I had a long conversation with some of my favorite musicians last night about taking gigs for crap money. I’m against it, some were for it, I’m curious what everyone thinks.
My position is that part of a bandleader’s job is to make sure you have money to pay your musicians what they deserve, regardless of expected turnout, and even when hiring your friends (I think ESPECIALLY when hiring your friends). There’s money out there to support music (How much did KEXP’s new building cost? How much did folks raise to save KNKX?), it just requires making the case to get it. Grants, fundraising, negotiating with venues, seeking out money gigs, merch, etc. It’s not easy and it takes effort and creativity, but it’s doable. Aside from making sure you have money to keep for your own effort, there are a ton of positive side-effects to having this attitude. Continue reading Bandleaders: Pay Your Musicians→
The seeds of 4Culture’s Arts Project Grant award are starting to take fruit. Two weeks ago I visited Kentridge and Kent Meridian High Schools along with Skerik, Tim Kennedy, and Evan Flory-Barnes for a workshop on artistry and emotion. We had an incredible conversation about what we all do and why, and brought a few brave volunteers up to make some music with us. We’ll be doing more and more of workshops in the future, so keep an eye out for how you can help make these happen.
I’ve also spent the last few weeks polishing the audio from Happy’s video recording and just released a few full-length tracks for streaming on Soundcloud. Check em out below and let me know what you think!
Writing for and rehearsing Happy Orchestra has been my main focus for the last few months and, after some solid progress, it was time to document the music and give the project its own internet home. Take a look at the video above to hear Skerik, Thomas Marriott, Andy Coe, Tim Kennedy, and Ian Sheridan play through my composition “The Dance” and visit happyorchestra.com to see and hear more.
Thanks to 4Culture for the financial support, and to all of you for coming out to hear the music! See Happy Orchestra at Nectar 9/10, Rhythm & Rye 9/11, and The Goodfoot 9/12.
A few weeks ago McTuff visited the KPLU studios in Seattle for a live broadcast ahead of our Bellevue Jazz Festival appearance. The guys played like a dream and luckily a film crew was on hand to capture it all in HD! The video above is of one of my favorite McTuff tunes “Smack,” and you can find two more tracks on KPLU’s YouTube page.
I also just got word that I’ve received an Arts Project Grant from 4Culture! The funds from the grant will allow me to write for, rehearse, and record Happy Orchestra over the next year AND compensate everyone in the band for their time and talent. Keep an eye on the Happy page of this site for updates.
Thanks to KPLU, 4Culture, and all of you for the support! Great things to come…
The past few months have been full of incredible shows with equally incredible musicians, including performances in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, California, and New York. McTuff toured the west and played to packed houses at The Crocodile and Neumo’s, the second incarnation of Happy Orchestra performed to a sold out room at Nectar along with special guests Skerik (Critter’s Buggin) and Barrett Martin (Tuatara), and The Tiptons made their way up and down the west coast and to NYC to audition for the State Department’s American Voices Abroad program.
As for what’s next, I’ll be flying to Japan for a week of wandering and music making, the Happy small group shows featuring incredible Seattle players continue, McTuff will visit MT and CA again in April, and I’ve applied for 4Culture’s 2015 Arts Projects grant to fund writing and recording a full-length Happy Orchestra record.
Good things are happening, thank you all for the support!