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Ten Days Till Bay City...


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Bay City Arts Center says they won’t have their new sound board in time for the March 7 concert. I’m not sure (yet) how big a problem that is; they do (or did) have a soundboard, a 4-channel one, and I’m not sure why they were replacing it, and I have to find out. (They’re also fixing the building’s furnace, and I don’t know if that will be done in time for the concert.)

In the meantime, the band (bless ‘em) do have some resources that we can put together. I have an ancient Sony 6-channel mixer (it has real dials, and meters, and is lit by miniature incandescent bulbs, but it still works fine), lead guitarist Jeff has a 2-channel Marshall amp he’s been using at the Ghost Hole (I presume we can still use the Arts Center’s big hanging speakers, which are bigger than Jeff’s), and bass player John’s got a huge amp-and-speaker setup in his living room (it may take all four of us to carry it, and I’ll have to clean out the van before it’ll fit). We can use my singing mike (plus Jeff’s got one of his own we can use for the harmonica). We will, I think, be okay. Might need a few specialized cables from the local Radio Shack store to hook everything together.

One more practice before the Big Concert, and we’ll make that a dress rehearsal. The band are good—this is another instance of the whole being substantially more than the sum of its parts. Notices have gone out to the joelist, there are bulletins on MySpace and Facebook, and the postmistress is going to mention the concert in her weekly column for the paper. Music Wednesday and Friday—both opportunities to announce the concert—and CDs to package in between.

I’m not sure I like this business of being a front man. It’s a lot of work, and I’m not sure it’s worthwhile. It’s easier to just be part of a band, play my songs mixed in with everyone else’s like they were just part of the everyday hit parade (most of the people I play with have gotten used to my material by now) and leave no one the wiser. Two hours of all my stuff is a drain for me, and leaves me wondering if it’d be a drain on the aujdience, too—and if so, why anyone would want to listen to them.

I suppose Bob Dylan and John Prine had similar problems (and self-doubts) getting attention—and they were playing solo in coffeehouses to boot. Absent any support from the music industry—and I don’t see any forthcoming—I have a feeling there is no other way to make it than by assembling, one person at a time, a fan base that’s just too big for the industry to ignore. I wish it were easier.

Still waiting for the Red Room to respond to the proposal from the Portland band. Waiting on a lot of things, actually (again). I’m waiting on rejection notices for three of four manager jobs I’ve applied for (got one rejection letter today), and waiting for the tax refund (I get one this year). Waiting, too, for the music store to get in new strings for my guitar. Like somebody famous once said (in a song), “I got them weary blues from waitin’.”

One thing I will NOT be waiting for is an extension of unemployment benefits. There won’t be one. The famous Obama “stimulus package” will add $25 a week (taxable) to my final couple of unemployment checks, but when it’s over (in March), it’s over. I know the President said the opposite on TV, but state unemployment disasgrees with him, and I have my doubts whether the President actually read his own bill. One way to “improve the unemployment rate” is to reduce the number of people getting unemployment benefits. Gerald Ford’s people did that in 1976. This time around, I get to be one of the statistics.

Maybe there’s a song in it.

Joe

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