12/13/06: The Year In Review / Maxwell's. Finally. / Wilcox duet caught on tape! / 36 rules for bands
My mind is spinning rapidly. I'm the Tasmanian devil on speed. I'm a 5 year old w/o my Ritalin. In short, I'm all over the place. Man, I hate tagging out for so long, but sometimes it just rolls like that. My bad. OK, so my last post was (shhh: ONE YEAR AGO!). Since then: just as we we're about to hunker down, stop screwing around, practice more than gig to be the tightest unit ever, not worry about promotion, focus on nothing but playing, attract the interest of some booking agents we know etc.....my bass player went on a cruise ship for an open-ended tour of duty in the Caribbean (who could blame him?) and repeated attempts to hire a replacement on the internet caused me & Roger to laugh about just how quickly nothing useful was happening. In addition: loss of the dayjob AKA: band funding (again), moving, resultant change of non-musical career, thereby making myself a full time student (so I can be a H.S. Earth Science teacher?! What?!!! So now I can finally be a "rock star"(ugh)?! What?!!!!), Exhausting. (I never know if anyone finds this stuff interesting or not. I just feel the need to give an excuse for the inactivity...) Look - even Billy Corgan & Jimmy Chamberlain had to take some time for a freakout after the Pumkins broke up and Zwan fell apart before they....became the Pumpkins again. Anyway, in artists' terms this is known as "filling the well" (thanks a lot, Julia Cameron!); collecting real-life experiences to generate images for creative output. It's so much fun. You should try it. OK, so maybe you've been doing it the whole time and never noticed. So go write a screenplay, already! Anyway, to make a long story unecessarily longer, lots of stuff happening, many new songs going on with little time to complete them. But...they have a way of fighting for space. In the meantime, me & Roger have been getting together for some rehearsals again and duo shows are not out of the realm of possibility. However, in the immediate:
Life has a way of coming back around on you. Just when you've turned your back on something, it taps you on the shoulder. Or punches you in the face. Case in point: I submitted us for inclusion the NJ Songwriters Night, like, almost a year ago. Then I get an email that they've finally gotten around to my submission and want me to do a thing on Jan. 16th. Cool! I forgot I even submitted for it. So I start to get excited about things again. I mean, not just any one gets into this showcase. You should check out their/her (host Deb Ferrara's) website(s).
The New York Times said: "Deb Ferrara's monthly showcase at Maxwell's is as thoughtfully planned as it is entertaining: A pop belter trails a guy with a guitar, and a rock band gives way to a Fiona Apple-styled free-thinker. Nobody leaves uninspired." (I like that last part) Now, to be honest, I haven't been playing a whole lot lately. Just enough to stay relatively in shape. The guitar to me was like someone you're mad at but you totally love and know you'll eventually reconcile with but you just can't talk to right now. So it seems we've made up. My throat is a bit sore and my fingers are close to bleeding.
And I missed it SO much.
And now we'll finally be playing that back room at Maxwell's that has eluded us for so long. Nice. And in good company, too: Laura Distasi, Steevan Mars and Irene Molloy. And here's another thing: every CD I've ever made will be available for free at this show. I clearly have never cared about the $. Inititally, yes, you want to turn a profit and possibly make your money back but in the end, I really don't care: I just want it out there. Listen all you want; I'll make more.
A couple of Flipsides ago I mentioned doing a duet onstage with David Wilcox whle attending his show at The Towne Crier in '05 on his "Rusty Old American Dream". Then I forgot about it. About a year later someone gave me the incredibly brilliant idea of checking his websites discussion boards to see if anyone there had recorded the show. So I did. And someone did! Now my story has credibility. And historical documentation! Nice. Listen to it.
AND ORDER DAVID WILCOX'S ALBUM "VISTA" NOW
You can thank me later...
Here's something Roger found on the internet a while back. I had to laugh; we're (or "I'm") SO guilty of a few of these. Ah, live and learn:
36 RULES FOR BANDS
Never start a trio with a married couple.
Your manager's not helping you. Fire him/her.
Before you sign a record deal, look up the word "recoupable" in the dictionary.
No one cares who you've opened for.
A string section does not make your songs sound any more "important".
If your band has gone through more than 4 bass players, it's time to break up.
When you talk on stage you are never funny.
If you sound like another band, don't act like you're unfamiliar with their music ("Oh, does Rage Against The Machine also do rap-rock with political lyrics?")
Asking a crowd how they're doing is just amplified small talk. Don't do it.
Don't say your video's being played if it's only on the Austin Music Network.
When you sign to a major label, claim to have inked the best contract ever. Mention artistic freedom" and "a guaranteed 3 record deal". When you get dropped insist that it was the worst contract ever and you asked to be let go.
Never name a song after your band.
Never name your band after a song.
When a drummer brings in his own songs and asks to perform one of them, begin looking for a new drummer IMMEDIATELY.
Never enter a "battle of the bands" contest. If you do you're already a loser.
Learn to recognize scary word pairings: "rock opera", "white rapper", "blues jam", "swing band", "open mike", etc.
Drummers can take off their shirts or they can wear gloves, but not both.
Listen, either break it to your parents or we will: it's rock 'n' roll, not a soccer game. They've gotta stop coming to your shows.
It's not a "showcase". It's a gig that doesn't pay.
No one cares that you have a web site.
Getting a tattoo is like sewing platform shoes to your feet.
Don't hire a publicist.
Playing in Portsmouth and Nashua doesn't mean you're on tour.
Don't join a cover band that plays Bush songs. In fact, don't join a cover band.
Although they come in different styles and colors, electric guitars all sound the same. Why do you keep changing them between songs?
Don't stop your set to ask that beers be brought up; that's what girlfriends/boyfriends are for.
If you use a smoke machine, your music stinks.
We can tell the difference between a professionally produced album cover and one you made with the iMac your mom got for Christmas.
Remember: if blues solos are so difficult, why can so many 16 year olds play them?
If you ever take a publicity photo, destroy it; you may never know where or when it will turn up.
Cut your hair, but do not shave your head.
Pierce your nose, but not your eyebrow.
Do not wear shorts onstage. Or a suit. Or a hat.
Rock oxymorons: "major label interest", "demo deal","blues genius", "$500 guarantee", and "Fastball's second hit".
3 things that are never coming back: a)gongs, b) headbands, and c) playing slide guitar with a beer bottle.
Some of these still make me laugh. Anyway, that's where we're at, folks. Things are on the upswing. If any of you have any questions about the origin of life, the universe and/or everything I'll be glad to answer them; I'm quite the science geek now, even watching the actual Science Channel these days. It gives you a better perspective on things and our place in the universe....
Have the merriest of holidays and the happiest of new years,