As I work through my ever-nauseating to-do list, I often hit a snag…. 

Listen while you read to “Drunkard’s Blues” from “10 Strings” by the Panache Orchestra.
Mid-November, 2011

I was in a productive streak, busily working through my to-do list that included a list of places to contact to get shows booked with the new trio format now that we have a solid set worked up with our new drummer, as well as some decent demo material, and that list included a few bars.  We haven’t played a bar/club date in nearly two years since I finally put my foot down due to the utter futility of it for our “traditional” acoustic string duo format.  The effect was immediate and devastating.  I’d had a “good” morning so far – got up early, did my morning practice, and went off to the day job feeling engaged and interested in making continued progress, but as soon as I pulled up a blank sheet to begin composing emails to send to a couple bars (during my break at work ;), and particularly after reading through some online reviews about one of them, I got what felt like a severe allergic reaction: it seemed as if all the air had suddenly been sucked out of my lungs, and I felt totally depressed and lifeless after being perfectly upbeat and animated right up until then.

Man, oh man!  How do I motivate myself to slog through the administrative drudgery of booking my band into places I would probably never frequent out of my own free will?!  I’ve never cared much for bars, and never go to them anymore except at the behest of someone else (usually my husband), and have absolutely no interest in performing in them.  In fact, playing to a distracted, drunk audience is one of the types of shows I find the most demeaning and fatiguing of all, especially when we’re hardly getting paid anything to do it, and worse still, have to go out of pocket to pay our side players!  And as far as I’m concerned, restaurant gigs for the most part fall squarely into that same category, except they traditionally pay slightly better.  To put no finer point on it, having to play these types of gigs is on par with the drudgery of a day job, especially since I’m already fatigued from working the day job by the time I get to the gig!

Nevertheless, some bars have a reputation as being music venues, i.e., places people go specifically to hear live bands, and since we are still at the steep end of the fan base building curve, I guess that means I have to get us in front of people who are interested in live music, so from that standpoint, perhaps it might be worth doing??  Only if we win over enough fans that will consistently show up at our gigs so that I will be able to book us into places I find more favorable to perform at.  The only thing that makes restaurants worth doing (at least as far as I’m concerned) is the fact that they pay (at least some of them, sometimes), and that helps offset the out-of-pocket cost of performing while keeping dates on our calendar at a variety of places for people to come see us.

That brings into play another aspect of fan base building that I find distressing: having to try and figure out how to engage people and keep them engaged, which, being the extreme introvert that I am, does not by any means come naturally!  Also on this same subject, there seems to be something inherently wrong with trying to cajole people into giving up an otherwise free evening when they’re tired from working all day and drive all over hell to come to a place I would probably never even go to myself to see us play under undesirable conditions.  Perhaps that’s another reason why I dislike it so much?

I have a sneaking suspicion that there is a simple, clear answer to this dilemma: when something gives me “that” feeling, JUST SAY “NO”!