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Busy Weekend Post-mortem...


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As this is written, the Busy Weekend is not yet over. I still have a job interview tomorrow in Salem, a 2-hour drive away, and errands to run. I need to get slimline CD cases, and T-shirt transfers and stickers for the Joe Thongs I want to have for the 22 August concert in Central Point.

The Garibaldi Museum concert was a success. We had a very small crowd, but they were appreciative. We were competing with at least (1) the Jews’ Harp Festival, (2) the 100th anniversary of the Tillamook Cheese factory, and (3) a music festival in south Tillamook County; I understand there were a couple of other Big Events further south, too. I suppose we should consider ourselves lucky anyone came at all. I think the Museum owners were disappointed at the turnout, but are also convinced it wasn’t because we weren’t good—they liked us (nice validation, there), and they want to have us back. The band was tight—practice helps—and they’re confident now they can do anything. We do have a good three hours worth of performable material now.

Best songs were “I’m Giving Mom a Dead Dog for Christmas” and Gene Burnett’s “Things Are Getting Better Now That Things Are Getting Worse.” I noticed people looking puzzled as they listened carefully to the Southern Pigfish song, “For Their Own Ends,” trying to figure out what it meant—but their toes were tapping anyway.

Friday night, the music teacher came (with wife and kids) to see the Friday Night Group. He wants me and the band (Dick, Chris and John) for a festival of local musicians he wants to put on in early October. (He bought a CD, too. Always have CDs with you.) He can have Chris, John and me, but not Dick—Dick and Carol will still be on their cross-country trip. We will need a different lead player.

I did a little lead-player hunting at the Jews’ Harp Festival Friday and Saturday, but there wasn’t a lot to pick from; most of these folks are percussionists, and it’s almost impossible to do a percussion lead. There were just two or three guitarists there besides me (only one of them local, and I’ve never seen him play lead). I did solicit his wife to play lead Jews’ harp when I record “Love Trails of the Zombie Snails”; that would work, I think, because I can add different special effects when recording. Performing is different—your instruments are all “unenhanced.”

I saw one fellow at the Jews’ Harp Festival who had managed to do Pink Floyd-style recordings with his Jews’ harp. I could do the same thing. My little Tascam allows a guitar to “emulate” 40 different electric guitars and half a dozen basses (later models of the Tascam could not do this); if I miked the Jews’ harp and ran it through the “guitar” input of the Tascam, could I come up with (for example) a Heavy Metal Jews’ Harp? I’ll have to try it. I could do the same with Bob Lichner’s musical saw (which he’s getting quite good at).

Today was the monthly jam at the Forestry Center; five musicians there instead of the usual three, and they kept expecting me to play lead—and I could (having played a lot of music the two previous days helped). Sold four CDs there. And one of the guitarists, who plays a lot of open mikes and jams around the Portland area, asked permission to do some of my songs. (Permission granted, of course.)

And the burlesque troupe are interesting. Most of the seven I met Sunday night are writers of one sort or another; two also do interpretive dance; one is a director (with a film education). I think the show we’re sketching out is going to be a lot like the Malheur Miners’ Wild West Shows I was a part of when I lived in Vale—sketch comedy interpolated with music. There is supposedly another musician in the troupe, but he wasn’t at the meeting. My function, I think, is going to be to serve as a sort of Greek chorus—commenting musically (and not necessarily relevantly) on what’s happened, or happening. I did have an idea on the way home how to introduce the group—just a variation on how the Malheur Miners did it. (This being Portland, and not Eastern Oregon, we won’t be doing a gunfight.)

Joe

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