The first time I was invited to play Room 5, Aaron Bowen convinced me to take his spot, because he didn’t want to drive to LA. To get me to play the gig, he told me that Mary Kate and Ashley Olson (or is it Olsen…) Were at his last show, and huge fans of his, and would probably show up…. Well, they didn’t… In fact, no one did. But Jay Nash, a fantastic musician who was working at the club, handed me a copper slide for my guitar and was the first guy who told me I should move to LA. (Boy… Was he off… :-P)
I got to LA around 7:00 and went to my old apartment to pick up my mail. (That my ex-roommate, neglected to tell me about… :-P) I had a bright pink envelope from Geico, that let me know that I was late on payment and they were dropping my motorcycle policy… (Would have been nice to know… Punk… 😀 But on a serious note. Check out his show “Death Valley” on MTv. RJ Cantu is the vampire, Rico. Love that kid.)
I changed outside the venue and rocked my new glasses. I think I’m digging the new “sensitive guy” look. And I had 3 or 4 people tell me they loved me on my e-mail list, so I think they’re working!!!! 😀 I had a great time, and Onnie, Ruby, Sean, Rachel, Bradshaw, Jon Lall, and a couple other peeps came out and showed me a ton of love. Great show, and the room sounded great!
I have great amount of memories in that room. From playing on stage with my buddy Joel Eckels, and debating the “awesome” level of LA. (He loves it… And well… I tolerate it… :-P) I was invited to play the Blue & Green showcase and Prince stood up and clapped for me. (That’s a pretty cool story!!!) I’ve played empty shows and no-more-room-in-here shows.
On another note, two themes have been mentioned in convos lately. The first is known as “The Troubadour Show.” I played the Troubadour, and killed. I remember thinking that I would never play a better show. It felt like every move I made and every note I went for was just waiting to get nailed like a punching bag in front of a prize fighter. In SD, Maddie said, “The Troubadour show was your best show and the vibe at you album recording party was the closest I’ve seen since that show…” Tonight, Ruby said, “Josh, this show was legendary! You sounded as good as the Troubadour Show…” It’s just awesome to have that memory. I love that I have shows that people can point to and say, “This was you at your best…” 😀
The second topic that has come up is one of “community”. I had a talk with a very talented singer/songwriter about a year or so ago. I was the only person at his show, and he was very upset because, as he put it, “I go to everyone’s shows, to the point where I’m hurting for money, and when I have a show, no one even shows up!!!” Then last night, I had a talk with a beautiful new singer/songwriter who said, “I go to shows of people who are TeRriBbLe at music! And they don’t come to mine!!! It’s so frustrating!!!”
I’m gonna be real- I’ve never been the best at making community, or even caring what other artists were doing, because I was so busy hustling myself. But the thing is, community is HUGELY important! If music is a business, then you can look at other artists as either “competition” or “networking opportunities”. (Or “friends”, but since it’s called the music “business” and not the music “friendship”, I’m gonna stick with this example.) I can’t tell you how many shows I’ve been to that I wanted to let an artist know how he or she could be more effective or stronger at selling. I BEG people for real feedback. When you have community, everyone get’s better.
When I first started music, I thought it was a competition. I would study other artists, and try to outdo them. The two guys that came to mind are Kyle Phelan and John Hull. I would go onto their myspace pages and look at how they had it layed out. What would they post? How many friends did they have? Because I wanted to “beat” them. In the process of doing that, I missed out on some truly wonderful talent! It’s not until lately that I realized how much better it would be to enjoy their tunes and write with them! If you haven’t heard them, you should really check them out!
Now, should you expect other musicians to come to your shows? Absolutely not. Your fans/friends might be other artists, but that is not your target audience. Artists get into your shows for free, and what you NEED to have is people who love your music. You NEED to play open mics, pass out fliers at other shows, network, meet fans of similar music, etc… Those people have the opportunity to come and enjoy your art, but you can’t get mad at them if they can’t make it to your show! They are not cattle, and you’re not a rancher…(Even if the promoter makes you feel that way…) Enjoy the people who enjoy you and your musical ride will be a much happier ride.
So while I’m pulling out weeds of old competitive ways, I hope any artists who I’ve turned off in the past will forgive me. I know I can be pushy and bossy, but I believe in fair trade. If you want to play Lestat’s with me, you should be able to trade a similar show in your city. (Not a house party with your parents..) BUT if you do end up doing something like that, I’m gonna do my best to be grateful and enjoy every minute of it, because I’ve spent too long crunching numbers and worrying about money. I’m gonna get back to basics, and love playing music for anyone who will listen, again. And I’m gonna do my part to support those who support me.
Enough rambling!!! 😀 Thanks to everyone who came out tonight! I’m 4 hours outside of San Jose, and so happy to see my family. I’ll see my bay area peeps at Hotel Utah in San Francisco on Tuesday night! 8:00, I go on Last, so you can show up later, and it’s 21 and up! (Not sure how much it costs…)
Love you guys!