JOEY & THE DINOSAURS
Last night I dreamt I had a gig at a town festival. They brought me in to a little gazebo, where I was singing and telling stories for about half a dozen families, 20-25 people. It was a pretty standard show--some nice moments, a couple slip-ups, kids getting a bit crazy at times, lots of smiles, giggles, and happy singing. All in all, goofy imperfect fun.
Then...in my dream the woman hosting me for the town brought me to another family entertainment area: a huge auditorium where a kiddie rock band was playing: Joey & the Dinosaurs. Joey & the Dinosaurs looked and sounded fantastic: costumes, light show, electric guitars, drums, etc. The whole room was rocking with hundreds of people dancing and having a great time!
In the dream, I spoke to Joey & the Dinosaurs after their concert and told them I thought they were great. They were nice-looking young guys and basically blew me off--paying no attention to me. I kept a brave face, but inside I felt awful. "I suck," is what I kept telling myself. End of dream.
This morning--back in the real world--I performed at a library for about half a dozen families, and it was a typical, wonderful show. Goofy imperfect fun.
On the way home I remembered my dream. And I thought about why, in the dream, Joey & the Dinosaurs made me feel so bad. Here's what I thought: It's easy to start believing the "bigger is better" model because that's how society generally views the music "biz". But the fact is, there is a place for singing songs, doing silly dances, and telling stories, etc. face-to-face--with lots of audience participation and interaction. That's really good for kids...and grown-ups, too. And it's okay for me to be really good at performing for smaller groups...but not have the wherewithal (marketing skills, musical chops, rock band, stage design, costume ideas, business sense, etc.) to become a major act--like Joey & the Dinosaurs. The fact is, there's not much I'd change about my life. I'm not making a killing financially--but I'm making a living. (Was it Ani DiFranco who said that?) Most days I work close to home and sing for small groups comprised mostly of children. Things could be worse. Maybe I'm not Joey & the Dinosaurs...but at least I'm not extinct.
Steve Blunt, 10/23/10. www.steveblunt.com