Tag Archives: Gigging

Kicked In The Pants

I feel like I was kicked in the pants yesterday– in a good way. I’ve been in a bit of a slump lately, and I don’t really know why. I just haven’t been performing or writing much, partly because of school, and partly because I’m lazy. Yesterday, though, a realization came over me. I’m not going to get anywhere if I don’t do anything. It seems obvious, but sometimes I start to fall asleep in the co pilot seat, and I just wait for good things to happen instead of making them happen.

Yesterday, though, I decided I was going to change. I’m going to more actively seek out gigs and opportunities to play music, and I’m going to make sure I have my cards with me so I can promote myself wherever I go, and I’m going to try and put myself out there one the internet more; i.e. set up a Twitter account (even though Twitter is stupid).

I also decided to dedicate a portion of every day to music; whether it’s practicing, or writing, or networking, or what have you. I contacted a few venues yesterday, and practiced my songs for a while, and today I sent out a craigslist add for band members. I’ve done that once before, and I didn’t get much of a response, but this time I was much more specific about what I was looking for, so I’m hoping I’ll get some takers. I’m also going to make sure I pray about it too.

I’ve also written a to-do list for myself with what I need to do once my album gets really close to being finished. My thinking is that in this order I need to: Form a band, find a venue for the album release party, get my album copyrighted, and get it on iTunes. Those seem to be the most important things to get done in the near future.

I’m really hoping this random kicked-in-the-pants feeling doesn’t wear off, because I’ve been awfully productive in the past two days.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

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The Bystander Effect

Yesterday in my philosophy class we talked about the bystander effect. We talked about how a group of people will stand and watch a child drown purely because there are other people there. People seem to have a mentality of “no one else is helping, why should I?” It’s why the genocide of the Jews in Germany was even possible.

It’s also why there are millions of starving children in the wold. We talked about how it seems that a person who is able to help should be morally obligated to from an egalitarian viewpoint. We talked about how people act based on social norms and an innate sense of self preservation and how this does not  seem to correlate with egalitarianism or a common sense of compassion.

It disturbed me a little in class, but we have talked about this kind of thing numerous times before in other classes mainly on a theoretical level. It sunk in however when I read an add in the school bulletin that gets sent out once a day via email. A girl was asking for help with a public speaking project she had coming up and I almost replied, but then I thought, “Well, she probably already has several other people offering to help her and I’m busy.” It is midterms. What if everyone else was “too busy” as well? I most likely have a few hours to spare some time this week. Am I morally obligated to help that girl?

Something else struck me today. I remembered that Jesus said, “The poor will always be with you.” Why? Is it because people aren’t helping? Is it because of economic or social structures, as some would argue? Do they bring poverty upon themselves? Is it forced upon them? What bothers me most is that word always. Is there nothing we can do to stop it? Is poverty an undying force that can’t be stopped?

A question that plenty of people deal with all the time is; why, if God is good does he allow suffering? I don’t have an answer to that. Everyone suffers in one way or another. It’s because we live in an imperfect world. What I really don’t get is why some people suffer WAY more than others. What’s more is that often times, the more people suffer, the stronger their faith is. In fact, many people bring suffering upon themselves to strengthen their spiritual life. The thing about our God is that he suffered for us, and he suffers with us. I know that, but I don’t entirely know what it means. God is with us and he is with us in our suffering, but what does it mean that he suffers too? I think if I could figure that out I would understand a lot of other things as well.

Last semester in my creative nonfiction writing class I read a short piece called “Being Christ to the Traveler.” In short it was about a guy who offers to hold a drunk guy’s flowers while he pees out the door of a train (the guy had evidently just broken up with his girlfriend). We can help anyone by doing little things like that, but it takes so much more to help the poor or the people dying of AIDS over in Africa.

The thing is, I basically don’t have anything saved. If it weren’t for my parents I’d be dead on the street somewhere, but as it stands I live in an awesome house in a nice, safe neighborhood, I go to a super nice college and took guitar lessons for five years. I personally am very poor. I have a part time job, but because of school and music I don’t work much and I make peanuts; actually less than peanuts.

All the money I’ve saved or that I make goes to recording my first album, and that’s where I’m conflicted. My plan/hope is to be able to live off of music and have a little extra to send to charities, etc. What we talked about in my philosophy class was this; is it more morally right to take the money one spends on college/recording/whatever and just give that to charity, or should one wait, go through college/recording/gigging/whatever and ultimately be able to do much more and help many more people? I don’t know.

I guess a good compromise is to help who you can when you can, how you can, but I don’t think it’s quite as satisfying as being able to say you got a kid out of poverty. I guess we’re not supposed to look for satisfaction out of helping people. Again, I’m probably thinking about this too much.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Email Miracle

Just because I’m in school again does not mean that music is getting left in the dust. Something amazing happened 3 days ago. I had sent an email blast towards the end of my vacation to all the places that would potentially let me make noise in their venue for a night. On August 30th, I heard back from my favorite; the Gulu Gulu Cafe in Salem Massachusetts. I was told that I had 4 hours to work with from 8:00 to midnight and that if I didn’t want to play that long I needed to find openers. Just a few minutes ago I heard back from my friend Nate. He and a girl I met at an open mic named Amanda have both agreed to open for me.

We’ll each get to play for about an hour and 20 minutes, which is super cool. Now all I need to do is come up with a set list that’s long enough and awesome enough to get the audience to like me for that long. I’ll be playing most of my originals, including the ones that won’t be going on my first album and a few covers including some from my friend Ken’s old band since he’ll be accompanying me on lead guitar. You can check them out on iTunes; just look up Meet The Day.

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to get this gig. I’ve been either rejected or ignored so many times that I was just scratching my head and wondering what to do next or instead. Getting this gig and getting opening acts was so easy that I really do think this some kind of gift or push in the right direction; maybe even just assurance that this is what I should be doing. Sometimes I come across opportunities like this seemingly by accident, and I’m sure that the Lord has something to do with it. It doesn’t always have to do with music either; I think he probably had something to do with finding the right school or getting runner up in a state wide poetry contest that I submitted song lyrics to.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Dreaming In Sound

I played an open mic on Monday in the tiniest bar ever! In fact, the room seemed to be full of musicians and their friends/family and no other patrons. No one else would have fit. It was a really fantastic atmosphere and everyone there seemed awfully nice. I met a band that consisted of two brothers and their dad (who had an awesome beard btw) who were visiting from Florida. There was also a tiny middle aged woman (probably in her 50’s) who played some really strange original songs. She had a good voice and an adorable hat.

Everyone only got to play 2 songs, so I played “One” and “Passenger.” The whole room freaked out. I actually remembered to promote myself this time, so I even got a few Facebook “likes” out of it.

Last night I heard back from someone at Jade Tree. They’re Jets To Brazil’s record label. I had emailed them a while ago because I was wondering what I would have to do/what it would cost to record and sell my own version of one of their songs. Apparently it’s pretty cheap and simple, so I think I’ll put it on an EP or something at some point. Once “Replace My Empty Spaces” is done I’m going to hold off on recording for a while and write some new songs and perform as much as possible.

I met a lady the other night who came up to me after my set and said she wanted to feature me at her open mic in Beverley. I’m going to give her a call today. I’m hoping to play there on July 2nd. Sometimes coordinating this stuff is difficult because I don’t drive so I usually get a ride from my dad and he’s been traveling for work.

The album is 70% finished. I have 3 songs to record and then it’s gloriously done! As much as I love working on it, I’m so ready for it to be finished. We’ve had a lot of delays because Ken is doing some upgrades at the studio. I’m really hoping to finish it before I go back to school, but we’ll see.

I’m also not sure what to do about a release party because Ken’s friend sort of dropped off the face of the earth. There are a few places that I could probably set it up at. It just won’t be as big and grande and epic as I was hoping.

Well I ought to get to work. Thanks for reading!

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Somehow

Somehow I have 51 followers now. I’m still not entirely sure how that happened. I ramble about coffee, faith and music…. while drinking coffee and listening to worship music. I’m not that exciting, guys! I come to conclusions about huge issues that are probably not as well thought out as they could be, overly simplified, absurd or just straight up wrong, but for some reason y’all still seem to like what I have to say.

Well, I want to say thanks so much for reading, and I want to let y’all know that I have a plan. It has taken me forever to formulate and commit to this plan, but I have one! For the next two years while I’m working on my English degree I’m going to be writing songs, recording and working on setting up gigs for the summers. I’ll play in the Boston area and hopefully spread out to all of New England. After those two years I’m just going t0 jump in head first and go as far as it takes me (Europe, perhaps? I miss you, Frenchie!). Hopefully I’ll have enough recognition to live off of this musical insanity. If not I’ll try and get some kind of writing job that will allow me to work from anywhere. As long as I can remain mobile, I should get this to work.

At some point I’m also going to move the music-related stuff to a blog called “The Meandering Hat,” which I haven’t got started yet, but I want to still be able to use flyinguineapig for philosophy and personal stuff. So that’s the plan! I also need to see about getting signed. I’m actually not worried about that. I’ve never had a bad reception of my music. Everyone seems to like it (except for my brother, but I think it’s a prerequisite to being a younger sibling). It’s astonishing, weird and encouraging. 🙂

Seriously though, I think this is the first time I’ve ever really had a plan. The future used to scare me a lot, but it doesn’t as much now that I’ve definitively decided to follow this crazy dream of mine. I know I’ve said I’ve had plans before, but that wasn’t always entirely true and they weren’t really long term, future plans. I think I was inevitably going to end up here. I couldn’t just finish the album and do nothing with it. music is what I’m best at and I want whatever I do to glorify God. This seems like a pretty awesome way to do that. Prayers are appreciated. Wish me luck, peeps!

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!