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Becoming Automatic (&c.)...


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“The Dead Sweethearts Polka” turned out surprisingly good. Link is http://www.soundclick.com/share?songid=8862558. While I doubt it’s album material (or even performance material), much less “the best you’ve ever done” like some people said, it is fun to listen to. Some folks had suggestions for instruments that could be added—accordion, mandolin, Jews’ harp—and I do know people who play all those things, and play them rather well. It is possible. One addition I’d be tempted to try is “Chainsaw Bob” Lichner on the musical saw—with the right amount of reverb, it’d add an attractive spookiness (as if the serial-killer lyrics weren’t spooky enough).

On the other hand, I have already accomplished my two major purposes for this song. I got Jon Harrington over in England a song for his “it’s about a river” challenge in timely fashion, and I got out of my head the somewhat sick notion of a happy song about a serial killer. Since I don’t expect to do anything with the song, I’m a little reluctant to sink more energy into what would be only for fun.

I have passed on a copy of the recording to bass player John, and if he likes it, we might do it at the April 24 concert. It is a good dance number (and people in this area do like polkas), and I was trying to concentrate on danceable material for this gig. Looks like both Doc and Mike are in for lead players; I need the setlist organized and a copy on CD to Doc (Mike, too) before Doc and his hunting dog go on vacation the 18th. We can practice after Doc gets back 1 April.

It appears our “Gang of Four” running the Arts Center will be a “Gang of Three” instead (one of the people dropped out, though she may be back); we have an Executive Director (Loni), Program Director (Karen), and Marketing Director (me), have set office hours (each of us doing two 4-hour shifts a week), business cards (by me), and we’ll get “@baycityartscenter.org” edresses as soon as Bruce tells Loni how to do it. We’ll go over the financials this week, and start putting them together a budget.

I probably need to build them a computer for the office (they have a Mac, and all my graphic-design software is PC-based). If I’m doing this for no money, the computer will have Windows 98 for an operating system, because I have that available and free; all my graphic-design software works with Windows 98, because it (like me) is old. Upgrading the operating system would be nice, but it can wait until there’s money. (I have a 1997-vintage non-Microsoft word processing program they can have, too.)

I was being impressed with myself for being able to write my weekly column for the newspaper basically in the time it takes to type it (that’s happened several weeks in a row, now), and wondering if I could apply whatever it is I’m doing to music. Maybe. What I have with the column is a regular circuit of people I can tap for material—plus enough people know now what I do, and can do, that people call, e-mail and stop me on the street with tidbits.

Applying the same tactics to the music business means intensifying my self-promotion and exposure, and making it automatic to the extent possible. Presently, most of my recorded music is on my two Soundclick “pages,” with a handful on MySpace; I have a couple of tunes posted on SongRamp, and one on ReverbNation (and they have gotten a little attention). I should expand that. In the same vein, the free Internet “stations” might as well get my stuff, too. And I should be performing more, too, of course. Making the Bay City Arts Center’s open mike monthly—whatever day it ends up being on—is good. Once the run of “The Tempest” is over (mid-April), I can hit up some of the venue-runners I know in Portland, too. Yes, all free—the paying stuff comes later, I think (or hope); what I want to do here and now is make the free stuff as automatic and non-time-consuming as possible, so there’s time for other stuff later. Just like the newspaper column.

Music only on Friday this week, I think; full run-through rehearsal for “The Tempest” on Saturday will probably obviate playing music at the library. More jobs to apply for (or is that more rejection letters?), and the FAFSA to do for student financial aid. Time to register for spring term college classes.

Joe

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