Tag Archives: 3 Links

The Next Step in the The Ramone Evolution

My next show will be in a few days at 3 Links in Deep Ellum (I go on first!) and I plan to present a new stage show
Up until this point, I have pretty much played it straight and crammed as many songs as I could into my set
That worked when I was always going to play a quick set but I am planning for slots that are going to be 45 minutes to 3 hours so I need to learn how to inject some variety into the show
Not only that but I also need to use my video editing ideas to create a hybrid that is part Rock Band and part Musical Theater
I was trying to figure out the word that describes my concept and my friend Laura said “Revue” and that’s exactly what kind of show I want to build
There are plenty of strict interpretation tribute bands out there and I do realize that being solo is a novelty for sure but I want it to be intellectually different as well
One way to do that is to use archival footage of the band as transitions and intros to augment your performances and provide context
I have plundered all sorts of documentaries, interviews and have heavily sampled the film Rock N Roll High School and edited it into my set
In the nuts and bolts department, I figure the amount of time I will use up with video augmentation with be equivalent to one long song or two short ones, so I’m not sweating chewing up some of the clock with “non” songs

I will perform the first draft of this concept at 3 Links this Saturday
Hope to see you there and get there early because I go on first
The Ramone 3 Links 6 10 17 OMG

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The Busking The Ramone Fri 10/15/16

There were two different factors that determined if I was going to be able to busk on Friday
1- There was rain in the forecast but it was done by the morning
2- The allergen count was in the 5s instead of the usual 11s (the highest is 12)

Thanks to my friend Laura, I got a ride over to the East Sieede and got to Ellum in plenty of time
My biggest anxieties in past busking experiences has been that I might not get a good spot
The drums are a very hard instrument to adapt to the street because it is hard to pack them all up into one unit. This usually means a couple of trips, which also means that you need to find a parking space fairly close to your spot
This means endless laps around the block and/or hanging out in your car until you see someone vacate YOUR spot

None of the issues come up with The Busking The Ramone because I can carry the whole setup in one trip
My first attempt took place over by 3 Links  during the car show so I set my sights on that spot
I had  walked through that area and had seen another busker taking that spot, so I got there fairly early
This is usually no issue with the drums because I can play all night but playing the guitar and singing is different
Especially the guitar because my callouses are in the developmental stages where they are getting rough but not enough to take hold up to playing all night
I started playing at around 9pm and didn’t mind that the crowd was thin
This just gave me a chance to run the set list and make lots of mistakes
After going through the set, I discovered 2 mistakes
1- I got there too early and never could have lasted until 1 or 2 am
2- I left the screen on my phone up and it burned half my battery life just doing the one set
I managed to keep the phone screen dark and squeezed enough battery life out to last until I was done
The Alesis TransActive PA/Amp has 3 lights for a battery indicator and I only used up 1 light
I also put Duracells in my distortion pedal and had no worries about that
I managed to play until 12 Midnight before I started to lose feeling in my fingertips and gave up
If I had waited an hour longer to start, I would have hit my stride during peak time
A lot of people saw me but I only managed to make about $10 in tips

CONCLUSION-
The spot I picked is very busy but I did not get much in tips
My amp is only 40 watts and I had a hard time competing with the band playing through the open patio of 3 Links, as well as traffic and crowd noise
It was also a bit hard to move around
If I expect to do well in that spot, I need more volume
I will try a different spot next time
Also, I like having the screen of my phone on while playing the tracks so I can keep my place
I need to get one of those portable USB power devices
All in all, I accomplished what I set out to do and that was to drill the 30+ songs I have already recorded
I am getting stronger fingers and thicker callouses
The small amount of tips is only an inconvenience
Overall, it was an OK night
Not bad but not great
My next target will be Denton

 

The very first edition of “The Busking the RAMONE”

I had originally intended to try out the busking concept last weekend  but I was offered a gig at 3 Links instead
Naturally, I took the inside gig and it went over well
This time, I had prepared 32 tracks for the street and they didn’t have to be perfect EQ
3 Links was very kind to allow me the use of an electrical outlet and i thank them very much

Normally, I wouldn’t show up until an our or so before sunset because busking in the hot sun is extremely draining
In fact, I think I might have gotten heat stroke today but it was mild

I showed up early because of the Invasion Car Show and did not know what I was going to encounter
I knew that Elm Street was going to be blocked off but I didn’t anticipate that people would have those portable open tent like thingies
People weren’t happy to see me loading a bunch of equipment between the two tents just down the street from 3 Links
My second misconception was that all of the bands playing the car show were going to be at Trees
It turned out that they were playing the parking lot of Trees, which adds way too much noise to the environment
I opted to wait until the final band was off the stage to start playing but it was still hot at that time of the day (I need to start paying attention to times)
Keep in mind that I have already been exerting myself in the hot sun and getting shit figured out since about 3:30pm

Meanwhile, “Joey” from SEDATED- the world’s greatest Ramones tribute shows up in full gear and wants to sing
I tell him that he can sing the whole set if he likes and he pretty much did, except for the time he went to get a beer
This turned out to be a very good stroke of luck because this meant I didn’t have to sing a lot in the heat and he saved me some hassle

I would say that most of the performance went well
I recorded video of the performance with “Joey”  but turned the camera off as I went through the set at different points, so that I can get used to playing a request on the fly
I didn’t feel the need to document all of this because there are going to be plenty of busking performances in the future to record
I am exploring the option of live-streaming my busking session but we shall see….
My outdoor EQ skills leave a lot to be desired and it was hard to hear different parts of the music, especially the vocals
My brain gets distracted by all the things happening around me and I flub some chords or forget a word here and there but I am prepared to hammer that out with repetition
All of that will change with experience as well
Other than that, I can’t find much fault in today’s busk

ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND ADJUSTMENTSThe first and most obvious adjustment will be the time of day
I will say that I did pretty well on tips and managed to catch the spilloff from across the street but I know that a normal busk in Texas  in the summertime should start just around sundown (you know how it is in Texas in the summertime)
Night time is prime time in Ellum and you can extend your busking time because you aren’t drained by the sun before you even set up

The second improvement is the obvious amount of repetition I need to get my physical stamina up as well as my technical prowess
This is one of the principal reasons for me to busk
Another positive aspect of busking  is that you get to fuck up and it doesn’t have as much impact
You will be playing that song again in about an hour, so it doesn’t have as much finality
Or you can play it in 10 minutes from now, because foot traffic will keep your audience constantly changing

As I mentioned, I took 2 more laps around the set by myself but omitted a few songs
I was going to take a break, maybe get something to eat but I started to feel queasy
It was then that I realized I probably shouldn’t push it
I had a huge ego about my physical prowess because of my drum busking experience
Many of my drum excursions on the street would last at least 5 or 6 hours if not longer
But I am a seasoned drummer and it was mostly after dark
Add to that the fact that I was getting sloppy because my fingertips were getting numb
I am playing hunt and peck on the keyboard with the middle finger on my left hand (how very “Manson” of me) because I still cant feel the tip of my index finger
It feels like when you burn your finger but with no pain, just disconnection
My right hand is no issue because it only comes in contact with a pick
Plus, I have decades of repetition built into my wrists from drumming, so I am good on the right
My ego tells me that Sunday night is technically Saturday because of Labor day on Monday  and I could busk again tomorrow night but I seriously better not push it

*BONUS BUSKING TIP
Always bring hydration to the street and try to avoid drinking large amounts of caffeine or alcohol
Try to avoid anything that dehydrates you
Plus, you wanna try to stay sober because a situation on the street can turn South quickly and you are going to need your wits about you
The main reason I lasted as long as I did today was because I froze a half gallon jug of water the night before and kept taking sips off the ice runoff

I won’t be busking again next weekend because I have a tourung band coming in on the 9th and I am going to see Kraftwerk on the 10TH!
My first ever Kraftwerk show!
See you soon!
R!

Here’s the video I recorded