West Coast Blues Thread Version 19

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by Scott Miller, Jul 27, 2014.

  1. stratocat63

    stratocat63 Supporting Member

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    Yeah I am 60 and have lost count of the types of bands I have worked in. When I moved to this area from the northeast, in 1980, you couldn't play blues here. Kind of like today, except I do it anyway now pretty much all the time. But back then I worked at any kind of gig, country, reggae, beach music (local thing), dance band, whatever I could do to pay the bills and learn another guitar skill while I was at it, but always tried to find a place I could play blues on my night off just to stay sane.

    As far as upthread, with the learning to sing: do it. The worst that can happen is you will suck, but that won't make you any different from a lot of other people out there being paid to suck. You can get better and the best way to get better is on the job in front of an audience. No better training. And maybe you won't suck in which case, even better. I do not think of myself as a singer as I have worked for and with real singers, but I finally stated singing simply so I could do the music I loved and after maybe ten years of it got pretty comfortable doing it. Same situation.. good luck.
     
  2. StaxKing

    StaxKing Member

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  3. brookshubbert

    brookshubbert Member

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    Yep I live in Pensacola Fl and the (so called) Blues Society is headed up by an idiot that knows zilch about music. Bunch of kids wankin' away and patting theirselves on the back. It's all about people trying to be something they are not, no real cats get involved anymore. SUCKS big time
     
  4. StaxKing

    StaxKing Member

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    And another:

     
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  5. hasserl

    hasserl Member

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    I've learned not to complain about the local blues scene, because as bad as it may seem to be sometimes, I have to realize how lucky I actually am in this area. I'd just encourage you all to stick with it and not let things get you down.

    I'm mostly playing acoustic these days, in a duo with a harp player/singer. We play a lot of places where the crowd can be much younger than us old farts, college age or slightly older. The college kids get it, they love what we do. We'll get the best responses and the best tips from them. We played a gig last night in a local soul food restaurant inside of a popular mall, and a 20's something kid came in to eat, heard what we were playing, got up and gave us a tip on the first song, and then 3 or 4 more times during other tunes, he loved it. I've had punks come in in their skinny jeans and dyed black hair and do the same. The other week one of these guys stuck a 20 in the tip jar. I've also had aging long hair rockers come in, and we'll get the nodding heads of approval from those guys too, though they remain a bit reserved, not wanting to give up too much credit. Got to maintain their reputation as a bad ass you know. The older, white affluent couples (the most common types in south Orange County), you never know about them. Sometimes they are stand offish, other times they absolutely love it, you just can't tell. But they are typically pretty tight with the tips. Ladies tip better than the guys do.

    But we don't shy away at all from calling what we do blues, and we'll proclaim it loudly numerous times throughout the show, even though technically what we play is not always real blues. We do a lot of standards and R&B stuff, so we may talk about the blues and how great it is and historical, my partner goes off on tangents that sometimes make me cringe a little because he may be off a little, but he really talks up the blues and how it forms the basis of all other forms of popular music, yadda yadda, and then we might launch into a Sam Cooke number, hahahaha. Hey, it's close enough. But then we'll do a Jimmy Reed grinder just to keep things honest.

    I don't know what the answer is. The blues festival promoters keep hiring rock bands. PBS still plays Joe B concerts during fund raisers. Older white folks still think blues are all slow dirges. We're doing what we can to change those perceptions, but we can only have a small effect.
     
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  6. Carmour

    Carmour Member

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  7. TwoFeets

    TwoFeets Member

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    It seems like the situation with our local blues society has devolved into the following catch 22 - one side of the argument is the people outside the society who refuse to join (or rejoin) who say "I Won't Be A Part of the Blues Society Because all You Guys Do Is (name list of complaints here), and take no action. The people on the inside, on the other hand, insist on making the same mistakes over and over again, refuse to listen to advice, and say "If You Are Unhappy Then Join Up, Show Up to a Meeting And Try to Change It." The wheel goes round in circles and never gets anywhere.

    The most recent catastrophe was with their local IBC competition. First they barely put any advance promo out, so only 4 bands signed up. They sent out a memo cancelling the event due to non-participation. This sparked outrage both with the bands who signed up AND the people who never knew there was going to be an event because of the poor promo.
    They then reinstated the event and to drum up interest they tossed out the residency requirement, so anybody could join. A band from Michigan came down and won. This got the local acts pissed off once again. The icing on the cake was three days later when the Michigan band decided to give up their title because they had already punched their ticket from their own local society in Michigan. The title went to the runner-up, but it left a bad taste in most peoples' mouths due to the MI band ever having been allowed to take part in the first place.
     
  8. TwoFeets

    TwoFeets Member

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    There's a lot to swallow in the last few pages of posts, and I gotta get some sleep here so I'll just hit on one point that was mentioned RE younger folks getting into blues, and putting "real" blues music in front of them.

    At least here in Orlando, at the local bar and club level, there is a thriving network of "roots" music bands that have a good local following. I'm not talking Blasters or Paladins or that sort of caliber, but more amped up 60's rock and soul, maybe some funk. A lot of these bands are younger folks with younger audiences. Those audiences, I think, would be very receptive to WCB and the stuff we consider hip because truthfully many of the bands out there, while well-intentioned, just aren't that good. Put a hot WCB band in front of them and I'll wager it would blow them away.

    Problem is this: we who have been playing out for years tend to be grumpy old guys who want to get paid for a night's work. We are used to playing two or three sets and hopefully making about $100 a guy. These bands usually play on a bill with one or two other bands over the course of the night, and the pay is minimal to nonexistent. I know that in many ways we feel like we have paid our dues and that stuff is beneath us but I've got to tell you, I've sat in with some of these guys, done really ragged versions of "real" blues numbers and the audience just ate it up like popcorn at the movies.

    In a nutshell, if we are all concerned about the long-term survival of this music form that we love so dearly, and we have all seen that young folks really enjoy it "if it is put in front of them," shouldn't we now and then make an effort to put it in front of an audience other than the typical late-night blues club crowd? They certainly aren't going to come looking for us...we have to bring it to them, even if it means giving up our usual expectations of pay and such.
     
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  9. Carmour

    Carmour Member

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    Yeah man. This is too true. I have this struggle sometimes with some of the older guys I play with. They are used to the glory days where they actually made good money. Well It aint that anymore... change with the times or become a dinosaur.
     
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  10. StaxKing

    StaxKing Member

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    I love that story. :)
    Jeeze.
    Best thing, get involved and change the Society's Constitution so you can't serve as a Trustee/Committee member for more than 4 years in any consecutive 5 year period. Job done.
     
  11. StaxKing

    StaxKing Member

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    Feets, is it the Orange Blossom Blues Society?
     
  12. Axis29

    Axis29 Supporting Member

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    One of our local celebrities is Gay Adegbalola (of Saffire, the Uppity Blues Women fame). She and I have started a loose friendship. She comes to my show occasionally (usually, I think it's mostly coincidence, but she stays, hangs out and will get on stage with me if the opportunity presents itself). I honestly think the reason she likes me is because I also talk the history up. Plus, she loves Jimmy Reed and we do a few Jimmy Reed tunes, LOL. She commented to me one night, at a monthly Blues showcase a few years ago, that our band was the only one that made her wanna get up and dance. That was a huge compliment to me!

    I am hesitant when I am booking to say I am a Blues band, unless I know that's what they're looking for... Then, I push that we are 'danceable' Blues. But, wherever we are playing, we push the Blues aspect hard on stage. I will talk about how old songs are and who wrote them. I also joke about how we play them a bit differently.

    I think one thing that happens, that I lose sight of, is that some of the general population may self describe as a Country fan or a Rock fan, or maybe even a Blues fan on occasion, but they all want a tune with a groove. If it makes their little toes start tapping, it'll probably bring a smile. Next thing you know, they are identifying in, instead of out. But, I also think there is a large majority of people who are not as OCD as I and just say, 'I like music'. So, if it's good music, it's good music. Those are the people I need to remember to reach!
     
  13. TwoFeets

    TwoFeets Member

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    Yes it is.
     
  14. StaxKing

    StaxKing Member

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    Ok well I just read their mission statement and constitution (which doesn't have the provision I suggested, unfortunately) so what do you wanna do? Presumably you are a Member?
     
  15. TwoFeets

    TwoFeets Member

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    No I'm just an observer. I have no horse in that race.
     
  16. hasserl

    hasserl Member

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    Haha, the local blues society just held their IBC competition, last year it was won by a dude from France, this year it was won by a band out of Brazil. Yes, southern Cal was represented by a Frenchman at the last IBC and will be represented by a Brazillian band at the next one. Something doesn't seem right about that.

    One of my bands competed last year, we never expected to win it, we just wanted to be a part of it and see how we did. But the dude that one, IMO, was a ringer, brought in by the society (which is basically 1 dude, some of you know him). He and his band are seasoned pro's with a ton of experience, and they simply blew away the local talent, who were all struggling bands trying to make it, playing small gigs where ever they can and working day jobs to pay the rent. They each paid $100 to compete, and the money then went to the French band, and basically paid for their trip over here. I spoke to the guy, they came over just for the competition, did a couple of shows for the society and flew back home. I think they came in 2nd at the nationals. We all paid so the society could bring this guy in to do some shows.

    This year I didn't participate, bad taste from last year. Looks like they did it again.
     
  17. StaxKing

    StaxKing Member

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    Oh ok fair enough. I'll stand down then. I was going to tell you about the grievance procedure that might have made a difference, but you need to be a Member to bring a grievance. :BluesBros
     
  18. hasserl

    hasserl Member

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    It's a whole different game for the new guys. They make their money off the merch, not off the show.
     
  19. hasserl

    hasserl Member

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    Hey, not to change the subject, but I'm going to. I played a Japanese Fender Jazzmaster the other day, and had conflicting impressions about it. It sounded awesome, but the neck felt weird, very wide and flat, not very C shaped at all. I was wondering if that is typical of Jazzmaster necks or if this was an odd one. What's your experience?
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2015
  20. TwoFeets

    TwoFeets Member

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    I get what you're saying here, but the folks I'm talking about do it simply for the sheer enjoyment of playing music. Granted many of them don't have families and probably have fewer responsibilities than we do.
     

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