inkwell.vue.92 : Alan Thornton and Alan Friedman - Struggling Like Hell To Be Moderately Amusing
permalink #26 of 99: Angie Coiro (angie-aaron) Sun 5 Nov 00 09:04
    
>>nothing about Cheney because ... to be honest, we couldn't think of
anything funny to say about him.

That in and of itself is funny!!

For both Alans: what's your biggest, realistic vision for SD? Is it
something that thrives best at the reach and level of effort it's
already achieved? Or do you have larger ambitions that you're willing
to put into words for us?

The audience reactions on the "Struggling" CD are authentic, intimate
- the kind of thing you might sacrifice in a larger venue. Thoughts on
that?
  
inkwell.vue.92 : Alan Thornton and Alan Friedman - Struggling Like Hell To Be Moderately Amusing
permalink #27 of 99: Alan Friedman (brooklynite) Mon 6 Nov 00 05:43
    
Angie, excellent question about the vision for SD.  First, and this
may sound kind of trite, but beyond everything else I want us to be an
act that we're proud of and that really entertains and amuses our
audience regardless of how far this thing goes.  As to how far I'd like
us to go, my immediate objective is for SD to become self-sustaining
so that I can do it full time (with two kids in college I have the
proverbial day job and need a regular income--who doesn't?). 
Self-sustaining at this point, selfishly, I guess, means for me at the
start.  My hope is that by being able to devote full time to it that I
will be able to grow the business, so to speak, and then have others in
the group benefit from that growth.  Of course I'd be  lying if I said
I would not like us to get some national recognition.  I think our
humor is broad enough for us to play for a national audience.  But
crossing the country in an SD bus doing shows for screamin fans is
certainly something that's crossed my mind on occasion.

As to venue size, we have done audiences as large as 750 effectively,
but 100-400 is probably best for us.  Hope that answers your question.
  
inkwell.vue.92 : Alan Thornton and Alan Friedman - Struggling Like Hell To Be Moderately Amusing
permalink #28 of 99: Angie Coiro (angie-aaron) Mon 6 Nov 00 05:57
    
Oh, speaking of national recognition - did I hear that you were
getting some airplay and/or coverage on NPR this weekend?  What show? 
Was it a music snippet between stories, or what?
  
inkwell.vue.92 : Alan Thornton and Alan Friedman - Struggling Like Hell To Be Moderately Amusing
permalink #29 of 99: Alan Friedman (brooklynite) Mon 6 Nov 00 10:20
    
There's an hour show that originates at WCLV-FM in Cleveland on NPR
called "Weekend Radio" hosted by Robert Conrad, who's also the voice of
the Cleveland Orchestra.  This past weekend his show was an election
special and he featured our CD, playing 3 cuts and saying generally
favorable things about us.  But get this, this particular weekend our
Atlanta NPR affiliate, WABE (90.1) pre-empted his program for some
other election special so the home folks did not get to hear us.  I
heard the program Saturday night by listening to live audio on the WCLV
website.  That, as they say, is show biz!
  
inkwell.vue.92 : Alan Thornton and Alan Friedman - Struggling Like Hell To Be Moderately Amusing
permalink #30 of 99: early and often (sd) Mon 6 Nov 00 10:23
    
We were featured on Robert Conrad's Weekend Radio. He played three songs and
commented that the name of the CD was humorous. That was played nationally
on NPR stations yesterday. We've been played on Broadway Revisited which is
on 80 NPR affiliates in the last month, too. There were three different
songs featured on that program. One other syndicated AM drive program has
used some of the material and the "Everything's coming up Moses" tune
(internet download only at www.southerndiscomfort.com) has been played
during AM drive in Atlanta. A few other stations from around the country
have heard about the CD and requested copies, Chicago, and Austin that I
recall.

As far a wanting to do different types of material goes, I'd occasionally
like to use more obscure tunes by Warren Zevon, John Prine, The Shaggs or
NRBQ but we have to play to a broad audience. I'm pretty happy with the
subject matter. I don't know if we'd ever change anyone's mind on a subject
that is widely considered but I'd like to discuss a few more edgy things.
Medical marijuana use, ACTUAL Campaign Finance Reform not just shuffling
papers on it things like that. We still play lots of corporate gigs though
and that makes such things a little touchy.

I'll just add that some of our audiences have been a little too, damn
intimate. It's bad to outnumber the audience in my view, of course that is
even worse when your a solo...
  
inkwell.vue.92 : Alan Thornton and Alan Friedman - Struggling Like Hell To Be Moderately Amusing
permalink #31 of 99: early and often (sd) Mon 6 Nov 00 10:24
    
alterna-alan slippage.

oh, for non-Well regulars that means Alan Friedman's response was posted
while I was composing mine.
  
inkwell.vue.92 : Alan Thornton and Alan Friedman - Struggling Like Hell To Be Moderately Amusing
permalink #32 of 99: Dave Waite (dwaite) Mon 6 Nov 00 10:27
    
Good to hear that Chicago has asked for your stuff.

I'd love to hear itover here in the airwaves..
  
inkwell.vue.92 : Alan Thornton and Alan Friedman - Struggling Like Hell To Be Moderately Amusing
permalink #33 of 99: early and often (sd) Mon 6 Nov 00 10:54
    
I'll have do dig back through the e-maile and find out who it was. Actually
i think it was somewhere to the west of you but reached into Chicago. I'll
see if I can find out so you can pelt them with requests, heh.
  
inkwell.vue.92 : Alan Thornton and Alan Friedman - Struggling Like Hell To Be Moderately Amusing
permalink #34 of 99: Angie Coiro (angie-aaron) Mon 6 Nov 00 12:14
    
I'll grab a moment at some point to search npr.org and see if Weekend
Radio is archived.  If so, I'll post a pointer here.

Okay, guys, howzabout some dirty (fun)laundry?  Have you ever been
contacted by, or come in contact with, one of the subjects of your
songs?  Okay, so some guy confirming the wonders of Viagra, I really
don't need to hear about ;) , but - politicians, telemarketers, Dr.
Laura fans?

I spent a decade on radio as a San Francisco traffic reporter, and I
would get pigeonholed at parties by people asking me to explain
roadwork delays, the curvature of a particular offramp;  or they'd
complain about the delivery of some sports reporter I'd never met. Any
similar tales of audience interaction?

On a more serious note - Alan Thornton brings up an interesting
dilemma.  America belongs more and more to the corporations. How do you
see your balancing act between socio-political satire and corporate
clientele evolving?  For that matter, how do similar groups do it? 
Have you ever been pressed by a client to leave a particular matter or
parody out of your presentation?
  
inkwell.vue.92 : Alan Thornton and Alan Friedman - Struggling Like Hell To Be Moderately Amusing
permalink #35 of 99: Alan Turner (arturner) Mon 6 Nov 00 18:28
    
You can call me Alan, too, just to keep things simple.
  
inkwell.vue.92 : Alan Thornton and Alan Friedman - Struggling Like Hell To Be Moderately Amusing
permalink #36 of 99: early and often (sd) Mon 6 Nov 00 19:10
    
Hey Alan! Why do I always think of you as Art?

We've looked for an oppertunity to do the Jimmy Carter song when he was
around but no soap so far. The only flack we've gotten directly was from the
Dr. Laura fan who thought we were being unreasonable for calling her a
hypocrite since her nudie shots were in the past.

We're waiting to see if the Gov. responds to our calling him the guy who put
the W in DWI.

Funny thing about that censorship, it has happened a little more often when
we've been doing benefits than on paying gigs. Corporate sponsors must not
be chided you know. We've played in churches where we changed the language
somewhat but that is about all.

We did a song about downsizing to Pet Clark's 'Downtown' last year for a
group of folks who were in grave danger of that very thing. They responded
very enthusiastically since the song chides business for downsizing and
making the remaining workers perform multiple jobs just to get the bottom
line ready for a sale or an IPO.
  
inkwell.vue.92 : Alan Thornton and Alan Friedman - Struggling Like Hell To Be Moderately Amusing
permalink #37 of 99: whatsamatterU (dwaite) Tue 7 Nov 00 06:02
    
I can hear it ringing in my ears.  Down-size!

great!
  
inkwell.vue.92 : Alan Thornton and Alan Friedman - Struggling Like Hell To Be Moderately Amusing
permalink #38 of 99: Angie Coiro (angie-aaron) Wed 8 Nov 00 08:09
    
Okay, you two Alans, this election result - or the delay thereof -
must be a gold mine for you.

Take us through the process of deciding which things are ripe for a
good song, which wouldn't work, and why.  And how to marry a tune to
the concept. 

It'll be great to watch your brains work in real time!
  
inkwell.vue.92 : Alan Thornton and Alan Friedman - Struggling Like Hell To Be Moderately Amusing
permalink #39 of 99: oh, but i DO have to get snippy about it (sd) Wed 8 Nov 00 08:37
    
D'oh, on the spot! Help me Friedy!!

How about September Song reworked as november song...

"I haven't got the stomach for the waiting game..."
  
inkwell.vue.92 : Alan Thornton and Alan Friedman - Struggling Like Hell To Be Moderately Amusing
permalink #40 of 99: oh, but i DO have to get snippy about it (sd) Wed 8 Nov 00 08:44
    
Actually, this story's 'legs' will be decided after the decision...
It would be fun to do a song about waiting for the call but it would only be
good for a short while.

Angie discussed, in another Well conference, the possibility of using "Pomp
and Circumstance" (her tune) for a song about our finally 'graduating' from
the Electoral College (my idea) so that is sort of how it works to get
started. Then you think, does that song play well on stage? Is it too
closely tied with emotions from actual graduations to allow folks to think
about the lyrics?

It is a thought. Anybody want to take this to the songwriting topic?
  
inkwell.vue.92 : Alan Thornton and Alan Friedman - Struggling Like Hell To Be Moderately Amusing
permalink #41 of 99: Alan Friedman (brooklynite) Wed 8 Nov 00 11:53
    
Angie, you're right, eventually all this should be a gold mine of
material for us.  When things like this are unfolding, I try to refrain
(no pun intended) from writing a song immediately because I need to
see where the whole thing winds up before a perspective emerges as to
what kind of material will have shelf life for us.  My sense is that
there are several areas to exploit for potential songs. One is this
idea of projecting winners in various states as soon as the polls close
and then having to retract.  I think that would resonate with
audiences because that's how most of us viewed the election.  As we
speak, I'm trying to think of a good vehicle for this particular
parody.  Stay tuned.
  
inkwell.vue.92 : Alan Thornton and Alan Friedman - Struggling Like Hell To Be Moderately Amusing
permalink #42 of 99: when cheese is insulted, it catches its winces! (pellmell) Wed 8 Nov 00 11:57
    
I can't get no
satisfaction
first announcement,
then re-trac-shun
  
inkwell.vue.92 : Alan Thornton and Alan Friedman - Struggling Like Hell To Be Moderately Amusing
permalink #43 of 99: oh, but i DO have to get snippy about it (sd) Wed 8 Nov 00 11:58
    
the ballot of the box of ballads in a lock box...
o, that's what they meant in the debates!
  
inkwell.vue.92 : Alan Thornton and Alan Friedman - Struggling Like Hell To Be Moderately Amusing
permalink #44 of 99: Gail Williams (gail) Wed 8 Nov 00 12:35
    
A lock box song seems like a natural, but I dob't see how you can do it
without having it be from one party point of view or the other.
  
inkwell.vue.92 : Alan Thornton and Alan Friedman - Struggling Like Hell To Be Moderately Amusing
permalink #45 of 99: oh, but i DO have to get snippy about it (sd) Wed 8 Nov 00 12:41
    
amazingly the lockbox contained supplies and nothing else!

what did buchanan do with the 12 million $$??

it costs that much to get old folks to vote for you by mistake?
  
inkwell.vue.92 : Alan Thornton and Alan Friedman - Struggling Like Hell To Be Moderately Amusing
permalink #46 of 99: Angie Coiro (angie-aaron) Wed 8 Nov 00 16:56
    
What fun!

In the interest of following the creative process, let's grab Gail's
example. Does the lockbox topic seem like a natural to do?  How might
you do it without picking a side?

Unrelated question as well: are all your CDs put out independently?
I'd be curious what sort of responses you've had from any labels you
might have approached.  In the hierarchy of the music business, where
does satire fall? The very word "novelty" makes me think that label
suits would shrug you off - but hey, some do quite well. I'm sure Weird
Al's label is very happy to have him.  Any experience down that road?
  
inkwell.vue.92 : Alan Thornton and Alan Friedman - Struggling Like Hell To Be Moderately Amusing
permalink #47 of 99: Alan Friedman (brooklynite) Wed 8 Nov 00 21:01
    
Hi Angie, as to the lockbox, that might be too transient an issue for
us to write a song about, unless the lockbox contained the deciding
votes.  If it were related to an event of lasting significance, it
would probably be worth our time to write and rehearse a song about it
if we could keep it in our show for at least a few months.

As to our CD, I'm so busy between my day job and handling the group
that I really haven't had an opportunity to pursue established record
companies with our stuff.  But we have been able to promote and sell
this CD more actively than the first one, so that maybe by the time we
do our third, I'll have the wherewithall to seek out record companies,
or maybe we'll have our very own agent who can do that. 
  
inkwell.vue.92 : Alan Thornton and Alan Friedman - Struggling Like Hell To Be Moderately Amusing
permalink #48 of 99: Konsigliari Kafka of the Cosa Nozzo (kafclown) Thu 9 Nov 00 04:59
    
Question for the Alans:  Do you ever reject ideas because your competition
already did something similar?  As in "Damn those Capital Steps!  We were
going to do that shinbone song about the Balkans!"  How aware are you of
the competition, and who are they (other than the Capital steps?) 

Also, here in RI, there's a similar troupe headed by Charlie Hall, but
they really focus on local events.  How important are local events to you
guys!
  
inkwell.vue.92 : Alan Thornton and Alan Friedman - Struggling Like Hell To Be Moderately Amusing
permalink #49 of 99: Rosamond Sanderson (jonl) Thu 9 Nov 00 05:27
    
Emailed by Rosamond Sanderson:

I am feeling all the effects of the day after the most depressing campaign
I have lived through in 76 years..Please, hurry, say something funny,
(perhaps quote Adlai Stevenson's reply to the journalist who informed him
that he had the "thinking man's vote". He said "Yes, but you need a
majority.")?
                            Rosamond Sanderson
  
inkwell.vue.92 : Alan Thornton and Alan Friedman - Struggling Like Hell To Be Moderately Amusing
permalink #50 of 99: Alan Thornton (sd) Thu 9 Nov 00 07:59
    
Hi Adam <kaflcown>.
They are on NPR sometimes and I hear some of their stuff that way. A couple
of them were kind enough to come to one of our DC gigs at the end of last
year and we swapped CDs. We try to be sure not to do things that other folks
have already done but don't mind too much if we happen to come up with the
same idea because it branches differently. It seems like we both used Hello
Dolly for the sheep cloning news but our takes were not the same at all.

Dear Rosamond,
I hope that you feel better about things today. I've been wondering if, with
all of our desire for instant gratification, we might not get the final news
later and say, 'that's nice...'

Your quote reminds me of my favorite from H.L. Mencken:
"No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American
People."

In any case, it will be over soon enough and some day we'll look back on
this and wince.
  

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