okay, whenever i get personal email from a “famous artist” who i really admire, i get a little verklempt.
a few years ago, i discovered this really weird, really prolific artist, who called himself Ergo Phizmiz, and, since then, i have accumulated approximately 40 individual downloads from him, all of which i really enjoy.
recently — within the last 6 months or so — he decided that the “Ergo Phizmiz” persona had run its course, and started releasing music under a much more “normal” sounding name, Dominic Robertson. i bought his most recent release, and he wrote me to thank me:
Just a quick note to say thanks very much for buying my recent releases on Bandcamp, most appreciated indeed.
feeling encouraged, i wrote back:
i have 40 downloaded albums by Ergo Phizmiz and/or Dominic Robertson, and i enjoy all of them. 8)
i am a musician as well, and play a variety of different instruments:
https://salamandir.bandcamp.com/ – by myself
https://saintfred.bandcamp.com/ – mostly by myself, but different instruments
https://and-more.bandcamp.com/ – with a friend, since the early 1980s
https://snakesuspenderz.bandcamp.com/ – with three friends, and totally different instruments
i also play with the Fremont Philharmonic, a 9-piece wind band that started out as a circus band, many years ago… but they don’t have anything recorded…
keep making music. it’s the only “real” thing there is! 8)
this was his reply:
Thanks a lot Salamandir. Lovely to meet you, going to put my feet up later and tune into you and your hybrid elephants.
although, to be honest, i probably wouldn’t have paid as much attention to him at first, if he had been dominic robertson… a lot of my initial attraction to him was that he made wonderfully weird music AND was called “Ergo Phizmiz”…
I’m a Humuhumunukunukuapua’a from Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg
when i logged into my email this morning, one of my messages was from salamandir.bandcamp.com, from a guy named zach lincoln, who was, alledgedly, a “booking representative” from afton. this was the message he sent me:
> I wanted to reach out and see if you’re up to talk about some shows I’m
> putting together. Who’se the best person to contact about booking your
> act? I have a few dates every month around washington, my next open
> date is May 21st.
exciting, right? i have only had this music on bandcamp for a few months, and already i’m getting inquiries from someone who wants to book my act… i should be fired up…
but i’m also suspicious.
so, i wrote him back with a couple of alternate dates (i’m going to orlando on the 23rd, which is cutting it a bit close for my tastes), and i texted thaddeus, who has quite a bit more experience in the business of booking gigs than i do, and asked if he had ever heard of this guy. he said no, but sent me a link that might be appropriate.
zach wrote me back almost immediately with instructions on how to get started with afton, but i read the link that thad texted me first — http://www.wicasta.com/blogs/is-afton-live-a-scam-any-worse-than-venues/ — which, basically, says that if afton isn’t a scam, it is doing a lot of the things real scammers do, and the only way i should sign up for it is if it’s more important to me to play than it is to get paid.
it’s pretty important to me to play music, don’t get me wrong. and, given the choice, i would rather be playing music than just about anything else, pretty much any time, but it really disturbs me to be playing music for free when everybody else around me is getting paid for my playing music. in fact, that is one instance where i would, probably, NOT prefer to be playing music. i know a whole bunch of people, and at least two or three of them would probably come to see me play at a real venue, but if i have to do all of the marketing as well as playing music, then i would much rather do it on my own, than provide money for bookers and venue-owners but not myself, especially when i would be surrounded by other musicians who are in the same boat i am in.
so i wrote back to zach, asking if what i read in the article is true or not. the first response i got, when i was responding to his initial inquiry, came back within 5 minutes of my sending it, but i have now been waiting 4 hours for a response, and it hasn’t come yet… and i get the very strong feeling that it won’t come at all, which is an indication to me that what i read in the article was, in fact, spot on, and zach was hoping that i didn’t know that because it is so exciting to be contacted by someone who wants to book your act…
THEN i started actively poking around to see if i could find out anything more about this guy. conveniently, bandcamp gave me his IP address, so i plugged that in and discovered that zach wrote to me about booking gigs in washington from an IP address that’s located in Maspeth, New York… 😡
afton may or may not be an actual scam, but if it’s not, it sure isn’t trying very hard to differentiate itself from things that are, actually, scams.
that got me wondering… i’m pretty sure he never, actually, listened to any of the music at salamandir.bandcamp.com… i wonder what he would do if i actually showed up for one of his performances and played what i usually play on the didjeriflute…
Wil Wheaton College