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Burgerville Gig Post-Mortem...


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The Burgerville gig went pretty good. Sparse crowd (Burgerville advertised, but I hadn’t), but people listened, and virtually every person left tips. Even got a nickel from a little girl who had listened raptly to “When They Die, I Put Them in the Cookies” (I had to help her drop it in the Yellow Bucket because she couldn’t reach it). A couple of the people who said they’d visit actually did (thank you). And the staff wants me back (I thought they weren’t listening until they sent somebody over to turn up my volume).

Best-received songs were “Dead Things in the Shower” (women like it), “Hey, Little Chicken” (little kids and their parents like it), and TampaStan’s “Un-Easy Street.” That last one’s been a hit everywhere it’s been played.

Used the bigger of my two tiny amps for a PA; I’d originally brought it in just as a prop (“See? I’m a Professional Musician—I have an Amp”), but decided to use it so I wouldn’t have to strain my voice. I was able by the second set to get the volume right on the guitar, but I never did get it right on the microphone. The lesson there? Practice with it ahead of time, till I know exactly where the levels should be. I thought I’d need 30 songs, but didn’t—two hours solo works out closer to 13 songs per hour instead of 15.

I should do more of these solo gigs. It’s good practice not being dependent on other people, and facing my fears and butterflies on my own. I was scared to death of the thing—I hadn’t played a solo gig for months—but it was all right. I simply dropped into Rock Star Persona and acted like I knew what I was doing (I do know what I’m doing, after all) and did this sort of thing all the time. I set up the stuff (having allowed myself a whole hour to do it in), strategically positioning the CDs, the red notebook with the “joelist,” and the Yellow Bucket that says “Tipping Is Not A City In China,” started precisely on time, and played as if I didn’t care whether anybody was in the room. (And initially, nobody was. But people did start to drift in after a while, and obviously listened, and that was cool.)

There is a Border’s Bookstore in Beaverton (about 10-15 miles closer to home) that has started doing live music on Friday nights (daughter Kimberly’s boyfriend Eddie works there), and I’ll see if I can nail myself down a gig there. I got to see their performance space last night, and it is small and intimate—ideal for a one-man acoustic (or teeny amp) show. I’d miss playing with the Friday Night Group, but it’d be okay. And that one, I think I’d publicize the heck out of, and see what showed up. One difficulty I have that most solo performers in these situations don’t is it costs me significant time and money to do this—about 4 hours’ driving time and $25 in gas to “do” the Burgerville gig, for example. I need to generate enough business, in tips and CD sales, to recover at least the cost of the gas.

I don’t think anybody’s doing these little gigs over here on the Coast, and it’d be fun to get somebody to try. To my knowledge, there aren’t any of those chain outfits over here, either; in both Lincoln City (an hour’s drive south) and Seaside (an hour notrth) I don’t think there’s a Border’s, or a Burgerville. There is a Denny’s (all-night restaurant) that just opened in Tillamook, though. I wonder if they’d be interested in (say) a “Midnight Show” on Saturday nights, to see if it’d bring customers in? I bet they don’t get a lot of business in the middle of the night. And I wouldn’t care about playing to an empty room if the empty room was only 9 miles away.

UPDATES: Trip to southern Oregon is on; I’ll get to play music Sunday night at the Wild Goose, job interview in Gold Hill on Monday, and come back Tuesday after getting new strings on the guitar. I can’t film Rufus at home until next week, but there’s some kind of “Pet Tea Party” going on at the Fairgrounds Saturday, and Sara and Rufus may be there; that could be fun. And I have yet another job interview, this one Sept. 10 with state Emergency Management (I applied to be one of their planners). Good thing I got the suit cleaned when I had time.

The job interviews get frustrating after a while. It’s nice to feel wanted—but I wish I was wanted kinda more, y’know? I feel like those proverbial chicks in the tavern—it’s great that all these guys want to take me home, but doesn’t anybody want to marry me?

Joe

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