Not doing it on the strings

Running on Empty with
It’s 8 p.m. here at the Old Senator Theatre in Chico, Calif. I’ve been here since 8 a.m. It’s Tuesday, which means free-movie night. The downstairs theater is packed with people, munching on our organic corn and watching the most recent Ralph Nader speech. I got to open for Ralph last year, and what a rush that was! It was like a Stones concert, in other words. The average age was 40, but very enthusiastic! In the room upstairs a theater group is rehearsing for a musical that appears here at the end of April. In the hallway is another group practicing for their avant-garde, touchy-feely art/fashion/dance/film performance. They’re stretching a lot, and I wonder if they are really a subversive group of yoga disciples trying to work their classes into the theater by posing as actors.

Problems started when I stepped in a large pile of poo early this morning. I went into the barn, sorting through hundreds of band files so that I could alert you to the upcoming festival, when I smelled it. I tried to do the walk-and-drag procedure through the thickest and remotest part of the lawn. Walk and drag, walk and drag, walk and drag. I was like Marty Feldman in Young Frankenstein, “That’s pronounced “Frunk-en-shteen.”

My volunteer staff here at the old nonprofit was semi-permanently scarred by the E40 show. The difference between good and bad promoters is like the difference between good and bad mechanics. Get a bad mechanic, and your car won’t ever run right again.

We just completed a great show with Alien Ant Farm. The JMAX promotion was on top of their game. Now, I’m not too hip on commercial radio, I really don’t listen to it, and I don’t watch MTV, so Alien Ant Farm has zero impact on me as an individual. My experience was that, after selling 800 tickets to 12-15-year-olds who were so pumped up on the show, it was like dealing with Deadheads. I really got off on the sheer joy that many of these first-time concertgoers were experiencing.

I got to talk to guitarist Terence Corso (who applies the Taoist principle to his life) and found him and the whole band down to earth and aware of their young audience. In closing the show they said, “Thank you and remember to be good to each other.” It was warm and fuzzy.

Oh, word is that Isaac Parsons has left the Hips. I guess everything does change.