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Five More Days...


Five more days… The Portland Band is as ready as they’re going to be. There are a couple of songs that could use more work, but we’re out of time. This coming Friday is the Big Gig. I only got posters up in a couple of high-traffic music businesses in Portland (one selling records, the other instruments), but all of us in the band have friends and relatives coming, so maybe it’ll be okay crowd-wise.

I may have the Local Band together. Dick Ackerman is willing to be the harmonica player—he thinks his health will be up to it. That gives us bass (John), lead guitar (Jeff), blues harp (Dick), and rhythm guitar/vocals (me). All of us live in Garibaldi, just blocks apart, and three of us have a lot of free time (Dick’s retired, and Jeff and I are unemployed). Three weeks to practice before the Arts Center concert. Dick will need a set of CDs and list of the songs, too. I still need to work out what order the songs should be in.

The Arts Center has a “Joe Wrabek In Concert” announcement on their Webpage: http://web.mac.com/baycityartscenter/iWeb/site/Welcome.html. If we can pack the place, we stand to open the door for other local folks to perform there. I think I can do some effective advertising, because a lot of people in this area know me. (Lesson there, maybe.)

So where do we go with these? We’ll do a post-mortem after the Red Room gig in Portland; I can get us more gigs, I think, if the band are interested. (Sharma invested in some amplification and mixing equipment. I think that means she’s interested in this thing continuing.) The same is true on the Coast, I think. Opportunities on the Coast may be more limited—we would in most cases have to create them, like I did with the Arts Center—but we may be able to get more mileage out of them because we (me, anyway) are known personally.

What are those opportunities? In Portland, more and more venues are offering live music; somebody may have figured out it draws in customers. There’s very little money in it, however, because venues are economizing wherever possible. One probably has to play around a lot in order to build the kind of following that gets you real money. On the Coast, there aren’t many venues with live music to begin with, and the ones there are probably are not paying much. Money for music on the Coast is probably in the festivals, of which there are rather a lot in the summer—and they may be easier to break into as well. However, it is playing at the venues that is going to create the name familiarity that will make the festival gigs possible. “Paying your dues,” the pros call it.

The other opportunity is the ALBUM. I’d really like to have the Portland guys play on the album. We would need to practice unmercifully, because we would have to be perfect before we walked into the studio. I would be expecting to do it live—that’s how the Nashville session guys did the demos at Pineyfest—though if everybody had their parts perfect, we could “layer” the parts and it wouldn’t cost a lot extra. I’d budget five hours’ studio time (the last album, in La Grande, took six) and expect to not use all of it. Four—maybe five—of the songs we’re doing for the Red Room gig are ones I’d want on the album, too.

UPDATES: The “Broken Record” has gotten to most of its recipients, and appears to be well-liked. I can do the next one easier and cheaper—I have the templates built now (and I have a cheaper printer, too). I have a Stan Good song to “musicate” and record, along with the Beth Williams one.

On the performance front, I got confirmation from the Fair Board that there will not be a “Taste of Tillamook” festival this March (everyone lost too much money last year, I guess). That “disappears” the only event that deliberately showcased local talent, and leaves a hole that needs to be filled. Is that an opportunity, too?



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