THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD – WHERE DO YOU PLAY?*

PerfectSenseKM-Web

My continuing misadventures as a failed musician in art-adverse Singapore where cover bands rule the music landscape.

Against all common sense, I am recording a new album to be released in September. Look, I will be a senior citizen very soon and my name isn’t Dick Lee or Jeremy Monteiro, so who the fuck in this recovering cultural desert would want to listen to my music?

It gets worse when one tries to talk to venues about playing gigs to promote the new album. Most of the venues here exclusively feature cover bands and if you want to ‘use’ their venue to launch your album then expect an exorbitant charge!

To be fair, there are venues that do (on a regular consistent basis) support a Singapore artist playing his own music but you can probably count them on one hand – Artistry Cafe, Hood Bar & Cafe, Timbre outlets, the Esplanade and the Hard Rock Cafe!

For most of these venues, there is no payment involved for playing – simply because there is no grassroots support for music made in Singapore. That unfortunately is still a fact. I can appreciate the venue owners’ dilemma, I really do. It’s already amazing that these platforms even exist!

Thus, I do not perform regularly. For my ‘layman’ friends, this is hard to understand. The usual query is ‘where do you play?’ but the reality is ‘NOWHERE’. Unless it’s an annual string of dates for an EP/album launch, it is impossible for me to get a gig!

Which is why I cringe whenever people describe me as a ‘legend’ – what a fucking joke!?!? More like a ‘failed musician’ is the stark reality. Is this your musical legacy, Singapore? Don’t be mistaken, I am not griping for the sake of it, I accept the way things are and do my best (which isn’t much) to change things.

But what I will continue to do is to make music. So, I will release my new album – Present Sense – in September and will play a couple of gigs in support (with The Groovy People). I really wish I could play my music all year round but that, dear readers, is just not possible, unless something changes.

And that is up to you. Not the Government, not SGMUSO, not The Musicians Guild, but YOU, the music fan. The scene is what you make of it – if all you want are singing contests & cookie cutter cover bands, then good luck to you all….

*thanks to Keith Tan (Obedient Wives Club) for the phrase. 

THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD

Photo by Ray Aziz

DON’T SPOOK THE ALPACA!

Six months after launching Emo FASCISM at Artistry, I was back to promote the release of #alpacablues EP with The Groovy People in tow. There wasn’t much of a crowd there but I do appreciate the kind friends who took the trouble and effort to demonstrate their support. Much obliged! These ranged from my latest RP students (Josephine, Fatin & Wei Ren!) to the legendary Vernon Cornelius (of The Quests!).

Photo by Don Shiau

In the final analysis, I was just happy to be playing with some of my favourite people viz Patrick Chng, Ray Aziz, Nelson Tan, Benjamin Ang & Eileen Chai – all of whom I love and respect so much! It was historical occasion as well as I actually opened for myself for the first time! Basically, I did a 30 minute solo acoustic set before playing a full set with The Groovy People.

All good fun for sure, and it was great to have an appreciative crowd. Sure beats having a packed house ignoring you and talking to themselves! In any case, two more shows before DON’T SPOOK THE ALPACA is done. This coming Saturday (15th) at Hood Bar from 8pm (supported by the amazing Another Sunday Afternoon!) & next Saturday (22nd) at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre from 8.45pm. See you there!

In the meantime, #alpacablues is available at Bandcamp for US$1 until the 15th March! Get it now!

… still there’s more …

THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD

#alpacablues will be released on 15th February at Bandcamp for US$1 and will be available at that price for a month. Thereafter, the EP will be available at all good digital platforms for the full price (i.e. US$4.00) In the meantime, this is the world premiere of “I Want What I Can’t Have”. Enjoy…

Cover artwork by Andy Yang http://andyyangillustrates.wordpress.com/

THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD: #alpacablues

Two months after the release of Emo FASCISM, I am working on my new 4-track EP, #alpacablues. Why so soon? Well, in actual fact, Emo FASCISM was recorded a year ago and most of the songs are already old news to me. I am a naturally restless soul and thus…

In any case, I don’t want to say too much about the new music but instead will let you listen to a sampler of the raw mixes so far below.

… still there’s more …

THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD: ART FOR ART’S SAKE

It’s been two months since the release of Emo FASCISM and people have asked whether I was happy with the response to the album. Well, no, to be honest I am definitely NOT happy. It’s not that I expected massive CD/merch sales or crowds at my launch gigs – but perhaps I had thought that the music scene had grown somewhat since the last time I had released an album in Singapore viz Popland’s Groovy (1998). Back then, I had pressed a thousand CDs and sold more than half (yes I still have about 200 copies at home) but this time I cautiously pressed only 300 copies and at this stage, 250 copies remain unsold.

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