Over the years, I've played in some real shit holes. Actually, I think most live music played here in the US is played in rooms bereft of any sound design. Yeah sure, there's a sound guy there but often there's not a whole lot that can be done about a room that sounds like a gymnasium.
Obviously most music venues in the US are places where people buy food and or booze. In such places, the band is expected to bring folks in. "Come on down for the music and stay for the chalupas."
I think every artist craves a captive audience. Bars and coffee shops are not this at all. The old wisdom tells us we must "stick it out" in bars and restaurants and that if we are truly good musicians, the rest will fall in place. There's definitely some truth in this, but if you're playing in a sports bar on a Monday night with 20 flat screen TVs everywhere, you have no chance. You are fucked from the get-go.
When I used to do Kindie Rock we often had a captive audience- a luxury really. I'm not against doing frank lloyd rock gigs in bars, but I surely want a captive audience again.
As I sift out what this new project will be like, I keep coming back to two concepts:
2. Music as an Escape
Stories- Each song tells a story and I especially love it when artists talk a bit about this in-between songs. What if the storytelling were expanded a bit more to create a theatre experience. Imagine Spalding Gray meets pretty much any band. How much better would the show be if you were taken even deeper into to the world of the song and the singer?
Music as an Escape- When people get home from work, believe me, they are usually pretty sick of their own lives. How much power do we have at work? How great is my life? They can have my body but they can't have my soul. Art inflates the soul. When people come to your show you should give them some relief from their own bullshit.
frank lloyd rock will be music and stories.
This will certainly require a captive audience. Spalding Gray reminds me that even the smallest of theatre spaces would be perfect for this. Thanks Spalding.