Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The wisdom of the ancients

The Smothers Brothers came to town to perform with the Tucson Symphony.  Travis was going to meet with them, "for old times' sake" and took me along.  We met in their hotel room.  Both Tom and Dick were dressed in snappy white resort wear, and all the spare space was taken up by exercise equipment.

(This week's installment continues a series of Whitt's reflections on becoming a folk music addict and performer.)

Trav introduced me, and, after some reminiscing and small talk, Travis explained that I was "starting out" as a single, and handed them my demo video.  Tom promised to check it out and, pointedly glaring into my eyes, gestured toward the gym equipment and said, "Get in shape."  I was in my late thirties--did I look that bad? He said, "It's like a sport.  It takes a lot of energy and you'll last longer if you train."

They set up comp tickets for me and Judy, so we could see their big show in the Convention Center with the symphony, and we enjoyed a wonderful concert and then went backstage to see them in their dressing room.
On the way to the level where the dressing rooms were, we got into a freight elevator with those weird vertically closing doors.  As we stepped aboard, Tom pulled down sharply on the top door just as I was pulling up on the bottom, and my hand got smooshed between the rubber edges.  Tom was very upset and apologetic, and I assured him no harm was done.

They had actually watched my tape, and their comments were succinct:
Tom said, "This is very thoughtful material," and Dick said, "Calling yourself a humorist is smart--that way you don't have to get as big a laugh."  (That's why they call him--uh--Richard.

Anyway, I took their advice to heart.  They told us to help ourselves to the lovely fruit and snack basket, as well as a bottle of their own label wine that had been included, and we took that to heart, too.  We still have the bottle, though somehow the wine disappeared.

Sometime the next year, or the year after, a friend  involved in "community radio" called to tell me of an opportunity to book The Limeliters, who were looking for a brief money stop and reportedly would work for much less than usual to make that happen. It occurred to me this could be an opportunity.  If I could set up the gig and open for them, I could add their fans in the area to my mailing list, since what I was doing was built for the same audience.

Next week we'll see just how that went.

Here's an example of how the Bros. worked with a symphony:

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