It’s said in business real estate that three things are key. Location, location, and location. Same with this music racket. Only them three things is networking, networking and networking.
You can’t accomplish squat sitting home, creating, being, as it were, an indoor artiste. Wind up submitting songs to publishers and such and feel frustrated as hell when you can’t seem to get nowhere. At all.
I’ve been back at it, after a ten-year layoff of writing essays and plays, only since August of last year. And in that short time have had some pretty damned good results. Rolling Stone ain’t paying reporters to go through my trash, but, I’ll take it. Radio exposure, gigs that people actually go to, stuff like that. Long story short, if you’re gonna acquire any sort of traction, best get your britches out amongst folk.
That said, Party For Life II: Benefit for Michael McElrath, on February 23, was an interesting experience and a half.
Invited for the open mic portion of the show, arrive at BarFly, downtown Minneapolis, late for sound check by about thirty minutes. Walk in, they ain’t nowhere near ready for no sound check. Great, get to sit and cool my heels who knows how long. Sit down someplace out people’s way who are stringing wire, toting boxes and carrying sound equipment to the stage.
A guy walks up. Same guy, I think, was with me on the elevator coming up. We introduce ourselves as (first thing to networking is being able to talk to folk). It turns out to be Tom McIver. Came all the way in from San Diego. Just for this. We hang out and jaw. For the longest. Shooting the proverbial stuff. ‘Til he goes his way and I go mine.
I don’t get far before this cat with a particularly earnest look walks up and thanks me for writing about him. It’s Michael McElrath his own self. Sound check or no sound check, things is getting interesting. That’s when I spot that rascal Francis Duxbury III. Like where there’s smoke there’s fire, where there’s Francis, you’re apt to find Travers and Laura Moe. Not to mention Francis’s lady Deb Christensen. They’re getting hitched in June. And not having the reception until a week later. Smart move. Ain’t a wedding reception invented will survive a bunch of musicians around some free booze. Especially when the groom is right in there with the rest of ‘em, maybe raising the most hell.
So, sound check never happens, but it doesn’t really matter. The guy behind the boards knows what he’s doing and, turns out, is real good at fixing things on the fly. I’m glad not be stuck sitting around, listening to my beard grow with nothing going on.
Soon look around. There’s Rasta bard David Daniels, veteran spoken word ace and close buddy-cat of mine for years. He was responsible for my having met intrepid, alternative media man Jazzy Jay (who has me at Twin Cities Radio as a featured artist). Jazzy, in turn, had introduced me to local luminary MJ Kroll. A fine singer-songwriter and, personally speaking, a fireball on two feet. She’s how I ran into Francis, Bill and Laura. Pursuant to which, I was able to submit to Bill my song “Lady Midnight.” For that matter, MJ is considering “Angels Don’t Really Fly.” In the course of things, ran into Barbara Espy. As in Rawkin’ Brawd Representation. She gave me her business and I gave her my demo (don’t leave home without one!).
Get up, do a set, Bill sitting in on lead guitar. Goes well. We did the old Blind Rev. Gary Davis blues “Death Don’t Have No Mercy.” And had a ball with it.
Then, what else is new, have to split for home and meet writing deadlines.
All said, the evening was a damn good time. Hung with fascinating folk. Played music. Networked.
Singer-songwriter Dwight Hobbes featuring guitarist Mark Dorshak at Corner Coffee, 514 No. 3rd St. in Minneapolis, April 8th. 9 p.m. All ages, no cover.