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I found a site at worstgig.com where bands lament fondly of their worst gig experiences. The following is not the worst gig but was part of a funny week long experience in rural eastern Ontario.
In 1976, around early October, we scored a gig in a town called Carlsbad Springs, Ontario and found ourselves in the middle of nowhere playing a place called Pat and Gord's Hotel; owned by, non other than Pat and Gord.
What we found out about the town of, NO POPULATION, was that the guy named Carl who found the town 100 years before, dug a well, the water was bad and the town was called Carlsbad Springs. Salt water coming out of the taps. Six Hundred Miles inland; salt water... yum.
So, we played for Pat and Gord and almost no one else for the week until, one night, we were sitting at the bar during a break watching television with either Pat or Gord (in my minds eye I can't tell them apart or remember) watching the news and a flash came on about a prison break and the face on the screen was one ugly, mean looking bastard. The bartender said "Holy Shit!" and said, "that facility is just down the road! I know that guy and he'd just as soon cut your throat as say good morning".
I am not paraphrasing, that's what he said. Then, he proceeded to pack up some stuff and left saying, "help yourself to the bar, don't open the door for anyone".
We all went upstairs, after helping ourselves to the bar per the owners instructions and brought with us mic stands to help thwart any visit from crazy-assed jailbreak murderer.
Sometimes I question myself. We all do I suppose but when I look in the mirror, I see something that is less like a blues artist. I am not sure what I do see but it aint B.B. King.
A few years back I was playing a small club in Mount Albert Ontario and was having a good night. I was just about to start the second set and a new face appeared in the crowd. Not hard to notice, the capacity in this place is about 75 people. But even in a bigger crowd he would stand out - big, black with dreads and a presence that was, in my mind, a quintessential blues artist.
He looked me up and down and I thought, "he knows I am not sure - He knows that I know I don't look the part" - and I was ... intimidated. I pressed start, played my set and it was a good one. Happy faces everywhere and at the end, he was smiling and nodding his head. I thought, "nice" and wrapped up the set for a break and he approached.
He said exactly what I thought he was thinking. He told me that when he walked in, he looked at the stage and thought, "White Bread". He then said "then you started playing and I thought, this aint no white bread!"
That meant a lot to me and I truly appreciated his acceptance of what I do and he raised his hand to "high five" me… And I went for it, and
…. I missed :( -
We both laughed hard and he said - "oh man - you ARE white bread!"
Yea - I know, not yet… But there is only one gig day til the new year and that's New Years Eve and this year, mine is a closed party.
But, during the Christmas break I have taken the time to put out a song I wrote in 2005 and have always had high hopes for, "Seven Deadly Sins". The music is based on a variation of jazzy chord riffs that I couldn't let go of. It is so upbeat and lively that it feels like it is a sin in itself! :)
Lyrically, instead of digging too deep, I thought I might just get clever. Every verse is a deadly sin and with the first verse being gluttony, I am imagining there are some people this time of year who might appreciate opening with this particular sin.
The chorus is, of course, lust and the song reflects on ones' imperfections and the teller of the story confesses that despite his shortcomings, she, is his favourite deadly sin.
Check it out - free, downloadable along with most of my other offerings.
Gigs for the New Year!
January 2nd is Wixens Bridge in Uxbridge. 65 Brock St W, Uxbridge, ON L9P 1P5 (905) 852-1222
January 3rd is CJ Barley's In Keswick - the old McClusky's right on 213 The Queensway South Keswick, ON 905-476-4725
January 4th is Tom and Jerrys 17335 Yonge St, Newmarket, ON L3Y 8Z2
I hope to see you out at any of the above but… more important, Thank you for the support this year. It has been a great year where every gig has had familiar faces and many of these folks have even taken the time to find me more bookings. Thank you for that and I hope I can make your night out sometime this year!
Interesting, as the debate between artists and venues heats up, I often find myself on the side of the venue. There are reasons for that which might include the fact that we are remunerating music through beer, we have to expect that it is those selling the beer who should have things their way.
But recently, I started to invest in my show online and, although I can't be positive, I noticed new faces in clubs and a marked increase in attendance in one bar in particular.
I mentioned this to my agent and thought that, if I am paying money to get people in the door, It would be nice to get that back. So far, it hasn't happened and I suspect it won't but - I do appreciate seeing the new faces and may I offer my apologies to those who came through the door expecting to see a humanly physical manifestation of a band called the 21st Century Binary Backup Band. I could see some of you were not impressed.
Late last year, Chris Stapley and I put together a classic Blues and Soul Duo that has generated a lot of interest - gigs, and from where I stand - many smiling faces!
We will be playing with this show into the New Year, already booked for house gigs and private parties - watch out for new musical entries.