WWSP's "The Alternate Boot!"

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Schlepping to Satisfaction Quotient

So, as Dave Thomas of Pere Ubu once remarked, "rock and roll is about moving big black boxes from one part of town to another." There's a lot of schlepping playing music. You've got amps, P.A. systems, cords, mics, and if you go with the full band there's all those assorted drums and cymbals, and well, I guess it's one way to make sure your biceps don't atrophy.

I've come up with a new measure for any possible gig. It's the "schlepping to satisfaction quotient." It came out of hard experience over the last two years. Any show requires schlepping, it's inevitable like acid rain. The same is true in theater but if you're putting on a theatrical production most of the schlepping is done beforehand. Once your production opens the heavy lifting is basically over, and well, you have your "run" and then you just have the show itself to grapple with.

One thing I noticed is that the music gigs where the schlepping factor was low, the satisfaction factor has usually been high. This weekend was the perfect illustration. We played the Flatiron on Friday and it was basically my beat up old guitar, Carla's tambourine and magic egg, one vocal mic, a cord and well, since my brother provided that amps, we plugged in, and the rest was our shining personalities and boundless (not really) energy. We took public transportation, (the train, the bus - hey, there's Pat McD with his little Epiphone amp, sitting in the back of the bus pretending to be one of George Romero's Zombies!) and all went without a hitch, without straining a muscle.

Same thing on Saturday. There was an open mic at our local coffeehouse and we walked a block, plugged in and burned the house down with a little three song mini-set. Low schlepp/Maximum Satisfaction! Plus I got a great hot chocolate in the bargain. Now that's what I call life on the road!

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