So. You’re probably aware of what day it is, and if you were in any way affected by what went down you’re probably so pissed off and cynical about the last year’s worth of branding and exploitation that you have incredibly mixed feelings about the whole affair, and I for one am with you.
So we’ll leave it at that. On with what you came for. Which is: Tour Gossip!
Sadly, there is none we can share at this time. Our first actual show is still four days off, but the band has been bumming around Claremont for a while now and we all definitely feel like it’s started. In general, though, we’re trying to keep a written record of every show we play, what with memories bleeding together and distorting as they do, so we figured we might as well do it where the rest of you can see.
I mean, my God, nobody’s pressing your face up to the screen and making you read this, are they? Calm down.
Here’s the skinny on show #0:
I played a couple of songs at a songwriter’s circle in Hollywood last night. I had a blast, but for those of you who have never been, the whole singer-songwriter scene is probably one of the most depressing ones out there. On the one hand: showcases, open mics and the like are usually free and all-ages, and there’s not really anywhere else you can go if you want to catch the Joni’s and Dave Matthews’ of the world before they’re playing sold-out shows for industry sharks and Hollywood trendspotters at Johnny Depp’s Viper Room. On the other hand: there are a lot of truly mediocre musicians out there.
When you go to see a new band, there’s this unspoken knowledge shared by everyone in the club that if they’re really just off-puttingly bad, nobody’s going to come to their shows, their CDs aren’t going to sell, and unless they’re packing truly unhealthy amounts of time, money and hubris, they’re ultimately going to break up in frustration. This sucks for the band, but it winds up benefitting everybody in the long term: the scene marches on with Darwinian efficiency, while the now-dispersed musicians either form better bands or realize they weren’t really cut out for it and get on with their lives.
But we singer-songwriters are a different story. We spend very little time worrying about logistics. All we have to do is speak English, carry a tune and strum a few chords on a guitar. By the time we “find the courage” to come out of our friends’ livingrooms and sweettalk our way onto a well-lit stage, we’re usually such insufferable assholes that we consider ourselves invincible and will respond to any criticism or lack of uproarious applause as confirmation that we are wasting our time in this dead-end scene, casting our pearls before swine who just can’t comprehend anything that isn’t shoved down their throats by Clear Channel Communications. We are clearly ahead of our time and will someday be recognized as such, as long as we keep playing shows and making contacts. The post-show adrenaline rush and pats on the back from friends old and new only serve to reinforce this.
And so we find a new club, maybe a new city. Lather, rinse, repeat. Suddenly we’re 40 years old, wearing black leather pants, and nobody has the heart to tell us we’ve wasted our lives.
That being said, I do think that Circle of Songs draws together an above-average level of talent (present company excepted), having put such top shelf artists as Tom Freund, Jeremy Toback, and Grace and Savage on their stages while continuing to keep their tri-weekly showcases free and open to the public. But in general, there’s so much flattery and bald-faced “networking” in this whole scene that I find myself both ashamed and depressed that this is really the only way for those of us without jaw-dropping levels of talent to make a career out of performing music.
I don’t know. I feel like an asshole for saying all this, and I certainly don’t think SWLLC is the greatest thing since bottled bread, but I guess the moral of my rant is this: please let the emperor know when he isn’t wearing any clothes, especially if he’s your friend. He will thank you for it later and ultimately laugh about the fifteen years during which he didn’t return your phone calls and threw rocks at your house every time he walked by.