Remembering my first paid gig.

Tue Jul 15 12:45:43 EDT 1997

Well, actually you all [blues-lers] were there, figuratively speaking, since
I reported on it at the time.  I started playing out with the early version
of what is now Gate Street Blues shortly after hooking up with Blues-L,
something like 4 years ago.

The gig was in a local diner/bar, with basically a non-blues audience, being
in a densely Puerto Rican neighborhood that normally listened to ethnic
hispanic music, hip-hop, and a mix of old (and I mean like Buddy Holly, Ritchie
Valens..) rock and roll.  We had to rent PA speakers, and monitors were
revitalized DJ speaker columns laid on their sides. Oy!  We had a songlist of
20 songs, which wasn't nearly enough for a full night of music.  Our sound
was awful and probably too loud for the room, and the room was acoustically
awful, a lot of linoleum tile, like an old malt shoppe.

Anyway, it was a lot of fun and I remember being nervous only about my voice,
not my guitar playing.  We botched a couple of songs that weren't well enough
rehearsed too.  I saved our advertising flyer for the scrapbook, and we
charged $2 at the door, and made only a few bucks each at the end of the
night, which turned into negative numbers since we had to pony-up for the
cost of PA rental. So, it COST us money to play, and it did for a long while
until we bought good PA equipment.

Though it was no great show, the "hook" was in me, in us, and once you're
hooked, you just GOTTA play out.  The performance bug is addicitve and it's
a serious Jones for me that needs to be fed regualarly.  Two weeks off now
without playing is painful to endure. You get itchy.

On the whole, I remember having incredible nerves not for this first gig,
but for my first time at a real open blues jam, at Gilreins in Worcester
hosted by Barbecue Bob (the harmonica ace). I couldn't sleep literally for
an entire week beforehand.  I had been listening night and day to Clapton's
"Cradle" album (of all things) and had the nerve to go up there first time
at an open jam and perform his version of "Blues Before Sunrise" with slide
in Open E-flat tuning!! HA!  What cojones. :-I  One of the things that most
sticks in my mind about that night, was the look on the faces of a room full
of Strat players waiting their turn to step out, [and they all looked like
they musta been "regulars"], and *I* walk in and open up my case and pull
out my oh-so-purdy tuxedo-black '71 Les Paul Custom and coricidin bottle
slide, and the look on their faces, was "Uh-oh! Here comes some trouble now".
:-)  :-)

Haven't put it down since.

Riffin Rick

Senior Research Assistant,
& Marine Facilities Manager
Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research

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