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Moondog! The Human Jukebox! Baby Gramps! The unholy trinity!
I saw Moondog in NYC too... circa 1970. Have you ever heard his record? It's wonderful.
"Machines were mice and men were lions once upon a time..." He was a real wonderful wacko sage of the highest order. One of my band mates bought a poem from him for a buck. One of the few things I regret in my life is that I didn't. But he's a busker who did alright. He made it into a Beatles song!
I busked at Fisherman's Wharf when The Human Jukebox was at his peak - I think it was early 70's. I loved it and at the time it was money which was so elusive back then.
Baby Gramps? I think he's possibly one of the best entertainers I've ever met. And he has some amazing songs like Skillet of Snakes. I did a film score with Gramps. I think it was around 2000 or so. Bob Dylan is a fan of Gramps!
For me busking carries me back to a different time when folks weren't in such a hurry. I don't find them annoying like some panhandlers are. So usually when I see someone busking I donate. It's a heart thing. There but for fortune and all that!
Back to Kenny, I learned about the herd instinct from Howard Bloom's "The Global Mind". An amazing book. He was a music maven who quit to study the evolution of memes... and the mind. The thing about the herd instinct is scientifically presented in the book and hard to knock. Maybe I misapplied the concept with the folks in the Metro station, but I bet there's something to it.
More thoughts... but maybe for a rainy day.
glassWing farm and studio
vancouver island, b.c.
On 9-Apr-07, at 4:46 PM, samba - wrote:
My favorite buskers are Artis the spoonthang ,Baby Gramps,the Human Jukebox guy in SF in the 70s. I actually saw the legendary street performer Moondog in NY in the very early 70s,Thelonious Monk,members of Pentangle and the Band were among his fans. There was an 80s band called Violent Femmes who were busking outside a Pretenders show.The kids standing in line were mostly ignoring them ,but someone in the pretenders heard and dug them,and when the show started VF were onstage opening ,and got hooked up to get signed.
True there's no reason to expect busy commuters to have time to stop and play audience.There are many possible responses to this truth. One is to make them stop and listen,and watch ,and ,make them give you money by being totally irresistable ( this usually requires a fair amount of schtick, just like rock music). Another is to not try to stop them but to play music that energizes them or improves their mood. It's possible to play music that doesn't require intellectual attention to be enjoyable. Speak to the body,and it doesn't matter if they are paying conscious attention. If you do this in the same spot regulary ,you'll make money. Another is just do what you do and ignore them, it will moslty be mutual,wait for someone on your wavelenght.You can always play for people waiting in lines.
I've met many players who want audiences to pay attention to them,but don't pay attention to the audience. I garuntee you BB king has never ignoreed an audience in his life.He started out busking.
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- From: "samba -" <email@example.com>