I had an epiphany last night as I was blasting music through the PA into a mostly empty room at Sal’s on 12th. I realized that I’m too fucking old for this shit. I’m just not able/willing to do what it apparently takes to convince the people I know (and all the strangers of the world, I guess) to come support the shit I do. And really, it must be shit, because if it had any value at all I can’t imagine that I would need to twist peoples arms like I do.
What I’m saying is certainly not limited to ‘Get Hurt Thursdays’ at Sal’s, but that’s a fine example to look at. I got this night lined up well over a week ago, and since then I’ve worked to promote it a bit online. I made the dumb flyer, emphasizing the “FREE DRINK” line, rather than something like “spend a fun time getting to know what makes your pal Joseph Rose tick!”, because I know what people are really interested in. I set up events on Facebook and Myspace, and invited everyone within a reasonable distance to come to it. I posted and reposted the links and bulletins like 10 times to make sure everyone had plenty of reminders. I sent out mass text messages to everyone, to have yet another way of making sure they knew what was going on. Needless to say, it bombed. At the height of the evening there were maybe 20 people in the place, and half of those were trannies from the neighborhood and some out of place college students that just wanted to hear “I Kissed a Girl”, which I don’t have, and most certainly would not play.
As for my friends, don’t think I don’t notice you. I totally appreciate the fact that a couple of you showed up and toughed it out even though you probably could have had more fun elsewhere. There was a small handful of other people that I knew, but once they saw the scene, they bailed pretty quickly, in some cases without even a word. In the end I just end up feeling bad for the people that do stay, pissed at the people who don’t show, and just generally humiliated by the whole situation. So why do I do it? Well, I do it for the shitty $30 that I got paid for my 5 hour shift. That’s a whole $6 per hour for anyone keeping score at home. Let’s not forget the $10 in tips I got from the one gay dude who liked a few of the 80’s jams I played. But it’s $40 more than I would have made otherwise, and I am so fucking broke that I guess I’m willing to do that. And honestly, I would do it for free if there was a room full of people dancing, rocking out, just having a good time fueled by the music I push through the speakers. But that shit just isn’t happening. The plan was to have this continue every Thursday night, but I just don’t know how long I can endure that kind of embarrassment and frustration. Maybe I’ll do it again this coming Thursday, but I can’t see this continuing for very long.
Like I said, this episode at Sal’s was the most recent example, but that isn’t the whole story. I’ve also been slowly working up to some new musical endeavors (DDC), which would surely result in me having an album for sale and shows to play. And the reality is I just don’t have the energy. People don’t want my fucking album, and they sure as hell don’t want to come see some random version of “my band” play live in some shitty club. Some people who have never waked in my shoes are surely thinking something like “don’t you just do it because you love it?” or some similarly naive hippy shit. Well the answer is no. Do I love music? Yes. Do I love spending countless hours crafting recordings for no one to hear? No. Do I love spending countless hours rehearsing in some room as my hearing deteriorates and my throat bleeds to play a show that no one comes to? Hell no. If there’s no audience for it, the art doesn’t exist. Therefore, I basically don’t exist, so fuck it.
The other outlet I have is my art. But of course that requires people to buy it, or to at least come to my stupid shows when I have one every 9 years. I’ve been working on my art a bit more in recent months, and I’ve been offered a little show in Center City in December. I haven’t quite decided to do it yet, but I feel like the only way to avoid the inevitable disappointment is to just skip it altogether. I should probably drop all of this stuff that is about ME, and just focus on being an old frumpy dude, and being a Father.