r&r diary – “Just Kicking it in the Street.” 10.25.20

Dylan: “Don’t follow leaders, watch the parking meters…”

This is a still from video shot of whitewolfsonicprincess playing on the sidewalk with parking meters. So fun. The Lovely Carla Hayden afterwards said to me:“I thought maybe WWSP was on life support, but we sounded good, people cheered, we made $, and we made a new fan who said hearing us today was a gift, AND we sold a CD.” Nothing better than that!

The pandemic has changed everything. Especially in our R&R life.  Our band used to play some pretty nice clubs, to some pretty good-sized crowds. No more. Of course, it’s not unique to us. Everyone in the R&R firmament has been knocked down by that nasty virus, Covid-19. No shows. No grand tours. No crowds. No intimate interactions.

So what to do? We have learned that over time that “playing is the thing.” Still. Always. Even if you feel tired, not-into-it, dragging, reluctant, unsure, sort of wanting to cancel; actually getting together and playing with other musicians is always an amazing kick, a re-vitalizer, a savior, a soulful, and life-affirming thing.

So 2020 has been about playing in the park. Outside, masked, distant, in a large circle. Playing to the trees, the sky, the birds and bees. Sometimes passing strangers too.

Also we have played on the street, literally, “taking it to the streets.” We filled a cart with our gear and schlepped down the street to a record store in our neighborhood yesterday. A little gypsy-caravan. I mean, we probably looked like homeless people carting our stuff around the hood. Making the effort.

We have played music on the sidewalk 3 times this year in honor of the slowly unfolding, 3-part Record Store Day Pandemic-Style.  There is something so real about playing a city street: buses, cars, people, dogs, vinyl-enthusiasts, lurkers and gawkers, folks stopping by for a listen, kids and dogs sitting mesmerized at our sounds and vibrations. Noisy. Distracting. Bad acoustics. Nothing special. Just folks playing music to the street.

It’s a bit humbling. But essential too. No airs, no ego. Just setting up on a cold, dirty avenue and playing music. There is something so empowering about being able to perform on the street, and to really embody it. There were 4 of us yesterday. It was windy, chilly, our fingers getting a bit stiff from the low temps. We gave it our all, put all our energy into it, heart, head, soul. And it felt amazing. 

Don’t need a big stage, or a big audience. Just kicking it in the street. In some ways maybe even more gratifying. To be able to get to some “transcendence” in the most humble, meager and homely way. It was great. Really. Playing in the raw elements. Nothing better. Satisfying. Gratifying. Playing really is the thing.Jammer

Video Still: Don Dennis

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