gigs thursday 4/3 and saturday 4/5

If you’re in LA, c’mon down and see me play at the Hyperion Tavern in Silverlake tomorrow night, Thursday April 3. I’ll sit in with Madame Pamita for her set at 9:30, then will do a set of my own guitar music at about 11:00.

Among other fine songs trashpicked from the dustbin of American history, I’ll be dusting off an 1882 jingle for a brand of rat poison:

The sheet music, “Rough on Rats,” was offered as a premium by Ephraim S. Wells, chemist, Jersey City, N.J., the manufacturer of “Rough on Rats” poison. “Send 35 cents for Song and Chorus of ‘Rough on Rats.’ Just out. Everybody crazy for it.”

The “dwelling house size” of the product sold for 25 cents. Wells’ advertisements claimed “sure death to rats, mice, flies, vermin, ants, insects, roaches, waterbugs, bed bugs” and “one application clears out a building.”

Sheet music for that tune at Library of Congress. I imagine it hasn’t been heard in a public place for at least a hundred years.

Then on Saturday April 5 I’ll play an 8:45 show under the stage name Alvin Pleasant at a little gallery right off the beach in Venice for an event called Foolfest:

Sponto Gallery at 7 Dudley Avenue was the home of the infamous Venice West Cafe from the late 50’s to the early 60’s – an important birthplace for the Beat movement, much like North Beach in San Francisco, the Village in New York and the Left Bank in Paris. Sponto Gallery retrieves the explorations of Alan Kaprow’s Happenings, Jack Smith’s experimental films and the Fluxus art movement with its various film, poetry and comedy events. Visit AND for more information.

Sponto is a groovy little spot — tiny, good acoustics, comfortable, free.

new forms of live shows

Conversation on the kid gig 12/8 post developed around the interaction between changing music and existing forms of performance. The internet is changing recorded music. How can those changes be reflected in live shows?

Live music for most musicians is either in a bar or in a stadium. These contexts are in a continuum where one leads to the other. But stadium shows are an artifact of the economics of the 20th century recording industry.

Said Pribek:

I play too much in bars. It’s like going to a football game and already knowing the outcome.

The times that I have had an opportunity to play for kids, have all been a blast. Kids give honest reaction with no preconceived notions.

Playing in bars is all about reducing the musical experience to the lowest common denominator. I’m not complaining. I’m glad to have a chance to fire up the Tele tonight regardless.

T-Bone Burnett once said something like; “The music industry is based on the principal of selling music to people who don’t like music”.

Who knows how the selling of music shakes out in this “brave new world”? Personally, I don’t care.

I have a hunch that when the dust settles, there will be more opportunity to find a venue to play live for people who do like music.

(As always, I have made lots of edits to comments while converting them to full-fledged posts).

gurdonark replied:

Lately, I want all music to be in matinee’ form.
The “nightlife prison” for music does conjure up some rich, almost cinematic associations. Yet live music becomes so limited when its trapped in that dates-and-drinks-and-diversion mesh, and perhaps limited in a different way in the “concert as religious experience” groove.

I don’t play live, but if I did, I’d always play starting no later than 2 p.m.

Also, I’d rather have my music accompany a planetarium show or a multi-media presentation than be a performer. I am all for concerts and performances, but I like the idea that one can be one component of a fun in which music is incorporated into a multi-media activity.

Most of my things appear at netlabels like NSI.
I am not opposed to CDs, but they’re almost irrelevant to me, as you suggest. I made and even sold some a few years ago, but now they’d be more a curious gift for friends than anything like “music distribution”.

I love meatspace performances. But I think the consructs for them are all rooted in performer/audience assumptions that are no longer the right assumptions. By this, I mean that
I have no desire to hold a candle up for a superstar anymore, but instead want to be drenched in an interactive medium. I love what Kristin Hersh and radiohead and Issa (nee’ Jane Siberry) are doing with self-directed payments, and what numerous people are doing with netlabel creative commons. I recently was on’s “collusion” dark ambient piece–12 artists contributing to create one whole–not for the glory of anyone, but for the sheer participation of the thing. That’s the present, and the future.

And Jay Fienberg said:

The last live show I did was a band reunion where most of the audience was made up of band members’ kids, nieces and nephews. Playing for kids is really great–in many ways better then when I was a kid and most of the audience would be our parents, aunts and uncles.

btw, Seattle has lots of live music in bars, pubs, coffee houses, laundromats, etc., and it’s really a great thing to be a music fan and be out at night and be around live music. It looks like it’s a lot more fun to play here than the places where I used to play (in LA, SF). Bar gigs are not glorious for a musician, but they’re often a big break from spending one’s whole life in a cubicle, etc. And, if there’s a crowd of real music fans in the mix, it can approach some real glory, IMHO.

So here’s the question: the recording industry is changing dramatically. What aspects of live music rely on aspects of the recording industry that are going away? What new kinds of live music does the internet enable?

kid gig 12/8

I’m playing at the Ocean Charter School Winter Faire tomorrow afternoon. The one time before that I played for kids was great at its best. The teens were too uptight and not a lot of fun, but the younger kids got up and moshed and were generally a stellar audience.

Location: 12606 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90066. The nearest major cross street is Centinela. Time: 1-1:30.

It’s good to play outside of bars. My music developed in the context of my blog, and the vibe of my blog matches up better with galleries and schools than bars and parties.

a couple gigs

Last night I played a set of my public domain Americana at Sponto Gallery in Venice Beach, on  a little side street off the main drag.  The room is small but it was full, and the audience reaction was overwhelming.  I made $14 in tips, of which I spent $2 on a tip for the act after me and $3 on a peach Snapple and a banana.

Tonight  I’ll be backing up Tequila at Hyperion Tavern in Silverlake.

gig 9/26

I’ll do a set of my old guitar tunes at The Hyperion Tavern on Thursday the 26th.

Along with my solo stuff I’ll be backing up Tequila Mockingbird for a few classic jazz numbers. I’m really really not a jazz player, but Tequila’s such a strong singer that I shouldn’t have to do anything but get the chords right

I’m sure it’ll be a good time. The Hyperion is a tiny club which is barely big enough to justify amplifying an acoustic guitar. It’s in a nowhere spot not far from the eastern end of Sunset. Beer is a mere $4, and you don’t have to fight with a cranked-up PA to have a conversation.

Where: In Silverlake at 1941 Hyperion Ave., 90027

When: after 9 and before 12.

Update: here’s the listing on Upcoming. (I’m using the temporary stage name “Oddjob”, which leads to the interesting topic of special-purpose identities, which is related to why there are so many social networks.  The issue in this case is that technical conversation is for a completely different audience than music, so I need to create an internet identity for the music people).

LA gig thursday

I’ll be playing three waltzes, a galop, a polka, and a march on Thursday the 26th in Silverlake.  It’ll be a low-key scene in a small room with no cover charge.

Club Fluffer at The Hyperion Tavern
1941 Hyperion Ave.
LA 90027

Cross street is Lyric – across and a little up from Casita del Campo – look for the barber pole outside.

Madame Pamita
Tequila Mockingbird
The Recovering Catholics
Miss Lady La Diva
Lucas Gonze <– opening slot, so 9pm