Bend or break


There’s days you don’t wanna get out of bed. And then there’s those days you find yourself wondering why the hell you did.

Wake up, sip some coffee, head to the keyboard to work on articles, phone rings and, damn it, yet one more thing has gone to Hades in a handbasket. Your landlord is closing the building down. You gotta figure out where, in today’s market, you can afford to live on what a freelance writer earns. And you better figure it out PDQ (pretty damn quick) ’cause you’ve only got a couple months. Out of nowhere, what you took for granted, a roof overhead, has been snatched out from under you. Talk about life getting turned upside down.

You’re forced to cancel a recording session you had your heart set on and already rescheduled twice, but are hell-bent on having happen. How often do you get to make music with bonafide monsters? Think Godzilla, King Kong, and Rodan all pitching in as sidemen. At Winterland Studios, no less. Stanley Kipper (timbales), Chico Perez (congas) and Jeff “Boday” Christensen (guitar), signed on to help nail down the last song for a CD you’ve been dying for ages to finally wrap up. On top of which, Kipper agreed to sing the other lead vocal. Okay. You call the studio and pull the plug, promising yourself to rebook the time when circumstance permits.

Also, your guitarist and you have parted ways. It time to shop around not only for cheap housing, but someone to play the upcoming club gig. Good luck: gifted guitarists, aside from being a notoriously flaky breed, don’t exactly fall out of the box when you pour Cheerios in your bowl at breakfast.

If all that ain’t bad enough, your cat is sneezing and has a strange cough. You hope it’s just hairballs, ‘cause the vet’s bill is more than you can deal with right this minute. For good measure, a woman in jail, a penpal you never met, but who’s been making all kinds of erotic promises for when she gets sprung in a couple weeks, wants, it turns out, to “borrow” money. Right. She ain’t got no job, ain’t said nothin’ about getting no job, yet she’s gon’ “pay you right back, baby, soon as I get to town.” Sure, she will.

How’s that old Albert King blues number go? “If it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have not luck at all.”

Fear not. God looks after babies and fools and invented fallback for just such an occasion. You’d be glad as hell if He’d clue you in as to when the project’ll come to completion, but you’ll settle for what’s left right now. Combing through playbacks, there’s Winterland sessions in the can that work just fine as a demo. “Lady Midnight” and “Angels Don’t Really Fly,” a pair of country-rock ballads with, if you say so your own self, strong commercial appeal. So, it’s put together a two-song disc and research the market. As for gigs, push come to shove, you’ve done ‘em solo before and can do it again. No real sweat, once you get your mind around it.

You can moan and groan about slings and arrows, singing a sorry song of Woe is me, me is woe. What’s the use, I’m gonna crawl in a hole, eat worms and die. Or you bend with the breeze. Actually, more a windstorm. Ever notice, after a hurricane, which trees live to see another day? The ones that couldn’t go with the flow are jacked up, half-standing in splinters, the other half broken off, sticking out of what used to be somebody’s living room window. The flexible ones caught three different kinds of hell yet stayed reasonably intact.

You could be in worser shape (well, except for the piece about a place to live). So, it’s back to drawing board. Take your song demo, look into pitching artists and song publishers. Rehearse. Make it to the gig. Life goes on. It’s up to you whether you will, too.

Singer-songwriter Dwight Hobbes is at Corner Coffee, 514 No. 3rd St. in Minneapolis, Apr. 8th, 9 p.m.