Date: Wed 30 Mar, 2005 at 20:03
Headline: Accentuating The Positive
Greetings & Salutations!
In a recent IM chat, Fozz was taking me to task about what he calls the "sugar-coating" of the band's experiences as described in these little treatises of mine. I took a stroll down memory lane to re-read some of my old posts, and I have to admit that on the face of it, he's right. I don't delve too deeply into the drama that goes on behind the scenes, of which there has been plenty over the years. I don't dwell on the roadblocks and discouragements, which are sometimes downright overwhelming. Probably the bleakest my writing has ever been in this forum (aside from my maudlin, fatuous remarks following the events of 9/11/01) came last Spring, when I had to write about the cancellation of a gig at Club Sound here in Salt Lake...and even then, I managed to channel the blinding rage that I was feeling into something at least approaching professionalism.
I've thought about the subject quite a bit in the days since, and while I do see my friend's point about a certain amount of glossing-over that occurs from time to time, I don't think putting a positive spin on things is necessarily doing a disservice to the folks I work with or the folks who, for some inexplicable reason, are interetsed in reading about it all. In a way it's like therapy for me, providing a semi-detached perspective from which I can view events and find the motivation to carry on in spite of the challenges (not unlike the function of songwriting, sometimes). It's all made even easier by my natural tendency towards proscrastination. Usually by the time I get around to writing about something, I have already achieved a certain amount of distance from it, and combing through all the minutea, especially the negative minutea, seems sort of....pointless.
For example: our recent gig at DV8. This was our fourth concert there in two years, and though the last experience (opening for the Young Dubliners last November) was a largely positive one, it doesn't wipe away the memories of two others that were near complete strike-outs.
The first came in the summer of 2003, when the club was still being run by what we found later to be a semi-criminal syndicate who dangled all kinds of promises -- that the gig would be advertised heavily, that we were going to be officially endorsed by the company whose DVD release (the making of Dark Side Of The Moon) was the impetus for the entire event, that there would be competent sound and lighting technicians on hand -- and delivered exactly nothing. No release party, no advertising, a skeleton crew in an all but abandoned building with no security, no bar staff...and, as it turned out, pretty much no audience. I had a chance to speak with the promoter/manager earlier that year when we were working out a deal for a double bill with another tribute band, and ten minutes after meeting him I had sonic-boom alarm bells going off in my head. I knew it was a disaster just waiting to come crashing down around us. The only reason I allowed myself to be lured back after the double bill fell through (due to the club's inability to maintain its liquor license, big shock there) was the allure of hitching our star to some official Floydian happening for a night. Turns out, I should have trusted my gut.
The second strike-out at DV8, last October's gig, has already been fairly well documented by both Fozz and I. Despite the fact that the place is now run by our friends Ken & Julie Felix, good folks with good business practices, the performance conditions and box-office results were about the same. It was an especially frustrating night for everyone because with another band on the bill and an official recording to be done, the stakes were so much higher than usual. We had hoped against hope that more work going into promotion and more responsible folks at the wheel could help to erase the curse that seems to plague the venue, but it was not to be.
So, when Tim brought news that Ken had asked us back to play a show in March, we weren't terribly enthusiastic about it, but we knew going in that anything would be a step up...and as it turned out, the experience was worthwhile. The turnout was still thin, the soundcheck still went way too late, and due to those and other circumstances the performance was not our most inspired, but there was a definite upside. We got to see Ken & Julie again, the folks who did show up stayed for the whole night and were very upbeat and responsive both during and after the concert, and we got a chance to test drive some new SoN tunes (Clarity, The Midas Touch, Visiting Mussolini) which until that night had never been played outside of rehearsal. It also gave us a chance to knock the rust off the FloydShow after two months of inactivity, and that little warm up will come in handy when we roll into uncharted territory tomorrow night for our gig at Club XS in Vernal. Going in with somewhat lowered expectations definitely gave me a chance to accentuate the positive in this situation, and being able to write about it now only reinforces that. Or, as Carl Carlson from The Simpsons once put it: "If I didn't have inner peace, I would go completely psycho on all you guys, all the time". ;-)
(...and yes, I'm aware of the irony of invoking the Ghost Of Lousy Gigs Past in order to make a point about trying to stay positive. It was one of the things that made this entry seem strangley worthwhile...)
For those who came out to see us last week, thank you once again. If you loved the show, tell a friend or ten, and we'll see you this May @ The Velvet Room.