I havenâ€™t written in several weeks — things have been really busy for the launch weekend. So this entry will be be a little longer than most.
The first Doctor Noize show was a total blast. The audience and the venue were so fantastic and so supportive, it was just a pleasure in every way. And the first performance itself went surprisingly smoothly — no major screwups.
Iâ€™ll start with the audience, who was completely game to try anything I asked them to do — singing along, recording vocals into the mix, coming up onstage, dancing, anything. This was true of the kids and the parents alike. Awesome. You could not find yourself a better audience if you tried. So I am very, very lucky for that.
Secondly, the venue — and everyone working there — was all class from top to bottom. The stage and sound are exceptional — I could hear myself perfectly whether I was up onstage or wandering around the audience performing with my wireless systems. They broadcast the book pages on the big screens. The sound guy and the lighting guy were a joy to work with. The guy who booked me, Rhett, was incredibly kind throughout. And when I went upstairs to grab some lunch before the show, the waiter wouldnâ€™t let me pay for my meal — he knew I was the performer there that day and said it was on the house. If you ever get a chance to perform at the Soiled Dove Underground, do it. And as a musical venue, you could not go to a finer place to catch a show or eat a meal.
Thirdly, the show went on without a major hitch. I was using a ton of new technology in this show, looping and recording things on the spot, inviting audience members to record their vocals into the mix, using all sorts of wireless equipment for the first time, using a complicated MIDI pedal trigger system that only arrived at my studio a week and a half before the show, and the potential for hardware crashes and other unnatural disasters was exciting and tremendous. Yet none of these disasters occurred. It was all awesome fun. And I canâ€™t explain this, but despite the fact that I really havenâ€™t performed in several years, I was playing a bunch of new stuff, and I have invested two years leading up to this moment, I really wasnâ€™t nervous during the show. It was just fun. And a lot of the credit for that goes to the supportive audience and venue.
The fact that both the audience and the venue were both incredibly enthusiastic and satisfied is all the more rewarding considering that promotion for the show was, flat out, a miserable failure. I blame nobody for this failure — I can assure you we all worked our butts off promoting it. I did, my PR person Beth did, my friends and relatives did, the Soiled Dove Underground staff did. But the Denver media was not interested — at all.
I booked myself at the Soiled Dove Underground — and the Soiled Dove Underground agreed to book me — in large part because all involved thought that, since we have had some national success with XM radio and a few major national magazines are apparently reviewing the CD — the Denver media would be excited to write Doctor Noize up as a local guy whoâ€™s put out a great product thatâ€™s going national. These writeups would lead to new people coming to see Doctor Noize.
Boy, were we wrong. We contacted all the Denver papers, all the TV stations, radio stations, online publications, motherâ€™s groups, etc. An almost universal non-response. After my PR person couldnâ€™t make headway, I contacted each one myself. Nothing. My local town paper, the Lone Tree Voice, did publish a promo photo and brief writeup of the show, but they published the wrong week of the concert. The Denver Post wouldnâ€™t even put it in their calendar section, which has a section for kidsâ€™ activities — Doctor Noize is on this weekâ€™s list of top artists receiving national airplay on XM Radio, and is reportedly about to be written up in Entertainment Weekly magazine, but he could not beat out a community puppet show for a tiny calendar listing in the Denver Post. Hmmm…
When I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, I found the local media fantastic about showing interest in local artist CD releases. But apparently getting the ear of the Denver media will be a bigger challenge. Snooping around a bit, people here say that staffing for the Denver papers may be a lot smaller than for the larger market Bay Area. Maybe that has something to do with it; maybe it doesnâ€™t. Certainly playing on July 4th weekend has something to do with it. Itâ€™s a competitive weekend for entertainment, and lots of folks are out of town.
The result of this lack of media coverage showed big time in our attendance… We had 70 people at the release concert. Almost all 70 people were from direct promotion from Pictoria Records. My goal was to have at least 150 people So we were way short. A total promo failure. I have no doubt we could have reached the goal of at least 150, even at the ticket price of $10 per person, if we had achieved anything remotely near the local media coverage we had anticipated.
Iâ€™m gonna have to play all over the place in the Denver metro in the coming year until the Denver media canâ€™t help but notice what Iâ€™m doing. Thatâ€™s my great plan.
But the small crowd and the venue were mighty of spirit, the show went on without a major hitch, and I feel great about it. It was so much fun finally getting up there after all this work and just playing for people. We had good sales of CDâ€™s and shirts at the show. I apologized for the small attendance to Rhett at the Soiled Dove, and he was all class, just saying: â€œHey, thatâ€™s the way it goes sometimes — the holiday weekend is tough.â€ He said he thought it was a good show. In fact, the co-owner of the Soiled Dove Underground apparently took her grandkids to the show and loved it.
And the audience comments after were incredibly rewarding, almost as if I had scripted them myself. This was really meaningful to me. I had kids come up after the show and ask me which instrument I learned to play first, and which instrument they should learn to play first. A music teacher in the audience said she could see the kids really learning from the live layering, composing and recording I did during the show. Adults told me they really dug the show and appreciated the level of musicianship and technology, so it didnâ€™t feel like they were just taking their kids to some cartoon thing, but that they really dug the show themselves and would happily see it again. Awesome.
So my great plan and hope is that if I just keep doing what Iâ€™m doing, things will work out and the media coverage and crowds will grow. As soon as the book is finished in a few months, Iâ€™ll have all my core products available — live shows, recordings, books, and merchandize — and my main job will be to just get out and show â€˜em to people. If theyâ€™re good, and Iâ€™m really working hard to get out there and introduce them to people, I should be all right.
Your buddy for life,