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Three Things...


I’ve heard a number of folks comment, “Boy, you’re sure playing out a lot.” I’m probably not. I just talk about it a lot. I figure if there’s an audience out there, they probably need to know what you’re doing. Every now and then, I think I may just know enough about marketing to be able to teach it—and then I decide I ought to wait until I’ve had some success at it first. (And I am still waiting.)

I figure if you’re going to compete effectively against the Big Boys, you have to (1) come across like you know what you’re doing, (2) do things better than they do, and (3) do things they can’t.

Acting like you know what you’re doing is a matter of imitation—with quality. So the posters are uber-professional, the CDs look like what you’d buy in a store, and performances—solo and with the band—are rehearsed within an inch of perfection. That’s why Outside Services Ltd. will get revived this year as a publishing company: successful writers are supposed to be published, so I’ll get a publisher if I have to invent him myself. Ditto for the record company.

One way I see to perform better than the Big Boys is act fast. This is the lesson of the historic battle between the mammals and the dinosaurs. The mammals were smaller, but they could move quickly. The Big Boys will spend months (and millions) producing an album; the Deathgrass album will be done, start to finish, in a few weeks—and cheaply. (We won’t have to press millions of copies at a time, either.)

And one big thing the Big Boys can’t do is communicate. In these times of fragmentation and isolation, people need personal connections; they need to not only feel they know “their” artist, but know that person knows them, personally. That’s possible to do when one is operating on a small scale. (It’s going to be a challenge if/when one ever becomes bigger time, but no less important.) It’s an ability the Big Boys lost a long time ago.

Some updates:

RECORDING: The band is ready to record Friday, Feb. 11, I think. Got a look at Mike’s studio, and it’ll work. We’ll need to overlay the vocal and harmonica (we’ll do a “scratch” vocal when we record the material live), but everything else can be done Patsy Cline style—live and (hopefully) in one take. Charlie’s been practicing with his new electric mandolin, and we’ll use that on some of the songs (have to figure out which ones).

FAILED ECONOMY SHOW: The media and “joelist” have been notified of the Feb. 5 Failed Economy Show concert, and the Food Pantry’s been alerted, too—thought it would be good if they knew. (Turns out they still remember how much food and money we raised the last time. I’d like to beat that record.) The concert poster got distributed everywhere I went over the weekend, but there’s still more outlets that need it. I’ve e-mailed the Video Lady to see if we can get the performance on cable TV this time; still need to schedule some radio interviews.

THE VIDEO: Got some of the photos I need for “50 Ways to Cure the Depression,” and put out a call (via the blog, Just Plain Folks, and Facebook) for the rest; what photos I don’t have by the middle of the week I’ll take myself. While I’m waiting, I can re-record the song. Bass player’s in; I need to talk to our two leads (one of whom I’ll see Tuesday). It’ll entail some traveling around with the Tascam, but that’s easy—it’s portable.



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