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Monday, December 13, 2004

Old Songs, New Songs, Smoky Songs, Blue Songs

There's a fair amount of age discrimination even in old-guy-rich Florida. I try to resist the call to perform really old rock tunes. That would be the fifties. It's just the boredom factor. If I'm bored, I look it. It's the reason I never taught kindergarten. Old cliche' songs have the same effect on me as nursery rhymes. I do need acting lessons. My pal Davis Turner often says, "Well that's my favorite song!" when asked to do one he is sick of. The standards I do are ones I've heard covered by more contemporary people. They are actually fun because they are more challenging. Cool chord changes.

I like a lot of the new music and often find acoustic unplugged versions that sound terrific. This tendency of mine does not have particular commercial appeal. Young hangout bars do not necessarily warm up to older guys doing new music.They want it to look like the video, I guess. I prefer to perform fully dressed. Older people are sternly prejudiced and lean resolutely toward the music of their own youthful era. And of course there is the Jimmy Buffett thing to contend with here in Florida. I think I remember once liking Margaritaville but you try taking four requests a night for it and see how it stands up on your hit parade. Before you do request it of any musician, be aware there are an equal number of patrons who would pay not to hear Buffett. I once got a $10 tip from a couple for not playing it and another tip for continuing not to play any.

I think the solution to this is complicated but not undoable. I'm gonna play new music covers and my own tunes between every classic oldie or standard I do. Gradually get the regulars used to hearing it. I've noticed this works quite by accident, so I have to institutionalize it. As for the younger bars, I may have to go in disguise. I don't look old but I don't have tattoos, piercings or a substance problem to give me "that look." Or I could hire a sexy bass player. Cutting my take in half to provide eye candy. Naah.

Being a nonsmoker, nondrinker puts me at a distinct disadvantage in these places. I love the coffee house because I can be myself but it's hard to keep a crowd when they all need to go outside to take care of their nicotine Jones. So I'll go to work on a smoking song or two. I have a bawdy barroom song that is only for late when all inhibitions are gone. It's unfinished and may remain so. I don't think I could concentrate on my performance if people started removing clothing.

posted by Bud @ 6:43 AM

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