Sunday, May 3, 2015

In Lost Tips

A total blur

Yesterday, Saturday, I was up at some point, and wound up walking into the Quarter a bit after sundown.
I drank a half pint of rum with fruit punch, as I walked.
I got to the Quarter at about 8:30 PM, and then dallied about, seeing if a certain violinist was out; who had been selling me excellent buds of weed for a few bucks and; not finding him; continuing to walk Royal Street.
I passed just about all of the regulars, with the notable absence of Jesse the grizzled guitar player in the cowboy hat.
I ran into Brian Hudson, who was sharing a spot with the girl who plays keyboards and guitar and sings; somewhere between Tori Amos and Fiona Apple and Kate Bush, and Adele, and... and...well, a bulk of these female vocalists remind me of when I was in 6th grade and there were kids who could to the "Donald Duck" voice, by somehow drawing air into their lungs backwards, or utilizing some other technique, (I never learned how to do the Donald Duck voice -wasn't a big enough fan of the fowl) and then sounding just like Donald Duck.
Every kid who could do the voice, basically sounded just like Donald Duck....
It seems like there is a whole school of female vocalists, who have learned how to do "the voice," and who probably thought: "Yes, I can sing; I can do it! The sky's the limit!!" when they punched out their first notes which sounded like (all of the female vocalists that are hard to tell apart from one another).

I have nothing bad to say about (I forget her name) as a person; we have had friendly conversations; but she just reminds me of the mockingbird that mimics the sound of other birds, for various aims.
Hers being to gather food, by attracting male birds, that will give her tips, in order to demonstrate their ability to provide. It is a hard-wired, genetically programmed behavior, and more power to her, perhaps. I do my own John Lennon impression; just not all the time....
I think what really bugs me is that, after she was leaving and Brian was taking over the spot; I invited her to jam on a few songs, acoustically, at the Lilly Pad, which was just starting to become crowded, just as Royal Street was thinning out. I mentioned that fact to her -Royal Street might look dead; but go one block up and it will be elbow to elbow with people.
Her response, if I could read between the lines, was "Please... you just don't know how much money I have thrown at me by drunken men. You might think 100 dollars is a good night, I think 100 dollars is a decent (though not great) hour."
But, I was "in the moment" at the time; and thought it would be a gas to bring a new face along with me. The Johnny B. thing was generally a success, until he decided that the best way for us to have a killer night was for him to turn his amp up to drown me out and then to treat me like I was his backup musician. Other than that, it was a success.
But, did I really want a mockingbird accompanying me?
She would play and sing her originals; and I would pick the chords up and play along, and we would sound good and would have split some money. But, maybe what works for me is the fact that I fit the spot so well and I am exactly where a tourist might expect to find me; on the fringe, disenfranchised, misunderstood...and not interested in the glitter of Royal Street. The tip jar is right there, with the plastic lizard in it, by the way....
I also have to be vigilant of other musicians that might want to tap in to the gold mine which is the Lilly Pad from 11PM until 4 in the morning (after almost everywhere else has died). 
Somehow I have thought that I was doing these other musicians favors by inviting them to a spot which Johnny B. described as "sweet," to his drummer at the time (who certainly could not come along)  but I might just be inviting competition; with only Lilly standing between myself and them....
I wouldn't have doubted it if Johnny B., while falling in with Lilly and her daughters and walking with them all the way from the Hotel Monteleone, (where they had passed by him almost nightly; with Lilly having been much impressed with his cleanliness and his professionalism and his fine voice) didn't bring into the conversation how busy the spot was after hours and how much he had enjoyed playing there the past few nights and "why is it that Daniel seems to be the only one that can play there?"
The first night that Lilly walked up upon us, she gasped and said: "Oh, my God; you're the guy that plays across from the hotel; we hear you every night; oh, you have such a sweet voice; I really enjoy it!" and there were stars in her eyes, as if she had a celebrity on her stoop.
But to her unwavering credit; she must have stood firm in her assertion that I was there first; because Johnny never said anything like: "Lilly said that I could split the spot with you; with us playing every other night," or anything.
40 Bucks
That being said, I performed another drunken set under my spotlight, and was given free drinks and a hit off of a glass pipe containing hash oil, and I made the usual 40 bucks that I make when I have to run to the restroom every 40 minutes; and to the beer store every 2 hours; and the time that I take off costs me, who knows how much, in lost tips, and the resultant sloppy performances, which still garner tips and have people telling me "You're awesome," and "I love you," (from one female) cost me, who knows how much, in lost tips.

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