Through an odd series of events (me to arts editor: do we have any comps for Adrian Belew's show? arts editor: not yet, I'll check it out. Arts editor calls venue (Santa Fe Brewing Company). Guy from venue calls KBAC during contest for free tickets, a meet and greet, and an autographed guitar, wins but can't accept prize, gives KBAC my name...) I get to talk with Adrian Belew, I get an autographed guitar, I get two free tickets. I think I'll review my Belew discography a bit...I know him from King Crimson's Discipline, Talking Heads Remain in Light, his own recent Side 3 and I guess that collaboration between Henry Rollins and William Shatner. (you know, "I Can't Get Behind That...," about which experience Rollins included a hilarious 20-25 minutes or so in his Shock and Awe monologue when I saw him here a couple of years ago).
The other odd thing about this is I already had comps to see Wynton Marsalis the same night. Typical Santa Fe log jam, nothing for weeks, Adrian Belew and Marsalis on the same night. I was set to go to the Marsalis show just to see what he's up to these days but I'll pass now.
Comps for shows have become not just a nice occasional fringe benefit of being a writer, but an economic necessity. I have no idea what ticket prices are like in other parts of the country but here they have bumped up faster than gasoline. The Marsalis show starts at $45 and goes up to $80. Belew, appearing at what is basically a pub without a stage, is $30-$45. Freelance writing rates here are in line with wages in general (in the sub-basement) so a lot of shows are prohibitive. This new ticket pricing deal here is a fairly recent development and would be interesting to do a story on.
Yesterday's show sparked more phone calls than I usually get, including from the 85 year old Meredith Fink who deeply appreciated my playing some '70s "fusion." The main impression that sticks with me is just how fresh and jagged Ornette Coleman's Dancing in Your Head sounded next to some of the other pieces I played. That and how profoundly fascinated I continue to be by Miles Davis's electric trumpet/wah-wah pedal set up. So close in time to the big, brassy open horn sound he was using on Jack Johnson, etc., coming out of what one could call the peak of his technical proficiency as a brass player.
Speaking of which, have to check out a Roswell Rudd disc called Blown Bone handed off by station manager: "Here, this is the kind of thing you seem to like..." haha.