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Of Lead Players And Chickens...


How do you find a lead player on short notice? Wayne’s not sure he can do it (I’m not sure whether that means he just doesn’t want to do it), and the gig—a paying gig—is only three weeks away. The rest of the band will be tight—John (bass) and Chris (drums) are good, and we’ve been practicing—but I can’t do both rhythm and lead, and sing. (I’m not sure I can do any of those things separately, much less together.)

So I stopped by the local (Tillamook) music store en route to playing music at the library Saturday afternoon. The music store is small, and a bit novice about this stuff (the owner’s new), but I figured if anyone was going to be a clearinghouse for musicians, it ought to be the music store, and if she wasn’t one, my request should get her started. I did happen to run into the guy (maybe he’s just one of the guys) who teaches guitar lessons, and posed the problem with him, and left him a setlist and a copy of my CD; he said if he couldn’t do it himself, he probably knew someone who could, and would let me know in a couple of days. I will keep my fingers crossed.

I can dump drafts of all the songs onto a CD for whoever’s doing it, and that’ll reduce (maybe to almost nothing) the need for practice. On principle, the songs on the recordings are the way we do them in real life (or is that vice versa?), so there’s nothing strange to worry about. I should make copies for Chris and John, too, come to think of it—I haven’t done that yet. We (whoever “we” end up being) should get together at least once, so we know what to expect of each other.

If it works—I hope it works—I will not worry further. We do have the Garibaldi Days gig coming up in July, but we can do it with Dick playing harmonica lead. On the other hand, if we end up with a Real Find in the form of our impromptu lead player, I’ll want to continue using him or her, too.

An unrelated idea—came to me after visiting the music store. I know of four chicken songs written during the past year (got to play two of them Friday night); two are by me, one by Jack Fischer, and one by Gene Burnett. Gene started it, by writing “Free-Range Chicken” and then announcing he wanted to put out an album of chicken songs. Jack’s song addressed the question which came first, the chicken or the egg, and I wrote one that answered the question why the chicken crossed the road. I had even spec’d out an album cover before Gene announced he was abandoning the project.

But I know a fellow who’s a salesman for Foster Farms, the grown-in-Oregon chicken people who have been running some rather funny chicken commercials on television. Might Foster Farms be interested in chicken songs? They are all humorous (it’s hard to be serious about chickens). All the aforementioned songs have potential as soundtracks for commercials; alternatively, what about an album of chicken songs as a promotional item? I suppose it’s worthwhile contacting the fellow.

The plot, of course, is a little thicker—life is rarely simple. Aforementioned chicken salesman happens to be one of the people on the Phoenix City Council who wanted to get rid of me as city manager; he’s no longer on the Council, but I doubt he’s forgotten. So there’s a certain amount of trepidation on my part about contacting him. Still, he is a good salesman, and he should appreciate a good idea. I don’t know if he’s in a position in the organization to take advantage of it. I suppose all one can do is ask.

Music at the Forestry Center Sunday, band practice Monday, and the Thirsty lion gig Tuesday (along with a job interview). It’s still going to be a busy week.



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