Monday, March 31, 2008

No Trust Fund Tour Wrap-Up

A couple of quick testimonials of Ghost Notes and Songs from Memory.

"Just wanted to tell you how much we love your CD. It is fantastic. We listened to it at least 4 or 5 times on our way home from Scottsdale and then it wouldn't come out of the CD player so we listened to it another 4 or 5 times until we got home. We love it. We are still playing it. So now we can sing along any time we want."

"I reread Stuck Outside this weekend, and am now enjoying Ghost Notes. I'm to the point in the book where you look at how much is left to read and you're torn. I wanna know what happens and yet I don't want the story to end. I'm really enjoying the book, your writing really makes it easy to identify with Hote's feelings."

The No Trust Fund Tour 2008 ended last night in Chicago with a rocking show, and what an amazing tour it was! Four cities, four gigs, one radio show, and a million laughs. It would be almost impossible to pick a highlight, but playing live on Jon Grayson's radio show on KMOX for 44 states--and the late night at BB's listening to Phat Noiz--has to rank right up there. I'd place playing "Carefree" in both St. Louis and Chicago a close second.

And thank you to all the dancers! I always say, heaven for a musician is having 10 people dance while you play. At that point, you know you're fighting the good fight. Thanks to all of you.

So, I guess it's all over, right? You put out a novel and a CD, you do some readings, you play some gigs, you tour, and then you fade off into the sunset. You feel good about your accomplishments, you brag about them to your family and friends, and you rest well at night knowing the law has been laid down by you with a resounding authority.

Hell no.

This is just the first of what I see as a six-to-eight-month promotional smorgasbord. There will be more readings, there will be more music, more band gigs, more dancing into the night and more work days ruined. Next is a little trip down south that will take me to Oklahoma City and Dallas within the next month or so for a couple of acoustic shows. I hear these areas boast the most cantankerous band of outlaws anyone hombre is likely to come across.

Sounds like a job for me.

Then, who knows? Maybe your city will pop up, again or for the first time. Don't be surprised to see me soon in your neck of the woods. Keep your eyes peeled for the latest at my Web site.

Thanks so much to all of you who came out to see the tour. I will see you again, and sooner rather than later.

Next week's blog? I have no idea. Maybe someone else from Gilligan's Island will get arrested.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Mary Ann

Okay. I admit it. I'm worried.

What am I worried about?

Am I worried about the No Trust Fund Tour 2008, which starts TOMORROW NIGHT, 3/25, in Atlanta?


Am I worried about Ghost Notes?


Am I worried about Songs from Memory?

Am I worried about the ozone layer? Global warming? The upcoming presidential election?

No, no and no.

"Then what?" you ask. "What are you worried about?"

I'm worried about Dawn Wells.

Who's Dawn Wells?

Everyone knows who Dawn Wells is.

They just know her by a different name.

They know her as Mary Ann.

Unfortunately, Mary Ann was recently busted in Driggs, Idaho early in the morning. A cop pulled her over for swerving and found, in the back seat of her car, four half-smoked joints.

You know what happened next.

Five days and some $400 later, Mary Ann is out of the clinker, and moving beyond the episode.

I feel sorry for Mary Ann.

Word has it that the four half-smoked joints weren't even hers.

Someone left them in her car.

I have to admit I'm fascinated by this story, by Dawn Wells-Mary Ann.

But mostly I'm fascinated by that one strange detail.

Four half-smoked joints.

What happened? Why would Mary Ann have four half-smoked joints in the back seat of her car?

I have a theory.

I think Mary Ann had some company in her car that night.

I think Mary Ann had some old friends in the back seat of her car that night.

I think Gilligan, the Skipper, Ginger, and the Professor were partying with Mary Ann that night.

I think Gilligan said, "Let's all pile into Mary Ann's car and take the party to Thurston's house."

So, they all piled into the car, and Mary Ann, docile as ever, acquiesced.

Little did she know, the Professor, who'd been spending far too much time in his basement lately, broke out his latest hydroponic invention.

"You're not lighting that up in my car, are you, Professor?"

"Of course not, Mary Ann. We wouldn't want to get you into trouble, would we?"

And they lit up anyway.

The Professor, Gilligan, the Skipper, and Ginger all lit up.

In Mary Ann's car.

"Wow, Professor," Ginger said. "This stuff is really too much."

"Skipper," proclaimed Gilligan, curled up in the passenger's seat. "I'm getting paranoid."

"What I'd give for a nice, juicy steak," pondered the Skipper.

Then, the red lights flashed behind them.

"Headhunters," Gilligan exclaimed, and as Mary Ann curbed her car, Gilligan threw his half-smoked joint down and dashed into the night.

"Let's get out of here," Skipper said, throwing down his half-smoked joint and following his little buddy.

"I've got a pound of this stuff on me," the Professor said, throwing his half-smoked joint down and disappearing.

"Sorry, Dawn," Ginger said, "but it always pissed me off that guys liked you better." And Ginger threw her half-smoked joint down and sauntered away.

So, Mary Ann, innocent Mary Ann, took the fall for the gang.

That's my theory. I hope you like it.

Come see me this week in Atlanta, or Nashville, or St. Louis, or Chicago, and witness the law being laid down in a most pleasurable way. Click the link below for more details.

Web site

Free Mary Ann!


Sunday, March 16, 2008

No Trust Fund Tour 2008

First of all, thank you to those who came to see me this past week in AZ and Denver, and for buying Ghost Notes and Songs from Memory. I was using these dates as a guide to help me decide how I'd like to plan events for the rest of the year, and because of you I've come to this conclusion:

I want to play as much as I can in 2008, in any configuration, whenever possible.

That's how well it went.

So, you're going to see me in OKC, and Dallas (just confirmed), and probably Detroit and Des Moines and the East Coast, too.

And that's all before July.

You're also going to see me on the No Trust Fund Tour 2008.

"What's the No Trust Fund Tour 2008?" you ask.

The No Trust Fund Tour 2008 is a four-city tour from Atlanta to Chicago that will feature sets by me and co-headliner John Austin. Our fellow cohorts in laying down the law will be the inimitable Bret Hartley and the ever-funky Kevin Leahy.

Here are the dates of the tour:

March 25 Atlanta Smith's Olde Bar 9 PM

March 27 Nashville The End 10 PM

March 28 St. Louis KMOX (1120 AM) Live On-Air Performance and Chat with Jon Grayson 11 PM

March 29 St. Louis Lucas School House 9 PM

March 30 Chicago The Abbey Pub 8 PM

Check out my Web site or the individual club Web sites for more information.

In all instances, Mr. Austin will go on before me, and I after him. I'll be playing bass in John's band, and he's holding down rhythm guitar in mine.

"Great," you say. "I'll be there. But why do you call it the No Trust Fund Tour 2008?"

We call it the No Trust Fund Tour 2008 because the four of us are lifelong musicians and songwriters somewhere in our late thirties. We've all had some success in the music industry, but hardly enough to guarantee that we won't be delivering pizzas in the future.

So, we called our tour the No Trust Fund Tour 2008 to emphasize that we're on the road without a net, and that if you come, not only will you witness the law being laid down with authority, but also you'll be helping four guys do what they love to do.

"But what will it sound like?"

I'm glad you asked. To give you a hint of the full band onslaught, I've posted online the best live track from Jim Gerke's recording of the Last Exit show in Tempe last week, "Sad Songs Come and Go," the last song on Songs from Memory. It's at my MySpace Audio page, and features the ever-lovable Jim Gerke on rhythm guitar and class act Curtis Grippe on the skins. Enjoy, and get ready to duck in the second chorus when Hartley lets himself out of the cage.

It all starts in a little more than a week in Atlanta. If you're in one of these areas, come out, have a great time, listen to some great music, and know that your presence is appreciated by those playing.


Sunday, March 9, 2008

Thank you, Arizona! Hello, Denver!

Are you ready, Denver?

Tuesday, 3/11, Walnut Room, 8 PM with John Queen

You're going to get a bit of Ghost Notes, a lot of Songs from Memory, a Refreshments song or two, and a cover or two.

You're going to get Denver's own John Queen.

You're going to experience the Walnut Room, which everyone tells me is the best new place in town.

And you're going to be home and in bed by 11, so you won't ruin your Wednesday.

Show starts at 8. See you there!

Some new reviews of Ghost Notes, Songs from Memory and the Phoenix leg:

"What a Wonderful Rock show last night. Love love love the CD And the book. Please come back soon."


"Your performance at Last Exit was great and I absolutely love the album! I have played it a million times and "Extraordinary" is my MySpace song. I can't wait to start the book. Be safe while traveling. Come back soon."


"I thought it was a great set. I really didn't know what to expect. I knew you had songwriting abilities, but you exceed expectations on stage too. I'm glad to see that your presence brought out a bit of the old crowd."


"I love the "Songs from Memory" and "Ghost Notes" -- I (and I'm sure
plenty of other musicians who tried to grab the brass ring) felt like I
was reading parts of my life story in "Ghost Notes," and your gift is
being able to convey those emotions into words -- I loved every word of

Chris Hansen Orf

AZ Rep Article

Get Out Article

New Times Blurb

Thank you, Arizona. We'll be back soon.

See you tonight, Denver!


Sunday, March 2, 2008

Kill the Song, Kill Yourself

You can now buy Ghost Notes and Songs from Memory at my Web site.

Two profiles on me and the above projects are coming out this week in AZ newspapers: the Arizona Republic and the "Get Out" section of the East Valley Tribune. I don't know when they'll run, but I think "Get Out" comes out on Thursdays. Keep your eyes peeled. I'll be looking for them online, and I'll post links here.

And I'm in AZ this week! If you're in the area, come say hello:

March 5-Tempe, AZ-Changing Hands Bookstore 7 PM
March 8-Phoenix, AZ-Borders Books and Music-Arizona Biltmore 4 PM
March 8-Tempe, AZ-Last Exit-Full band performance supporting Shurman 9 PM

I'm all out of copies of Stuck Outside of Phoenix to sell online. There will be a few copies available at Changing Hands this week, so get one before it's gone for good!

We've added another show to our late March tour! March 25, Atlanta, Smith's Olde Bar. Get all the details at my Web site. We're going to be talking a lot more about this tour after AZ and CO.

In case I sound too gruesome, the title of this blog, combined with the title of my last blog, is an ancient saying as quoted by Joseph Campbell. The whole saying is:

Kill the bird, kill the song

Kill the song, kill yourself.

I love Joseph Campbell.

The current state of affairs in the record industry (by most accounts, it's "suffering") I see as a correction, not necessarily a deviation from the way things should be. Really, it's just that the music industry is coming (somewhat) back to earth. It's not an outrage that the biggies are now selling merely a billion units a year as opposed to a kajillion. What's amazing is that the record industry sold a kajillion units a year in the first place.

The same argument is being made about the current decline in interest in reading. The argument goes: it's not a travesty that fewer people are reading every year; it's amazing that that many people ever read in the first place. (Of course, they're wrong; it is a travesty that fewer people are reading every year, but that's a subject for another blog.)

Think about it: the Refreshments sold about 80,000 copies of The Bottle and Fresh Horses in the first few months of its release, and we were told the record was a failure.

80,000 copies.

I've said it once, and I'll say it again: if you're selling 80,000 copies of anything and calling it a failure, there's something wrong with the way you're doing business.

For centuries, artists have had to build their audiences in much smaller increments, little groups of people, even one person at a time. Watching the way artists conduct their businesses is a pastime of mine, and it's taught me a great deal about how I should conduct mine. Namely, it's taught me that, as I move into the business of art, I don't need thousands and thousands of people to like and buy my work. A much smaller number will suffice, but I'll have to work much harder to reach that smaller amount.

Still, there's a great deal of dignity in this process of finding interested people on your own.

Taking this back to our conversation last week, one of the best parts of buying creative works from artists, as opposed to finding ways of getting them for free, is the dignity the process affords both parties. If I make a CD and sell it, I'm not just a hobbiest; I'm a recording artist running a record label. If you buy my CD, you're not a fan; you're a patron. Something about that just sits better with me.

Well, it's time to lay down the law. See you in AZ this week.