“We do things differently out here” - unnamed publican, 2018
The above statement could have been attributed to Captain Obvious as well but it is a sage piece of advice. The band was recently fortunate enough to get a grant from Music NSW after I opened my big mouth and said that I’d organise a tour to the western region of NSW. And I don’t mean west as in Dubbo - I mean really west… proper west… the west that misses out when artists say they’re going west (they mean Bathurst or Orange or if they’re really adventurous Mudgee or Dubbo)
I could never figure out why touring acts did that (logistics and cost aside), I mean to me 100 people in Bourke is the equal of 100 in Sydney - 100 people anywhere who like your music is something to be thankful for (it just occurred to me that perhaps they were hoping to play for more than 100 people!)
I guess I understand, when you want to take the next step you go the same direction that everyone who takes the next step goes right?
As I mentioned in the blog for my solo projects (aka Part 1), I’ve decided to do things differently in 2018 so we’re going the opposite direction.
With this in mind I sat back, I pictured desperate publicans and crowds of starved punters stalking the Facebook page and inundating us with offers, within a week we’d be locally famous and having horse drawn carts transport us to visit these lucky towns (…this shows you the depths of my arrogance and delusion… carts would take FAR too long)
OK, so that last part wasn’t real - but I will say that I, disappointingly, humanly, fell into that trap of arrogance and the response served me right. Silence. Bar the cicadas outside my window as I lay awake trying to figure out where I was going wrong. No response to my Facebook messages. No response to my emails. What was going on here?
A couple of venues had lined up but they were connected to people I knew already. Wait… what was that… yeah right, that massive thud was the sound of the bleeding obvious dawning on me. Connection… it’s all about connection. And I’m sure that goes for everywhere, not just the “out here” in my publican friend’s explanation. Because we care about people who care about us, we look after people who take an interest in what we’re trying to achieve.
So I grabbed some CDs, some business cards and I jumped in the car and drove 600km around all the places I’d been trying to score a gig. I talked to people and I explained what was going on and why a band would want to play their own songs when there’s so many good ones already written.
And people talked back, they asked questions and explained where they were coming from too - times are tough in some places and, despite the willingness, taking a risk on an unknown quantity is sometimes too much… but they appreciated that I’d made the time to come out in person - and I appreciated that they’d had the time to talk to some unknown musician type who rocked up unannounced. The result? We have a 7 date tour of western NSW coming up in February and March. You should come along.