Tell us about your tour vehicle.
My tour vehicles are generally airplanes and rental cars. Makes no sense to pay for a bus when you’re solo, although I sure do love a bus. Air travel can be dodgy. First of all, I find it exhausting, and then there’s always the possibility of a delay or a cancellation or a screaming baby right next to you. If anyone has a private plane they’re willing to loan out, let me know.
How do you eat cheaply and/or healthy while on tour?
I do neither.
How many strings do you break in a typical year? How much does it cost to replace them?
You know, I rarely break a string. I change them often and I’m not a thrasher.
Where do you rehearse?
I just practice in my music room at home or in a hotel room. Again, it’s usually just me. Don’t need anything fancy.
What was the title and a sample lyric from the first song that you wrote?
It was called “Hey J”. I wrote it for a guy in high school whose name was Jonathan but I didn’t dare admit that. I was dead to him. Sample lyric: “Hey J, the phrase is worn and old, but you’re the only one I haven’t told, how I feel.”
Describe your first gig.
Probably my solo in the junior choir at the Congregational Church in Vermillion, South Dakota, when I was about 8. I think the first time I actually got paid I was 18. I had a gig at The American Tap on Illinois Avenue in Carbondale, Illinois. Four hour long sets and I think I got $25 plus unlimited beer.
What was your last day job? What was your favorite day job?
I had lots of waitressing jobs, but I think my last actual day job was as an administrative assistant for a real estate company in Manhattan. Computers were just starting to become a thing, and I learned on a KayPro. I don’t have a favorite one. I do have a least favorite one. More about that another time.
How has your music-related income changed over the past 5-10 years? What do you expect it to look like 5-10 years from now?
My income has pretty much remained stable over the last ten years, and I’m expecting that to continue, unless a big star covers one of my songs, or samples one. Then I’ll get what we call “mailbox money.”
What one thing do you know now that you had wished you knew when you started your career in music?
The facts have generally stayed the same. First you need the passion, and then you work your ass off. As a colleague of mine says: “They don’t pay us to play. They pay us to travel.” That has always been the case for me, since 1975. I’ve put in a lot of miles, but it’s worth it. My job is still my dream come true.