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Friday, March 4, 2011

Bob Dorr And The Blue Band Update

From Bob Dorr

Seems like I've been waiting a BAZILLION weeks for today. But it's only been three. Finally. WE'VE GOT A GIG TONIGHT!! (Fri) At our home base, The Hub, bub, 4th & Main, right here in Sparkle City USA!! (Cedar Falls) It looks like there's SIX BAZILLION things going on here in the Cedar Valley, so I'm hoping you get a chance to spend a little time with us. Mark wriggled free from the chains that have held him kidnapped in Florida since mid January and the boxcar that he hopped in Tampa is s'posed to be here by mid afternoon, so we're expecting him to be on stage, happy that he no longer has to deal with the sunny 80 degree weather, so he can get back to helping us collectively bitch about the cold, rainy, "wintery mix", weather that is expected over the next few weeks. (didn't Muddy do a fantastic job of playing bass while Mark was being tortured in that ideal weather? THANK YOU, MUD!) Consequently, our full repertoire of songs should be available, so request away! And don't forget that requests written on a twenty dollar bill and passed directly to the band leader will get immediate attention! And, as if that wasn't enough, the two high school sax players who sat in with us last month are promising to return! A four piece horn section! Pizza by the slice, adult beverages, dancing, requests, what's not to like, right Avis? (get there early, Avis' husband Bob is a "sponsor" for one of the other six bazillion events going on, so he's likely to just play that green guitar during the first set) (I think it's weird that my spell checker on this computer does not think Avis is a real word, but it's ok with BAZILLION!) so bake a CAKE and bring it with you when you come! A pleasant time is guaranteed for all. We play geeeezer hours, 6-9:30p...
The hour long radio spotlight that resulted from my telephone conversation with Bobby Whitlock, the co lead singer/songwriter in Derek & The Dominos, (with Eric Clapton) will hit the airwaves Saturday night at 8pm, as the middle hour of my rock 'n' roll history show Backtracks that is aired by Iowa Public Radio. It includes music from his days with Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, Derek & The Dominos, George Harrison, and others. I'm really proud of how that special turned out. Whitlock was a very cool guy to me and I hope you get the chance to meet him thru this spotlight. Find the frequency in your area, or listen anywhere on the planet via streamed audio, at www.iowapublicradio.org...
And speaking of public broadcasting, I have become an official victim of the uncertain future for funding at Iowa Public Television. Because of the tenuous (at best) funding from government sources, IPTV has been forced to cut back it's live fundraising pitches for late night music programming during this year's fundraising Festival. It costs quite a lot of money to have 3 camera operators, a floor manager, a director, an audio person, a lighting person, a volunteer coordinator and all the people who collect and enter the pledge data from supporters like you who call during those times. I applaud IPTV for taking the financially prudent steps to shut that operation down during the later evening hours when this "not ready for prime time player" normally works, in order to save that money, but it's disappointing none the less. The primary thing I will miss from that is the sense of community and camaraderie I have developed with the people that work at the network. We are blessed to have a state wide TV network in Iowa, staffed by skilled and caring professionals. Please be generous with your pledge this year so we can secure the future of this great resource and I might have the opportunity to return to help fundraise next year. And while you're at it, don't forget about Iowa Public Radio, either. I can't afford to lose THAT job too!...
Many of my longtime colleagues in public broadcasting are facing these uncertain times and some of them have asked me what it's like being "retired". (yes, it's true, I did accept the University of Northern Iowa's early retirement offer, but I simply cannot afford to "retire".) (hey, I'm too young to retire) My response to one of my friends at IPTV was:
I'm not sure how much you really want to hear about "retirement" from me, so I'll give you a few thoughts and we can go from there. Because I continue to produce two radio shows in my garage, (where they've been produced for the last 25 years) and those shows are purchased and aired by Iowa Public Radio, that aspect of my professional life continues. The good news: I produce the two shows that I love making and I do not have to produce the shows that I was not fond of making. The bad news: I wind up doing about two thirds of the work I was doing before "retirement" and I make about half the money! Couple that with the band business really dropping off in terms of doing live shows, selling CDs/shirts/etc, plus the banks paying such historically low interest rates on certificates of deposit (the interest I made last year was not even half of what I got two years ago) and all of a sudden, I'm a little scared about money, especially at the alarming cost I've been paying to maintain/repair body parts! Psychologically it's been ups and downs (I am told they have medication for that) I have a little too much time to think about the fact that I'm now probably physically and emotionally beyond my prime to do my life's work. And life long goals and aspirations of greater achievement probably aren't gonna happen. The actuary tables say I'll be dead in 18 years. YIKES! Personally confronting these emotionally charged issues is eye opening. Be ready for that one! The last issue (today!) is plain and simple the climate. The record snowfalls and sub zero temps are getting more unbearable virtually every day. My wife is 6 years younger than me, loves her job at UNI, and has aging parents in Waterloo who have their own health issues, so we're not going anywhere, but if you can, do think in terms of getting somewhere where you can wear shorts and a t-shirt for at least 2-3 weeks every winter. Otherwise, every time it snows you'll ask yourself, WHY AM I LIVING HERE?! That's way more than you wanted to know, isn't it?...
For the most part, the great majority of the people on this email list are being confronted with these same issues. Please let me know how you are coping. I need a few more tricks to get me through. We are living thru some scary and uncertain times. You are my extended family. I hope you'll call on me if you think I can help, because I'm planning on calling you!...
And if that wasn't enough, my washing machine broke. This too is a traumatic situation. I've had that washer for 21 years. The repairman we called has been fixing washers for 35 years. He was stunned to see that old Amana washer cuz "they just don't make 'em like that anymore". I tried to console myself by thinking that buying a new washer would probably be the last washer I'd ever have to buy, since they last for 20+ years. Then the repairman told me that "these days they rarely last more than seven years". WHAT??? Are you telling me that I'll have to buy 3 or 4 more washing machines before I die? And 3 or 4 more dryers too? All of a sudden, my clothes don't seem so dirty!...
After the Hub gig, it'll seem like I'm retired from the band business too, as we don't have another gig scheduled until Blues Weekend at the Riverside Casino. (south of Iowa City) We play the kick off Friday (Mar. 25) in the lounge after the Robert Cray concert. There is no charge for our performance. Get a room in the casino's hotel and we can have a party at your place!...
We did add another couple of summer shows to the 30th Anniversary Tour this week (http://www.theblueband.com/cal.htm) and I wanted to thank you again, for helping get the word to the entertainment buyers in your life that I am NOT retired, the band has never sounded better, and we're ready to play anywhere from the concert stage to your basement or garage! Unless we find some last minute work for the next two open weeks, I'm probably going to spend my time shopping for a washer/dryer and anything else that needs repair, (Vanna, the band's second equipment truck, needs a new battery too) so this might be the last Blue Note for a coupla weeks. See yas on the Blue Highway, rub yer washboard tie for stress reduction, remember that CAKE cures a BAZILLION ills (except if you're a washing machine) and most importantly don't forget that we love you. Bob Dorr & The Blue Band

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