Hello, and greetings from the Beach! Virginia Beach that is.
I’ve returned from the grueling 6 week tour with a drum and bugle corps, and have more or less settled into my new digs at the Mayflower apartments, which is a hop, skip and a jump away from the wonderful Virginia Beach boardwalk – and of course the ocean.
It’s amazing to be able to wake up, put on the coffee, drink some water, then take said coffee to the ocean front, sing songs, read scripture, and sometimes watch the sun rise from behind the ocean.
The apartment itself is a small studio, but it has everything that a single guy – with frequent visits from his 4 year old son – could need. Humble, but hardly humbling.
At any rate, as you might expect, there are quite a few musicians who perform on the boardwalk. Surprisingly, very few of them are buskers. In fact, in 3 weeks of living here, I’ve met only one independent street vendor. By independent, I mean they’re there of their own accord. No one hired them, they’re not part of a festival of any kind. They just show up and do their thing. This particular person was an artist who did really cool things on small canvases.
But there are quite a few musicians who are hired by contractors to provide outdoor entertainment for nearby restaurants and hotels, and I’ve noticed a few similarities. In fact, more similarities than I’d care to report.
1) Without exception, they all wear clothes that look like they could have easily changed a tire, mowed their lawn, washed their windows in earlier in the day. Would it kill people to put on a clean shirt, one without any writing on it – even a collar if you want to get really fancy. You’re performing in front of real people, many of whom are fairly well to-do. Dress the part. Respect yourself, and you’ll receive the respect of those listening to/watching you perform.
2) Without exception, all of them sing songs that everyone already knows. I go out every night, and every night there’s a different musician basically singing cover songs. Were they told by the contractor not to do anything original? That only Jimmy Buffett and Tom Petty is kosher for these gigs? That would seem to be the case. I mean, I understand that you have to give people what they know they want, before you give them what they don’t know they want, but slip in an original once in awhile.
3) Without exception, they all play guitar and sing – again, Tom Petty and Jimmy Buffett. Their playing is nothing noteworthy, nothing that makes anyone stop and say, “Wow, I have no idea what they’re doing, but that’s amazing!” Although they all seem competent strummers and crooners, they’re all mediocre at best.
4) Without exception, their tip jars are nearly empty. For more on why this is, see nos. 1-3 above.
As for me, I plan on getting a busker’s license at the city and setting up shop on a regular basis. I’ve thought about getting a looping pedal and see what I can do with my cornet.
But I really don’t know that much about it. If anyone reading this has experience with looping pedals, I’m interested in recommendations and advice on how to get started with it.
Now that I’ve been here for 3 weeks, I’m now in a position to begin emailing y’all everyday once again. Also, I’ve got a major announcement in the works that will be ready to, um, announce in the next week or so.
So stay tuned!
To your success,