October 19, 2009

Why am I doing this again?

Notes on playing an acoustic set at Gilman after all these years:

-- the new (?) sound system is amazing. I remember the monitors being little more than visual props to make it look like what it would look like if there were real monitors there. It's different now. Classics of Love sounded beyond incredible.

-- I suppose it comes down to a philosophical question of why you play shows at all, but if your goals are (a) to promote yourself or a release, (b) to connect with an audience, (c) to play for people who care to any degree, and (d) to get paid more than a token few dollars, don't play second of six at 8:30 PM. I was basically not part of the real show. Not sure what I was, really. And I guess that isn't really anything new. I mean, looking in the mirror and asking your reflection the question "wait, why am I doing this again?" is quite a familiar experience, so it was just like old times in that sense. Anyway, it seemed like only a handful of the scattered few who were there at that time had any idea of who I was or what I was all about. Including the security guy who said he liked my stuff and asked if I had any CDs out.

-- Despite that, those songs really did seem to land some punches, with people laughing and reacting to the good lines and such. I played an array of mid-to-late period MTX songs and a solo song or two. There's something kind of cool about getting a response from people who haven't heard the songs a hundred times before. (I experienced that a lot on my book tour when I did the school appearances, the first time in many many years where I played "Even Hitler Had a Girlfriend" for entire audiences who have never heard it before.)

-- Picante has really gone upscale, which is great, though there's a part of me that will always miss the scuzziness I remember so fondly from way back.

-- It is amazing how little of the punk rock iconography has been updated with newer names or images. And I don't mean just the old people. I mean the kids. It was all Rudimentary Peni and Crass and GBH and TSOL and Amebix and the like on their jackets and backpacks and such. You could have done crowd scenes for a film set in 1984 and not had too many continuity issues.

-- Six bands on a bill is still a lot of bands and it still felt like a bit of an endurance test to make it all the way to the end.

-- As an excuse to hang out with Paige, Kendra, and Patrick and an occasion to bump into people I hadn't seen in a while it was great.

Posted by Dr. Frank at October 19, 2009 07:34 PM | TrackBack

Newish sound system, yeah. Pinhead Gunpowder (aka Billie Joe) paid for it to be put in before they played there last year.

Posted by: Hulka at October 20, 2009 02:28 AM

I hope you keep on doing it. I was at one of your performances/readings in NYC recently and enjoyed it thoroughly.

Posted by: D.V. at October 20, 2009 09:04 AM

Gilman Street was always a one-of-a-kind place and even more so now that CBGB's is gone.

Posted by: Zaphod at October 20, 2009 04:45 PM

picante's been upscale since 2000. (oh memories...)

thanks for being part of one of the best gilman nights i've had in recent memory. hanging out with you, paige, patrick is always a good time.

Posted by: kendra at October 21, 2009 01:53 AM