Thursday, April 23, 2015

Ever wonder what Whitt & Judy, The Washtub Two are up to?

So have we!

After five years touring full time, we (Judy) took a school-year gig the past three winters, performing only in the spring and summer, so we (Whitt) could try to nudge and cajole our online presence into the 21st century.

Chasing gigs around the countryside while the profits exit via the tailpipe is getting tough, and not just because we're aging (which one of us is definitely not).

Alex Hassiliev (of the Limeliters) once told us "In this business, you have to learn to eat the tail."
He meant be frugal, do as much yourself as you can, and don't think you can rest in your dressing room between shows--get out there and work that merchandise table!

Best we can do in all those departments, though, just ain't been enough.

Venues, for the most part, have become just places of business who think a "live entertainment" sign might draw a few more customers.  It's presented as an afterthought--poorly staged and lit, in utter anonymity save for publicity executed and paid for by the act.  Many venues now ask performers seeking a gig how many fans they have in the area they can draw!

"Sure, you can play here if you bring your own audience, do your own advertising and sound, and will take $50 for an evening of three (or four!) shows!"
Oh, thank you!
We need to benefit from the tremendous niche marketing potential of the web so more event planners (who see the entertainment as the main attraction) will know we exist.

This turned out to be a rather steep learning curve; but, we have a handle on it at last, and the faithful handful of you who've been following our saga will notice some changes.

Don't worry, your experience on our little site should improve noticeably in the next couple months.

We're going to try to build what is known as a "fan base," and you can help!
(More about that as we go along.)

Getting up to our performance standard is a matter of ramping up from "practice" to "rehearsal" and learning this season's new material.
Fingers will hurt for a while, but it all comes back pretty quickly, 

Getting ready to travel, however, is different.
We moved from the van into an apartment and added household stuff from storage, finding a place for everything.  Now, we have to determine what needs to be reinstalled to the van.  

Hours and hours dragging things out, back and forth, countless minuscule (but important) discussions and decisions--all in hope of avoiding that "Oh, no" moment out on the road when you realize you forgot something that is going to affect your daily lifestyle until you replace it, if you even can.
A life this compact involves some very customized applications for "just right" items it took a lot of searching to find.  They fit and work just right, so
Our first van (and still faithful trailer) first time out in the Big Wide (2007).
the trivial becomes large, like a grain of sand inside your sock.

Judy spends hours planning where we're going to stay on the way to the gig, directions, schedules, where we want to be on days off, times we definitely don't want to be on the road, hours not to hit major cities, bypasses and beltways--all the minutia comprising an itinerary for true itinerants.

Anyone who has seen us perform can imagine what goes into the maintenance, organization, and transportation of instruments, props, and equipment.
The other traveling pros we know all deal with these issues as part of the creative process beneath the surface--the big, tough part of the iceberg.
It's the off-it-for-months aspect that throws us off a bit.
But, we're doin' it again and, there's no going back.
The stable life behind us once more, we gallop toward the freedom of the wide open spaces where we can forage for fodder and a place winter will not be.

Ideas?  Leads?  A place we can park and plug in?  Please let us know!

Hope to see you out there!