s kinda a bitch. One of us will have to run sound for them. ‘Snot my job. If asked, I don’t know anything about it. They’re not plugging their $99 board with four switches for lights into our gear.

They need someone to promote them, because they suck at it. They don’t even try to sell merch. I’m told we sold a ton, but I haven’t seen the numbers yet. (Edit: We sold pretty much all our new stuff and then some older stock with the earlier design.)

Once again, I see bands making the same mistakes I have told you not to make. They don’t even really engage with the audience much. They play well enough.

I can’t save the world. I’m not fucking helping them. I have enough strays already!

But, either way, we were treated quite well. They came in several cars and a minivan to pick us all up. They dropped us at the door. We went inside. We were brought to tables with un-fancy ‘RESERVED SEATING’ signs on them.

I’m pretty sure it’s the first time this venue has had reserve setting, by the way. Said un-fancy signs were just printed paper and tape. We didn’t even get those rope barricades.

We were bugged all night. It was great.

We lapped it up. I ordered a ton of drinks for a ton of people. So, I figured I’d tip well. I estimated the cost of drinks and tipped that. I was ordering drinks for strangers that were now my new best friend! There were numerous trips to the bathroom and outside, for obvious reasons.

Everyone else got in on the act. We were trashed. We asked anyone who stopped to talk if they wanted a drink. Some of ‘em showed up a few times! One dude pretty much spent the whole time at our tables. Good times were had by all!

For legal purposes, I’ll point out that no upstanding lawful facility would serve alcohol to a minor. Thus it’d be illegal for two of our group to drink. We’d be law abiding citizens and stuff. That’d never be allowed to happen. No.. That would never happen! (I’m pretty sure they were both giving away drinks too.)

I’m pretty sure even the missus gave away some drinks. She was drinking tea and talking to old women. It’s what she does. She’s an old woman. What’d you expect?

She was not very angry and she was polite to people. She has a resting bitch face. Also, she hates you.

She sold merch during the show. I’m sure she was charming, even though you’re a drunk that argued when you got the correct change counted back to you. I should get a cash register so they can read it in the dark and drunk.

Some of us even got out there and wiggled. Some of them were particularly loud when I was on the stage. We were having fun. I did not wiggle. I kinda did the chair wiggle a few times.

I do believe that almost everyone from our party was on the floor at some point. I was not. The missus was not. I’m pretty sure everyone else cut some rug at some point. We dined like kings.

time mysteriously moves forward

Anyhow, I next need to process a lot of this, decide what it means, and decide what decisions need to be made, ask for input from the rest of the band, and then organize it.

I’m remarkably sober now. Now the level of work dawns on me.

They want me to play a show for two nights and with an opening act. That means one of us must be in there, any time there are people in there, watching our gear. I ain’t doing that. We need more people. They better have extra security. I don’t think any of us are doing that.

Fuck you. I’m a rock star!

Anyhow, last night was pretty much the best day ever. It was not even just the best day ever for us, but it was great for many other people. They really love us here. Some of those drunk people even remembered I have a smashed femur. They remembered that from the night before!

This isn’t very good, but I’m gonna publish it. It feels like something is missing. Also, I should probably edit it. Until next time…

 

 

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