How many guitarists does it take to screw in a light bulb? 100. One to screw in the bulb and 99 to say, “I can do it better.” Old Chinese proverb? Nope. A quip from my performing partner (and guitarist) Mark Dorshak. We’re at his home studio, rehearsing when he lays that one on me and leaves the both of us laughing like a couple of hyenas. We’re getting ready for our second gig at Corner Coffee over in the Minneapolis Warehouse District.
The first one went well. For me, actually, it was something of a personal comeback. You try laying off playing for five years. If you so much as get on and off the stage without embarrassing yourself, you’re ahead of the game. Flashback. I get to Corner Coffee, do a sound check, grab a strong cup of joe, and it’s do or die time. The game plan is to do a split set. I open solo, backing myself on acoustic rhythm. Then, for the other half, bring Mark up to play electric lead. We’ve rehearsed a whole two times. Which, actually, when you’ve got an intrinsic connection between the two of you, is enough to get the job done. If, that is, I don’t foul up, doing songs I was (some of them, anyway) two, three days ago, still ironing out rough spots on.
God can be good. Doing the sound check, it falls into place, the old familiar feeling of getting up in front of microphone and doing one’s thing. Before I know it, I’m comfortable as the cat’s pajamas. And the gig itself goes well, all the right notes getting put in all the right places. It’s a real lift, too, that along with the wall to wall applause, get this, the likes of e.g. bailey, Zsamé Morgan, Dan Sullivan, and Chris Shillock are in the house. We had such a ball I completely forgot to get nervous.
In the interest of it not being another half-decade between engagements, I’m delighted that Corner Coffee asks us back before we even get out the door good and that a booking at Hell’s Kitchen is set. It could be worser. And feels very good to be back in the swing of things.
So, today, we’re at Mark’s rehearsing, drinking, smoking, and swapping complaints about our lack of luck with the ladies. Then, he pops off with that crack about guitarists. He laughs, I laugh. And when we calm down to get back to business, I sneak a suspicious look at him. What I wonder, does this wise-ass say about singers when I ain’t listening?
Singer-songwriter Dwight Hobbes featuring guitarist Mark Dorshak—Oct. 8: Corner Coffee, 514 3rd St. North in the Warehouse District, Minneapolis, 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. No cover, all ages. Oct. 16: Hell’s Kitchen, 80 9th St. S. in downtown Minneapolis, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. No cover, all ages. Photo: Dwight Hobbes performing at Corner Coffee in August. Photo by Jay Gabler.