Jonathan Richman, genius of the parish of Boston, agreed to this interview after being cajoled by a long term fan. Only thing was, he wasn’t going to say anything.
Last week I set myself the challenge of appearing at at least one open mic, just to raise my profile. This was to act as a ‘pointed stick’ to jog me out of my normal habits (disappearing to my room and sitting in from of this goddam machine). Last night was to be the night. I ran out of excuses and headed for an open mic run by Scott Taylor at The Out House in Broughton St Lane (not a gay bar despite its location, he said in the email). Scott was welcoming, and the performances, including his, were good. I met an old acquaintance, Iain Firth, a top performer from Songwriters Showcase days and he persuaded me to head on to another open mic at the Blind Poet, which we did while Iain held forth on various topics I found hard to follow. As before, the only people giving any attention were the other musicians. The familiar open mic situation, then. Iain said this was one of five competing open mics on the same night! While it’s important to get your face known and not attempt to rely on web promotion (definitely not!), and while actually playing songs on stage is a great joy, there’s something unsatisfying about only playing to other musicians. In fact I could think of only a handful of people who know my stuff who aren’t themselves songwriters or musicians. So the pointed stick worked to the extent it got me to think about changing the way I try to promote what I do. But what next?
1 thought on “14/3/07”
if you think Jonathan Richman’s a genius, then you’re somewhat of a genius yourself!
he too is known (and revered) mostly by other musicians, and has returned to the silent treatment in granting interviews (these days to save his voice but he’s always disliked interviews anyway)
the web is great for promotion but you don’t want to lose that feeling of playing to audience members face to face; if they’re mostly other musicians that’s ok
some of them will be unmusicians like me, maybe lurking in the corner, maybe too shy to have anything to say
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