random thoughts #4 and bands with one member
I just went through a popular website that features new releases and out of the fifty or so bands with new albums, more than half had just one member in the group. Now the concept of a one man band is hardly new, the origins can be traced back as early as the 13th century. Bob Dylan with his guitar and harmonica is considered one, as is Fate Norris who “developed a geared mechanical contraption with footpedals that enabled him to play guitar, bells, bass fiddle, fiddle, autoharp and mouth harp.” (Wikipedia)
But what does seem to be different these days is that I think creating a band name is a way to set oneself apart from the singer-songwriter genre, which has become tainted by legions of Garage Band recordings done in the “home studio”, and an endless parade of open mics. Maybe we should put the blame on CD Baby, but for whatever reasons (Iron and Wine comes to mind) a band name like Soniq Theater, a German one man band, sounds a lot cooler than Alfred Mueller. No offense meant sir.
Which makes me wonder about my personal handle when I pound the keys. Easy Ed. So simple, evocative of a man of leisure just taking pen to paper. I’ve been using it since the late sixties, but now I think it might be time to expand the silhouette, so to speak. Pump up the volume, make my ramblings more international than local; a shadow collective of various people rather than one grumpy old man alone in his room. So….
I don’t know, think I’m going to have to live with it a bit and see how it fits. Blogging kind of reminds me of clogging, and I don’t like the wooden shoe thing. But an office in a gleaming Dubai glass tower does hold some fascination. And wheat germ reminds me of fiber and Woodstock…”Ladies and gentlemen, we’re getting reports of some bad Orange Metamucil circulating through the crowd. Only drink a bottle that you open yourself.”
This is shaping up as an interesting idea, because I can now list myself as CEO and President on my Linkedin page. I have a bit of envy as so many of my friends from the music biz have gone from unemployment, to consultant, to coming up with a name for a company and installing themselves as officers. I’d say about half the peeps in my network roll like that, with most really either still out of work or doing the minimum wage thing.
I’m planning to go to Radio City Music Hall on Sunday night to see Leonard Cohen. Bought the ticket months ago because I wanted to see him before he dies. Not that I think or know that he’s ill, but he is getting up there in age and all. Ditto Pete Seeger…93 and playing the same night at a Unitarian church down the road. But I’ve seen Pete before, so Leonard it shall be. I must admit that I’m not used to paying, or at least paying much, to go see music. I’m usually just as happy watching a busker as I am seeing a known entity, and spending $107.25 for one seat way up high in the balcony seems excessive if not obscene. But, when I’ve mentioned it to those in the know, they say it’s actually in line with the current pricing scheme.
Can I just mention my old fringe jacket? I was thinking about writing a piece on Americana fashion, but it really just comes down to suede and fringe. I bought mine late in the game…1989 at the Nordstrom Rack in Costa Mesa, CA. I think it was marked down from $300 to $65 and since I always wanted one, I got it. Now in 1989 the hat guys and neo-trads in Nashville were dominating the charts, but suede and fringe wasn’t really too cool. They tended to dress more in rodeo wear that you’d buy in the Western store at the mall. My youngest son got the most use from it; he went out trick or treating for Halloween one year as Neil Young. I think he was eight or nine. I tossed it to Goodwill before I left Cali.
Some of you know that I finally got a paying gig. I start this week and it’s been over a thousand days since I drew a check other than from the government (and that ended about a year ago). Living on retirement money and betting on a short lifespan, it’s allowed me to have the added benefit of being a stay at home parent, taking the time to heal from several ailments, get a divorce, move across the country, listen to a lot of music and spend a good deal of my time right here. And although I doubt that I’ll stop, especially with a couple of commuting hours per day on the train and subway, it’ll be different.
In closing, and when I do these random thoughts it’s usually for myself and about six other people who’ll bother to read it, but I’d just like to plug some music. Hem, or HEM, from Brooklyn are back out with a new album. Seems like years, cause it has been. I love this band, and they are doing some tour dates and have posted a video. I’m going to close with it and say adios. For now.