ALTER EGOS

Remember when Garth Brooks came out with his Chris Gaines character? In case you don’t, a while back Garth Brooks changed his appearance, his music and gave himself the stage name Chris Gaines. I want to say he hosted Saturday Night Live and Chris Gaines was the musical act. It was totally different from his good ‘ole boy persona. The music was serious, dark, in a minor key and followed the rock radio formula of the day. It was way weird. He may have been pitching the character for a movie or something. Maybe somebody dosed his Budweiser. I don’t know, but I can understand why he went there. Like everybody else I was glad he abandoned the idea but I respect the balls it took to pull that off. I have lots of characters in my head that I often entertain the idea of showcasing. One such character is Burny Ballad; piano bar lounge singer who does Jerry Garcia ballads and weird Keller Williams songs on the piano (mostly in the key of c). There was a piano bar in my town and I went as far recording a demo in hopes of landing gigs there under the name Burny Ballad. Once I started working on the bio (which involved getting computer help from my wife), I was quickly talked out of the idea. I still play at least one song on the piano a show (at least two thirds of my shows I don’t fly with a key board). I came up with something like 30 tunes. I practiced. Was Burny Ballad ready? We will never know. It will just continue to be the random piano in the lobby of the hotel. One with out the clamp keeping it shut to protect itself from random drunk hotel occupants at 3:30 am. There. There will the impromptu Burny Ballad set take place. That’s probably where it should be too. Lately, I’ve been somewhat obsessed with the whole DJ world. More electronic music making as apposed to the “jockeying of discs”, which is what a disc jockey does. Right? In my current show, there are a lot of DJ styles that I do with my looping that I’ve picked up from listening to all sorts of electronica. So pulling off this type of music live, I’m feeling, shouldn’t be that much of a stretch for me. I’ve ordered all types of new equipment to begin this experiment. I’m salivating awaiting its arrival. There will be hours and hours of basement experimenting as well as un-announced public experiments. I have mentally figured out dozens of samples that I’m going to retrieve for this project. Samples that I can lay drum beats and bass lines around and possibly sing and solo over then manipulate it with all kinds of trippy ear candy. It doesn’t really sound to different from my regular show but it will be. So much so that I would want it to be under a different name (but nothing with DJ in front of it as I will not be using records). I would want the set to start no earlier than midnight, as it would be intended for people that like to dance to electronic music. I have no intention of abandoning my solo acoustic, looping show that I have been doing for the past decade, nor do I plan on incorporating this electronic experiment into that show either. I’m seeing it as a totally different entity. In a perfect world, I would want to do the electronic experiment in a totally separate venue from the regular solo looping acoustic show. You know, to COMPLETELY separate the two shows. I’m thinking people would come to these shows that wouldn’t ordinarily come to my acoustic show. Obviously that would be a logistical pain in the ass, not to mention a lot to ask of the folks that actually do want to attend both performances. So my plan would be to do the solo looping acoustic show (2 sets from 8 to 11pm) clear the room, clear the stage, set up my electronic experiment in a barricade in front of the sound board, facing the stage. Right there on the dance floor, subs IN MY FACE. Dancing my ass off in the middle of the room with the stage completely open for anyone to dance on. Totally reverse the artist on stage concept. Put some of the audience on stage and me in with the audience I could use two microphones together, out of phase so it would not feed back in front of the speakers. Just like the Grateful Dead with the “wall of sound” in the Grateful Dead movie. I will be facing the speakers so mic feedback may not be an issue. The doors at midnight, show at 12:30 to 2am. Hell, while we are dreaming, why not even make a whole day out of it. Remember that kids record I’ve been talking about doing forever? Well, it’s done. And I think it actually has a chance to be heard and possibly seen (by way of music videos on the kids channels) by a lot of people. I honestly believe parents and especially children will dig it. We are trying to drum up interest for it now. So this ties in to the whole idea, how? On Saturdays, we could do matinee kids shows. Doors at 1:30pm, 70 minute kids music set starting at 2pm. The good ‘ole solo looping acoustic thing doors at 7pm, show 8 to 11pm. Late night dance party, doors at 12 am show 12:30am to 2 am. This is all just me dreaming. I haven’t woken up yet, which means it’s all possible. So unlike Chris Gaines, my alter egos aren’t really altered. I always looked at my career as a relentless pursuit of entertaining myself so this Saturday idea sounds like fun to me. I am not afraid. —