Bob Simpson / Blog

Almost there

Hello fine friends,

It's been ages since I've posted anything. Time to do a check up.

I've relocated to a bigger market about 5 months ago. Houston, Texas! So far I love it here. But, needless to say, this journey still continues. Who know where I'll end up next. To borrow from Townes Van Zandt, "Where I lead me, I will travel".

My new album, Odd Man Out, has been finished, mixed, and mastered but not yet released. Why? Because it's expensive and I'm a broke ass musician! So just as any independent musician would do, I've started a fundraiser. So far, I've raised almost $1,000 with $85 left to go! Everyone has been more than generous with their contributions, encouragement and support. If you'd like to join the ranks, please do so by visiting www.gofundme.com/1rmz88 to make a pledge. There's some great incentives to it.

The gigs have been slow but they're picking up. You can catch me at the dates listed.

Just checking in. See you guys soon and happy Valentine's day if you're into that sort of thing.


Radio, Radio

With the recent passing of MCA from the Beastie Boys, I’m hoping that his acts of kindness throughout his life are making, not just artists but people everywhere, rethink the way the approach people in this world. Especially when it comes to those who are the ones helping you out when it’s their job. Those helpers in the music industry that I’m getting at are the true cowhands of the airwaves - radio jocks.

“Never piss off the jocks”, my good friend and radio DJ Ben Ryan once told me. I’ve worked in radio and have seen firsthand what happens when you do. It’s kind of like that movie Waiting… and we all know now to be nice to the wait staff at the restaurants we go to, now don’t we?

Here’s the deal: piss off the jocks and you don’t get played especially when the market has enough independence to make the choice on if they should add your songs to rotation. But think about it; if someone were rude to you, wouldn’t helping or servicing them be the last thing you’d want to do?

Another suggestion, don’t kiss ass. That just annoys them. It as annoying as the consistent calling and emailing/tweeting/facebooking/texting the DJ’s directly and asking like a whiny bitch, “How come you haven’t played my song yet?”. Really? If they felt it to be in the listeners’ best interest as well as their own (and sometimes yours), it would have been played. Just ease up, give it some time and wait to release your next single. It’s nothing personal. Usually.

Never insult a jock, its station or its listeners. That’s a no brainer. If you have half a mind to actually do those things, you probably don’t need to be on the air or pursuing music. We all have opinions but let’s make the obvious right choice here to keep this one to ourselves.

So you recorded an album – great! The jocks are happy for you. Have they heard it and/or will they? Jocks are people too. They don’t always have time in the day to listen to albums all the way through. Hell, sometimes they even need a break from listening to anything at all. So if you’re asked, “What’s the name of your single?”, don’t reply back with a, “I don’t know. Listen to it and tell me what you think it should be”. I’m hoping that you would have cared enough already about your career to know what track should be the single. I’m sure they know they’re all great songs but the DJ asked you a question. Please give the expected answer.

Build a solid, friendly relationship. A card at Christmas time is always fun and the jocks enjoy it. Shoot them a text when you’re passing through town to say what’s up and if there’s time, go have a beer or lunch with them.

Never be afraid to ask questions. They’re trying to learn as much about you as you are them (if interested) and how things work on their end. Ask them how rotations and spins and such works. Ask them about venues you’re not familiar with in the area. Like I said, they’re in the business of helping you, basically.

Watch your ego. Especially in Texas where the music scene here is huge. You might be a top shelf act here in this state but you’ve got 49 others who have no idea who in the hell you are. Not only will your ego affect your chances of radio airplay but it will also put a dent in your fan base that leads to poor record sales and show attendance. Then you’ll be asking how did I get to zero from thinking I was hero. Keep it in check!

So let’s recap here: 1. Don’t piss off the jocks. 2. Don’t kiss a jocks ass. 3. Don’t insult a jock/station/listeners. 4. Don’t expect a jock to listen to your album and make the decision on which track should be your single for you. 5. Build a relationship with the jock. 6. Ask questions. 7. Watch your ego.

Songwriters Concert Series So Far - So Good!

I count my blessing each day. It’s like a habit I have. I’m thinking it’s a good one. One of these blessings I have is opportunity – the opportunity to play the music I make with other guests I’m proud to call friends or either just to hear their records whenever.

About a month ago I was given the opportunity to host a concert series that would invite songwriters from all over that I could showcase. So far, the response has been just as great as I had hoped. The fine folks at the Still Water Bar & Grill approached me with the idea and had me take it on. As excited as I was about not only getting to play, but to bring other songwriters in to share their work has been a real treat for me as well as the other folks who have come out to see us.

My first show to kick this off was with my friend Nicolette Good from San Antonio, Texas. Nicolette has a vocal approach similar to Gillian Welch and a songwriting style that’s very eccentric and earnest. As our mutual friend Drew Kennedy says, “Her name is an understatement”. I was lucky enough to have this gal do vocal harmonies on my new album.

When I emailed Mando Sanez about doing the second show in the series, I wondered if he’d accept my invitation – and he did. I was thrilled. I caught him while on a tour through Texas in which he frequents enough. Mando resides in Nashville and records for the Carnival Recording Company. He’s had his songs covered by Stoney Larue and Lee Ann Womack. I owe a lot of gratitude to Mando. His music alone inspired me to pick it up where I’d left off a few years back. Needless to say, playing a gig with Mando was almost like a dream come true. Imagine getting to play a show with one of your influences. Enough said, right?

Luke Jackson
Luke Jackson  (about 5 years ago)

I look forward to some of the shows

Funny things that aren't so funny

As a musician, it's always important to get out there and play your songs for a lot of obvious reasons. Sometimes unforeseen circumstances get in the way from making those happen - or if you're smart enough, you'll find a way to get around them.

I was on my way to do an open mic night so I could get a gig at this local wine bar. I leave my humble garage apartment (a songwriters paradise, pretty much) for the ol ATM to get some cash and make my way downtown. I hear/feel this loud pop on my way to the venue. Now, I've always had this somewhat of a fear of having a blow out before (thanks drivers ed for scaring the crap out of me as a 15-year old student) and needless to say it finally happened. Luckily, I was right by, and I mean like yards, away from the Exxon station. I pulled in to have my spare put on. Now, I'm not an automotive mechanic by any means but I can change a tire. Let's just say I prefer the work of a hydraulic jack instead of the jack that comes complete with your vehicle. And the poor mechanic; my spare tire was as tall/short as he was (Yes, he was a little person).

(Note to the reader - I do not discriminate against anyone's race, sexual orientation or size)

I get to the wine bar where this open mic is held 45 minuets after its start time. Hence the title of this entry, I wasn't exactly appreciated as I had assumed. I thinking wine bar - singer/songwriter - it'd be just perfect. WRONG!! I wasn't too well received and was then told by the owner that I wasn't what they were looking for. What they were looking for: someone to play cover songs all night long. I'm not much of a cover person. Now, don't get me wrong, I can play every Hank Williams song you can throw at me but come on. This is how I'm trying to get noticed just like the rest of us. Just me and my songs. Good luck, right?