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So I want to start a group...

Pelrad 01 Mar 00 - 12:48 AM
Callie 01 Mar 00 - 01:11 AM
Barry Finn 01 Mar 00 - 01:35 AM
wysiwyg 01 Mar 00 - 01:36 AM
Crowhugger 01 Mar 00 - 01:50 AM
Alice 01 Mar 00 - 10:55 AM
Peg 01 Mar 00 - 11:04 AM
M. Ted (inactive) 01 Mar 00 - 11:11 AM
Rick Fielding 01 Mar 00 - 11:44 AM
Pelrad 01 Mar 00 - 12:00 PM
Pelrad 01 Mar 00 - 12:05 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 01 Mar 00 - 02:37 PM
Rick Fielding 01 Mar 00 - 02:45 PM
Peg 01 Mar 00 - 02:53 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 01 Mar 00 - 03:45 PM
Hardiman the Fiddler 01 Mar 00 - 03:48 PM
Hardiman the Fiddler 01 Mar 00 - 03:49 PM
Barry Finn 01 Mar 00 - 09:40 PM
Rick Fielding 02 Mar 00 - 12:24 AM
M. Ted (inactive) 02 Mar 00 - 09:17 PM
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Subject: So I want to start a group...
From: Pelrad
Date: 01 Mar 00 - 12:48 AM

I have been receiving even more feedback than usual (meaning from complete strangers on the street even, rather than from professional musicians and other friends) that I should turn professional. Umm, musician, not curb-crawler (I know how we think around here!). I finally have the nerve to do it. I'm not talking about jumping up on a stage and immediately expecting to make money, but I know that I could do that within a short time if I wanted to. Well, I DO want to, finally. I'm looking for ways to pick up like-minded people because although I have nerve and a heck of a voice and repertoire, I do not feel that I am best marketed as a solo act. I need some balance so that this is fun rather than scary and so that maybe a career will take off instead of getting lost in a museum.

My repertoire is almost entirely traditional and maritime-related. I don't want to venture too far off from that. The problems are 1)finding like-minded people who are not already otherwise engaged or not interested in performing, and 2)finding them in a semi-local locale.

I know I can hit some coffeehouses, but how likely am I to "score?" What kind of sessions (round-robin sorts of things) are likely to yield what I'm looking for? I need quality to match my own, and most likely I need at least one person who can play an instrument. I can scour the Mystic Sea Music Festival, but I've been doing that for several years now without much success. The like-minded people I have run into there are from NYC, and are 4 hours away from me, plus are into their own thing now. Mystic staff members are so into their own thing I can't even get hired down there despite my credentials. I've worked at Kendall Whaling Museum, but the only musicians there are otherwise engaged. I have no ties to the New Bedford Museum, am I missing people up that way? For what I have in mind, I don't really need someone who knows their maritime history/music cold, but I do want someone doing something that jibes with my "vision." I'm not even looking to do strictly maritime, but it is my own background and mission. (Meaning, a mix of similar genres that yields something interesting and fun would be welcome)

I am in Rhode Island. I know most of the folk music scene around here, and if there are folk of my persuasion around here they're hiding pretty well. I'm willing to look as far afield as Boston and New Haven...Anyone have ideas as to hunting grounds?

Geez, I feel like I just wrote a personal ad. Gotta go wash my mouth out with Lifeboat Soap... :-)


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Subject: RE: So I want to start a group...
From: Callie
Date: 01 Mar 00 - 01:11 AM

I'm not from your parts, so I can't make specific suggestions. I just know that it's harder to find a haystack in a needle (!) than to find a bunch of people who you both respect musically AND like as people.

I met the people I perform with in a progressive community choir: we all sussed each other out regarding personality, musicality and politics in a safe environment first!! However, I know that it's an extremely precious fluke that we all met and love each other as well as want to make music together.

Is there anyone at your local folk club you could try? A local folk journal you could put a (nother personal) ad in? Could you start playing at local clubs and encourage people to come and jam with you? That way you could suss them out in a music-making context.

Good luck! -Callie


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Subject: RE: So I want to start a group...
From: Barry Finn
Date: 01 Mar 00 - 01:35 AM

Hi Pelrad, At NEFFA (festival in Natick, Mass - see thread "Who's Going To NEFFA) there's about 10 maritime related workshops & quite a few that like to sing it. You might try nosing around. I'd be more than happy to introduce you to those you might not know, though my thought is that you may know your way about a good deal better than I. I'd say the Boston area would be your best bet, though it may still be a bit scarce for hooking up with others. I sometimes hear about some of the sea music gigs in the area (a bunch of us did a public concert from the deck of the Empire Sandy last yr & was a blast - Lynn Noel was responsible for that one) & will update you if I hear of something. Anyway let me know if I can help. Barry


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Subject: RE: So I want to start a group...
From: wysiwyg
Date: 01 Mar 00 - 01:36 AM

I'd suggest you consider the Anne Hills/Cindy Mangsen/Priscilla Herdman model-- three powerhouses who do some things together but not everything, who know what material suits them as a trio but have individual strengths as well.

Also consider the reality I used to hear a lot of my "pro" friends talk about-- the more people there are on stage, the less each one makes, as cover charges don't go up very far.


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Subject: RE: So I want to start a group...
From: Crowhugger
Date: 01 Mar 00 - 01:50 AM

Are there any open mikes in your area that have a host band? You may or may not find your kindred spirits there but you'll get a feel for the kind of instrumentation you do and don't like. Sometimes the host band changes on a specific schedule - different every week, 3 months at a go etc. At least that's my very limited experience in some small Ontario venues (outside the big bad Trawna).

What I like about open mikes is improvising with others who've signed up for their 10 minutes or 2 songs or however it's run. Winging it this way is a good way to suss out musical compatibility. Personal compatibility in the long run is another matter. At the very least, you can rule out people whose musical comfort zone doesn't fit with yours.

$0.02


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Subject: RE: So I want to start a group...
From: Alice
Date: 01 Mar 00 - 10:55 AM

interesting thread. I'd like to hear more stories of how people met the other musicians with whom they perform.


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Subject: RE: So I want to start a group...
From: Peg
Date: 01 Mar 00 - 11:04 AM

Hi Pelrad;
I was gonna suggest what Barry did; and he is THE MAN when it comes to sea shanties! So check out his workshop at NEFFA, and even better, join us some night in Paddy Burke's on a Wednesday (tonight!!!) for the Boston Traditional Singers' Club...depending on who is there you may hear a great many songs of the type you like...
re: getting a band together, I am trying to do the same. I am a singer who does not really play well enough to accompany myself and anyway I like the fuller sound of more instruments. I have been wanting to place an ad but have not really found many venues for that that would turn up what I am looking for.
I was in a group not long ago but we parted ways rather bitterly. We had become friends (or so I thought)as a result of doing the music but that ended when the band did. Most of the band situations I know of that have lasted a long time or have the fewest problems are often groups of people who started as friends, or who met through other friends, as opposed to just coming together through music...but ya never know. I also know of one duo who simply answered gig ads and ended up not only collaborating but engaged...musicians can be an egotistical lot and only when there is mutual respect for everyone's abilities and proclivities can things progress...but the one constant in the music industry is the ever-changing roster of a band's drummers or singers or what have you...

good luck to you in any case.

peg


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Subject: RE: So I want to start a group...
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 01 Mar 00 - 11:11 AM

Well, I don't even know what to say--the first thing though, is that you have to re-read what you have said and consider how realistic your expectations are--

Not to discourage you, but, you shouldn't base life decisions on what a lot of strangers on the street say to you--there aren't a lot of professional opportunities for people who want to perform traditional and maritime music, especially when, like you, they don't feel that they are strong enough performers to work as a soloist--

I would suggest that you get out there with your material, as a soloist, at open mikes, as has been suggested and offer to play for schools, and at nursing homes and retirement communities--

You'll get a sense of what to do and how to do it, and you'll also start to get some money--after a while, you may get enough regular stuff to keep you busy, but remember the cardinal rule, don't quit your day job!!


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Subject: RE: So I want to start a group...
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 01 Mar 00 - 11:44 AM

Yup, Listen to Ted. Don't quit yer day job! The hardest part of getting a band together is "staying together". Just like in a marriage today, we are far less likely to put up with what we consider "bad behaviour in others". I can scarcely conceive, how bands of old managed to hang together with all the conflict that later biographies revealed. Buffalo Springfield had physical fights on stage, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee wouldn't even TALK to one another for almost 20 years, and many bands (including folk ones) have sued each other!

I think I would rather find someone who A: loves the music. B: has a compatible personality. C: has similar goals...and then "teach them" to play to the level you want. Surely that's preferable to finding a top notch player, who may not be a compatible partner, and the resulting fights and misery.

T'other thing. The MONEY! It just isn't there, unless you're 20, beautiful and (reasonably) easily manipulated by the folks who finance the early going, ie: publicity, recordings, travel etc.

Nope, you've gotta do it for the love of it, and perhaps you MIGHT pay expenses and have enough to live on. I've been doing it for 31 years, have tons of good reviews, a decent following of folks who like what I do, and apart from two "freak years" have never earned more than 30 grand (Canadian!!!) To make an "average" living by "Civilian standards" I'd have to be on the road at least 6-7 months a year...and then you might as well cross any kind of "relationship" off your list of wants.

Now, the kicker: Would I change one thing? NO. I Love doing it!

Rick


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Subject: RE: So I want to start a group...
From: Pelrad
Date: 01 Mar 00 - 12:00 PM

Thanks to all who've answered so far with advice and encouragement! I will check out the NEFFA thread, and will plan on going. I'll also try to get up to the Boston session sometime soon. Maybe I'll get to hear Peg? :-) I don't know of too many open mikes around here. There is a good one over in Newport, but it is mostly professionals (Paul Geremia for one jams there when he is in town) and besides it is my mother's turf, so I have not been over there yet. I'll have to hit the Stone Soup Coffeehouse on an open mike night and see if there are any new people hanging about.

Believe me, I am not doing this with any pie-in-the-sky dreams. I have been thinking about this (and have performed very sporadically, hosted by other groups) since I was 12. I was very lucky in that I have parents who spent 23 years supporting a family of five on one very low-paying day job and one fairly successful maritime folk music career, so I know what to expect money and venue-wise. I am currently a stay-at-home-mom with a choice of part-time jobs that pay pittances and aren't in my field, or graduate school to delay the inevitable fulltime job for a pittance (museum work...) on the horizon. I'd rather get started doing what I've always known I wanted to do, since I seem to have matured enough to have some balls to try it.

I'm not really relying on the advice of strangers in the street; although they have certainly been instrumental in giving me some impetus. It's nice to know that people who don't know me from Adam are interested in hearing me. They come up and ask where I perform because they'd love to hear more. That's a real boost, and some honest feedback from the multitudes, so to speak. I've had encouragement all along from others - sometimes it borders on threats, lol ("You have a lot of talent, a gorgeous voice and you know your stuff. So get your ass in gear and get up on that stage before we all die of old age!"). When people like Stan Hugill, Louis Killen, Stuart Frank, Ellen Cohn, etc etc, tell you they like your stuff, you know they're being honest. When professional performers call you on the phone to ask you about such-and-such a song, well... What I'm trying to say without sounding arrogant or name-dropping (I admit I didn't exactly succeed there) is, I know I've got "the stuff."

Right now I'm looking for 1-3 other people to get together with and produce music that will appeal to a wider audience than what I alone can appeal to. I see it as a smart move for a couple of reasons. I know I am not a strong solo performer because my choice of materials follows the tastes of Louis Killen. Louis at this time in his career can pull that kind of stuff off. I on the other hand, would have to be suicidal to try. :-) Besides, I want this to be fun as much as work.

Thanks again, and I'd love to hear more advice or even just stories like Alice suggested.


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Subject: RE: So I want to start a group...
From: Pelrad
Date: 01 Mar 00 - 12:05 PM

Wow, Rick! Those two freak years were great! No, I'm looking to pull in maybe $10k American a year, tops. This is personal fulfillment, plus a need to carry on a tradition that is near and dear to my heart. (How many young teenagers have you met who learned 78 traditional maritime songs in one summer just to keep her hand in? lol!) As for the rest, well, I'm not exactly beautiful or 20. Closer to "pleasing to the eye but a little chunky" and 30. :-) I'm certainly not looking to wreck my home life.

Thanks for the advice. I have you on my calendar, btw, for when you come to Stonington.


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Subject: RE: So I want to start a group...
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 01 Mar 00 - 02:37 PM

Well, Pelrad, you seem to have a knack for shameless self-promotion--just direct it a people who actually can do something for you--but, as they like to say today, "the product has to be right"And if you value your sanity, listen to Rick--bands on the road spend more time fighting that professional wrestlers--


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Subject: RE: So I want to start a group...
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 01 Mar 00 - 02:45 PM

A good way to proceed if you've got some patience, is to start a "song evening" somewhere. It might take a couple of months but you're bound to find people you'd want in your band.

Ted....some band reminicenses...please!

Rick


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Subject: RE: So I want to start a group...
From: Peg
Date: 01 Mar 00 - 02:53 PM

Pelrad; we would love to have you come to the singers sessiun; Paddy Burke's is right near North Station on Portland Street i think.
There are othe folk type open mikes in Boston in addition to Stone Soup, like the Cantab and the Kendall Cafe and Club Passim and Toad etc. I do not attend them often but they are apparently well-attended by plenty of people. The Burren also sponsors one on Tuesdays as does James' Gate in JP, and since both are Irish-owned pubs I am sure more traditional stuff would be welcome...
BTW what do you play?? I am trying to record a CD this year and am looking for instrumentalists (and maybe backing vocalists) to help out; not huge pay (;))but I have a good rate available to me at Blue Jay and would be happy to negotiate something...
peg


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Subject: RE: So I want to start a group...
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 01 Mar 00 - 03:45 PM

Pelrad--see? The hustling is starting to pay off!! Follow up, get out there, shake hands, meet people, and smile!!!

Rick, If they asked me, I could write a book! I have played in lots of different types of groups--

Should I tell you about the night our drummer tried to strangle the lead singer in my 70's rock band with a mike cable--It seems that he started pounding a drum stick on a wine bottle during a someone's solo, broke the bottle and got glass shards all over the hardwood dance floor, closing the club for the night and getting us fired from our only regular gig--

Maybe you would like more folk oriented stories--how about the three hour fight we had in my old folkdance band over the fact that our name was impossible for Americans to pronounce?

Or the bandbreaker story, how two of the musicians decided to blow off 17 gigs at a famous department store(that we had already signed a $10,000 contract to play) because they compromised the integrity of our music? Fifteen years this March 23, and I still haven't spoken to them--

I am not the only one that has had these troubles--after a fight about over the way their manager was dealing with the record company, one dear friend kicked another dear friend in the head while he way lying on the floor, watching TV--and nearly killed him--

I am just getting warmed up here--there are fights about who is out in front, who should get a new instrument, who isn' really good enough to be in the band, the way we dress, who's solo is just an ego trip--who should get more, who should pay for the PA guy, who should sing a song--

I have been in a lot of bands, and the hardest thing to manage was never the music, it was the conflicts between people--


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Subject: RE: So I want to start a group...
From: Hardiman the Fiddler
Date: 01 Mar 00 - 03:48 PM

I've seen people put an ad in the local papers around me that are very specific as to what kind of instrumentalists they're looking for, but I've found that what works best is just hanging around, getting to know folks, and gettin' the word out on the street. Personal contact is best---sometimes the other person knows someone who knows someone who might be interested.


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Subject: RE: So I want to start a group...
From: Hardiman the Fiddler
Date: 01 Mar 00 - 03:49 PM

I've seen people put an ad in the local papers around me that are very specific as to what kind of instrumentalists they're looking for, but I've found that what works best is just hanging around, getting to know folks, and gettin' the word out on the street. Personal contact is best---sometimes the other person knows someone who knows someone who might be interested.


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Subject: RE: So I want to start a group...
From: Barry Finn
Date: 01 Mar 00 - 09:40 PM

Now that you've more bewares, becarefulls & becauses you're gonna try it anyway cause you've been bitten by the bug a long time ago. You're not under any false views, not with all the salt water singing that you've been weaned on. I know you were raised around the best when most you're age are still getting exposed so I guess it can be said that you've been raised in style (or in the style). Go for it, don't wonder later if you should've done it, later you can rethink the whole thing a 2nd time to see if you should continue, you can always keep it on a slow back burner. See you at NEFFA & maybe with all the shanty singers there we migtht get a sea session going to wet your foot in. By the way you were only 10 when your mother took the 2 fisted bones player/sailor, Tim Riley, under her wing & taught him his trade, in some quarters some assistance may be more forthcoming than one would expect. Barry


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Subject: RE: So I want to start a group...
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 02 Mar 00 - 12:24 AM

Thanks Ted. Maybe a thread should be started on "band stories" Maybe I'll start it.

Rick


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Subject: RE: So I want to start a group...
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 02 Mar 00 - 09:17 PM

I am not sure I want to re-live that stuff--but I am a compulsive poster--so I'll be there!!


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