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Archive for July, 2007

Shout Outs

Hello Noizemakers,

Doctor NoizeIt is uncommonly quiet in the Noize house this week. All three of my girls (my daughters and their mother) are in the San Francisco Bay Area, while I remain here in Colorado. I am not used to a quiet house, and I much prefer a Noizy one. So I am looking forward to their return on Friday.

My butt kicking, crime fighting PR agent, Beth Blenz-Clucas — heretofore referred to as the Bethinator — says that a bunch of CD reviews have been confirmed for publication over the next few months. Based on my experience several weeks ago getting excited about a review that never materialized (written about in a previous Blah Blah Blog) I will not focus on the specifics of these potential reviews, and instead point you to something I’m very excited about — the first real published review. This review is very meaningful to me, for two reasons: (1) It is the first published review; and (2) The reviewer totally gets and appreciates the big picture goals of the CD. I cannot ask for a better review than this one, and I always feel incredibly excited when I meet someone who really gets the CD. Here it is:

“out with the kids — parent differently”

So here’s a big shout out to Jeff at “out with the kids — parent differently.” Thanks for being there. Also to the Bethinator for interesting people in writing up the CD.

We are in the process of updating the website to include live show pictures and get some of the originally promoted things truly working at full speed — the Forum, the email list signup, the “Win A Free All-Expenses Paid Trip To The Island Of Thelonious” competition, etc. Okay, fine, there’s no free trip to Thelonious giveaway, but there should be, and if I have my way in this life, there will be at some point. We just gotta find Thelonious — it’s not on any human maps.

Anyway, the website is a little out of date and behind schedule, and I apologize. Soon you will be able to hear the XM Radio interview and do some other cool new things. I want to give a big shout out to Weldon Dodd and Christian Lowe, who have spent gobs of time on the website making it super duper swell. They are awesome. They have both been my buddies since kindergarten — no kidding — which means we’ve been friends for at least a decade, maybe even more. (I’ll get back to you on the math there.) Christian — who you know as the dude who makes all the great illustrations for all thingz Doctor Noize — just became a daddy last week too. Nice going, Daddio. (Weldon already has four kids — that’s right, four. Hey Weldon: Nice going, nice going, nice going, and nice going.)

On to work. Have a good week.

Your buddy for life,

Doctor Noize

Lend Me Your Ears

Hello Again,

Doctor NoizeIt is Monday morning after a very painful and sleep-deprived weekend. Doctor Noize got an ear infection on Friday evening. I love my ears — all the better to hear you with, my dear. They are fairly important to my career. Anyway, of course my ears started experiencing excruciating pain just hours after all the doctor’s offices closed for the weekend on Friday evening. Otherwise, I suppose the experience would not have been a proper character building exercise for me.

So I thought I’d just sleep and go get it checked out at the Urgent Care office in the morning, which opens at 7 AM. Unfortunately, the pain got worse, the Advil did nothing for it, and there was no way to fall asleep. I could have gone to the emergency room at the hospital less than a mile from my home, but I know from taking my kids there in the middle of the night that a trip there costs about $350 out of pocket. So I decided to brave it until the 7 AM Urgent Care Clinic price of fifteen bucks. After the pain of the night and the weekend, and considering the fact that my ears are very important to my career and lifestyle, I probably will put down the $350 to get the antibiotics going earlier next time, as the pain really didn’t subside until Sunday night, and I am — what is the word again? — oh yeah, kind of a wimp. Never, ever, allow me to get pregnant. I’m not sure I could take it.

So I spent Friday night and Saturday morning until 7 AM doing what any of us would do — namely, watching old San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl year highlights on DVD, courtesy of Netflix. I kept trying things like applying warm wet washcloths to my ears to allegedly ease the ear pain (my 2 AM research project on the internet said this would be helpful). The result of this was the same ear pain but a very wet couch, face, and clothing for Doctor Noize. A fantastic suggestion boldly executed.

So Doctor Noize got a bunch of drugs from the real doctor on Saturday morning and started taking them. By the afternoon, it no longer felt like my head was being run over by a tractor every time I swallowed anything. It just felt like my head was being struck by a baseball bat. So there was improvement. On Saturday night, after a big round of pain drugs, I was able to fall asleep for about two hours before the pain returned and woke me up. My three babes (my daughters and their mommy) were at their loveliest and entertained me and my nearly sleepless weekend brain on Sunday, and the pain finally started to truly subside on Sunday night as the antibiotics began to have an effect on the ear infection. So I finally got a real sleep last night.

Today I’m back to work, groggy and spaced out like a zombie from a B-Movie. What was my name again? What is your name again? Perhaps this is what a 70′s rock star felt like after a hedonistic weekend of gigging and partying. It certainly doesn’t feel much like the typical family musician’s Monday.

So… If you get an ear infection, get yer drugs quick. I know I will next time.

Your buddy for life, with a still-clogged but no-longer-excruciatingly-painful set of ears,

Doctor Noize

Waiting To Tell & Other Unnatural Exercises In Restraint

Greetings Earthlings,

Doctor NoizeNow that the glow and adrenaline of the launch weekend is truly in the past, it has been back to reality for Doctor Noize this week. There are many good things happening — more gigs are starting to get booked at libraries, museums, rec centers, schools, etc. — and a whole lot of groundwork that still needs to be laid regarding these gigs. I need to update the website with pictures from the launch weekend, but haven’t found the time to do it yet. Did I mention I need an administrative assistant? That is pretty much the fantasy dream scenario of my work life right now, to have an administrative assistant. Preferably one with Riley The Robot’s skill set.

Barring that, it is on to the tasks of updating the website and, most of all, selling live performances. It is great to know that I now do, indeed, have a viable, entertaining, and educational show to sell. Having a successful and gig-tested show in hand is great. Ultimately, the success of this venture will probably depend primarily on how many live performances I can sell. My business plan calls for Doctor Noize to play over 150 gigs a year at my normal rate. My normal rate, incidentally, is more than ten dollars and less than ten million dollars — contact me directly for details.

I am starting to realize that I need to be clear to everyone what my target show venues are. They are many, and I need to present myself as an option to all of them. These target venues include: Performance venues like the Soiled Dove Underground for larger events; schools; libraries; museums; children’s attractions; rec centers; private parties and birthday parties; corporate parties; arts festivals; summer concerts in the park; and Madison Square Garden. Okay, probably not the last one.

I learned a lesson this week. I have told a few people that Entertainment Weekly was going to review the Doctor Noize CD in July. This was exciting news, as Entertainment Weekly is a big mainstream national entertainment magazine. In fact, it’s one of my guilty pleasures to read every time I see it at a doctor’s office or news stand. Anyway, I excitedly told some people EW was going to review Phineas in July because, well, they told my publicist twice that they were going to review it in July. Well, guess what? This week they told us that, actually, they were not going to review the CD after all. Bummer. So the lesson learned is that, in the future, I will try to never tell anybody a publication is going to write about Doctor Noize until after they’ve actually published the article. This is probably good for another reason too — you never know, they might write an article that says Doctor Noize sucks and he will make your children into irreparable monsters. I mean, you never know who will like yer stuff and who won’t. So it’s probably best to wait until you’ve got the article in hand before you sing its praises.

On to selling shows…

Your buddy for life,

Doctor Noize

A Total Blast — Now Back To Reality…

Hi Everybuddy!

Doctor NoizeI haven’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.

I’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 wouldn’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 can’t explain this, but despite the fact that I really haven’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 wasn’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 who’s put out a great product that’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, mother’s groups, etc. An almost universal non-response. After my PR person couldn’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 wouldn’t even put it in their calendar section, which has a section for kids’ activities — Doctor Noize is on this week’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 doesn’t. Certainly playing on July 4th weekend has something to do with it. It’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.

So…

I’m gonna have to play all over the place in the Denver metro in the coming year until the Denver media can’t help but notice what I’m doing. That’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 CD’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: “Hey, that’s the way it goes sometimes — the holiday weekend is tough.” 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 didn’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 I’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, I’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 ‘em to people. If they’re good, and I’m really working hard to get out there and introduce them to people, I should be all right.

Your buddy for life,

Doctor Noize

Where I sound off and blow your mind...