8/21/2005

I love playing the fireworks thing in Jaffrey NH.



Man, I dig playing the fireworks extravaganza in Jaffree New Hampshire with the guys. Thousands of people, a great gig. Great gig. This is my third one and it never gets old. See? There's things I like.

I love a great end-of-summer gig. When it's cyclical. It's bittersweeter'n hell.

It's a reminder that it's basically good to be alive. Even if it's all a fucking shit hole it's a god damn beautiful one and it's O.K. being a polyp on it. Polyp wrote all the romantic songs and Johnip wrote the groundbreaking ones.

This gig is a little early for an end-of-summer gig. Maybe the TransPerformance at Look Park in Florence is the end-of-summer gig, on August 30. That's also a fantastic gig and this'll be my third one.

What would I be doing in Los Angeles? Well, I'll tell you. I'd be trying to sell tickets to get 50 people in to my gig at the Troubador. Doesn't that sound fun? Doesn't that sound musical?

You know what I think? I think mixing music and promotion makes about as much sense as mixing love and finances. It's a sublime/ridiculous proposition. It's boring to bug people to come see your show. It makes you feel like such an amateur. Such an amateur.

You should have little elves that do that. Or promo people. Same thing.

Our press agent in LA was so bad that our guitarist joked that she must have saved our manager's husband's life in 'Nam. That's some funny shit.

This guitarist once took a hundred tiny scraps of paper in the recording studio and wrote "only bad people do compulsive things" on each of them and spread them throughout the place.

He used to make real-ish looking 7-11 coupons for free "testicle rubs". He would write to General Mills and other food companies and compliment them on their products. And he'd get free shit for it.

He made a little guitar effect box with a switch on it where you could toggle between "i wish to offend" and "i do not wish to offend". Oh, that's great. It was on the cover of our record. We decided to set it to "i do not wish to offend" after much thought.

He was pretty much way up in the crystal meth, if you hadn't realized it already.

Music and drugs. Music and promotion. Love and finances.

The TransPerformance in Look Park is great because it's a big benefit for something and they get like the 10 most happening bands and artists to pay tribute to classic bands in a sort of theme. Like, last year it was "The Birds and The Bees" or some shit and they had bands that were all animals. I played with King Radio as the Bee Gees. Crazy. "Lonely Days", "Massachusetts", "You Should Be Dancing", "To Love Somebody". They had The Monkees, T-Rex, all that. Hundreds and hundreds of people.

Jesus Christ, the Bee Gees were pretty fantastic there in the '60's. I don't know if you realize just what ultra-professional career dudes these guys were.

This year is "New York". I'm doing Steely Dan on bass with King Radio and playing keys for Dad Come Home as The Talking Heads. Sweent. Steely Dan- "Peg", "Kid Charlemagne", "Dirty Work", "Bodhisattva", "Reeling In The Years". Nice.

Tell ya, on those recordings- that bass player never stops playing. I play along with the cuts and I try to leave spaces and whenever I do...there's bass going. Like '70's Roxy Music. The bass is like ultra-busy and driving.

I like it. Because I'm the bass player.

What I don't know is how I should dress to look like Steely Dan's bass player. I don't even know who it was. There was all these "tasty" guys playing that shit. Slick Marotto and them. And Sal Mineo on Cor Anglaise. Didn't the junkie dude, Becker, play a lot of that bass? I can just look like him. All high.

I'll miss summer a lot this time. I'll spend more time wondering how many more I get.

How many more summers. Each year it dawns on me that it ends. I wish I didn't have to think about it. But so many people have died, you know? I always look at a group of strangers and wonder if any of them will die in the next couple of years. I do this thing in my mind where I "disappear" some of them like a T.V. public service ad. That is sort of fucked up that I do that. Probably other people do that and I'm one of the faders, you know? That's messed up, man.

Maybe the fact that I'm not one out of the small segment that gets to be stars means I won't be one out of the small segment that croaks young. That's a decent trade. I'd still take 40 John Lennon years over 70 not-John-Lennon years though, but it's too late for that. I might as well stick around. I beat John Lennon's time-on-planet figure last March. He beat my highest chart placing in 1963.

I'll do my utmost. I gotta drop the fags and get more than 5 hours of sleep a night. That's my best bet. So much about living longer means getting more boring.

The fireworks thing rocked though. We did "Let It Be" and "Tiny Dancer" and they fucking slew. "Hard To Handle" blazed even though I left out a verse. I always tell the band "I'm tailoring it to the concert" when I do that crap. Yeah, tailoring it. All those people are in the market for a big fat clam right there.

A clam is a musical error.

Great system they bring in there. Huge-ass line-array concert speakers blaring at thousands of people. The fireworks are synched to music and they have this state-of-the-art line array crap. Thousands upon thousands of watts. 90 percent of them for stuff under 80 Hz. That's working with headroom, boy. You'll have people's spleens erupting before distortion. Floop.

"Summer Breeze" by Seals & Crofts: consummate soft rock craftsmanship.

BANK OF AMERICA


WAL-MART


MARTHA STEWART ON THE MEDIA

CINZANO (Cinzano?)

5 Comments:

Blogger The Viscount LaCarte said...

Awesome post Bobby.

>What would I be doing in Los Angeles? Well, I'll tell you. I'd be trying to sell tickets to get 50 people in to my gig at the Troubador. Doesn't that sound fun? <

I remember being 28 and gigging CBGB's on a Tuesday night at 1:30 in the morning, "playing to an *audient*" we used to say because "audience" implied more people than were ever there. The booking agent would say, "you guys are really good, but I can't give you Friday until you bring more people down on a Tuesday." It was demoralizing, especially when there'd be some kids there who couldn't even tune their guitars or cover "Wild Thing" were packing the place at 11:00 PM. They'd all be gone by the time we played our first note.

People at my day gig would ask me, "When can I come see your band?!" Imagine the looks I would get when I would tell some 35 year-old with a couple kids who hasn't been up passed 10:30 on a Tuesday since "Welcome Back Kotter" went into syndication "when."

***

I was just thinking today, (no lie!) how much fun it would be to play bass in a Steely Dan tribute band. "Peg" and "Kid Charlemagne" featured Chuck Rainey on the bass. Walter Becker played bass on the other ones you mentioned. Everyone always notices (with good reason!) the 'tars on the Dan records, but the bass playing kicks.

If you haven't already, checke out the DVD "Classic Albums - Steely Dan's Aja."

3:37 PM  
Blogger Bobby Lightfoot said...

Excaaactly.

The bands with the most friends get the shows. Makes a lot of sense, doesn't it?

Does that mean the bands that succeed had the most friends?

What a fucking racket.

It works because fucking BANDS GO FOR IT.

They drag all these poor people out to these clubs so the club can make money.

In LA and San Diego they'll tell you "get 50 people to the show". If you bring 49 you'll never play there again. Because there's 6 trillion bands in line behind you.

And they're all bad.

I'd rather be a really, really good artist.

I don't have that many friends.

Because I spend my time trying to be a good artist.

4:07 PM  
Blogger The Viscount LaCarte said...

And indeed, you are...

5:53 PM  
Blogger Simon said...

Abso..mindblowingly..lutely good artist. Holy shit...etc...

Wow, here i am on the other side of the planet romanticising the hell out of these places you guys have been playing and... well... like the reality behind any fantasy it's always ugly.

12:31 AM  
Blogger Bobby Lightfoot said...

Nah- you can go ahead and romanticize these places. They're cool. But they're the real America. Not the TV crap. Brattleboro is about the prettiest thing I've ever seen. it's like the fuckin' Shire or something.

CBGB's is like a horrible toilet but it's the coolest horrible toilet in the world.

12:37 AM  

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