I woke up dis moanin’… W-o-o-o-h and I felt so low I had to play dat bass
Tom Waits had a great song called ‘Step Right Up’ about marketing pitches. There’s a line in there
Change your shorts. Change your life. Change yourself into a nine year old Hindu boy.
That’s how I kinda feel after 2.75 years fighting the tide. Like the great Irish warrior Cuchualain. Or maybe it’s more like one of those Labrador Retrievers that try to retrieve a brick thrown into the ocean.
But I am now officially a bass player, first and guitar player third. The reason is simple: after meeting with three hand surgeons and five physical therapists it’s clear that my thumb will never return to proper form. It works for about five minutes at a time, but after that? The stamina ends. And that makes playing full shows, either for myself or anyone else, pretty much impossible.
But after much experimentation, I’ve found that the skills one needs to play electric and upright bass are still intact. So that’s where I’m a headin’ as a musician.
I’ve started re-building my finger tips (my sissy little pads are even now being turned into five-fingered-punch-of-death callouses.) There is much little-girl screaming on the way, of course. I’m also building a lot of character. I haven’t been a part of any music ‘scene’ for a long time. So I’m showing up for lots of schlep gigs as just this old guy no one’s ever heard of. There have been a couple of very cool bands I have auditioned for that have turned me down with just this statement, ‘Wow your sound is exactly what we’re looking for. Too bad you’re too old!’ Twenty five years too old. Ouch. (But they ain’t wrong. Imagine cover art with a waifish girl, three sensitive shoe-gazers and then this fifty year old guy in back. What’s wrong with this picture? Literally. So, I’m doing as much local stuff as I can to keep busy, re-build the chops and network, Network, NETWORK.
So, JC. What does this mean for the future of JCHMusic?
Hey, I’m glad you asked.
Well, doing my two hour solo shows with guitar is now pretty much impossible —which as fans know, were 75% of my gigs, and what kept the rain off my head, and what drove the majority of CD sales. I think I’m a pretty creative guy, but I haven’t figured out a way to do the same type of show accompanied only with me bass. 😀
So on a separate track, I’m working on forming a new version of ‘the band’ that I can find work for locally and then take to various places as demand permits. This will not be easy, but there it is. I can’t see this making it’s way to your town (meaning the traditional places I have played; from Pittsburgh to Mobile and Santa Fe to Long Island) much before next year.
In the mean time, I hope you’ll stick with me as I focus on some new writing that I think is some of the best work I’ve done. I promise to be more pro-active this year updating people with my writing progress—after all, I do have more time on my hands these days!