On March 9th, we played the Whiskey Bar in Hoboken. blue number nine hadn't played in Hoboken in ages. It was really cold that night, and we didn't go on until 11, so I didn't expect much of a crowd, but it turned out fine. Thanks to everyone who came out, including a pregnant Kathleen! When I retire from music, one of the things I plan to do is hang out more with people who I really care about. Kathleen is one of those people. I care about so many people. I've been pretty depressed lately, about my life. I just don't feel like I'm living it the way I want to live it, and life is too short to not live it the way we want to be living, or at least we have to strive to be CLOSE to our goals. In my case, all i do is work! But anyway, enough of that - I think all anyone does is work! It's not just me. Back to the Whiskey Bar - the sound system was damn good, even though the sound guy was damn cranky! But whatever... what else is new? It takes all kinds to make the beautiful world of music function so fabulously. I emailed the guy in charge asking for another show. Didn't write me back. Maybe it's because I screwed up with the gear. I often have to remind the guys in the band of everything, even what gear THEY need to bring to shows, after I've already communicated this information to them. But - BIG DEAL! As if the most important thing in life is a drummer forgetting his freakin' whatever at a gig in Hoboken! Anyway, my point is I have a feeling the sound guy said something negative about us to the booking people. We didn't bring a bass amp or drum stuff with us and we were supposed to. The band before us were super cool and let us use their stuff (the Dennis Zimmer band - special thanks to Steve the drummer and the bass player - Walter, I think his name is!) So it turned out to be a good night. We had fun talking to the other group afterwards and hanging out.
The following night, we played at Bill Popp's annual Daddy Tapes concert. It's a benefit to raise money for the American Heart Association. Thanks to Holly & to Lombard for coming and also to Nedge's people and Morgan's. These two gigs were our first as the new blue number nine, which pretty much consists of 3 new people (Luca, Nedge & Morgan) and old timers Jack, Marco and me. It's been pretty hard on me, all this starting over. Sheila is singing with us on April 1st, and Camari is singing with us on April 8th & 9th. It's all so confusing! We've got a little 10 day tour coming together in June and I don't know who is singing with us aside from Morgan. Oy. But anyway, the Kenny's Castaways show - it went well and Bill raised $800 for the Association. He's been doing that benefit for 19 years!
We had one cancellation this month, which annoyed me. I won't get into it. It's so hard to earn a living playing music. I know I've been talking and talking and talking about retiring. People have pointed this out to me (which means people actually read this newsletter! Amazing!) I work 2 other jobs in addition to this band. There are many people in this country and the world who work more than one job... but I think it's usually because they have children, have no education, face discrimination, or other things. I could be wrong, I don't know. I'm not a statistician. But - I have a Master's Degree and I have no kids. So does it make sense? I work so that I can play music. Think about that - I have 3 jobs so I can DO one of the 3 jobs. I do get bored pretty easily, so I need variety. But I'm tired, man. Three jobs, mon, is too much, mon. Especially when one of them pays like a bad joke. Then, we discovered that one of our supposed booking agents was supposedly booking shows for us, but we checked the websites of the venues, and we weren't listed! So Marco called the venues to find out what was up and was told the supposed booking agent is a fraud! So... yea.... Marco and I have been trying to figure out what would motivate someone to do such a thing.
I don't want to complain, I'm just suggesting that you, dear reader, think about all of this, especially if you're really young and are considering a career in music. I have a Master's Degree. And I have talent, right? You must think I do or you wouldn't be on this website! Ok, so I have this big deal degree, talent at music, original songs that I've written, a band that's been together for 10 years, 2 CD's going on 3 - yet I have 3 jobs and sometimes, I wake up at 5:30 in the morning and can't get back to sleep because I'm so stressed out, so anxious.
Glamorous, right? Not quite. The music business is not glamorous, and in fact, there is something seriously wrong with the entertainment business, in general, from a spiritual standpoint. I don't mean to sound like some New Age freak, but this is what I feel in my bones. I think everyone should play music - play an instrument! It's great fun. But as a business, it's just not right. By all means, write songs. Enjoy music as a hobby. It is a great hobby - fun, rewarding. It only becomes ugly, at least it became ugly for me, when mixed with business... when money began to change hands, or when venues started counting on me to earn money for them. Sometimes, I think I was better off with my 4 track recordings that I could sing along with and play for my friends. I've played flute since I was 9. I can always play flute and I can always sing, and I always will. On the other hand, had I not done blue number nine, I would have missed meeting some amazing people. All of the real friends that I have right now are related to music or came about because blue number nine exists. One of my jobs came about in part because blue number nine exists. So, I can't say I wish I never did this! Plus, the travel part is kind of cool, as long as I get enough sleep!
We had a fabulous time at the Peter Weiss Memorial Scholarship dinner at Puccini's in Jersey City. It was also a lot of work. More work than my other two jobs (in fact, this music thing is the hardest work. It's more work than fun.) We learned a bunch of jazz tunes and performed them well! Morgan and Nedge were fabulous, and thankfully, Luca already knows jazz and is quite competent. I think the attendees appreciated our music. We had a little bit of chaos setting up. There are 2 photos in our FANS area from this show. You can see for yourself how they had us set up... not ideal for sound purposes, but no one hires a band for sound, right? heh... I won't get into what happened with setting up, but let's just say I lost my cool with a very rude person.
Take a look at our schedule! Most of our shows are due to Marco and his booking mania. Who would have thought that our quiet Marco could be so great at bookings? The rest were booked by me. I don't know if you read the article that was written in the Hoboken Current.. if not, it's on our press page. If you look on our main page, you will see we've got some booking agents now. We really do, it's true. BUT - the shows on our calendar are absolutely not due to any actual booking agents booking any actual bookings! I've been doing blue number nine for 10 years now. I guess I shouldn't have expectations, but people do. Don't you? Don't you expect to be able to retire at age 70? Don't you expect to be able to get a good night's sleep once in a while, take a vacation, whatever? Well, I expected by my age to be earning a living at a career I enjoy. And I at least expect a booking agent to do bookings. I mean, if a waiter doesn't wait on you, are they really a waiter? Anyway, I get a little cranky over such things, but what can we do? We just have to keep doing what we've been doing. I don't know if we can get ourselves to any "next level" on our own, but we'll see! Stranger things have happened.
For example, check out this web page on CD Baby when you have time.
It's my friend Cristof. He lived in NYC for a while but returned to his home - Switzerland. He is an attorney by trade, a musician for fun. He made a CD for fun. And ended up getting distribution in Europe and serious attention! It's a rockabilly record and is quite excellent! But he had no intentions of anything other than pleasure coming out of it.
Finally, I have to say that our fans in Cleveland are the coolest people on earth. I put out an email to them because we have a stray gig in Cleveland on April 8th with no place to stay overnight. This really sweet couple and another guy offered us their places. How cool is that?! Stuff like that makes me glad I pursued this music thing. I wish blue number nine could earn its living... a modest living. And I wish we could tour and while touring, stay with our nice fans and friends (as opposed to hotel rooms). Meeting great people has absolutely been the best part of the band experience (conversely, dealing with jerks has been the worst part, so there you have it!) I guess I've rambled on long enough this month.
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