Monday, January 31, 2005
Band Seduction?The Stir the Soul Birthday party was amazing fun while I was there. Nice sound set up, my monitor was perfect. The best part was that James Albritton on drums, Lee Evans on bass and another percussionist named Rick backed me. "Who needs rehearsal?" James' new mantra. I think I learned what musical seduction is all about. A hot live rhythm section flashed it's ample cleavage at me. Left me wanting more.
I never wanted to do anything but play alone. Go solo. No conflicts, no splitting the take. I even recorded alone, track by track. But that was FUN! James has jammed with me a number of times on guitar but he's an even better drummer. I just got so pumped by the experience. I will certainly do more jamming in those kinds of situations. I don't want to be tied to a band, however. But I'll never pass up the opportunity to sit in. Next week I'll probably go up to Sarasota to check out that late night jam for songwriters. I must be the oldest damn infant musician in the world. Infant Terrible.
A scene from Saturday night at Bella Luna Cafe flashed on me. I had a full room except for a table right in front of me and some spots at the bar. I had James Albritton come up and play his new jazz box while I did some blues. Bill, the owner came in with friends and filled the empty table. He looked nervously at James and wondered, I guessed, if he was gonna have to pay him too. Later I had to explain that it was just a thing we do, drop in and sit in with each other. His relief was palpable. He's so new at this. I took a quick pit stop and got back up and started doing my own material again since the crowd was mostly new. Sr. Mary Confusing was obviously appreciated by some of the older people in the room who shared my experience and understood what I meant when I said it was an autobiographical piece I wrote about doing 18 years of hard time in Catholic school. One of the ladies at Bill's table told me a few times she loved that song. So I said, "Well it's on my CD," motioning to the rack I set up in front of me. She kind of clapped her hands in a little girl way and jumped up and asked her husband for the money. He gave her one of those go away looks and sneered at her. She registered a brief but well defined expression of hurt and embarrassment and never looked my way again. It was the end of the night and they left. I should have chased her down and given her a CD. Regret is a recurring fire ant bite on the ass.
posted by Bud @ 7:21 AM
Sunday, January 30, 2005
E-Zine Does Its JobLast night at Bella Luna Cafe for the first time went extremely well. Good crowd thanks to my e-zine and wonderful neighbors. If you want to get my e-zine by e-mail send me your name and e-mail address using the comments link below this posting. The e-zine will come out weekly, include notices of where I'm playing and periodic raffles for free music and merchandise.
I beat the New York Times to their headline in yesterday's Blog. I am so with it!
Today is the first Birthday Party for Stir the Soul Coffee House. I go on at 5pm so I can get back for family stuff. I could have gone on near the end with the biggies but family is family.
With a less intense week ahead, I may get some other things done for a change. Like writing songs. Learning new material. Scouting out new gigs. Intensifying my workout. Free time just encourages me to fill it with other stuff.
posted by Bud @ 7:05 AM
Saturday, January 29, 2005
You Really Don't Need a Weatherman...Unheard of seismic events is not a headline I want to see. Maybe that's why it was buried. Another one I'm terrified of is that we will reach the point of no return on global warming in ten years. Not to worry, though, that got buried too. I wonder if that is being taken care of in the White House PR budget. The cover-up, that is. We know global warming isn't even an issue there. Except to deny it.
Writing songs of such events can be nearly as perilous as the events themselves. A songwriter needs to make a conscious decision not to be commercial when setting out to write a protest song or anything raising controversy. In this political climate you can nearly guarantee to cut your potential audience in half. Who knows what percent of that half even listens to music, let alone buys it?
I've seen many courageous singer/songwriters in coffee houses performing some terrific inflammatory material that will always have an audience there. And they are as tolerant of the Christian music performers as the latter are polite to them. Haven't seen any fisticuffs or heard any verbal abuse over a latte yet. At least not about music. But I'm not talking your corporate yuppie coffee houses either. So if your plan is to make a living on coffee house gigs, you will be able to get a lot off your chest through your song writing but a day job or two is essential because there is no discernible food value in free coffee.
That being said, seismic, meteorological and environmental events both present time and near future should help us to sense dive into our greatest fears. It is down that well than we need to dip and scoop for feelings and images that can lead to powerful lyrics. The coolest most effective protest song is one that has a powerful effect on people and they don't really know what your motivation is. Most people don't really want to know what your position is on the news of the day. But they'll latch on to your feelings if you find the right words and images and set them up against the right melodies and rhythms. If they feel the way you do they may eventually come to think the way you do as well.
My newer lyrics are SO going to need a rewrite.
posted by Bud @ 3:44 PM
Thursday, January 27, 2005
Now That School is Out, Learn to LearnKnow your learning style and work with it. As adults we have that luxury. As school kids we were oblivious to why our grades appeared on top of tests. Even if we understood how we learned things, we were powerless to point that out to our teachers. Sr. Mary Confusing or not. Good teachers try to learn this about their students but are usually very limited as to how to deal with all those individual learning styes and still remain sane and off of the mentally disabled list.
We can observe ourselves by setting goals on paper, reviewing them daily and evaluating our progress about monthly. What we would learn about our learning style would enable us to adjust our goals and our methods for reaching them. This is what I live by. I'd accomplish little without this behavior. Without this, I'd be packing bags in the super market. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
For me the hardest things are non-linguistic and have to be done over and over with a lot of reflection and study. And if I start to "get it" I must revisit it again and again to make it stick. The greatest obstacle to this process is over confidence and fear of work. Maybe they are the same thing. Knowing this about myself is key.
Here's a place where you might begin to learn about your learning style. The site also has a variety of other fun and useful self tests. It's not a $150 an hour shrink but it's a good start for free.
posted by Bud @ 9:00 AM
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
Coffee Addiction Leads to Productivity or Utter MadnessStarting an e-zine this week if I have to stay up all night to do it. My coffee addiction is getting serious. But life without coffee is like breathing methane. Everybody is addicted to something. It's not like I'm smoking crack or gorging on Taco Bell every three hours. So it's strictly coffee, music and Cathy. Not necessarily in that order. Cathy always comes first even when she accuses me otherwise.
The e-zine. I'll probably do two editions. One for Florida and one for New York and national. The Florida edition will be mostly gig announcements. The NY/national will be plugs for the CD and any new songs I put up. Both will plug this blog. I will be craving input because I love reading other Blogs and getting ideas. I highly recommend that activity to all songwriters. Learn what people are feeling and writing about if you want to touch emotions in your lyrics. Then deny you were writing about them. Keep them guessing anyway.
So I hope the e-zine keeps my fans informed and generates some feedback. We interrupt this Blog to get busy on the aforementioned project. Check in again for programming.
posted by Bud @ 9:36 AM
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
The Generosity of MusiciansThere were no laughs when I read Steve Martin's eulogy for his friend Johnny Carson in this morning's NY Times. I was struck by his noting how generous Johnny was to other comedians who performed on his show. I've been very fortunate to have been treated that way by a number of working musicians. Pros who encouraged me, gave me a shot at their audience, offered kind words and advice. There have been very few scoundrels. At least that I'm aware of.
I list some of the good guys and gals here not so much for name recognition but as a list of things we all need to do for each other.
First of all, Helen Avakian, my last and best full time guitar teacher understood how to handle me. The hardest person to teach is a teacher and Helen understood that perfectly and gave me what I wanted and needed while at the same time taking a firm hand in giving me what she knew I needed. It's clear that without Helen, there is no Bud Buckley the musician.
Davis Turner and Pam Turner. Davis generously insisted I perform during his gigs at O'Kanes on Amelia Island when I was petrified. Pam simplified how to follow him during jams by calling out the chords while she played her five string bass behind me and taught me the Nashville number system. These two pushed me down the slope after Helen took me to the top. I'm having a fun ride.
John Kaminski of Dos Guitars on Amelia Island. John always welcomed me to sit in with him. He also taught me some lead fills and gave me more encouragement than he could ever realize.
Leslie Ritter gently showed me what I could do to hit the notes I never could before I learned to breathe. I still think she breathes through some hidden orifice. I'm beginning to understand things she told me three years ago that I didn't quite get then. Her lessons stick with me and I crave more. Maybe if I stay in New York a bit longer in April or June...
My former students who were and still are good musicians. They encouraged me to pick it all up again. They are prominently mentioned on my CD. Kathy Feeney, my co-writer, is prominent in this group because she always connected with my writing, encouraged my writing and finally collaborated. She clearly "got me" and encouraged me from when she was only nine years old.
There have been a number of local musicians who have been extremely generous. Joey Lavaley and Mark Rom of the Bayou Brothers, encouraged me and Joey gave me a mini set during his gig at Sharkeys. I needed his confidence at that time. BB Ward, welcomed me to his open mic stage at Good Times in Sarasota and joined me during my first gig at Bamboo, giving me support. BB was always encouraging. The big group of musicians at Stir the Soul Coffee House are too numerous to mention for their warmth and support. One standout, though is Ed Coleman of the Gunn Runners and Acousticats. Ed has been extremely helpful, friendly and encouraging. Adjusting my sound at VIP, buying my CD and just being warm and friendly at times I needed it in a new crowd.
I hope all fledgling musicians run into people like this. I hope you all will spread that generosity to others.
posted by Bud @ 9:56 AM
Sunday, January 23, 2005
CD Release Party a HitThe CD Release party was a smash. Wall to wall people all night long. Good response good sales. I'm so happy that so many new people learned what a cool place Stir the Soul is. Mark Zampella sat in with me and did an excellent job. He's a terrific guy to play with and a great friend. How lucky am I to have a producer who is multitalented and such a good friend? He's just as calming an influence on me as his wife, Nancy who is our Yoga instructor.
I need some major rest before the next three gigs starting Thursday.
posted by Bud @ 9:08 AM
Saturday, January 22, 2005
CD Release Party TonightLots of little details to work out for tonight's party at Stir the Soul Coffee House. Not the least of which is setting up the sound so that people can hear outside as well as in. Nobody should be surprised that I'm NOT going to have some MTV VJ hairdo or wear leather chaps and a Feel My Love Bonobo Thong. I may be too busy and preoccupied today to remember underwear but I know I'll be covered in some respectable fashion.
It should be fun on a lot of levels. Fun to see how people my age and older react to my own music. Last night, at Althea's in stark contrast to the night before (see yesterday's Blog) the old folks loved me. One sweet old lady named Mary Jane even bought my CD. She asked me if I could play any of that "Oh his name skips my mind, that Canadian fella." I took a shot at Gordon Lightfoot and was relieved to find I was right. I didn't want to suggest Barenaked Ladies thinking the name would seem offensive to her. But she asked me to play Sundown, a song about a whore. I was happy to oblige and slightly amazed.
I'm not sure I can figure out this whole what to play for whom puzzle. I even had a couple of old ladies ask me for Grateful Dead last season at Althea's. I wish I could have come up with "Bertha Don't Come Around Here Anymore" but had to settle for "Driving That Train High on Cocaine." They loved it. The only lesson is that you just can't stereotype people on their age and appearance. I'm gonna put it all out of my mind and just do what I do. Sing it and they will come. Gradually I'll get a better idea of who "they" are.
posted by Bud @ 7:58 AM
Friday, January 21, 2005
Navigating the Treacherous Sea of Musical TastesDeciding what kind of music to cover is like choosing sides in a multiparty election. I keep about six 40's era songs in my book because I like the arrangements and they were covered by people like Nat King Cole, Tony Bennett, Ray Charles and James Taylor. I don't play them often enough to be very smooth. Recently some nice folks in their seventies suggested I switch over to all forties all the time. They kept me busy with requests for over an hour and then didn't leave a tip. Unless you consider their advice a tip. I gave their suggestion grave consideration for a while. No pun intended. In trying to entertain them, the owner of Althea's, Greg Silvia, was patient but told me later, "You're killing me with that stuff."
He's right, of course. I do what I do. I'm not going to get hired to do private parties for later seniors but most people in their sixties like the music I'm already doing. As long as I leave out my coffee house set. People from late thirties to fifties like it a lot. When I play the coffee houses, I go more contemporary and include more of my own material. Right now you can make a lot of money and stay very busy doing forties music. But that's gonna change as the baby boomers start taking over the demographics down here. I think I'm well situated for that. There are lots of rockers in their early sixties now.
But these are questions that performers and songwriters face every day. The music that moves you is the music you should write and play but the music that moves most people will pay the bills. It pays to be flexible but there are limits to everybody's ability to stretch. Nobody wants to see Mick Jagger doing Celine Dion. Or vice versa! Except as a comedy sketch.
People who treat live musicians like juke boxes and then don't tip should be ignored if you only knew in advance what their game was. Play this, play that, good bye. But guessing what people are going to do when they exit is too risky. In yoga we learn to lead with our hearts. That's the way we should perform too. Play every song like it's your opening number in heaven. Sometimes the angels will be listening. And sometimes they just beat the tip.
posted by Bud @ 9:38 AM
Thursday, January 20, 2005
CD Release Party Number OneRehearsing last night with Mark for the CD Release Party this Saturday. If you're local, come out to Stir the Soul Coffee House at 8pm. I'll buy you a cup of coffee. Mark is gonna sit in with me on at least four of my songs. We'll do some covers too. Rehearsal was fun. Nothing like the feeling you get in a living room with mostly household pets as an audience. That's why I love Stir the Soul. No pets but a wide variety of characters and a definite living room feeling.
We decided to record the performance directly to disc. A very raw recording to be sure. It's tempting for two ProTools geeks like us to use multiple mics and tracks and remix later but let's see what my raw sound is like. Straight acoustic, no backing tracks. I know it'll be fun. Overcoming anxiety with live music is the greatest high I know.
posted by Bud @ 1:01 PM
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
Bizarro Soup Can Yield SongsLast night I ended my set, took a break, chatted with my wife and signed a CD for my friends. When I went to the bathroom, this lady took my hand and said , "You really have to avoid swallowing pubic hair before you sing. It's bad for your throat. Just some free advice." Never one to be left out of a bizarre conversation, I thanked her but quickly added, "Yeah I saw Joe Cocker last night and I think he was taking pubic hair shots between songs. That's gotta be where he gets that sound."
This conversation quickly moved on to intros and an invitation to join her singer/songwriters' jam every Thursday night in Sarasota. I was delighted to find out about this and very entertained by the idea of how this total stranger introduced herself to me. I'm thinking the whole time, this could be a song if I can make a major substitution.
Jumping in a group of musicians I never met is scary but I'll do it in a couple of weeks. I've learned that unusual situations are breeding grounds for new musical ideas.
I've come up with new riffs and progressions when I'm in unusual situations. It's true that I rarely remember them later but if I ever get my four track organized and keep it handy, I know I'll have a lot more material. Jacob's Hurricane, as I've mentioned, was the only song where both words and music came simultaneously. It also happened while viewing the Weather Channel and watching Hurricane Charley bear down on us and ultimately missing us by 15 miles. Nothing like total fear and abrupt relief to fire a bunch of new synapses.
Picking up somebody else's guitar can be a good catalyst to creativity. Or working in a different place. Or taking something familiar and changing the tempo and the order. Play a riff backwards and see what it does to the chord progressions. Break a riff into several parts and then change the order. Make your melodies go high where you used to make them go low. Putting your usual habits and ideas in a mix master in this way will yield some slop, some bizarro soup, but it'll also inevitably yield some very palatable songs.
posted by Bud @ 1:35 PM
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
Find Your AudienceWent to see Joe Cocker last night in Clearwater. Dave Mason opened for him. Very enjoyable show in a terrific venue, the Ruth Eckerd Auditorium. Dave Mason is a superb songwriter. Or was. I can't say I have heard anything he wrote after the seventies. Maybe he wrote some more killer tunes but I was out of music for 15 years so who knows. Joe Cocker has copenned a few tunes but none that I can recognize. He sure makes a lot of money for other songwriters though. So here we have two Rock n' Roll Hall of Famers doing 3000 seat venues and regardless of what they've done lately, they are expected to play the old stuff. And they happily oblige.
There must be some cruel percentage of artists who never even get to make more than a lower middle class living. I'm grateful I never had to depend on it. I am one charmed dude. I think I'll make a late resolution to never bitch about getting requests to perform the same old Florida songs night after night. I'm not mentioning any names here because anybody doing a Google search would be disappointed if they landed here. I think you know who I mean. Besides you have to have a certain amount of awe for somebody who can develop a cult following around a bar drink and a cheeseburger. I wonder if he ever gets tired of singing them? I guess not. It's not quite like working an assembly line because people are cheering and flashing and giving him lots of money. And the mundane icons he puts up are sacred to certain mentalities so I'm not even gonna try to get all intellectual about it. One man's high art is another man's kitchiness, after all.
The lesson here is no matter how ordinary your best or worst song is and no matter how average your performance is, there are people out there who will love you. You just have to find them. I'd tell you how but I'm still looking.
posted by Bud @ 5:42 PM
Monday, January 17, 2005
Nailing It in a LyricHow is it possible that you can shoot yourself in the mouth with a nail gun and not know it? Apparently it's happened at least twice in Colorado. I wonder if there are more people out there with brain penetration who are unaware of it? When I was teaching, I wondered that a lot but nail gun injuries were not what I considered a possible problem.
We all carry unknown injuries to our psyches, I believe. When we refer to that hurt in our lyrics we hit payday when we can find a phrase that is universal enough without being cliche' to have deep meaning to a lot of people. Kind of striking that nail in the brain.
The deep pit of cliches gets more harrowing every day because of our media explosion. It's hard to avoid. Maybe impossible. A reasonable goal is to at the very least create something so good it'll become a cliche'. Copyright it and release it at the end of the year so at least your lyric will be on record as the first, should you ever need to argue the point of who started it. If you care.
Pat Pattison, in his excellent book, Writing Better Lyrics, has an excellent approach to getting deep into your sense memory. This, done religiously, has to yield improved images in your writing. He also explains how to use a thesaurus to help find new ways of expressing those feelings. I have a stack of lyrics that came spontaneously that I will not release until I put them through the Pattison Process. Then it's on to melody.
That's just the way I write. I think the only song I ever wrote with words and music together was Jacob's Hurricane. Every time I write music first, I forget it or I can't seem to get a lyric to fit properly. Just the way I'm wired. But it's important to try to overcome that hard wiring even if just for the sake of stimulating your brain in new ways to release new energy.
Better than taking a nail to the skull.
posted by Bud @ 8:40 AM
Friday, January 14, 2005
Insect Courtship and SongwritingToday's music writing discussion is about cheap gifts or bugs having sex. What are you gonna do with that, Google? I found this Animal Planet story about the courtship of flies. Like the line in John Prine's Louise, "...Some bring her 10 cent trinkets..." That would be this fly and other insects. I know there's already a folk song called Frog Comes Courtin'. But Mr. Fly is not gonna take his intended to the "midnight show at the Coconut Grove, uh huh." He is more likely to give her a fake gift and, while she is checking it out, he is Mr. In-and-Out before she can swat him away and call him "cheap trick" or other insectoid expletives. The song writing challenge here is not to write about a third rate romance of insects but to use the analogy.
The Animal Planet discussion gets into why this deadbeat courtship is both necessary and successful. The songwriter going this route may want to contrast it to the human condition. Flies and other insects, most of whom go through this gift-giving-before-coitus procedure, risk their lives hunting for the really valuable gifts. They can become prey to birds while they are looking for seeds or other juicy insect to pledge their troth. So the cheap fake gift not only lets him propagate the species but saves his own skin (or whatever). Thus passing on the genes of cleverness and survival, even if at the same time the genes for cheapness and tawdry sex. Tawdry because it is very brief and unacceptable. But male flies that risk their lives and bring actual prey gifts like squirming juicy bugs, enjoy a much longer, eh, session. That is, the greater the risk, the more intense the relationship. And longer lasting. Now there's the song. Get busy.
Here's a quick off the top of my head example:
She said, "Don't bring me what I can ignor.
Make me tremble, make me melt, make me soar
Show me now the future and we'll forget the past
Make your eyes smile deep inside me and it'll last."
Hmm, I kind of like how viseral that is. I'll work on it. My free CD for anybody who can come up with something else. Can't wait to see the Google ads.
posted by Bud @ 7:14 AM
Thursday, January 13, 2005
Click Yourself a BoxcarGoogle forces me to be careful not to mention so much. Otherwise an ad for the strangest things appear next to this Blog. Today it is a strange bird I mentioned yesterday. I don't want to mention it again because today I learned you can actually rent them from at least two locations on the web. Honest. Click it and see. Any further mention is sure to turn this Blog site into Strange Items R Us. Once again I'm tempted to write a silly novelty song. But life seems so full of this kind of stuff that it can be nothing but cliche'. I'll resist the urge. But that gives me an idea...
I think I have to resign myself to the fact that the so-called intelligent Google Adsense program is mildly retarded. But they make money by the boxcar load. I think some of those container ships I see off the coast are carting dollar bills to Google. So I'm going to test this system and add something totally un-Bud every day in my blog. I want to see what weirdness Google puts up. Then I urge you to click each of these ads just once. This will give me a few cents and it will be a form of cultural spam-back, if you will. Okay so within a day or two I fully expect to see ads relating to boxcars, container ships, shipping in general. I wonder if cruise ships will be included? Go click them. I wonder if the more you click them the longer they stay on the site? Let's test the system.
posted by Bud @ 7:31 AM
Wednesday, January 12, 2005
Bird LandOne reason why I love living in Florida, besides the fact that it's 80 today and my old school is having a snow day: There were seven enormous storks in my yard yesterday. Today there are at least ten. I'm not sure any women of child bearing age live around here so I hope I'm not pregnant. How to turn this into a song? Rocking Robin, Counting Crows, songs about bluebirds, Blackbird singing in the dead of night, Freebird. I'm having difficulty thinking of a lyric about a cool looking bird that only rhymes with fork, pork, dork and, oh yeah, Bjork. They look very cool when they glide and very, well, dorky, when they walk. They have a surprisingly sweet little call like a smaller bird, I think. Or perhaps there was a mockingbird nearby who is also a ventriloquist.
But stork is not a pretty sounding word to begin with. So if you began with "Ten storks glide in on the sunrise..." It might as well be, "Ten Volkswagens glide in..." Some things just don't easily lend themselves to pretty lyrics. At least to my ear. Chevy comes up in a few okay songs and I even know one with Corvair but not Oldsmobile. I'm not talking about country tunes now which have their own set of rules when it comes to praise of the mundane. Monkey could probably work okay in a lyric if used as a descriptor but not orngoutang or even my beloved bonobos, the most loving apes of all.
Some of my most amusing observations could only be used in novelty songs. But Dave Berry is out of business now. First Gary Larson and now Dave. The world may be screaming for humorous songs about storks or bonobos, who knows?
Happy Birthday to Riane Benson and my cowriter Kathy Feeney, both enjoying a snow day in NY.
posted by Bud @ 3:29 PM
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
The Inner Game of MusicYoga followed by a gig. That's the ticket. Thank you, Nancy Zampella! If I ever get big enough to play bigger places where I would need a performance contract, a place to do Yoga will be in that contract. My spirits were elevated, my energy was peak. I was of course relaxed and centered. Last night I hosted Open Mic at Stir the Soul. So I didn't have to lug and set up my equipment. That activity alone can knock the yoga right out of you. Okay, so now I need roadies too. The hell with groupies.
I'm going to yoga three or four times a week now. It certainly cuts into my practice and writing time but it makes a huge difference in the quality of my life and its effects have snuck up on me. I need to listen to my body better and find just a few positions that can get me performance ready in about ten minutes. That is my quest today. But I found my copy of Barry Green's The Inner Game of Music and that will do just fine for now. It's inner yoga. MUST reread that. I highly recommend that serious musicians and students read it yearly as your goals evolve and your experience deepens. I will never understand how people perform drunk or stoned. Imagine the genius if they were straight.
posted by Bud @ 8:34 AM
Monday, January 10, 2005
Songs About GirlsFark has alerted me to what might be the truth behind the Sister Mary Confusing Complex. Boys fall behind girls, a news story reports. I spent a lot of years teaching elementary school. Girls were usually easier to teach. The ones who were bad were very bad, however. A few give me nightmares. Recently a boy who was very hard to teach and deal with got in touch with me and we buried the hatchet. And it wasn't in my forehead! When he was ten he, or one of his friends, asked me if I liked girls better. I think I admitted I did because they were less trouble.
Girls talk to me a lot more easily than boys do. So I have more ease in writing about girls and their points of view at times. Windswept Girl, More Than I Want, The Part That Doesn't and To Be Alone being prime examples. Also I'm all too familiar with how a lot of guys think and behave when it comes to girls.
But it is true what this article says about classrooms not meeting the learning styles of boys. They do favor the style of girls pretty heavily. I knew it when I was teaching but found that I didn't multitask well enough to split myself into parts and give everybody exactly what they needed. So it was by far easier and more efficient, given my meager talents, to aim toward the style of the girls. Even still, I hear from a lot of kids who specifically tell me they like the job I did. While the majority are girls, the boys who do get in touch with me on a regular basis are mostly guys who had some learning problems and are were classified special education. I have no idea what I did right for them. If I knew, I would have done more of it. Some things you learn too late to capitalize on except for what it does for your ego, I guess. But this story has me thinking about how I might express the point of view of boys who have to contend with what even an un-nun such as myself, throws at them in the classroom. Sr. Mary Confusing was a start but more needs to be said.
posted by Bud @ 1:16 PM
Saturday, January 08, 2005
All Gigs Are Big GigsHow important is an audience? When you don't have much of one or they just don't seem to be paying attention, you have to pretend they are. It's that important. I had a big one last night but we couldn't see each other. Complicated to explain the layout at Althea's last night but I was told to set up around the corner from most of the people who ate outside last night. That part of the canopy didn't fill up. It rarely does. This new location leaves a lot to be desired. I have to give it time to see if it improves before I assert myself and ask for a change.
Livingston Taylor's brilliant little handbook on performance puts contact with the audience as the most important thing you do. So in odd situations like this one, the best thing to do is pretend. The worst thing to do is perform like nobody is listening. My regular fans walked right past my tip jar which is in full sight and easy proximity, because I was now 14 feet away from it. One of them walked right up to me and gave me a tip personally. The tip is an important part of feedback. Many people who don't tip and even stiff their waitresses, still offer words of praise and encouragement. That's just as good as money in my book. But they are not going to walk 14 feet out of their way to do that. Still if my role is to just provide mellow background music, I'll accept it and be grateful I have a steady gig. Pretending I'm playing a crowded hall is a valuable mental workout. To paraphrase somebody, there's no such thing as small performers, just small venues. Treat them like they're bigger venues and bigger things will happen.
posted by Bud @ 9:05 AM
Friday, January 07, 2005
Need for CD ReviewsSaw "Beyond the Sea" Wednesday night. Kevin Spacey was amazing. Very unique story construction. The critics' reaction leads me to believe that critics are small minded vindictive jerks. That scares me a bit. I've submitted my CD for a review which will eventually appear on MusesMuse.com and I hope I get more fair treatment than a lot of professional performers of various genre get. The reviews I find the most useful are from regular folks. I have a bunch I have to put up on CDBaby.com but would love to see more. If you've heard my clips and like them, I wish you'd take a minute to post something on CDBaby.com.
Rumba lessons. Quick Quick Slow. How does that translate over 1 and 2 and 3 and 4? It's like learning to teach the New Math for me. I once took Texas Two Step Lessons. It was humiliating to learn I couldn't accurately or reliably count to two. And dance at the same time. Especially since they can even do it in Texas. A little geocentric humor. Go ahead, make a Florida joke. Or a New York joke.
First of the season regular gig at Althea's last night. No ads equal a small turnout. Then I hurried across the bridge for Songwriters' Showcase at Stir the Soul Coffee House. I don't perform that well when I'm that tired. I know some performers feel they do better when they're tired. I don't get it. Jamaica was hosting and dosed out on benadryl. She was still terrific.
I've invited about a hundred people to my CD Release Party, Jan. 22 at STS. You don't need an invite to come. I'll buy you a cup of Jo if you do.
More publicity chores today. Two guitar students, two neighborhood parties and a dinner gig at Althea's, all before 9pm. Maybe if I wasn't retired, I'd have less to do? Nah.
Okay, once again, scroll down over the last few days to check out the song writing contest.
posted by Bud @ 8:22 AM
Thursday, January 06, 2005
Another Songwriting IdeaNow that the federal government has institutionalized the concept that Noah's flood created the Grand Canyon, I'm deeply concerned that the laws of gravity may be overturned by the moral majority. History is written by the winners, ya know? Although it would be fun to levitate, the suspension of gravity as we know it would make it so hard to find guitar picks and capos and such. Sheet music? Bye bye. Everything important to me would have to be fastened to my body. Hmm, everyone too. I know there's a song here. I'm just not sure I have the guts to write it. Do you? As always there is a free CD for the best attempt. If you respond in a comment please put your e-mail address right at the end of the lyric. Haloscan is not reporting e-mail addresses to me when you use their field. They seem to float away. Could it be starting? Don't forget to scroll down to see the contest from the last few days.
If there is no gravity, has there always been no gravity? Meaning we have been living the illusion of gravity all these years? THAT explains where that other sock goes. Who thinks to look up? It's all so, so Zen. Hey, isn't that un-American?
Before I get an ark-load of hate mail let me say that the Grand Canyon is the coolest thing I've ever seen. I deeply appreciate it regardless of how it was created. Apes are also very cool creatures. Quite fun to watch. It really doesn't matter to me whether or not I evolved from them. It changes nothing for me one way or the other. And I can't see why evolution can't be part of your "intelligent design." What's so intelligent about ignoring science?
The only thing that matters is how I behave in this world toward my fellow man, woman, other sentient beings. I have never needed to believe in anything that allegedly happened two thousand years ago or more in order to get me to behave well. I've always been nice to people because I can see their pain when I'm not. And sometimes I'm not. But I don't believe that tithing my income, or attending any rituals have anything to do with my decisions to be a good guy or a jerk. All good guys are recovering jerks regardless of what they believe. So all jerks are potential good guys, one would hope. Gotta be a song in there, don't you think? But those last two lines are mine. Leave them alone. Go create your own cliche'.
posted by Bud @ 6:33 AM
Tuesday, January 04, 2005
Songwriting Contest and CD Release PartyI wonder how out of over 200 people who have read this blog yesterday, only one person has taken a crack at the song writing contest. I know a bunch of you are songwriters. This is just for fun, folks, not for a Grammy nomination. I'm gonna remind you every day.
My first CD Release Party is at Stir The Soul Coffee House in Venice on Saturday, January 22 at 8pm. If you're from southwest Florida, I hope you'll attend. Send me your address and I'll send you a discount coupon. Stir the Soul is a terrific little place that has mushroomed in the first year of it's existence. I never fail to see and hear good entertainment there.
A new coffee and wine bar on Venice Island is Bella Luna, on the corner of Miami and Nokomis Avenues. I'm going to be a regular there every fourth Saturday from 7 to 9, starting January 29. Already a good selection of artists are performing there with a different one each week. This place also serves tasty food. Wraps and other treats.
And of course, my long time gig at Althea's starts again this Thursday and Friday just around the corner from the later mentioned venue on Miami Ave. The folks at Althea's, Greg and Diane Silvia, are terrific people, warm hosts, the best people I've ever worked for. And they always send their patrons away satisfied with their fine food. I'll be there twice a week from now to April Fools Day at least. I'll probably have an informal CD Release party there as well.
Okay, enough shameless self promotion. I want to see some lyrics rolling in to this site. How can you resist writing about assault and homicide with a sauce bottle? Or one about a 14 year old receiving mash notes from Santa? Check the two previous Blogs. Then get busy. At least let me know you’re working on one.
posted by Bud @ 7:44 AM
Monday, January 03, 2005
Songwriting Contest EntryYesterday I challenged the world to use this link and also this one as your songwriting muse. So far only one of my guitar students, Jim Salhoff, has entered. So there's plenty of opportunity to win my CD for a verse and a chorus. See yesterday for details. Besides, Jim already owns my CD. I'm printing his entry today which is quite humorous. I'm also putting in my first draft which is from the Brian Eno school of lyric writing. You really have to check out what he says about writing. But I know anyone can do better than mine. I did it with one brain tied behind my back.
Verse: Ono Kiyoko,what have you done?
you really had the old man on the run,
you say abuse had been the only cause,
to end his life with a bottle of sauce
Chorus:A broken heart now lies in broken glass,
But now this time will pass, for you
You thought you had to do this to be free
And this you do believe,is true.
And here's mine:
She dialed 9 - 1 - 1 and said, "This is an emergency !
It's about the future!"
They said, "I feel your urgency."
But they saw right through her,
"Call back when the future comes to your door."
She said, "I'm bleeding from the mouth and it's no cold sore"
My house is shaking and it's not the music
It may sound like drums, it's easy to confuse it
But something's on the wind, there's a rudeness of the molecules
You can't tell me nothing's wrong when I got this doll that drools
She just knew that the future was gonna screw her
Gonna screw her,
Gonna screw her before it's debut there
posted by Bud @ 6:08 AM
Sunday, January 02, 2005
Songwriter's ChallengeWin my new CD (Feel My Love) if you can write the best lyric around any of the following articles from Fark. You have to write at least a verse and a chorus. Tie Breaker: if it's not a country tune you win in the event of a tie.
On the Sauce. Surely this can be used at least as an event in a song about love gone bad. An old lady in Japan beats her husband to death with a sauce bottle. If it's a central point in a chorus, it's a country tune I think. Resist the urge to rhyme sauce with Santa Claus. A country tune is okay but the real challenge is to not go that way.
Stuck in Lodi Again. Now I know what John Fogerty was singing about! There are many many ideas in this collection of idiotic police calls in Lodi, California. I'm going to work on this bunch myself.
Post your lyric in the comments and be sure to include an e-mail address and a name to credit. I'll post all the best ones on this Blog.
posted by Bud @ 5:31 AM
Saturday, January 01, 2005
Lurkers Welcome to Get In TouchThis ain't no party. This ain't no disco. This ain't no foolin' around. This be a lame attempt to write an inspirational New Year's Day Blog. Oh, wait, that was yesterday.
Somebody give me the odds against this happening: We move fifteen hundred miles away from New York to Southwest Florida and at a New Year's Eve party of people we have mostly never met, there are seven couples. One of those couples lived down the road from us before they moved here. And the wife of another couple drove past our house everyday for two years on her way to work.
This keeps happening to me. I played a gig at a marina recently where one of the restaurant workers lived in the same general neighborhood as me in Philly when we were kids. Any day now I expect to discover that I'm sitting in a doctor's office or something next to a former classmate from elementary school. And I know it's only a matter of time before people from my past start e-mailing me. I know you're out there. Stop lurking. Get in touch. The statute of limitations must have run out by now!
posted by Bud @ 8:17 AM