Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Mic is Open



Tuesday is open mic night at the Press Room and I've been playing Jackson Brown's "For A Dancer" so much in my room that I figured I just have to get out and play it. I mean, what the fuck am I doing with my life?

So I braved the rain and went to the Jazz jam but was snubbed by the pros. I waited my turn at the open mic and got incredibly nervous even though I've played these songs hundreds of times and there is no one there. Fortunately there was no turning back but as usual I changed my plan at the last second and sang "Nobody Home" by Pink Floyd on the piano. "I've got a little black book with my poems in it..."
Then into "Rosie" by Jackson Brown "For all the lonely guys in the audience." And I really wanted to sing "After The Goldrush" by Neil Young but chickened out because I forgot how the last verse goes. I love those seventies songwriters and I'm told I look like Jackson so here's a comparison of myself and J.B. One guy said I look like Cris Angel, the magician, but I don't see that at all. George Harrison and Cat Stevens and I have some features in common but I think Jackson Browne is the closest celebrity look-alike. Oh, if I could sing like him all would be perfect.So I got up and grabbed the guitar (I haven't practiced the changes on the piano because apparently not one church in Portsmouth wants a free janitor) and started into "For A Dancer". I wanted to video tape the performance but also chickened out because I'd have to ask someone to hold the camera and it seems so intrusive. I heard someone say, "I love this song." as I started singing and I don't blame them. It's great songwriting and easy to play. Not so easy to sing as I sounded like a wounded cat. Fortunately that song is so good you can't fuck it up. Since there were so few people I was able to fit in "Shanty" by Jonathan Edwards which kind of sucks to play alone as it is a blues with no solo. I gotta bring my harmonica next time.

But the cool part was the host was Jerry T. and he sings a song called "Forty Dollars" that has been haunting me for a month because I decided it was the song I want to make a music video for. Now, a music video usually involves a studio recording and then many different takes of the band pretending to play that exact studio recording. They don't actually play on the video. It's dubbed. They lip sync the whole thing. But I don't have a studio recording so I'm just going to get creative with the live footage. I told Jerry I wanted to make a video and he seemed surprised. He's probably 70 years old and who knows how he's survived in the world but he's a good songwriter. His hands were cramping up and last time he had some teeth fall out so it's not like he's got a long career ahead of him. So I got that in the can.
There's another trio of a David Gray-ish cat and two young women harmony singers that are next on the list. Never mind that the girls are cute I feel like they are actually talented and charismatic and should have a video. They also seemed surprised that I wanted to record them. Are we not living in a video age? Is this news? And music videos can be put together in a few hours for no money. Well, they're next on the list. I forget their name...like Gideon Breeze or something like that. Fuck. I didn't get their number either. Fortunately they are there every Tuesday so next week we're filming whether they like it or not. They must have a studio recording. For three kids they were pretty good and I'd love to promote them with a video. Or give them the video to promote themselves with. Maybe they do have a recording of their performance but they don't consider it a video because it had no production value. We'll see.

I was satisfied with Jerry's tale of bus stop heartbreak when a guy stood up to read some poetry. Really?
"You want to make a psychedelic video?" I asked.
"I'd love to."
"Ok. Don't mind me. Just read what you have."

And I crawled all over him with the camera and lay on the ground looking up at him and behind him and everything. I think the footage was too dark and the audio will bleed over with crowd sounds but between that and some pictures of frogs and a walking bass line I'll get something out of it. It was really spoken word although some of it rhymed. Not bad at all with a good delivery.

So that's another video project to work on as the world floods. I've got bananas and Ramen noodles. Why do I need to leave the house? I think videography is a legit career path for the next six months. I need a 3 chip HD camera with wide angle and a 1000 watt lighting and an audio set but that's about it. Oh, and a fast computer. $5-6 grand is all I need. My Sexy Chicken manifesto video will probably make that much in a week! The chicken doc is in standby until me and the chicken man can screen it to decide the next step. The chicken man apparently had a complete meltdown over the last couple days, lost power, lost (ate) his phones, dismantled his truck, etc. The Johnny Walker Wisdom was running high, as Leonard Cohen would say. I still need eggs. But not bad enough to drive to Nottingham on a prayer I won't be shot with a rifle when I walk on the property. I'll have to wave a white flag...or a White Russian in this case.
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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.