March 26th, 2011
Thing a Week 27: Madelaine
New recording of an old song – this is another one from the Supergroup set list. I’ve always liked this one, but couldn’t listen to the 4-track cassette, midi drums version anymore. I was working on something else for a while this week but then decided not to use it, long story I’ll get to later when it’s not so late.
PRESENT DAY JOCO SAYS: Total cheat. Kind of surprising considering how good I was feeling in this stretch. It appears that what I was working on that week and gave up on was a mashup of Eye of the Tiger and I Want to Rock with You. Mashups are very easy to do poorly, but very hard to do well, and mine was just no good. I was also feeling weird about doing something so blatantly illegal now that I was getting more attention and starting to earn money from the site. I think probably I got excited about the mashup early in the week, lost interest on Thursday and was then just sort of stuck.
I do like this song though, it’s a got a pretty nice hook, some room for clever lyrics and such. Alternate tuning for those of you trying at home: drop both E strings to D. Supergroup was a band I played in many years before any of this started. We did a few gigs in the East Village where the whole audience was made up of our friends. We rarely rehearsed. The other guitarist was Darin Strauss, a good friend who is now a talented author, and whose first literary agent was none other than John Hodgman. Much to my shame however, that is not how you spell the M-name, not on any planet in the federation.
This was the week I first started using Eventful to track where enough fans existed to allow me to do a live show (I was certainly feeling confident!). It was an incredibly helpful source of information those first couple of years when I was figuring out how to tour. Having done my fair share of poorly attended gigs in the city before I was even semi-famous, I simply could not stomach the idea of TOURING in that way where you doggedly play to empty houses in ever widening geographical circles, hoping that people who accidentally see you one time will want to see you on purpose in the future. Just awful. So I used Eventful to identify the cities where I could be sure that wouldn’t happen (the first test of this technique would happen in Seattle sometime later, we’ll get to that). It was a great strategy for me, and really the only way I could have made it work. It’s less useful to me now that I have enough well-known markets to keep me busy for an entire year, but I still rely on it every now and then when I want to open up new territory.
I definitely can tell that a big shift happened in the weeks prior to this one. Even now, going over those weeks post by post, it’s hard to identify exactly where the change happened. But it’s obvious to me there’s new energy here, in my song writing, blogging, and tweaks to the business model - this was also the week where I set up a mailing list and forums. Who do you think you are Jonathan Coulton? Enough good things had happened to me that It no longer felt presumptuous to start planning for this to be my job.