There was a CBC radio show called Real Audio created by the inventive Loc Dao
and for some fabulous reason they hired me to make 3 pieces for them where I could dream up ideas of people to record.
I did a piece on Bruce McCulloch, Kathleen Yearwood and the third was a jam session of Kingston people, Gord Downie, Grant Etienne (13 Engines), Mike O’Neil (the Inbreds) and Sarah Harmer. This was in and around 1994.
Reading Michael Barclay’s review of The Conquering Sun poked my own memory banks to the Kingston sessions. They never aired and that’s probably a very good thing because it was just a meandering jam session. I have thought a few times that I should take those sessions and create pieces out of samples and then take those “songs” to Gord, Sarah and Mike and see if they are perhaps inspired to write over them? A good idea no?
When you play out of town consider involving community radio. Usually it’s free and then there is some built in advertising. Don’t be scared of asking they are suppose to represent the community after all and you are keeping their work stimulating. Offer to make the advertisement yourself because it will be a more amusing ad.
There are too many scenarios where the club doesn’t call back, where the car breaks down, where the crowd is the wrong crowd at least have fun with the things you can control. Maybe there are a few artists who are successful zillionaires in their field but most of the other artists hover around the poverty line. There isn’t much of a middle class in being a performing artist. That’s why the #1 rule in my delusional universe is keep your dignity.
Most shocking moment in concert was when Joan Armatrading played the Winnipeg Concert Hall circa 1977. It felt like a sold out show and she was a special rising star across North America and Europe especially after her 1976 self titled record had songs like this and guitar playing like this. I bet I am not the only person from Winnipeg who didn’t think we were worthy of having her come to town.
So there she is on stage playing with her band, we were all in Joan Armatrading heaven. Maybe 30 minutes into her show she notices an extra microphone on stage and she says “what should I do with this?” and some guy in the audience responds (loudly) “shove it up your cunt”.
That’s what we all heard.
The room was stunned.
The Winnipeg Concert Hall holds 2000 people, it sure felt like 2000 people were freaked out and speechless. What could anyone do? Joan Armatrading looked out towards where the voice was from and she started to gather herself “Why did you come here? Why did you buy a ticket?” people started to boo the guy and then she looked out again at us “Why don’t we ….beat him up? Turn the lights on!” she started to laugh, everyone else laughed along with her grateful she could turn tragedy into comedy.