life is weird..progress is not linear

Life is weird and progress is not linear.

I apologized to my fans who came to see me last night because there was a birthday party for a guy going on in the same big room as my show, but the birthday people didn't come to hear me.

It was weird.

My ability to connect with people through my musical performance was definitely compromised.

I realized as I stood on the stage somewhat helpless to the birthday revelers' noisy partying, that I advertise my shows with a certain contractual faith for the people who make the effort to attend.

When I invite people to come to my show I'm promising, on an unspoken level, that the conditions for listening to my performance will be good if not ideal.

The birthday party going on in the same room as my show, even though it is a very large room, was a distraction to be sure.

Luckily by the time I started my second half of my show after a ten minute break, the birthday party was pretty much over.

So those that stuck around for me had a better experience in the second half.

But there were some fans, or potential fans, who left during the height of the birthday noise, maybe disgusted that they couldn't enjoy my performance, and maybe aware that I wasn't fully enjoying my performance either.

If I'm not all in, there's no way anyone else can be all in.

Well, the other thing is that I wore an outfit that I've had for several years.

It's a very very short sequined slip with a floral design that reminds me of the sugar skull designs, and since it was the Day Of The Dead, I got the idea to wear it and put my light up skulls on my stage.

But, the over-the-knee black suede boots I've worn with that dress in the past are just really meant for sitting around looking pretty with a drink in your hand.

Last night, as is often the case right now with my current level of shows, I drove an hour, I carried all my own PA set up and guitars into the stage area, I set everything up and did several nervous sound checks since it was just my little PA covering the whole big space.

I left the light up skulls in the car because I didn't have the extra energy to get them and set them all up knowing I'd have to take them down again at the end too.

I played a three hour show, standing and dancing around and all of that, and then I carried it all back out to my car, amplifiers and all, and drove the hour home.

Those boots are not made for walking...much less for heavy lifting and many hours of hard work.

I'm sticking with my cowboy boots or my combat boots from now on.

Both are comfortable even for hours on the road.

What I have to remember now is that even though I'm heading out to a show from my own home where I have a closet full of clothes instead of a suitcase of strictly touring clothes, I have to consider every show just like a tour performance.

I owe this to the people who are driving a  distance themselves and choosing to spend their evening listening to me.

That's a big honor to me and I will never take it lightly.

If I'm not physically comfortable I can't give all of my attention to the songs.

The good news is that the owner of the place last night told me several times how much he appreciated that I was able to roll with the situation, and how he loves my music and wants me to continue to play there.

His booking person, a woman I really love, wrote to me already today asking to set up more dates.

And one of my fans wrote to me this morning saying he had a suggestion of another good listening space for me to try to book a show in the same area.

So, I must have still made a good enough impression.

But good enough is not good enough and we all know that.

"...and day by day this pathway clears since first I learned to love it..."

 

show tonight in Faribault..Day Of The Dead..November 1st

Tonight I have a show an hour south in Faribault.

Very fun cool distillery and attached wine and beer bar.

There's a big room behind for performances with a nice stage and that's where I'm playing.

It's a solo show, but I learned from the last time I was there that people want to Rock Out so I'm bringing my extra PA speaker.

It's also The Day Of The Dead or All Saints' Day, so I'm gonna wear my colorful sequin mini dress and my colorful fake fur short jacket, my over the knee bad ass black suede boots, and I'm bringing my light up skulls to decorate the stage.

No fucking around. This is one of those nights when I want to go all out for the people.

I'm going to make sure I've got plenty of my new album with me, and also Rob rustled up ten more copies of High Priestess And The Renegade somewhere at the studio so I'll have that in stock again.

I'm ordering a hundred more of that, the internet version, in cd form, to have for my merch table for the holidays.

I'm also designing a new t shirt today that I may be able to wear by my Tuesday show if I get it right.

And, I designed a new full length black taffeta and tulle skirt and it's finished.

I'll be wearing that for holiday events with a black lace bodysuit and my black leather jacket.

I don't know why I'm so psyched on fashion right now but I am.

Nina and I are doing a holiday fashion shoot on Saturday afternoon and then we're going out to another new bar she wants to see.

Okay, well, it's the Day Of The Dead, so remember to say hello to all the people you've loved and lost because the veil between the living and the dead is thinnest at this time of the year.

Don't freak yourself out though.

I'm going to dedicate my show to my brother and I'm sure he'll be in attendance.

artist consultations and Halloween fun

First of all, I was very inspired by the two artist consultations I did this week.

On Monday my session was with a female badass bass player in a rock band who is also a great rock style songwriter.

She works with me once a month, and has been for a couple of years.

She's got a great sense of groove in her own writing that I believe comes from her soul and is enhanced by her ear for the bass lines.

I am always inspired by the songs she's creating.

I have never written a song that has the groove she was working with this week and I find myself thinking about how I could write something with that same kind of beat.

She writes like Joan Jett and Amy Winehouse and I don't know who else, but it's great.

I get to sing the songs with her during the sessions and I always find myself being transported.

Suddenly as I'm singing I'm a much more badass version of my usual self because of her song.

Isn't that cool?

The second session this week was with the new artist I mentioned yesterday who has been doing professional singing since she was a child and who now wants to play guitar to accompany herself and put her many lyrical compositions to music.

She has overcome some health issues to get to the point where she's ready to take these next steps in her music journey.

And she has a real burning desire to bring all of this in her life to fruition.

She's always known that she wanted to be a singer, and ideally a songwriter as well.

I'm thrilled to be helping her make this happen.

There's a lot of potential for some wonderful self expression there.

And I know what it's like to have this feeling that you haven't yet delivered on your destiny musically.

Very exciting.

Artist consultations with artists who are creating.

I Love It.

The other thing I want to say this morning is that I was delighted to find myself in a secret back door bar last night in Northeast Minneapolis.

My daughter Nina is spreading her wings here in a thousand ways and it's so exciting to be around her.

She got this white fake fur coat from her father's wife recently and she's walking around making shit happen for herself in Minneapolis wearing this big white fur Helmut Lang designer jacket over her black jeans and Doc Marten boots and she is setting shit on fire.

So I met her at this place called Young Joni that she wanted to check out.

They have an unmarked back entrance that takes you into a totally different loungey bar in back.

They were playing old Seventies music that my Dad used to love and she and I each ordered a real grown up cocktail...mine had Brandy and a bunch of other stuff...very delicious.

The back bar is set up like an old roadhouse in New England....or central France maybe....or Northern Minnesota in your dreams of what Northern Minnesota started out looking like in the Nineteen Thirties.

If you're in the Twin Cities you should go, it's fun.

The most fun thing was that Nina used to work at places like this but now her creative pursuits are lifting her up and now she hangs out at places like this with her Mom but she doesn't have to go back to work after her break.

It was almost surreal sitting there with her in her badass fur jacket, I was wearing my rust colored velvet cape with the fur collar, and it seemed like we were entering a new phase of our lives.

Thank God.

Lastly, I'm making a long black tutu skirt today, mostly because I want to wear it tonight to hand out candy at Rob's house, but also because I am so psyched on my tutu styles with the cropped black leather jacket, and a tea length black skirt would be a cool addition to the collection.

If you want to make one yourself, go to the fabric store and buy a yard of heavy black wide elastic, and five yards of any color tulle.

Sew the band to fit your waist and sew the yardage to the elastic band, gathering as you go.

Five layers of tulle makes it opaque.

Bullseye.

Happy Halloween.

very interesting developments

I think it's very interesting that my shows have eclipsed my teachings and consultations.

I have witnessed this in my own life a few times.

I have skills that allow me to choose from several creative paths.

Or so it would seem.

But there's probably only one happy path.

We all know teachers who are funny and poignant and youthful and beaming in their teaching careers.

We all know teachers who are beaten down and bitter in their teaching careers.

What's the difference?

Probably the difference is the story they're telling themselves, or the story their soul is telling them.

"This is you at your best!"

or..

"You don't belong here!"

I love helping others achieve their own dreams.

I do a lot of helping others, for pay and not for pay.

But when I have focused primarily on helping others achieve their goals, as a creative writing teacher in the public schools, or as an independent teacher and artist consultant, I have wondered if I'm focusing my energies to the very best of my abilities.

What has happened several times in my adult life is that I tell myself, "You aren't successful enough at being a rockstar so you are going to have to give up now and teach."

Sometimes I've framed it as, "You are getting more successful as a rockstar but when you aren't on tour you are going to have to teach because you can't make enough money being a rockstar in the Midwest on your current level of acclaim."

I always love the people I work with.

I am starting with a new artist today in fact.

She is an adult who has been a professional singer for all her life but is now interested in accompanying herself on guitar and putting her own poetry to music and performing her own original songs.

I can help her with all of this, I know I can.

And maybe I can help her better than anyone else in the Twin Cities.

She plans to do six artist consultations with me between now and the end of the year and then she can sign up for more in the new year if she so desires.

This is an excellent arrangement for us both.

If you're curious, my current rate is $60 for an hour, $75 for an hour and a half, $100 for two hours.

It's a goddamn bargain.

But the punchline of this story is still coming.

For one thing, none of the people I work with, going forward, are "students" of mine, they're all "artists" and we're doing "artist consultations".

That's not fake labeling to lift up egos.

That's the fact that everyone I work with is creating and they're bringing their creations to me and consulting with a fellow artist whose path and work they respect.

I don't have to get out of my rockstar lane to do this with them.

I'm not sitting in Rob's living room hour after hour in my comfortable clothes listening to beginning musicians massacre good music all day and lying to them about how they're progressing.

I'm taking some time out of my busy rockstar day to connect with another artist and hear what they're working on and offer them good constructive feedback and suggestions for how to move forward.

I'm helping them stay focused, stay motivated, stay positive, believe in their pursuits the way I believe in mine.

This is great.

This is wonderful.

The other part of the punchline is that I've been invited...actually invited out of the blue...to do several shows this Fall and Winter that pay as well as a month of sessions with another artist.

Remember the show last weekend where I thought no one was really listening, at the winery?

Yesterday I was offered a $300 solo performance at another similar venue in that same area by a woman who said that she was at the winery that night and loved my performance and could I come play at the place she manages.

Isn't that awesome?

A side lesson there is always play your songs with full integrity because you do not know who is listening or how they are listening.

So just by my own desire, really, to have the life I want to have on and off "the road" I am creating a balance of performance and consulting that I can get behind one hundred percent.

To wrap this up in a pretty pink tulle ribbon, I want to add that yesterday I received a free pink tutu in the mail.

I'm not kidding.

I saw an ad on Amazon Prime for $18 tutus a while back.

They were very pouffy knee length tutus and they had my favorite pale ballet pink.

I thought that the knee length could be fun to have with a black cropped sweater and my black leather jacket for the Fall and Winter as sort of a daytime length..not too sexy...not just for wearing on stage.

To be clear, I also have the long tutu skirt I've been wearing in photos recently and I love that one too but that's fancier.

I ordered it because it even had free shipping.

I got an email two weeks later saying they lost the order and they were refunding my money.

Stupid.

But at the bottom of the email it said "your item may still arrive".

I thought that was weird but I suppose if they lost it they can't retrieve it and they can't really make me return it.

So yesterday my free tutu arrived in the mail.

I put it on, it was delightful.

I put on my black cropped sweater and my leather jacket, black tights and my flat black boots with the silver studs.

Nina and I went out to the fabric store for some projects we're doing and to the grocery store to buy stuff to make curry.

Nina waited in the car while I ran in to the grocery store.

I couldn't find the curry sauces already prepared that I usually buy at a different grocery store so I asked a stock person.

The stock person was a nice guy and he was helping me choose the best curry sauce for my recipe.

Then he asked me if I dress like this all the time or was I dressing up as a rockstar for Halloween.

I of course loved this.

I told him I dress like this all the time.

He asked for my name and I gave him the info for this blog and website.

At one point he said, "I feel like I'm talking to Madonna."

I think the best thing about him giving me the gift of saying that is that he didn't say, "I feel like I'm talking to an escapee from the mental institution."

My life long burning desire to have a lifestyle that authentically warrants the wearing of pink tutus to the grocery store in broad daylight with no shame no fear and no self loathing has finally come true.

Keep calm and carry on my friends, this is only getting better.

 

last night at the Dakota

I went to see two male songwriters I know perform last night at the Dakota Jazz Club.

Rob was the guitar tech for the headliner so he got me in free with a seat at the bar.

A favorite man I know, another songwriter, came to the show too and sat with me.

I think he picked up my tab at the bar.

He told me he reads my blog, so thank you Kind Sir.

The two songwriters are both talented or gifted in the sense that they appear to fairly effortlessly have the ability to play instruments with technical skill that is beyond what the average person can achieve even with lessons and lots of practice.

The two songwriters can both write good songs.

The headliner can write pretty nearly great songs.

The opener can write decent songs at least.

Both men probably don't one hundred percent believe in their ability to raise their solo careers right now to the heights that they might dream of achieving.

The younger of the two men is forty-six years old.

He told me after his performance that for the sake of earning money that he is focusing on producing and recording new up and coming young artists.

He said to me that young artists can tour and they stand a chance to have a big career so he wants to be their producer and make a hit record with one of them.

I said that youth is overrated.

I said that he could pour all that passion and energy into his own artistic development.

He's only forty-six.

John Prine just put out a brand new album at seventy.

Don't take that for granted.

Yeah, John Prine, he's already super famous, he just keeps putting out records and it just works because he's John Prine.

Not so.

You have to wake up and get the shit done whether you're eighteen or eighty.

Some people can't pour their energy into their own artistic pursuit at any age, and some people can.

If you can it's a miracle.

At any age.

In general I don't give a crap about what some eighteen year old thinks about anything.

There, I said it.

On the other hand, I am one hundred percent invested in listening to anyone of any age if they are one hundred percent invested in revealing their inner workings and giving me something to get excited about.

Whether an artist is old or young, what an artist can do for the world is reveal their unique perspective in an impassioned manner that gives us all the desire to dig deeper and reveal ourselves too.

Put out your albums, write your songs, go on your solo tours, reveal yourself and your experience, hone your individuality and your authenticity.

Break down barriers, break down walls.

Love to all.

 

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