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The Red Room--and An Open Mike...


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Went to the Red Room to check the place out (I always try to do this before a gig) and to drop off a CD and posters. It’s a pretty big place, with a decent-sized stage, and good speakers (though the sound system is primitive compared to what the Friday Night Group has). I’ll definitely want my own singing mike.

It’s on NORTHEAST 82nd, not Southeast as I originally reported (and if you go to the SE 82nd address—like I did—you will end up at a Chinese restaurant, which just happens to be painted red, and will get really confused). Show starts 9 P.M. FRIDAY, 13 FEBRUARY. I’ll be on first, followed by someone hight Gabe Salo, followed by Metropolitan Farms. M.F. is a band (3-piece, I think, from their photos); I don’t know if Gabe is playing solo or with a band—it appears he does both. I don’t know if I have a band for this gig. I’m trying. I think with the crowd they have there, a band would be good.

What to play depends on whether I’ve got a band or not, I think. With a band, we can do a couple of the rock ‘n’ roll and blues tunes—I expect “Dirty Deeds We Done to Sheep” would go over real good, as would “Test Tube Baby.” But I could never do those without a band. If I’m solo, it will be mostly country music, because country music sounds good whether performed solo or with a band.

The lesson there: Get out more. I wouldn’t be having the “no band” problem if I knew more people.

After about a 2-year hiatus, the Bay City Arts Center will be having another of Jim Nelson’s open mikes SAT., 18 JANUARY, and I’ll plan on being there. Three songs, I think—maybe four. And it’s a family crowd, with a lot of little kids. I can give ‘em “When They Die, I put Them in the Cookies” (which kids really like because they’re all sociopaths at heart), “Milepost 43” (what’s not to like about lost underwear?) and “Vampire Roumanian Babies,” none of which they’ll have heard before; in addition, I can announce the gig in Portland, peddle a few CDs, and solicit signatures for the joelist.

I can remind the folks, since they’re a mostly friendly audience, that I’ve written roughly one good song a month for the past two years, and they haven’t heard any of them because there haven’t been any open mikes (and they haven’t been coming to Garibaldi on Friday nights). I don’t know if there’s an opportunity for a Bay City concert in there or not. The Arts Center does like to book people way more famous than me—but on the other hand, I have fans in the area, and I don’t know to what extent those more famous people do.

I have all 16 tracks for the “BROKEN RECORD” CD—the last two were really professionally produced—and am sending them off to Albert for mastering. He may have a different idea for order than I did, and I’ve encouraged him to act on it if he does. The liner notes, now that they’re done, aren’t hard to rearrange. It’s like shuffling cookies on a plate—the hard part was baking them, and that’s done.

The Tillamook County Fair Board has my “Santa’s Fallen” CD (and Fair Manager Jerry Underwood did remember I’d played at the Fair one year), and we’ll see what they do. I don’t know if I need a band for the “Taste of Tillamook” gig (if I get it) or not; it’s probably best to assume I do. (I might be able to tap folks from the Friday Night Group if I give ‘em enough warning.)

I think one of the important facets of promotion is coming across like you’re professional, and important, and famous; that way, the people you’re talking to are encouraged to act like you’re important (&c.), so they won’t be embarrassed they didn’t realize it. Same thing I try to do on stage. When I (or we) play the Red Room, I want that crowd to be asking, “how come we never heard of these guys before?”

joe

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