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And Yet Another Paying Gig?


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YET ANOTHER PAYING GIG… The managers of the Garibaldi Museum called from Virginia, asking me to play at the Museum 27 JUNE (it’s a Saturday) 7 P.M. Hour-long set—I told them I’d bring a band if I could. They want promotional photos and bio (which I have), and asked me to send them a contract (I’ll send something simple, basically agreeing to what they said). I sent them a promotional poster, too—they haven’t seen one of my posters yet.

It was this second gig that got John (the heavy-metal bass player) really interested, I think. I’d asked him earlier about playing with me at the Arts Center gig in March (he is my first choice for a bass player); now, what with me being offered two paying gigs—in as many days—I might look like a “rainmaker” of sorts. And John’s not currently playing with a band. When I went to play at the Ghost Hole, I asked Jeff (that’s Guitar Guy’s name) about playing lead (we’ve done a fair number of my tunes now, and he can do okay), and he’s interested.

So there’s the bass (maybe) and the “non-whiny” lead (definitely) for the Local Band. Jeff, John and I all live in Garibaldi, within a few blocks of each other, so there’s no travel involved in getting together to practice. Plenty of time flexibility, too, since John works in town and both Jeff and I are unemployed. I still want a “whiny” lead, too, for the band (Jeff says he knows a couple of fiddle players who live in the area).

We will have to practice; I learned from experience with the Portland Band how difficult it can be for a punk-rock bass player to adjust to country music, and I expect there’s a similar learning curve if you’re coming from a metal background. The instrument is just played differently—I ran into that when I played with Screamin’ Gulch in southern Oregon (though I never did change how I played guitar—I just made it fit, somehow). I gave John CDs with the 25 songs I want to do at the Arts Center, and made a set for Jeff, too. All “family-friendly” stuff; 12 mostly-new songs (I love being able to do that), plus my two “local color” songs that are popular here on the Coast, plus some “old standards” people would be likely to request if we didn’t play ‘em.

And Jeff and I have been asked to play—together—at the Ghost Hole on Valentine’s Day. (No, no money—just a free meal and tips. Being a vegetarian, I’ll pass on the prime rib dinner. But I appreciate the thought.) We’ll do love songs, of course, since it’ll be Valentine’s Day. I’ve got ‘em—as long as we’re prepared to accept a kind of stretchy definition of “love.” (I’ve been warned one of the barmaids is going to request “Dirty Deeds We Done to Sheep.” We’d better have it practiced.) Jeff has some original love songs, too, a couple of which are really good.

“BROKEN RECORD” is done and mailed; it’s literally going around the globe (one of the recipient songwriters is in Australia). I even managed to save a copy for me to keep (I must have miscounted).

UPDATED THE “JOELIST” e-mail list, preparatory to sending out gig notices—there are now 175 people on it. I probably have an equivalent number between MySpace and the new Facebook account. Not enough people are in any particular geographic area, though. I couldn’t generate a couple hundred concertgoers in Portland (for instance) at the drop of a notice, and that is something I need to be able to do. That’s what gets the attention of venues—“yeah, hire him—he brings in a crowd.” When I go to Portland Saturday for band practice, I should leave early and hit as many music stores as I can with posters.

In the future—assuming we have a future, of course—it’d be worthwhile to be a member of (and active in) the Portland Songwriters Assn. and the Portland Folklife Society. (Add it to the list of Things To Do When I Have Money.) Just as the Southern Oregon Songwriters Assn. does, these groups promote members’ gigs, and encourage their people to come. On the Coast, I don’t know as there’s any hope for any formal songwriters’ organization—but there are writers here; I’m starting to run into some of them. The first step may be simply to provide places for them to strut their stuff.

There are maybe five newspapers in Portland (one big, the rest small) that ought to get press releases making a Big Thing out of the Red Room gig. I’ve never written a music press release; maybe the best way to approach it is to pick up a copy of Friday’s Portland Oregonian, which has the weekly entertainment guide, and see how the Big Boys do it. And imitate them.

Joe

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