I believe that the reason Carl and I began this long journey, so many years ago was not as apparent then as it is now, in hindsight.
We never started out to be “rock stars”, which is great, since we still aren’t, all these years later. I think that we began for the same reason that we did a lot of things in our lives: for the challenge.
By happenstance, we met someone who knew how to play, at a time in our lives when we were thirsty for a challenge, and the wonder that went along with it.
As it turned out, someone showed us a few chords and just how you “approached” a guitar. With challenge accepted, it was then up to us to not only learn the guitar, and the songs that we wanted to play; but how to entertain people.
Learning the guitar was easy compared to learning the in’s and out’s of how to entertain. To make a long story short . . . we are still in the process of learning that skill today.
Entertaining is something that we work on each and every show that we play. It is a life-long skill that takes attention, discipline and professionalism. Conversely, for the people and groups that fail, by and large; it is the skill that they never learn to master.
What began as “happenstance”, eventually evolved as our abilities and confidence grew. Our musical range expanded. Our demographic shifted and our talents matured.
We experienced many types of entertainment opportunities, as more and more events filled our calendar. However, as our goals and dreams evolved, so did our horizons and expectations. What motivated us in the beginning of our journey is not necessarily what motivates us still.
Time changes most things. But one . . .
People. We began decades ago, using people as the great litmus test of how and where we were in the learning of our craft. It was that response we received that meant everything to us. The smiles, the laughter, the enjoyment that we were able to see in our audience that told us if we were a success or not.
So, these many years later, it is still that response that we work to elicit. The smiles, the engaged attention and connection that means we have succeeded once again.
It’s really not the money. It’s really not the venue nor the marquee. It is the response and connection with the audience that motivates us. That makes us work harder, longer and better. We learn new/old music for the people that it reaches. That is what sustains us, throughout it all.
This tenant really became apparent this last Friday night at the three Blind Mice Irish Pub, in Mount Clemens, Michigan.
At every table, it seemed were really fascinating people, emerged in the musical enjoyment of the night. Carl and I try to take some time during each show to find out what the patrons have enjoyed, what they were thinking about the music, and even what they would like to hear, if possible. Over the last few years, this has been a really rewarding part of our performances.
We have met many, many people from every conceivable walk of life. each and every one, out to have an enjoyable evening. Most have been gracious enough to allow an impromptu question-and-answer period about what they liked to listen to, what they wanted to hear, and what artists had reached them during their lives to make music enjoyable for them.
And so it was, that by midnight, we had had the good fortune to become friends with several customers who took the time to share their love for the pub, the music and the alcohol!
Upstairs echoed the return of the 3BM supergroup and mainstay . . . The Orbitsons. And that meant that place was packed and rocking’! Love it! Outlaw country. So good, and they had a guy warming up the crowd, doing originals, too. Upstairs was back!
It was stead all night on the main floor. Tables came, tables left. In the end, it was a pretty good night. There was a table from The Firehouse in St. Clair Shores who stopped by to eat, drink and listen. We had a long talk with Brian, the owner, who asked us to play at his venue. (Update:) – Looks like that is going to happen, since we have a date on the calendar.
We met a lot of great people that night. The people, as always make the night a success or a bust. We just do what we do . . . . and, most of the time, it all works out.
It is the people that come. The people that are eager to hear our renditions of their favorites. It is the people that motivate us to be there, to work hard, to keep coming back.
It will always be the people that move us to song.