Friday I saw Tahmi for

February 29th, 2004 | Posted by administratrix in Blurbs

Friday I saw Tahmi for lunch and a visit, then picked up my satellite card and went home. I watched a show, I napped; I ate half a dozen jalapeno poppers around nine thirty. That was pretty much my evening.

Saturday I went to town in the late morning and met up with Tahmi again; we went to a rummage sale where I bought a couple of skirts and some little shallow dishes I thought would work nicely for wasabi or other condiments. Tahmi went off to a Noah’s Ark thing and I came home. Mike showed up, showered, and went straight to bed.

I left for town around six-ish. Stopped at Anna’s, and then she and I and her friend all went over to Misty’s for a few minutes. Then we went to the Red Rock. I called Tahmi at 9:15 when the band started, and she came out.

I danced for about two sets – it was great. I need to do it more often.

I sat in for my obligatory blues song, and was, as always, gratified by the great response I got: cheering and clapping and grinning and people saying with slight awe, “I had no idea you could do THAT.”

It’s so weird. You have no idea.

My voice is utterly out of shape; there are runs I used to do in Rock Me Baby that I couldn’t hit now if my life depended on it. After a week of practicing I could, of course, but I just can’t do it cold any more. I haven’t sung in years, and the voice is a muscle after all.

In essence, I now sing out of tune on a regular basis, but people oddly don’t seem to hold that against me. I myself am such a critical listener that I’m forever amazed at the things an audience will overlook if you just give ’em a good stage persona to look at.

I watched a Liz Phair special on the Freeview channel yesterday. I have never seen a more uncomfortable, awkward, odd rock star in my life. Apparently she had (has?) stage fright and prefers the studio; her body english is weird on stage, her facial expressions are weird, and she just plain makes me want to smack her. It was so bizarre I had to watch the show twice just because I’ve never seen a worse performer on TV. She’s like watching a church talent show or something equally horrific. She should learn more about drugs or something; she’s just awful.

She was being interviewed by Billy Corrigan in part of the show, and it turns out that she knows she’s got zero stage presence and apparently it’s something she admires in other performers and is working on. But honestly, it baffles me that someone would be born with a fair amount of musical talent and be given absolutely no charisma whatsoever. It seems rather sad, really.

At any rate, the point is people react probably more to charisma that the music itself. At least, that’s what I’m forced to conclude. I am no longer a great singer – my tone’s reedy, the voice is not supple, and my pitch is really mediocre – but people are SO nice to me anyway.

I think that seeing someone simply having fun on stage has as equal impact on non-performers as the music itself. Yet, how can that be when people react so strongly to music?

For me, as a performer, seeing someone enjoy what they’re doing is so basic to performance that I don’t even count it as a virtue; it would be like congratulating a diver for being able to swim. I judge a performer not on their ability to be on stage but their ability to execute whatever they’re up there to do. In music, in singing, what I judge is a performer’s ability to sing – and by sing I mean tune, tone, timber, and time.

There are a lot of extroverts that look comfortable on stage. But most of ’em are shitty garage rock wannabees. Charisma is, to me, the least of the stage musician’s virtues. Look at Liz Phair. She’s famous and people dig her.

I watched a special on Chicago blues recently and half the bitches on that show couldn’t sing their way out of a bag. The standards in that genre are phenominally low. Most pop singers can use their voices better than a lot of working blues singers in Chi-town. Of course, some of those Chi-town blues mammas rock the world, but some of ’em don’t.

I just don’t know. I never have known. If I were in my own audience, I’d probably clap for me, I might concede that I could groove a little, but I wouldn’t jump up and whoop and scream and try to buy me a drink. I’m not a phenominal voice, I’m not a phenominal performer. I’ve always suspected that the reactions I get are entirely inappropriate, and I’ve always wondered why I get them.

I used to think it was a sign that performing was my dharma, but now I think it’s just some weird bennie I’m entitled to. Like, no matter what happens in your journey, you’ll always be able to sit in with some bar band and get a warm reception, no matter how you sound. (Nothing can ever truly be bad in life if you’ve got a guarantee like that! Heh.)

I talked to Brett yesterday for a few minutes and he recited a litany of gastronomic excesses: red snapper, steak, rack of ribs, whole barbequed chickens… I’m looking forward to seeing him late tonight when he gets home. I miss him when he’s away.

As for me, I haven’t done anything constructive all weekend and I don’t intend to start now. The entry way is still a mud pit, so all the floors are nasty but I don’t see any reason to do anything about it since it’ll just get muddy again in ten minutes. I’ll do the laundry tomorrow; it’s warm enough to hang stuff outside so I can do several loads in a row and get it all done in one day. I also never finished paying all the February bills so I guess I’d better get on the phone manyana and catch up on that before they shut off our power or something. But today? No plans whatsoever. Except maybe I feel a nap coming on. After all, I was out until two in the morning!

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