Somebody to Dance With

Hi, it’s me, your favorite DJ Keith. Let me tell you guys, being a DJ and producing music is not an easy task. Staying late at night when nobody is around is my favorite time for work. This is the period when I feel most productive, but sometimes it’s frustrating that there is nobody to share the music with. After so much work, I come to the point where I think I have hit the perfect balance of notes, yet there is nobody to share the moment with. I need somebody to be happy and sad with me. A partner to dance with. I cannot ask that from a person, at least not until I meet the right one, whatever that means, so guess what, I got a dog!

It’s some sort of a pincher. Got it from a dog shelter I pass by almost every day when I’m on my way to the store. I went with a friend because he was supposed to adopt a dog, but in the end, I was the one who left with one. He’s small, brown, and cute. And because of his tiny body, his eyes look very big. I swear, it was love at first sight. My friend was looking at some puppies but this one came to me. He was wagging his tail and started smelling me. I almost stepped on him. I saw him and decided to take him. There was only one problem. I know that my mother is really sensitive to odors, so I had to find a solution. At the shelter, they told me that I can get air purifiers for pet allergies and odors and with that, I can resolve the problem. I called my mother first and after several minutes of conversation revolving around the rules, my mother agreed. Of course, as long as I take good care of my new buddy, my mother wouldn’t mind. Plus I know that after several days her soft side will appear and she will love the dog as much as I do.

Now I am back in the studio and my small, brown pincher is next to me. He will be a musical dog, I can tell. He sleeps when I sleep and listens to the music I create. Finally, I have somebody to dance with late at night.

Is it an Invasion of Privacy if You Volunteer Information?

I am an on-air and hopefully a blog personality—two for the price of one. One role runs into the other for me. I have all kinds of things to talk about—music, stories from viewers, and matters of general interest. Today it is all about self defense and privacy. This isn’t just something that popped into my head for no reason at all; but it is because I heard read a Facebook post from one of my favorite DJs in which he recounted being repeatedly stalked by a crazy viewer. Eventually he had to resort to a stun gun when he came into the studio. I can’t imagine such a thing happening to me, but it has given me pause. I want to know more about these non-lethal weapons and whether I should buy one.

A stun gun is a serious weapon that renders a human being immobile while it inflicts pain and suffering. It works from fifteen feet away although the closer you are, the better your aim. It imparts a thirty second electric shock, giving you time to run away or call 911.

Who out there uses a stun gun for safety precaution? What prompted you to make the big decision? I know at least one person who does, but there must be a lot more. It is a serious issue for celebrities of all types from movie stars, models and athletes to DJs and political figures. Then there is the royal family in England that surely has stalkers. With social media all around, public figures often tell the world where they are going to be and reveal way too many details about themselves. It seems dangerous to me so as a radio person, I would not dream of endangering my favorite celebs by revealing vital, personal information like a home address or where they might be staying on vacation. I consider it an invasion of privacy although most people in the entertainment field, such as the press, do not. The paparazzies always find out. As a result, the figures on the sales of Tasers and stun guns are rising according to Self Defense Guide. We live in such a dangerous world. Many celebrities resort to bodyguards.

It is sad when top singers and musicians must turn to self defense—mostly from fans. It is not from muggers and thieves. It doesn’t matter where they go as someone is sure to follow. I want to use this blog to encourage my fellow DJs to stop spreading too much news. Just the one incidence I mentioned above should be enough to deter all this blabbing. There is no respect for secrets these days. We need fodder for the Internet. This is the sad news but the truth. While I enjoy reading about interesting people, I don’t want anything scary to happen to them because word got out. Remember poor Kim Kardashian in Paris. Now there’s a gal who needed a stun gun.

Finger Picking Techniques

Those of us who love our music, for me finger picking my guitar, we don’t have much to complain about. So what if it is rough on hands and fingernails. Who hasn’t had split nails most of their life. I talk to other musicians and it is always the same story. Basically when asked, “What do you do,” they reply that they just, “live with it.” Some have resorted to lotions and potions to cure rough hands and some are pretty heavy duty and potent. Unless your wife or girlfriend complains about your skin, you probably are thinking why bother. My answer is why not? We certainly are not going to give up finger picking or aren’t going to resort to some new as yet undiscovered technique. Not unless it yields some mighty good music, that is.

One of my fellow culture vultures told me his mother whips up a homemade concoction that heals his rough skin within two three days of regular application. It beats anything he has found in a drugstore: those watery hand creams that disappear within seconds. No, they don’t make a product for guitar players. Not much of a market the manufacturer would likely say. So let’s get back to my friend’s mother. She uses beeswax melted together with essential oils and some lanolin on the stove in a double boiler to pervert burning the brew. She then adds some mineral oil at the end which she whisks in. there are no preservatives necessary if the lotion is used within one month. It can sit on the shelf and be used from a simple screw-top jar as needed. It does not go in the fridge as it makes the beeswax turn hard. As for scent, it depends on which essential oils are used in the mix. You can customize it for the eventual user. His mom makes a different one for each of his friends and they love it. They rant and rave how good it is and no one is suffering from telltale split nails and fingers anymore. What a great gift! All she has to do is make a new batch once a month. Now, if you don’t happen to be this guy’s friend, you are out of luck. Or you can try to make your own stuff if he will give you the recipe, but that I doubt. You can find recipes on line for hand cream, but it is hit or miss to go this route. I wouldn’t expect to get search engine results for guitar player+ hand cream + homemade.

I suppose if I query other friends, I will find some other alternatives such as petroleum jelly. I also think that guitar players rough skin problems are shared by construction workers as you might ask a few of them. They have to clean their hands so often with pumice stone and other abrasives that it makes the skin practically raw. They must have some secret products they are willing to divulge. If not, I should introduce them to my friend’s mother. She could start a little cottage industry and make some money.

Crap Day Today.

Oh man. Just a really crap day today. I dropped my phone and the screen cracked, everyone on my line at work seemed to be having an awful day and felt like taking it out on me, and the coworker I carpooled from school with left my window partway down and it rained INTO my car. It’s enough to make me want to punch something. But I don’t really have anything that I wouldn’t have to replace or get charged to fix, so that’s not really a choice. Suuuuuck. I went to the campus gym for awhile in an attempt to work it off. I brought earbuds and loaded up some old school Pearl Jam and some Foo Fighters. I ran three miles on the track, took a shower and felt a ton better. Until I got back in my car and it smelled like wet dog. Yeah,thanks, Henry. The whole stupid cycle started all over again. It is times like this when I’m glad I have a nice stereo and satellite radio in my car. I put my car on the Octane station, turned it up, and just yelled the whole ride back home.

It might seem weird that angry rock actually calms me down and makes me feel better when I’m like this, I don’t know. I never thought about it before right now. I guess when it’s something you’ve been doing for as long as you’ve been able to pick the music you want to listen to, it just seems normal. Now that I’m putting it out there on the internet, though, I am starting to wonder. Anyway, I am going to stick with what works. I am curious, though, does anyone else do this? Or am I the only one?

I talked about this once on my student radio show once but it was at like three in the morning so there weren’t a whole lot of listeners, and the ones who are listening tend to be drunk, so not a very philosophical or coherent crowd, you know? But I honestly believe that there are songs that trigger memories—you hear them and are instantly transported back to a moment in your life, either good or bad. Maybe you heard it on the radio after an especially bad breakup, maybe it was playing when you passed your road test, maybe it was playing to cover up some extracurricular activities with the girl that lives down the street. It doesn’t matter how many times you hear it, that’s the place you go back to. There are other songs, at least for me, that I can play when I’m down that will cheer me up, or calm me down when I’m super angry. It’s like comfort food, but with music, is what I’m trying to say. There’s other stuff that gets me super pumped and that’s usually what I play at the gym or on my way to work if I really need to psych myself up to go there. Then there’s assignment music, the stuff I have on in the background when I’m writing a paper or something that is easy to tune out because I can’t stand silence.

What about you? Do you have go-to bands or songs for certain things?

Losing Big

Culture vultures hang together. They share favorite bands and good times associated with them. They can’t stop talking shop. Recently, some fellow travelers, including some staff members from my radio show, and I decided to hang together for another important reason: mutual good health. We decided that a few of us could shed some recently packed on pounds and so we elected to stage a “Biggest Loser” style weight loss contest loosely modeled on the TV show. How hilarious we all thought. Would it be too embarrassing? Naw, we aren’t shy. It was to be a fun good-spirited way to prod us into getting on with our diets. A few of us have meant well but have been procrastinating a bit too long. So a contest was the way to go as most of us are competitive by nature. We would have a great prize. Some collector’s albums from my personal collection. Here’s how it would go: We were to have a group weigh in once a week for two months, and then declare a winner. Speaking of a weigh in, the chief component of this little mutual effort was the best bathroom scale we could find. We needed absolute accuracy to be sure who was losing big the fastest.

Someone had a new scale called My Weigh Elite—Silver. Sounded good. It has .2 pound readability with a capacity from 300 to over 500 pounds. It would do fine. No one weighs near that much. It would be easy to read the digital display. That was a key element. We needed accuracy and no cheating. No ordinary simple bath scale this one. It could show weight and muscle mass and everything in between. A real marvel. If only it would play old school alternative rock every time someone lost a pound. Then it would be worth its weight in silver.

Apart from doing a job of calibrating the contest, this baby is great to look at with its super sleek, elegant design. Neat looking all around. It has a thin glass platform that is only ¾ inch thick that is extra durable, necessary given its high pound capacity. Its sleekness is complemented with a bright blue, backlit weight display. This will make weigh in time fun.
There will be no mistakes thanks to the scale’s large weight display of one and a half inch digits and the aforementioned backlight. It also has a step and weigh feature so no one will have to bother bending down to switch the bath scale on…you just give it a quick tap it with your foot. The scale turn on and you can get to weighing. Pretty easy, huh?
In other words, no need to tap the scale to start this one! Just step on it & gives you the right weight the first time. The contest is on! With its super sensitivity, the scale will be our fair arbiter. Now shall we take bets on who will win?

Anything for the Listeners

Do you consider yourself a lucky sort of soul? The type that wins prizes or comes across a wad of cash on the sidewalk? What is luck anyway? Is luck having the job you have always wanted? Is luck having the skill to do well what you would like to excel at? I believe in luck or I would not have suggested a contest at the radio station. I wanted one of the listeners to feel super lucky. A contest implies that someone has the chance, against all odds, of getting some kind of personal gain just for entering or having one’s name selected at random. You don’t earn a prize. You don’t have to write anything or guess the right answer to a tricky question such as the name of an old alternative rock band from way back. You are rewarded with it for being lucky. In the contest I suggested, the winner would get a kitchen remodel, imagine that. Something worth over a thousand. Almost everyone has a kitchen and most aren’t updated, not even close.

All the listener had to do was call in when the time was right, and be the first to do so. We selected this remodel prize for a couple of reasons. First of all, while it didn’t relate to music, as you might expect, it was something most people would want to win. People would stay tuned to the station to hear the contest rules and how to go about being the lucky winner. If we had selected a free guitar, for example, you would have a half dozen people who play and didn’t already own one. The second reason was that we got a sponsor for the remodel so that it cost us nothing. We would simply promote the hell out of the contractor for donating the labor and the wonderful array of new appliances. There were to be the best kitchen faucets featured, the kind everyone wishes they had, but would never spend the money. They would be super elegant and sleek modern faucets that would turn any ordinary space into a room of culinary delight. Moen makes the most fabulous designs. No clunky proportions or handles, ever.

So we went about getting the contest launched and promoting the prize for a two-week promo period. We talked on air about the feel of your fingers on the long flexible faucet neck and the adjustable spray unit. How many words are there for polished chrome? How many words for delight? We had our listeners poised and ready to enter. The day for the call in was fast approaching. When the time came, we had the phones light up, but the winner would be the lucky person who dialed in first. Lucky indeed. It was a woman who said she lived in an older apartment building and boy could she use the remodel job. She liked to cook as a hobby and made it clear that she listened to the station during her preparations. She thanked us profusely and promised to put photos of her new kitchen on our website. Lucky gal, indeed!

Home for the Holidays

There is a point in time when you can’t go home for the holidays. Your student days are over and trips to visit mom and dad are fewer and farther between. Going home for the holidays somehow denotes a kind of dependency most of us no longer enjoy. It means we are returning to the home of our youth and no doubt one’s childhood room. It is a nice state of affairs to return to such comfort and ease. Being invited for the holidays is quite a different matter. You are a guest in effect and not a resident. Who doesn’t want to spend holidays with one’s family, no matter where you are in life? That’s what holidays are all about. No one wants to be in a restaurant or with strangers. It is all about family first and foremost. If you don’t life close enough to be able to visit those crucial times of the year, you can appreciate the luck of those who do. While I have missed more than my share of holidays, I have also spend many wonderful evenings celebrating Thanksgiving, Easter, Christmas, etc. Then there were all those birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions like graduation. There are actually people who feud with family and never ever return home. I feel sorry for such types. When your parents start getting older, you will never be able to recapture lost moments.

Everyone has special memories of the best holiday meals when Uncle Toby spilled the wine or Aunt Sue got in a fight with Mom but they ended up kissing and making up. The food itself is something to conjure up fondly—all that home-cooked glory. The freshly baked bread from the best bread maker in the world (my mom). For some reason, I get elected to carve the holiday bird. Maybe I just do it right or dad hates the chore. Maybe it’s because I know how to use an electric carving knife with some grace. I don’t muck up the job and destroy the turkey with all kinds of messy, random cuts. Some people say their turkey looks butchered in the hands of an amateur. When I am in charge of serving up individual slices, I feel like a master of ceremonies at some kind of ritual banquet wielding the knife like a pro. Holiday meals have become a lot easier since mom bought a new carving knife of the electric kind. Dad used a regular sharp kitchen knife and it wasn’t a pretty sight surveying the results of his futile labor. Mom had to take over when things got realty strange and he would manually yank off the turkey legs since he was getting nowhere fast with the knife. With the electric knife, you don’t make mincemeat out of the holiday turkey. I realized this right from the start. After all, who do you think was the person who suggested mom get a new knife anyway? I didn’t want to attack dad personally and make him feel bad. Other people had that job. I did corner mom in the kitchen one Thanksgiving and it wasn’t long before the electric knife appeared in the drawer.

That Was Totally Worth It

After spending a rainy, muddy day at a music festival, my care was a mess of caked on grime. Let me give you some advice, try to avoid outdoor venues in bath weather. I know, it’s your favorite band and you are dying to get away, but there is a price to pay. I did love the featured musicians and had a great time with the guys from the radio station, but when I got home, I had my work cut out for me. The car needed some serious care. It just so happens that one friend has a top rated pressure washer, ideal for such occasions as this. I borrowed it promptly and had the best of intentions of getting to the dirty matter at hand before the dried mud became a permanent fixture.

I thought it would be nice to get some help since we went as a group and have always had the policy that everyone pitches in. the question was who? I called to poll each concert attendee to see who was game. Let’s draw straws they all said. No one wanted to volunteer. I heard every excuse in the book: I have a cold, I have to work, I have guests coming for dinner, and my dog has fleas. I listened patiently but soon gave up my good spirit. I simply would appoint someone for the job. I had to approach this gently as I was getting negative vibes. Well you can bet that this would be the last concert in the rain and the last one that I would volunteer to drive to.

Okay, the dam broke. I got a call from a guilty friend and he scheduled weekend time to come over and operate the power washer. It’s not that I don’t know how to use the mighty marvel. They have just the right hose length for a person at-home car wash. Listen, Keith, he said, I don’t know how to use the power washer but I am game if you will show me. Of course, I replied. I would be only too happy to oblige. Well, he actually showed up at the arranged time on the selected day. I almost expected a no show. We set about our task and in no time the power washer had all the mud taken care of—layers that could be years old for all I know. I don’t usually keep my care this clean. It looked great. I might make a regular ritual out of power washing. It’s a do it yourself world, plus I would save money at the car wash. Now that I had my car back in tip top shape, the rainy, muddy concert in retrospect seemed well worth it.

I highly recommend getting a power washer as you can certainly tell from this blog. There are great ones online at all ranges of price. You can get a basic model for semi-industrial use and you will have it for the walk ways, garage floor, walls, and patio to boot.

Festival Survival Gear

It’s outdoor concert time. We look forward to it all year long. There is great anticipation by the fans. Soon the tribes will assemble in various venues to enjoy a new spate of offerings. Summer brings with it an assortment of music festivals for general enjoyment. You look forward to them all spring long. You get the calendar and plan on “saving the dates” as long as work commitments permit attendance. Surely you can get some time off. The best bands go on summer tour and the fans come out to spur them on. People want to hear their old favorites and maybe encounter a new group or two to add to their list of favorites.

Summer concert time means a bit of rough camping. No creature comforts abound. You go with low expectations to experience the vibe. You take your camping gear, although lugging a lot of stuff is tedious. You and your friends share stuff to cut down on what needs to be toted. You are at the mercy of the elements and that could be a summer rain, mud, dirt, and poor quality bathroom facilities. You’ve heard of Woodstock. Imagine it on a much smaller scale. But there is great camaraderie to be found.

I remember summers past when I was bitten to death by mosquitos. The bites itch and drive you nuts. It is important to remember to take some mosquito repellent. I like the natural kind. You can buy it online and it usually contains herbs instead of chemicals. After all, you don’t want to spray or apply chemicals to your body or any area of the face, especially near the eyes. There are recipes online so you can make your own if you don’t fancy the prices they are asking for pre-made organic, do you no harm repellent.

If you want a really well-known brand that gets accolades, Burt’s Bees Herbal Insect Repellent is safe enough to apply with confidence to children and pets. It is made with natural ingredients including rosemary, lemongrass, citronella and other essential oils. You can always count on Burt’s for a quality product. Plus, it is easy to apply, helps repel bugs as well as those nasty mosquitos naturally, and has a refreshing herbal scent.

Speaking of herbs, the herbal scents you love can help to ward off the buzzing pests you hate.  It helps keep insects away, so you can enjoy the outdoors more. In our case, this would be the concerts al fresco during the hot summer months. The convenient spray bottle makes it easy to apply this 100% natural bug repellent.  Nature comes to the rescue, with Burt’s Bees. By the way, they make lip balm and hand lotion and you might want to take some of each of these products with you in your backpack. Whatever makes the outdoors more palatable is worth bringing along. So get out there with the fans, you culture vultures, and get exposure to some new and exciting sounds.

Fan Clubs Rock!

The internet has really taken down the wall between fans and bands. You can interact with your favorite artists on Facebook, Instagram, twitter, and all kinds of other places on the web. Enjoy the accessibility of social media! You may not always get a response, but if you do—totally cool. Either way, it is the latest and greatest way to find out about tours, singles, appearances, and new albums, straight from the band itself. Most social media sites have ways to assure you that the account is legit. Look for a blue circle with a check mark on sites like Facebook and twitter, or something that says “verified account” so you know it isn’t some obsessed weirdo posting for who knows what creepy reason. Don’t just go by the word “official” or the account name. Check for verification first to be sure you aren’t wasting your time with some twelve-year-old future troll who is goofing off with his mom’s iPad.

Another great way to stay in the know when it comes to your favorite bands is fan clubs. Hey, they aren’t for screaming teenage girls and boy bands anymore, I swear! Fan clubs are actually a great way to support your favorite artists and easily found online. Just ask google, dude. You’ll come across two types of fan clubs: unofficial clubs, put together by fans to exchange information and sometimes bootlegs of shows; and official clubs that are run for the band themselves. Unofficial clubs are great if you are a big fan of message boards and file exchanges and don’t mind lots of speculation. There are a few well respected ones that even the artists will interact with, and those are worth a look. Especially in a band’s early stages, this might be your only route for information. I deal when I have to but I prefer official clubs. These tend to be easily found by looking on the band’s social media sites. You typically get cool stuff, receive insider info, and can sometimes get the first crack at concert tickets. Yes, some of them cost money but the perks tend to outweigh the cost. Think about it this way: if you’d go see them live, wouldn’t you want priority tickets? I know I would. Some clubs even track how long you’ve been a member and then you get seniority even within the club for tickets! Some send holiday gifts, others give you access to limited edition or exclusive merchandise. There are bands that even offer digital downloads, exclusive message boards, or run special contests, only for their biggest fans.

I am in a few fan clubs, and it has really paid off. You’d be surprised at the amount of loot I’ve received over the years. I’ve gotten autographs, crazy good seats at concerts, even gotten in to a “secret” show that one group did while filming a video last year. That’s right, I’m in a music video. It was amazeballs, man. Best day of my life.


The Problem with Renting

“Hello, Keith. This is the landlord. You have been calling.” When I heard the landlord’s voice I didn’t know what to expect. He is usually leery of his tenants and often fails to respond; but in point of fact, I had been harping at him for some time about the broker water heater in the apartment. I was not about to let this one slide. When small things happen like a kitchen faucet leak, a cupboard doorknob falls off, or a window won’t close, I don’t notify him and try to fix it myself. I am handy, but a water heater should not be an expense I should bear as a renter. On this subject, I don’t think it is fair to expect an argument. The only thing he can do is procrastinate. A new gas hot water system would not be cheap for the apartment, but it is the road he should travel. You expect one in good working order. He could elect to fix the old one, but I have the impression that this has been done many, many times before. It isn’t likely to stop leaking with one final fix-it effort.

I guess broken water heaters are examples of the problem with renting. It costs hundreds to replace thins and you know the landlord is getting a barrage of requests from various tenants daily. I have been so good about not pestering him that I expect some results this time. I plan to tell him that I will do the legwork and research gas hot water systems on line and compare prices and discounts to try to get him a deal. There is a downside to such an effort on my part. If he puts in a really perfect system, he may decide it makes the apartment more valuable and he will raise the rent. Wouldn’t that just be a slap in the face? Now I have a dilemma and am thinking about ditching my volunteer efforts. It really could go either way. What would you do? Now, I need a new water heater and sitting on my guitar-picking fingers isn’t going to get me anywhere. I think I will take my chances, complain about the problem, and just let the landlord decide what to do.

Update: a month later, I have to report that I have a new gas hot water heating system and I am enjoying the upgrade. I did have to wait a bit, but in the long run, it has been well worth it. I kept the pressure on the landlord enough to get him to take action, even if it was late in coming. The system is a good one, not the cheapest, not the most expensive, but suitable for my apartment size and hot water usage. He came through! I am as surprised as anyone. The good news on top of the new heater is that he has not raised the rent.



If you only make it to one concert a year, do yourself a favor and check out a festival. Seriously. It’s not all mudwrestling and drugs. Although I wish I could build a time machine just to watch Hendrix set fire to that guitar, you know? But I’m getting off track.

Festivals. Go. It’s that simple.

First of all, when you go to a regular concert, you’re usually seeing a band you know and love, and sometimes the opening act is someone you’ve heard of and they’re good and sometimes they just suck. But at a festival, there is usually a mix of the popular and familiar and new and potentially interesting. Some festivals will have more than one stage set up. There will be headliners in one place and more up and coming artists on a second, smaller stage. You can divide your time between the two and really get exposed to some great stuff. Then you’ll get to be that guy who says, “Oh, them? I totally saw them when they were still a second stage act with an hour long set. Got their first concert tour shirt, too. It’s going for $400 on eBay now, man.”Yeah. Really. You don’t believe me? Temple of the Dog played thesecond stage at Lollapalooza. Muse played the emerging artist state at the Woodstock reboot in ’99. Flogging Molly and Cage the Elephant both did the NME stage at Reading/Leeds instead of the main stage. So it is worth it to walk over and check out.

Secondly, and this is huge for me: you’re around like minded people who want to listen to music all day. Sometimes for several days.  Lots of food, drinking, camping, meeting lots of new people, and tunes. So many good tunes. It is like heaven for concert goers. A regular concert you hear an opening act, sometimes two (and if there’s two, you are guaranteed never to have heard of one of them and they likely suck), maybe two hours of the headliner, a fifteen-minute intermission, the encore, and then you’re herded out like cattle. Boom, it’s over. Not if I’m at a festival, dude! It’s music til I can’t take it anymore!

And lastly, there is the cost. I can see the WARPED tour for about $40, and there are over 50 bands on that list. For $45, I could see Cage the Elephant and their two opening acts. AT THE SAME VENUE. Which one is a better deal? I guess it depends on whether you’re a fan of music or a specific group. But I’ll take the festival any day. Some festivals are more expensive and they get some really amazing headliners. The Reading Festival this year has the Chili Peppers and Imagine Dragons on the main stage on the same day, and it would cost about $96 a ticket, which is less than you’d pay if they were playing separately. Meaning festivals are excellent value for those of us who like music but don’t have a lot of money.

No brainer, isn’t it?

Going “On the Road” for a While this Summer

On the Road

Ideally, one day I’ll be paid to travel around and see concerts but for now, it is all out of pocket. I am trying not to think about the cost. Right now I’m working as a cashier and I hate it but it was the only thing I could find that works with my (unpaid, unfortunately) shift at the school radio station and class schedule. Every time there’s an annoying customer, I add up the money I’m earning that shift in my head and remind myself—hey, that’s a half a ticket to see Kerfuffle down in MD this summer; that’s enough for gas to get me to Minneapolis to see Metallica.  Sometimes you just need to find the proper motivation. I plan on living out of my car for most of the summer and I am totally cool with that. For those of us who love music but can’t play an instrument, besides being a roadie, this is as close to on tour as we get. Oh man. I love concert season. Imagine one day getting all those tickets comped, backstage passes, hangin out with the band. Rolling into a Denny’s at 4 in the morning before we have to get back out on the road. Next day, wake up in a new city and start the process all over again. Like Christmas morning over and over, man, I’m tellin you.

This year I am thinking of doing some demo work, maybe work on band intros, descriptions of the concerts, and stuff like that. A band interview or two if I can swing it. I’ll make it a podcast or something. How awesome would that look when I apply for jobs at radio stations? I guess it depends on how good it comes out. I do have all summer to get it right at least.

So if you’re going to do a summer concert tour like I am, you really have to plan ahead. I’m going to be paying off my credit card probably through the end of the fall semester but some of these tickets you gotta get early or you’ll be paying scalpers out front before the show. No thanks. I checked the social media of all my favorite bands between winter and spring breaks and kept track of the major festivals and what their dates/locations were going to be. Once I got all that down, I planned a reasonably doable route—with an actual printed map and a highlighter, guys–to drive it all and purchased tickets for the stuff I was sure I could do. If I can swing more, I am going to try stubhub or vividseats to see if I can tickets to anything extra before I try scalping.

Luckily, I’ll have my phone and internet access while I’m out on the road, so I’ll be able to update this site. Since I know you’ll miss me, maybe I’ll schedule a few to post while I’m gone. I’m just thoughtful like that.

Culture Vulture Concert Etiquette 101: Don’t be That Guy

Culture Vulture Concert Etiquette

I know everyone thinks, oh whatever, rock and roll, there are no rules. Yeah, no. There are. At concerts especially. Here are some tips so you’re not the idiot everyone hates. By the way, you’ll know you’re the idiot everyone hates when you decide to crowd surf and they drop you, although you’ll probably be too drunk to care.

  1. Speaking of, don’t be a drunken/stoned idiot. Maybe you don’t give a crap about the opening act but there are people who “paid good money” to hear them and others who “want to get their money’s worth” or are incredibly sober and do not share your stupid dumbass humor. You’re not being funny, you’re being obnoxious, and you’re ruining a music experience for people. They may kill you. If you throw up anywhere, they’ll definitely kill you.
  2. Be considerate of your fellow concert goers. If you’re a giant dude at a gen ad show, be aware of the people around you. Yes, you have every right to be there. But so does the 5’2 pixie girl that was standing there already when you shoved your way to the front because you’re Paul Bunyan. Let her stand in front of you and protect her from the crazy people. When my mom was in college, she had a friend get her nose broken at a Blues Traveler concert. That’s right, Blues Traveler. I mean, we’re talking guys playing harmonicas, not thrashing death metal. And if you’re the short pixie girl? Get there early, because otherwise you’re just going to see a lot of sweaty backs the whole night.
  3. Be quiet. If you know the words, great. Especially when we’re at a huge venue, don’t be louder than the band. I didn’t pay to hear you sing, so shut up. I also don’t want to hear about how much better some other group was when you saw them here, and I really don’t want to hear your theory on how the headliner has sold out and blah blahblah. Or about your personal life. Shut up or go somewhere else. I’ve seen people punched in the back of the head for less, although personally I am partial to deadlegging people.
  4. For the love of crap, put your phone down. Anyone who would be interested enough to read your live tweeting of the concert is—get this—probably AT THE CONCERT WITH YOU. Also, this is not the time to accept a call. If it’s an emergency and you absolutely have to take it, GO AWAY. Also, don’t be that idiot who brings a giant tablet to take pictures/video on. I don’t want to be forced to watch the concert through your stupid viewfinder because you’re blocking my view of the stage.
  5. If you’re going to stagedive, do it right. Don’t pick a bunch of meek little girls to jump on or that guy who has a full drink in his hands. Pick someone who is both paying attention and is willing to support you when you land on them. Unless you dive into the dude holding up his ipad, in which case I say, well played sir, well played.

Basically, just stand there and be cool. Rock out, sing, do whatever, make sure you have the real estate around you to do it.  Just don’t be an idiot and you’ll be fine.