*originally published in Sound Waves Magazine February 2018
The beginning of a new year is always such a joyous and hopeful time for bands. Just like normal people, bands set goals, make resolutions and promise themselves all kinds of things. They vow to “get better,” “practice more,” “get better gigs,” “write Grammy-worthy songs,” and “really grow the audience.” Stuff like that.
So when I get the email from BandsinTown.com containing a rundown of other bands’ new show announcements, and I see that some of them are booked through the spring already, through the summer, through the fall, and all the way until the end of 2018, I sort of, kind of, WANT TO SCREAM MY HEAD OFF.
Are you freakin’ kidding me? Booked through the end of the year, already? Don’t you think you’re being just a tad greedy? Maybe a little selfish? Maybe a little over-zealous? Have you no conscious? Don’t you want to leave some time to watch music documentaries as a team-building exercise with your band? Don’t you want to ride roller coasters or race bumper cars or go on a hike or go skiing or sit on a beach? How about reading a book. Do you people even READ?!?!?
No fair I say. The “other” bands taking “all” the gigs needs to STOP. Give somebody else a chance! Why can’t we all just swimmingly get along? Why do you have to be such sharks? What on earth is compelling you to take EVERY SINGLE REMAINING GIG ON THE PLANET?
Here’s how it goes down for me to get just ONE gig, never mind every single remaining gig on the planet:
I tried to get a jump on things and thought in February I could work on getting a gig for St. Patrick’s Day for the next month in March. Irish bars are just THE PLACE to be around St. Patrick’s Day so I wanted in. I had heard “Whiskey in the Jar” a couple times, so I assumed I was all set.
I picked out an Irish pub in town because it was classy, the drinks were expensive, and I thought the chances of people buying my CDs were higher. I went into the place, drank four black-n-tans at the bar and headed over to the bar owner who’d already had ten.
The white-haired, red-cheeked flabby-faced elf-like Irishman barely looked up from his race book as I slithered over with my promo package and sat next to him. I said, “Hey. I have a great band that would fit in really well here. How about giving us a gig?” He ignored my pretty green folder, turned to me, looked me up and down, and said, “OK. Let’s see what ya got. Let’s go to the back room. You can give me a little live audition.” We headed back to the secret room full of broken-down leather chairs, a green and orange couch, and tons of bric-a-brac hanging from the walls. From behind a two-seater bar, he whipped out a guitar, handed it to me and said, “Go.”
I proceeded to play and sing an original song, with all my heart. Then, like that scene in the movie “The Da Vinci Code” when all the descendants of Mary Magdalene miraculously appear at the Rosslyn Chapel, burly guys of questionable character began to fill the small spooky room. The nice bar owner guy rudely interrupted my audition with a “Ho Ho Ho” (of some sort) and him and the other “musicians” broke into a series of Irish folk songs complete with Gaelic accents and songs about the Moors. I don’t know if they were in a trance, drunk, or flat out insane.
I put the guitar down and found a way to sneak out of the room. He didn’t want to get to know my music. He just wanted to have a bit of a Craic. I never got the gig.
Because every other band on the planet is mean.