inkwell.vue.177 : Bruce Pollock: WORKING MUSICIANS
permalink #76 of 198: a monor quibble (chrys) Tue 4 Mar 03 11:44
    
I'd passed on the Peter Tork Interview - but now you've made me
curious. 

Bruce, what made you choose Tork to interview?  Of all the Monkees,
Nesmith strikes me as the working musician.  How did the Tork interview
come about?
  
inkwell.vue.177 : Bruce Pollock: WORKING MUSICIANS
permalink #77 of 198: David Gans (tnf) Tue 4 Mar 03 11:46
    

> As long as there's one person in the crowd that came to see us, I''m gonna
> give them the same show I'd give to ten thousand people. - James Solberg


> ...the sixties as a paradigm allowed for a good deal of sloppiness of
> detail as well as form. - Dave Van Ronk


> Nine oout of ten gigs something happens that says, "This is why I'm doing
> it."  You play a song and you're completely proud of your band, you're
> going, "We are playing really well and we've written a great song and
> people appreciate us."  That happens for at least one song every show.
> Sometimes there's a whole set like that.  Other times, some songs we
> thought were great six months later we realize the audience was right -- we
> were just being weird.  We were involved in the sound from some musician
> point of view rather than a fan point of view.  The song is more fun to
> play than it is to listen to.  I'll always give up songs like that. - David
> Lowery
  
inkwell.vue.177 : Bruce Pollock: WORKING MUSICIANS
permalink #78 of 198: Bruce Pollock (bruce-pollock) Tue 4 Mar 03 12:02
    
Bruce, what made you choose Tork to interview?  Of all the Monkees,
Nesmith strikes me as the working musician.  How did the Tork
interview come about?

    Actually, Tork was a contemporary of mine, playing the Gaslight in
the Sixties when I was sitting in the audience every Tuesday night and
living a few blocks away. He was a sprightly little guy with a banjo.
When he got conscripted into the Monkees it was like your neighbor
winning the lottery.
    Talking to him was an amazing experience. He's obviously had his
mind blown and semi-repaired several times over. Lots of sex, drugs and
rock and roll--but even more therapy.


 "Nine out of ten gigs something happens that says, "This is why I'm
doing it."  
     Probably the secret of the book: 9 out of 10 interviews,
something happens when you connect with your subject and he or she is
really revealing something. Those are the moments I tried to capture in
the book. Those are the moments that made me glad I got a chance to
have a career doing this.
  
inkwell.vue.177 : Bruce Pollock: WORKING MUSICIANS
permalink #79 of 198: Bruce Pollock (bruce-pollock) Tue 4 Mar 03 18:35
    
    Speaking of self-promotion, I was just handed a copy of the latest
issue of Performing Songwriter, which contains a good review of
Working Musicians. 
    On the cover, ironically, is my across the street neighbor, John
Mayer.
  
inkwell.vue.177 : Bruce Pollock: WORKING MUSICIANS
permalink #80 of 198: David Gans (tnf) Tue 4 Mar 03 19:05
    
Congrats!
  
inkwell.vue.177 : Bruce Pollock: WORKING MUSICIANS
permalink #81 of 198: Get Shorty (esau) Tue 4 Mar 03 22:19
    
I like that John Mayer album, plus I got his earlier one. Such a babyfaced
kid! I was also surprised that my 17-year-old son knows his music and was
surprised I had it.

You've been around for a while, it seems like. You mentioned earlier
knowing him as a kid. Have you offered Mayer words of advice? Has his
career progressed differently from others you've seen? 
  
inkwell.vue.177 : Bruce Pollock: WORKING MUSICIANS
permalink #82 of 198: Bruce Pollock (bruce-pollock) Wed 5 Mar 03 06:53
    
     When we moved onto the block in 1985, he was just one of four or
five boys playing touch football on my lawn. When he started playing
guitar, we used to hear it floating out the window down the block. He
seemed to get real good real fast. 
     At the time I was editor of GUITAR for the Practicing Musician,
which John used to read, and he was friendly with my older daughter.
Once he asked her if he could call me and get some advice. But, lucky
for him, he never did. I'm sure I would have told him that his chances
were slim to none.
     I haven't read many of the interviews he's given these days, but
his rise certainly seems meteoric. Definitely there's a lot of right
place, right time, right look, right sound, right connections going on.
Even he's aware it might all backlash soon.
     But even if he turns out to be the next Shawn Mullins, he should
be able to have a pretty good career based on the foundation he created
this year.
     Now I'm thinking of calling him up to ask for advice on how I can
get my own songs heard!
  
inkwell.vue.177 : Bruce Pollock: WORKING MUSICIANS
permalink #83 of 198: a monor quibble (chrys) Wed 5 Mar 03 12:51
    
  Thus far in my reading of 'Working Musicians' I've noticed that most
of the pieces are reflective, looking back as it were.  Was that an
editorial decision? Did many talk about how they see the future, about
their plans?  
  
inkwell.vue.177 : Bruce Pollock: WORKING MUSICIANS
permalink #84 of 198: Bruce Pollock (bruce-pollock) Wed 5 Mar 03 14:23
    
If it's consistent, then it was an editorial decision. I was looking
for things that were concrete, rather than speculative. 
     If anyone, Boyd Tinsley, violinist in the Dave Matthews Band, was
thinking about the future of rock violin and where he could take it.
    Lenny White, the jazz/rock drummer, looked into the future, too,
and he didn't like what he saw.
  
inkwell.vue.177 : Bruce Pollock: WORKING MUSICIANS
permalink #85 of 198: David Gans (tnf) Wed 5 Mar 03 20:30
    

> I love music, but music does not consume me.  Succcess to me is being able
> to enjoy life and spend time with my family.  So far as people acknow-
> ledging me, getting write-ups and PR, I don't crave the spotlight.  I like
> being a behind-the-scenes guy.  People don't know me and have no idea what
> I look like.  That's great.  A lot of people probably don't even know what
> I've contributed to unless they pick up the album and read the credits, and
> that's fine.  With the spotlight and the notoriety, people view you a cer-
> tain way.  You're under a certain amount of pressure.  I think one of the
> hardest things for people in this business is trying to live up to people's
> expectations. - Darren Lighty, Keyboard player, producerm, songwriter
  
inkwell.vue.177 : Bruce Pollock: WORKING MUSICIANS
permalink #86 of 198: David Gans (tnf) Wed 5 Mar 03 20:35
    

> As far as most people know, there are only two kinds of musicians.  One
> kind plays weddings and bar mitzvahs, Top 40 covers, or strums and acoustic
> guitar at the local Beef & Brew.  The other kind of musician is exceedingly
> rich and famous, whose latest hit gets played on the radio and who is in-
> vited to be a musical guest on _Saturday Night Live_.  What most people
> don't know is that there is another kind of musician, who fits into neither
> of those categories.  Like the famous musician, he makes recordings of his
> own songs, goes on the road and plays concerts all over the world, signs
> autographs, gets interviewed on the occcasional radio station, and makes a
> living doing it.  But also, like the other kind of musician working the
> dive bars and cateringhouses for chump change, most people have never heard
> of him.

> I am this guy.

- Bob Malone, keyboard player, solo performer
  
inkwell.vue.177 : Bruce Pollock: WORKING MUSICIANS
permalink #87 of 198: David Gans (tnf) Wed 5 Mar 03 20:40
    

> We don't start with the same song, we don't finish with the same song --
> you never know what's going to happen.  It's all spontaneous.  There's cer-
> tain songs we know we're going to be using, because we've been playing
> together for so long that you could just turn a certain way and you're
> going to know what's gonna happen.  You can just feel it.  In the beginning
> we were much leess attentive to the audience than we are now.  Back then we
> didn't care what the hell we played.  If we wanted to be weird for the
> whole set and not relate to the audience, period, we would do that.  Now
> we're much more aware of the vibe in the roonm.  - Al Anderson, NRBQ
  
inkwell.vue.177 : Bruce Pollock: WORKING MUSICIANS
permalink #88 of 198: Jim Brennan: Pseud Monkey (jimbrennan) Wed 5 Mar 03 22:11
    
As an aside, why did Guitar FPM fold?  I read it religiously when I
was gigging steadily.
  
inkwell.vue.177 : Bruce Pollock: WORKING MUSICIANS
permalink #89 of 198: a monor quibble (chrys) Wed 5 Mar 03 22:29
    
And I want to know why David Gans isn't in the book.  <gr>
  
inkwell.vue.177 : Bruce Pollock: WORKING MUSICIANS
permalink #90 of 198: Life Is Easy When Considered From Another Point Of View (dam) Thu 6 Mar 03 06:53
    
same reason Musician probably folded, not enough subscribers.
  
inkwell.vue.177 : Bruce Pollock: WORKING MUSICIANS
permalink #91 of 198: Jim Brennan: Pseud Monkey (jimbrennan) Thu 6 Mar 03 07:13
    
zing
  
inkwell.vue.177 : Bruce Pollock: WORKING MUSICIANS
permalink #92 of 198: Bruce Pollock (bruce-pollock) Thu 6 Mar 03 09:03
    
    Actually, I think everyone is wrong about the demise of GFTPM. My
personal take on the situation is that once I left it was only a matter
of time.
   Seriously, a year or two later my co-editor/founder John Stix also
left. At the same time, the heavy metal culture that boomed when we
started (I like to take credit for the booming heavy metal culture too)
disappeared in favor of non-verbal sludge bands that didn't feature
guitar that much.
   Beyond all that, and undoubtedly there was political stuff going on
too, I'm not sure the magazine really folded. It was merged into
something called GUITAR One, which is a lot like an idea I had at the
time to create a GUITAR For the Beginning Musician.
   So now, in an effort to distance itself from what John and I
created, GUITAR One exists, and the name GUITAR For the Practicing
Musician has been retired. But GUITAR One does some of the same things
GFTPM did, for a younger audience. Kind of like Wings after the breakup
of the Beatles (or ELO without Jeff Lynne).


"And I want to know why David Gans isn't in the book."
      I think Paul Shaffer is writing a book about him.
  
  
inkwell.vue.177 : Bruce Pollock: WORKING MUSICIANS
permalink #93 of 198: David Gans (tnf) Thu 6 Mar 03 09:44
    

And vice versa, oddly enough.
  
inkwell.vue.177 : Bruce Pollock: WORKING MUSICIANS
permalink #94 of 198: Get Shorty (esau) Thu 6 Mar 03 10:06
    
I've been meaning to pick up "Hrrrnnn: Best of the Nonverbal Sludge
Bands Vol. 1" through Amazon.
  
inkwell.vue.177 : Bruce Pollock: WORKING MUSICIANS
permalink #95 of 198: ONNO LAKEMAN writes: (tnf) Thu 6 Mar 03 11:09
    

From Onno Lakeman:

Bruce, thanks for writing this fascinating book. I have read it and love it!
OK, I am in it and that inspired me to read some more, but once I started, I
could not stop. with your book Working Musicians you have given such a true
insight in musician's lifes. the fame, the ups, the downs, the hopes, the
hits, the frustration and the missed chances.

I am proud you have asked me to contribute a part of my musical journey to
your book and the fact that my 'do it yourself indie story' is right next to
someone like John Hiatt, and close to great musicians such as Keith Richards,
John Lee Hooker, Bruce Springsteen... is an absolute thrill for me. looking
at the list of musicians in the book, I was wondering what has been the
reason you selected these musicians for the book, instead of the typical,
what a way to sell, let's say Backstreet Boys,B Christina Aguilera & Britney
Spears type 'how I started to learn to dance' stories?

Onno Lakeman, guitarist, co-songwriter & co-producer for Red to Violet CD
'Red to Violet' <http://www.redtoviolet.com>
  
inkwell.vue.177 : Bruce Pollock: WORKING MUSICIANS
permalink #96 of 198: Bruce Pollock (bruce-pollock) Thu 6 Mar 03 12:13
    
  I would like to say I picked the people for the book according to
how many copies they promised me they'd buy.
   But that would be wrong.
   In fact, none of them has bought near enough copies, except for
Milt Jacoby, who has probably accounted for 75% of my sales thus far.
   But, then again, he makes his living in Real Estate, and is in fact
planning a book called Working Real Estate Agents.
   Onno, however, has always been very encouraging to me. redtoviolet
is based in uh-oh, is it Norway or Sweden or Finland(and does it really
matter)? Their sound is kind of a Eurythmics meet the Beatles (and the
CD was recorded at Abbey Road). 
   Readers should definitely buy their CD if they have any money left
over after buying my book. To be on the safe side, they should order
both of them from Amazon, along with "Best of the Non-Verbal Sludge
Bands" and "The Collected Paul Shaffer-David Gans Letters."
   My next book, however, if only they'd make themselves available,
would definitely be "How I Learned to Dance with
Britney/Backstreet/NSync & Christina."
   Letterman would have to have me on the show to promote that one!
John Mayer could write the blurb.
  
inkwell.vue.177 : Bruce Pollock: WORKING MUSICIANS
permalink #97 of 198: Life Is Easy When Considered From Another Point Of View (dam) Thu 6 Mar 03 13:06
    
I subscribe to both Guitar and Guitar One.

I like what they give me.
  
inkwell.vue.177 : Bruce Pollock: WORKING MUSICIANS
permalink #98 of 198: Bruce Pollock (bruce-pollock) Thu 6 Mar 03 18:33
    
That's the whole trouble now, there are so many Guitar magazines,
specifically, magazines named Guitar, that I didn't even know that
Guitar and Guitar One were different magazine, or if Guitar is Guitar
for the Practicing Musician, or just another guitar magazine.
   Anyway, the day I stopped working there is the day I stopped
looking at the magazine, which would be in the middle of 1992.
  
inkwell.vue.177 : Bruce Pollock: WORKING MUSICIANS
permalink #99 of 198: devious and sincere (kurtr) Fri 7 Mar 03 13:16
    
I was interested to see that John Lee Hooker was into guys like Tony 
Bennett and country-western music, but felt that he couldn't do those 
styles without losing his audience.

I guess one of the drawbacks of celebrity versus being a working musician 
is the risk of being stuck in one genre alone, and generally having to 
follow what you perceive to be the dictates of your audience.

Another side of that is that a lot of the big-name artists seem to have a 
very clear idea of who is their audience.  I've read about other acts, 
like Van halen or Motley Crue being unwilling to do things because they 
felt their audience wouldnt' relate - even things like what types of 
instruments they play.

John Lee Hooker did a nice job of puncturing the stereotype of needing to 
suffer in order to create, especially to create blues music.  He said he 
couldn't write songs when he was worried.  Keith Richards seemed to be 
similar, finding he was most creative after a meal hanging out with 
friends.

In my own experience I reflecting on strong emotions I've felt is a good 
source of creativity, but when Iu'm caught up in the emotion I can't 
necessarily create.
  
inkwell.vue.177 : Bruce Pollock: WORKING MUSICIANS
permalink #100 of 198: David Gans (tnf) Fri 7 Mar 03 13:32
    

> reflecting on strong emotions I've felt is a good source of creativity, but
> when I'm caught up in the emotion I can't necessarily create.

That's pretty much how it works for me, too.  Once you've put a little dis-
tance between yourself and the intensity of the moment, it's possible to get
a handle on things annd tuurn it into poetry.
  

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