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The Outback Musician's Survival Guide One Guy's Story of Surviving as an Independent Musician von Circle, Phil (eBook)

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The Outback Musician's Survival Guide

A whimsical, informative, and sometimes dark collection of stories, anecdotes and observations about life as an independent musician, from the viewpoint of one with thirty and more years on the front lines and in the outback of the American music industry.


    Format: ePUB
    Kopierschutz: AdobeDRM
    Seitenzahl: 166
    Sprache: Englisch
    ISBN: 9781543915259
    Verlag: BookBaby
    Größe: 915kBytes
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The Outback Musician's Survival Guide

Stage Fright And Other Less Scary Things

The first time I played one of my songs for a couple friends, I was so desperately nervous that I turned my back and closed my eyes while performing. I lifted my lids with trepidation after finishing the tune. My friends had moved around to stand in front of me. Their mouths were hanging open, eyes wide. I wasn ' t sure whether they were impressed or disgusted. Then one of them said,

"That was amazing."

I breathed, smiled shyly, and whispered "thanks." I felt a notch in my belt. I had read somewhere that to focus on fear or failure was a waste of energy, that one should count only the victories. I typically try to do this. I know I haven ' t always succeeded, but I ' ve certainly given it a solid try.

I can't remember how the song went or what it was even called. I think it was in the key of A minor. I ' ve probably used ideas from it in songs I ' ve written since then. I was twenty years old. It was after this experience that I began performing publicly. At first I hit open mic nights or took my guitar to parties. I was determined to gain confidence and lose the stage fright. I found my confidence through working in front of people. I still get stage fright. I was also determined to be heard. This, I accomplished. Extensively. Soon I was playing longer sets of my music here and there.

In dealing with stage fright over the years, I ' ve learned to remind myself that there's a good reason for it: I care. I want to put on a great show for people, to entertain them. Gradually, another thing dawned on me: It's all about the audience. I'm giving them all I've got and I want them to be happy, to get that therapy that music provides. So, I always try to remind myself before getting on stage that it's not about me. It's about them. Give the crowd all you can stand. It works. It ' s tricky. It ' s not a cure all. But it starts the work.

My first official "gig" was playing music for a play a co-worker of mine at a sandwich shop (one of my three jobs) had written. I put together a bunch of instrumental guitar work, some stuff by other artists and some ideas I either threw out or recycled later. It was just to be background, sort of incidental music. I was not yet quite clear on the concepts regarding fear that I ' ve just shared. I was so fucking nervous that when the director asked me where would be a good place to play from I pointed to the back of the theater. Up at the back of the theater, behind the seats, there was a little wall with an aisle on the backside of it.

"Do you need amplification?"

"No," I said, "it'll fill the room."

(Apparently I played that giant guitar mariachis use?)

So throughout opening night of the play, I sat there peering over this small wall in a dark space in the far back of a half-filled theater playing the music I'd arranged and diligently practiced. At the end of the show, when bows were taken, the director pointed up towards me to thank me. I stood up with my guitar, smiling like an idiot. The entire crowd turned with a look on their faces like "there was music?" The next night I was down in front of the stage.

In 1988, I worked nine months without a day off, on three to four hours sleep a night. I was determined to sock away enough money to quit my jobs (all three of them) and work in music full time. Instead, I became so ill that I was hospitalized. I opted to move to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to enjoy a better climate for my health and a slower pace of life than Chicago. I arrived there March 28, 1989, and stayed for nearly three years. This is where I first truly cut my teeth on live shows.

There was

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