Spring Tour 2017, dubbed Slow But Steady. Trademarking. Come To My Town. On-line dating. Modern Romance. Keith Emerson. What’s it like to host a house concert? Come ‘N Get It.
Roger CortonBack on the road? And you’re gonna COME TO MY TOWN!
JCHI should trademark that. You know, get the little ‘R’ thingy?
RCSure. It only costs fifteen thousand dollars.
JCHWhat about the ‘TM’?
RCThe ‘TM’? Oh, that’s free. Worthless. But it is free.
JCHSold! Come To My Town. TM. But the real kick for me is that you finally get to see how the sausage is made.
RCOr to put it more accurately, I get to be the sausage maker. (laughs)
JCHBecause you, my friend, are about to become an impresario.
RCYes, I’m taking the plunge. I filled out the form and now I, that is we are going to Host Your Own Concert!
JCHAnd to torture this porcine metaphor, with meself being the all-important raw meat.
RCYou said it. I didn’t. OK, so what can I expect?
JCHI think it’s fair to say that you’ll enjoy the experience. After all, anyone who has tracked my tours over the years will notice that a suspicious tendency I have to visit the same places over and over. And the reason for that is largely because the same people who hosted a show once, decided it was worth doing again.
RCSo it’s not just that there is an audience in these places; it’s also the ‘Hoster’ that factors into where you play.
JCHThat’s maybe twenty five percent of it. It’s symbiotic. You need people to show up for sure–and frankly there are only so many ‘pockets’ throughout the land where I’ll get enough people to pony up for a show. But then I also need a place to play that creates the right environment. I can book a space, but if I don’t know the area, I may not do a great job. It’s like renting a house for a vacation. You may go to the most beautiful place on earth, but if yer house stinks it can be miserable. So the ‘Hoster’ provides that welcoming place. They’re almost always super-jazzed and that is infectious to the rest of the audience.
RCSo why don’t you talk that up more?
JCHWell, it’s like on-line dating. There used to be this big stigma. I just finished reading this book ‘Modern Romance’. It’s about dating today. And it killed me how so many people date on-line, but still don’t want to admit that they do it (laughs). That’s what house concerts are. There’s still this notion that they’re for losers.
RCIf you were a ‘real’ artist, you’d book a ‘real’ club, right?
JCHRight. But as we’ve discussed, I sure didn’t invent it. I got the idea from attending a Keith Emerson house concert twenty years ago. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. I was eating cheese, drinking wine and watching Keith FUCKING THE MAN Emerson playing a solo version of Take A Pebble! Can you say AWESOME?
RCSure. I knew you could.
JCHThanks for being my neighbor. I just think it would look stupid having ‘testimonials’ of ‘happy customers’ on the web site, so I just hope that enough people are curious to find out what it’s all about, give me a shout and then we can sell them on the idea–which is not that hard by the way. If someone is down enough to pick up the phone and call me? They’re ready.
RCAnd besides, as you said with on-line dating, it’s became fairly common, for some very popular artists.
JCHSure. I always knew it would be, once the whole CD biz started to die. We’re kinda heading back to the time of Beethoven and Mozart, where people self-organize entertainments for like-minded people. In many places, it makes a LOT of sense. Take jazz. Most towns simply cannot support a traditional ‘jazz club’. But there are a ton of great players; hell legends who can draw a couple hundred people wherever they want to. Solution?
JCHExactly. I just got in on the ground floor.
RCOK, I’m sold. But what can I expect?
JCHThrills, chills, spills. What do ya think happens? Twenty four clowns jump out of a VW? Dancing girls!
RCI mean, what is my ‘process’, for those who haven’t read the blurb?
JCHWell, I think it’s a bit like hosting any large party. We take care of all the ticket and money stuff. You greet people. You’ll take a call from someone who gets lost. Whether you have the show in your place or somewhere else, you have simple things to do like set up chairs. Some people offer snacks. And some don’t. People are almost always crazy respectful. Never had a problem with people being messy or rude. Our audiences are adults. They’re there for the music, not to wig out. And they tend to act more like those at an opera than a club.
RCRight on. Will you have time to hang out?
JCHSure. By the way, that’s a common thing. Some of the most fun I’ve had touring over the past fifteen years has been hanging out with Hosterers. If you have time to show me some part of your town or something you think it cool? I’m there if I have time. The only caveat is time. Sometimes I gotta skedaddle to get to the next show.
RCUnderstandable. OK, let’s wind it up. I just realized that we haven’t talked about what you’ll be playing.
JCHI’m preparing solo arrangements of Progress.
RCI thought you were saying you needed more musicians to do Progress. Does this mean these arrangements are shred-fests?
JCHThat’s kinda the point. Everyone’s been asking for more ‘virtuosity’. Well? Come N’ Get It!
RCThat is your catch phrase (laughs). Great. Anything else?
JCHI’ve got a couple of surprises. Stuff I’ve never done live before–some of the oldest material.
RCThe early records had some great songs.
JCHI agree. A lot of fans didn’t find those songs particularly ‘prog’. But they’re strong compositions and enough time has gone by now that I think people will hear them with fresh ears.
RCI agree. Can’t wait.