As I’m still not able to perform I thought I’d post another blog post about me and performing;
If you’ve seen me perform, chances are you’ve seen me playing the guitar as I riff on some song parody or something I’ve written myself, because music has always been part of my life it’s something I’ve felt really good about making part of my comedy career.
I’ve always felt that music can be magical, sometimes it’s little things like hearing a song in your head and then turning on a radio and there it is playing right where you were singing it, or the memories that come from hearing a certain song and the things you were doing that stuck in your mind and are forever associated with it. For me, I’ve always thought that certain songs themselves are magical; I’ve always believed that under the right conditions you could be driving an old 50s convertible somewhere on a foggy summer night and “I Only Have Eyes For You” by The Flamingos is playing on the radio, and I swear you’ll end up travelling back in time and end up in the 50s ala Back to the Future. Or a 70s car and “Dream Weaver” by Gary Wright etc.
Living at home as a child we listened mostly to what my Dad liked, it was his radio, his record player, and his car radio, so it was 100% Country and Western music we listened to. When I got my own record player for my birthday one year, I could play what I wanted, but money was tight and most of what I owned were hand me downs from friends and family who wanted to get rid of old records and give them to me, or second hand records I bought at flea markets and rummage sales, scratchy, worn out and stereo on a mono suitcase style record player. We had a home stereo system at that time, but unlike today with digital tuners, we had a dial tuner and Dad hated when people fiddled with it because he would lose his favourite country station on the AM dial and had to find it again. I liked turning it to FM though because the sound was nicer in stereo and there was a red light that would come on to indicate a stereo signal, so that was a neat little trick, but it was more hassle being told off for playing with the dial so I rarely touched it. I eventually got my own radio and it had a small earphone jack so I could play music late at night in my bed while I fell asleep, mostly listening to country music because I knew most of it.
When I was ten years old I won a radio contest from 1050 Chum, I got $1000 and got to have my picture taken with three other winners and was in the newspaper for an ad for the station. At that time I listened to Chum when I was at my friend’s house across the street but damned if I knew who the bands were, I just liked the songs. When I was at the station to pick up the cheque with my Dad the man who was there to give us the contract for the winnings was Roger Ashby, and Roger asked me if I was going to use my winnings to buy some records and I nodded, and he asked who I liked and I said “The Monkees” because they were the only albums I had I could name an artist, and he said “The Monkees, but we don’t play them.” And my Dad said “Oh, we don’t listen to the station really.” And I said, “I do, I listen at Kenneth’s, but I just don’t know the names of the bands or the songs.” And I was embarrassed because I didn’t know and after that day I made it a point to know the names of bands and songs, and I still do it to this day. If I hear something I like, I want to know everything about it, the band who recorded it, who wrote it, what album it’s on and so forth. For years I only knew the song “Shambala” by Three Dog Knight as the Dog Howling Song because I had no clue who played it or what it was called. I shit myself when it was on the radio when I was in my 30s and I had to stay in the car and hear who the DJ said it was and the song’s name. Thank God for today when I can just click on an app on my phone and hold it near a speaker and find out instantly who it is. DJs were terrible for playing 5 songs in a row and I would wait to hear what a certain song was only for them to name 4 out of 5 they played and forgot about that one song I needed to know! AUGH!!!
Getting into music for my comedy act was kind of by fluke, I’d been performing with a local comic who started a company that booked shows for charities and fundraisers, we would travel long distances to perform and during the trips we would chat about any number of topics, with one trip I mentioned that I wrote a parody of Garth Brook’s “Friends in Low Places” that I renamed “Friends in Donut Places” and said one day I’d like to perform it. “Perform it as Bubbles” was his reply. “No one’s going to want to hear me as Bubbles singing this song.” I said. “Prove me wrong.” He came back with. So I learned how to play the song, learned to sing it as Bubbles and set out to prove him wrong. I was wrong. People loved it. And the more I did it the more they wanted more of it. I would bring the guitar up and have it on stage and only bring it out to do the song at the end, but after a while it made more sense to have more songs to play so the guitar got used more, and more, and finally after about 6 months that was all my act was about, playing parodies and writing my own songs and performing them. Performing parodies was my all-time favourite thing to do, because as a guitar player I had an excuse to learn some of my favourite songs and play them and making people laugh because of the parodies was also a bonus because that was fantastic. I’d grown up with goofy songs, having bought two or three compilations from K-Tel that had silly songs on them I’d grown to love that kind of music, so this was like a dream come true.
Now, today I’ve been doing musical comedy for almost 6 years, I’ve even written and produced my own EP of 6 songs I’ve played on stage and got great response from, and it’s available for sale on Apple Music and to listen to on a number of streaming services around the world. Sadly though, not many sales and it wasn’t picked up by SiriusXM to be played on their service, so although I’m proud of what I achieved, it didn’t help pay the bills like I’d hoped. So going forwards, I’m looking to return to just performing stand up without the guitar, and just work on my material and return to the impressions I have fun performing, just like before the guitar got involved. I’m still working on an outlet the music can be heard, and I don’t want to give up on it completely, but I do want to try something new. So here’s to whatever comes my way in the next few years, and we’ll see where I go from here.