Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Scent of a Musician
Scent of a Musician...
How to Attract and Feed a Musician.
You seem them everywhere. They live among us. In the coffee shops that you frequent and the places that you pick out various dried fruits. They take many shapes and forms. Many have a grungy aesthetic, while others blend in with nice polos and “normal” wear like the kind you would see in a Nordstrom ad. Sure, some of them smell, but there are others that may mask that post-show beer soaked daze with Calvin Klein or some type of Axe knock off nose violation.
You may encounter musicians from time to time or even see an influx of them entering into your comfortable sphere of mundane routine, but there are several things to consider when interacting with these folks. You want to make sure to have them properly fed, groomed and able to function within the community with dignity and respect. Don’t you? You also want to make sure that you attract the right musicians and deter the disaster prone ones with some helpful hints and tricks.
Some musicians travel in groups or “packs” and some may be more transient and nomadic and the others. Some may have a permanent living situation where as others might gravitate between smelly couches and beer stained yoga mats that they stole from previous failed relationships. Many musicians may have a track record of being late on rent, owing money or subscribing to a type of ideological bartering system where they try to convince you that they will pay you with priceless song, killer parties and the promises of riches in the future when they finally “make it”. You want to make sure and be aware of what kind of musicians you are dealing with here, buddy.
If you see a hungry musician it is important to have some staples so that you may feed them when they acting irritable and weak. It is important to stock your fridge with low grade piss water beers that can be easily distributed to a musician. They may ask you for some resources or invite you to a show and in order to relate to these scruffy beings, you must have some type of social lubricant that will help with bonding and conflict resolution. Some musicians prefer to drink straight from the bottle or can and some may require a saucer of beer or watered down whiskey to be put out on a front porch or even in front of a coffee shop to prevent acts of nihilistic loitering.
Some musicians can get by with a small granola bar or some bread. You want to make sure to have plenty of empty carbs stocked up so that it will balance with their alcohol intake. If a grungy type of musician doesn’t have the right balance of white carbs to soak up the lukewarm beer, then they might get irritable and start complaining on how their drummer just can’t seem to keep time or get along with the bassist. You will notice the complaining and the boasting the more you interact with musicians. It is good to keep a keen eye on how much they are eating with how much they are drinking.
* Side Note: Some musicians do not drink and they prefer an IV drip of some type of espresso or a green smoothie that tastes like grass clippings, but these musicians are mostly occupied with the architecture of songs in their head and the discrete calculations of what they are going to get paid at their next gig. They might go by “Professional Musicians” and will waste no time in talking about themselves before you even try to initiate a conversation with them. They are crisp and cool and all that jazz.*
Pro Tip: Sometimes you will encounter more musicians at coffee shops and juice bars because they are using that space to formulate to mind-blowing lyrics and chord structures that will surely give them a leg up on the local and National scene.
It is important to listen or at least to pretend to listen when you meet a new musician or a musician you haven’t seen in a long time. Bear in mind that most of them might come off as standoffish or pompous, but they won’t have any trouble telling you when their next E.P. is going to be finished and how many shows they have coming up. It is up to you on how you want to handle these interactions, but here are some questions that might challenge some of these musicians and get them to think outside of their self-centered raised eyebrow framework.
How are your parents doing?
What books are you reading?
What are your thoughts on turning front lawns to fully functional gardens?
Did you have any favorite basketball players growing up?
What are your thoughts on the sect of Veganism that allows for the consumption of oysters?
How often do you exercise?
And last, but not least...
What is your day job?
Some of these questions may make a musician uncomfortable and he may revert back to their shell of “what is going on with his/her band” and others may stare blankly into space trying to figure out where he can get his or her next free beer. It is important to challenge these musicians so you can see what musicians will be the right fit for you. You may find out that you and other musicians may like the same live Barry Manilow album, or like to eat Thai on the weekends. It is important to learn that although some of these musicians may present themselves as intimidating or disgruntled, they all have hearts and something to give.
* Some musicians find it hard to take criticism even if it comes off as being somewhat constructive. If you are in doubt of how to approach criticism, just be safe by saying “ Good Show”, “ Good Job”, “ Great Set”, “ That was fun!”.
The Scent of a Musician
Some of these musicians may have rather distinct smells that may stray away from the normal hygienic practices brought upon us by society. They may forget to buy or even put on deodorant or think that by cycling out the same 3 outfits that they will establish their own sense of self worth and image. They have to make sure that they look good on stage and in life at the same time. Some of them may bounce from laundromat to laundromat as a step in the their own creative process. It is important to not be rude and call them out on it, but to carry some emergency spray like Febreze or Axe body spray to neutralize the smell. Some musicians may be so Patchoulied’ out that it’s hard to even form a coherent thought when approaching them, but simply say “Namaste” and grab one of their handbills that they keep in their hemp purse type of a carrying thing.
There are musicians from all different types of places and backgrounds. We must learn to embrace them and welcome them into our community and take in all the free CDs and albums that they hand us. They mean well and they just want their music to spread. If they tell you to listen to their music, then give it a shot. Most of them will non-chalantly or ambiguously tell you to listen to their music as if it’s “No Big Deal.” They don’t want to appear “Full of themselves”. Some of them will take it to the Nth degree. They will assertively give you a free Cd and tell you about their next few shows. There is so much variety!
Musicians have a very interesting fashion sense. You will notice a common trend of many musicians mimicking other more successful musicians as well as their “peers”. Some may be more intentional about it, while others will just constantly wear wore out thrift store finds that they find comfortable and not too “well kept” and slightly non-conforming to the general public. Many musicians will do all types of interesting things to their hair and facial hair. You will notice that many will stick to beards because it is such a drag to shave. Some will try to stylize their facial hair in order to heighten their sexual market value and attract a certain desperation present in rebellious and neglected grown wounded children. They can also use their beards to scratch when they are pondering a new chorus or even save remnants of beer particles for later when they are out and about between coffee shops and bars. Many musicians of the female variety will attempt to dye their hair in order to stand out and look different as well as to accompany the the changing strobe like retro fitted lights that seem to blind them from playing a correct open G chord on stage.
*Some like to wear shoes or some old boots and many will just wear out a pair of smelly Chuck Taylor's*
Don’t be put off by the semi-translucent self centeredness that emanates from the musician like a newly backed gluten free organic pie that just came out of the oven. It is important that they match their supposed identity with how they want to act and how they want to dress. They may think that they don’t care what they look like, but deep down they want to be noticed or at least meld in with their fellow musicians so they have an easier way of being accepted and heard. They may act as if they just threw together some hodge-podge manifestation that just happened to be placed perfectly in their colorful closet, but their fashionable choices have plenty of hidden intention.
They walk the walk and talk that talk,
Gotta match that image with all that drive,
Image. Sound. Image. Sound. Sell!
That drive and passion for the next big thing man,
The Next Big Sound, That next fragmented trend that will get a temporary niche following that will allow for the music to live on, man. Crashing on couches, sleeping on floors, they will do whatever they have to do for that Good Ol’ Jazz and Blues, The pentatonic solos belched out of a pawn shop telecaster. Playing to a room of 3 or 300. They say it’s all about the music man. Suffering is part of it. They will say this. It is all part of that process. That delicious and self masochistic status of being a musician.
Just let the music play out, Pour those frustrations and failed relationships into that ABAC song structure. You better have a hook unless you are more psychedelic. Then you need that reverbed guitar solo to take you into new heights of self centered delusion and unconscious bliss. Let it all sink in.....oh but make sure and pick up that payment at the end of the night. No matter how much, it was worth it. It was worth that journey of the music. The journey of lugging that Marshall stack in your Toyota Corolla. The journey of trying to find a place to park next to the venue. The Journey of falling asleep in the back of the van and pissing in mason jars. Think of the experiences! The People! The Free Drink Tickets!
You will get plenty of No’s, but will get plenty of yesssss’s. Live for those Yes’s. It’s about the journey not the destination they say. Just have plenty of platitudes in your neural arsenal to help you navigate the musical landscape.
All and all, musicians enrich our lives and make us appreciate the communities we live in. It is important that you continually support musicians and feed them the necessary food, appreciation and buy some merch every once in awhile. They work hard for their music, the way they look and the various jobs they will have in their lifetime. Go hug yourself one of them musicians, and have a good old rompin stompin night!