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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Bob Dorr And The Blue Band Update

No gigs for three weeks makes me think too much. This is further complicated by The Blue Band's annual business meeting coming up this Sunday. Once a year, we actually sit around the kitchen table, take a look at the previous year's performance and merchandise revenues, (for most of us, this is still the #1 source of revenue for the year) see what the prospects are for next year, try and have honest and frank discussions on where we are as a band and find out who wants to keep doin' it next year (The NEXT 30 Years Tour) I have the extreme pleasure of working with some of the state's best and most accomplished musicians. But it's their sense of humor and stories of the road from the last 40 years that I miss the most when we have weeks between jobs. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone and finding out how they're thinking about the band's longevity. In our youth it was all about artistic control and who got to do what song. Now it's more about who's body parts have worn out so much that they don't think they can make it thru another summer festival season!...
We did 7 more gigs this year than last, (our fiscal year runs Oct. 1, 2010-Sept. 30, 2011) but 63 shows fell way short of the 100 gig goal. (and WAY short of the goodle days when we'd average about 175 dates a year) We think we're doing well if we can each make $150 after expenses. We rarely do. You do the math on how much we each made this year. I suspect we got a few more opportunities this year because of the 30th Anniversary hoopla. I'd also like to think that we got a few more opportunities because the band is really soundin' good. I love the music we've been playing this celebration year and the people who have been making that music. I wonder what next year will bring...
And so, let's get started on the too much thinking part. (just skip down to the last paragraph if you often get upset when I veer off the Blue path) I'm hoping you might be able to give me your perspective on some of the things I have been thinking too much about. Let's start with The Blue Band (it IS the reason you are on this list, isn't it?) Honestly, what do you think? Soundin' good? Need more cowbell? Still fun? Artistically relevant? (let's face it, to the kids today, we're no longer their dad's band, we're their GRANDdad's band) Wish we played Mustang Sally every set? Wish we NEVER played Mustang Sally? If you haven't been out for awhile (there's a lot of that goin' 'round!) How come? Think up yer own questions and let me know what you REALLY think...
They say (I'm STILL wondering who in the hell this illusive "they" is) (sorry Dolores) that you don't really have any "street cred" to sing soul/blues music until after you're 60 years old. As far as I can tell, this is the only good thing I can think of regarding my next birthday. SIXTY??? I can't believe how this seems to be effecting my psyche. Ridiculous excessive behavior in my youth would suggest that I tried very hard NOT to make it to 60. So I really haven't put much thought into it. If the body degenerates as fast or faster in your 60s like it did in my 50s, this could be quite the challenge...
I have always tried to make a living from what I passionately loved to do. I was extremely lucky to fall into radio opportunities before I even graduated from college. (I SO wanted to be like Dick Biondi from WLS or Lou Guttenberger on KSTT) I have been equally lucky to have felt the exhilaration of playing music with many of Iowa's greatest musicians in front of thousands of people. (I wanted to play in a band since my first gig with Tortoise & The Hair at the Sudlow Jr. High mixer) I still enjoy making radio shows (but am scared to death because Iowa Public Radio has yet to offer to renew my "independent radio producer" contract for 2012) and really have fun playing the band shows, but now (in my advancing age) I keep wondering if there's one more career passion. What would it be? Do I need to stop what I'm doing now in order to find out what it might be? 'course, that's all tempered by the necessity of having to make a living. Being a half-time/weekend public radio announcer and (very) small time band leader for 40 years does not really generate the kind of bank account that would suggest retirement any time soon. Thank God my wife has a job. (what do you call a harmonica player without a wife/girlfriend? HOMELESS!) I have become a walking, talking, poster child example of what you hear about on cable TV business shows regarding the job market. (you KNOW the band has had too much time off if I'm sitting around listening to Alli Velshi on CNN at 4:30 in the morning) The combination of the current economic climate and my age (not to mention that I have NO corporate work experience) (a personal point of pride) makes the work opportunities for me either an overnight convenience store clerk or pizza/Jimmy John's delivery boy. It's kind of ironic that my parents would constantly preach "git yer edge u cation so ya got sumthin' to fall back on" and now, THE BAND BUSINESS is my "somethin' to fall back on" YIKES! I'm too young to be 60! Are you going through any of these changes? Got any advice or pointers to make it any easier?...
Fortunately we have two gigs next week, so I can quit thinkin' so much. Fri (11/11/11) is the 2nd Friday of the month show at The Hub, 4th and Main, right here in Sparkle City USA, 6-9:30p. Sat. 11/12 we're playing a private wedding dance. WooHoo! Two chances to have some fun! See yas (next week) on The Blue Highway, rub yer washboard tie to the tune of the old Buddy Miles song (My Mind Is Goin' Thru) Them Changes, I've heard that CAKE is the antidote for depression in 60 year olds, and no matter how old you are, always know that we love you. Bob Dorr & The Blue Band
(those of you who hate when I mix politics in with these notes, please skip this) PS: Cedar Fallopians, our town is NOT broke. Don't try and fix it. REELECT THE MAYOR!!

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