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I'm Back...


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Like Bilbo Baggins said, “Well, I’m back.”

Southern Oregon was fun. Got to see a lot of the people I’ve missed over the last two months (if not all of them), and got to play music. My idea of a holiday.

The Saturday night show in Central Point’s Robert Pfaff Park was in competition with a Willie Nelson concert; we didn’t have a big crowd, but some people actually opted to see us instead of Willie Nelson, and that was a nice compliment. People liked the programs I designed, and I emphasized again this is easy stuff for me to do. The Central Point audience got two new songs (out of five songs we performed)—“When They Die, I Put Them in the Cookies” and “Dead Fishes.” I think more people liked the cookies than the fishes; my audiences really don’t expect serious stuff.

Sunday night was the Wild Goose, and the chance to see (and play for) more people. They got some of the sleazier new material—“Electronic Love” (definitely a hit), “Something’s Missing” (too long, I think), and the cookies (unquestionably best of the three), plus an encore (since Hank Williams’ birthday is in September, they got “Hank’s Song”—and people sang along, like they did last time). Stayed late to play lead on a couple of Scott Garriott tunes—something else I haven’t been able to do in a long time.

So what did we accomplish this weekend? Maybe not a lot besides having fun—a bunch of people know I haven’t forgotten them, still miss them, and know I’d like to figure out a way to come back there to live. (And they may now be prompted to think of me when they next eat, see, or hear about cookies.) Got the banjo electrified; it still may need an effects pedal for live performance, but I’ll try a heavy-metal banjo lead on something using the Tascam’s electric guitar effects and see what it sounds like. Got to go to a free barbecue and hear both of Dan Doshier’s bands play—Bluegrass Country and Dandelion Jo. And I maybe got a new last verse to the Norwegian Black/Death Metal song, “Evil Dead Fairies in My Mobile Home.” Didn’t sell any CDs, but I traded one, and donated one to a Southern Oregon Songwriters raffle. Worth the $200 in gas? Hard to tell.

The lesson in all this? (There are always lessons.) It’s important to stay in touch, and not lose track of people. Good friends down there, and some incredible talent—and contacts, too. Opportunities as well, I think, though no one’s yhet been able to make money off them. I’d like to make a monthly trip down to southern Oregon, no matter where I am or what I’m doing, just to stay in touch. Right now, a trip to southern Oregon for three days costs somewhere between 20% and 25% of my monthly income, and I can’t afford that. A goal, then, is to make that more possible.

That works on other fronts, too. There’s still one piece of Concert Season that hasn’t happened yet—the Neskowin Harvest Festival, a benefit for a little private school in southern Tillamook County I’ve performed at before. (And they do pay.) Important to contact them (the school clerk used to be a fan), and remind them I’m back on the Coast, and available, and have new stuff to perform, and I can do it either solo or with help, depending on what they’d like. Last year, they never responded to my e-mail, and the festival happened without me. This year, I need to be more determined.

While I was in southern Oregon, I also committed (or talked about it enough so I sound like I’m committed) to building a Stratocaster out of a toilet seat. It actually may not be hard to do: it is possible to buy from a musicians’ supply house all the parts to build a Strat except the body (the toilet seat would be the body). I can use my own Strat as a template to get the measurements right. It should sound okay, and be reasonably comfortable to play—rather light, in fact. I expect this is a couple hundred dollar project—that will have to wait until I have an income again.

Definitely a conversation piece. What would one call something like that? A Pottycaster? Or a Stratopotty? (Would make a nice addition to an album cover.)

Elsewhere on the music front, I’ve got four songs (I think) by other people to do music for, and an album cover and liner notes to design (it’s a favor, but it’ll be good experience). And on the non-music front, I have the Squirrel House to finish repairing, myself and my stuff to move back to Garibaldi, and I need to register for (and pay for) school. Two more city-manager jobs to apply for, too—one of them within commuting distance from Garibaldi. Just as for everybody else, Labor Day’s over, and it’s time to get back to work.

Joe

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