May-June 2010

More Me! Me! Me! Right Place Right Time

By Dennis Roger Reed

Last time around I provided a time line of various incidents that shaped me musically. You probably have it held on your refrigerator door with a magnet from your local realtor. Or perhaps you keep a dog eared copy in your briefcase or purse, so that you can pull it out and draw inspiration. As such, I thought I'd continue down that mono-mania-no-more-about-me and talk about how I think one of the most important aspects of my music "career" has been the ability to take advantage of that "right time - right place" issue. And some of my biggest "failures" occurred when I did not...

In the same league as McCartney and Sting? Now, please don't let this get around because it's still a nice resume bit, but to be painfully frank, it don't play out that way, friend. I was told that they did an article about me because the managing editor chewed out his staff after the last issue, demanding that they do stories on bass players in genres other than jazz or heavy metal.

I was playing in a bluegrass band at a street fair in Covina, ignoring the incongruity of standing on a stage on Citrus. A writer from Bass Player happened to be in attendance. He was probably most intrigued by the custom Martin bass guitar I was playing, and most assuredly the fact that I wasn't playing jazz or heavy metal. He asked my wife a few questions about me and the band, and gave her a business card with instructions to contact him. My initial spin was that this was a little questionable, and I almost didn't call. As it worked out, not only did I garner the Bass Player article, but a few months down the line we coerced/convinced the same writer to submit a story about the band to a bluegrass publication. And they accepted. The writer had never written about bluegrass, but he got a byline and money, and we got another article in a national publication.

Did my article in Bass Player change my life completely? No, although I did get recognized a couple of times. And someone in Norway or Finland used to have a website about bass players, and they had a long long list of notable players, and lo and behold, there I was. I assume solely based on that article. Overall, I am very glad I called the writer back. Somewhere in the attic I have a small stack of magazines with Paul McCartney's face on the cover.

Take your wife/husband/significant other/complete stranger out to see some live music. You'll feel better about yourself.

Dennis Roger Reed is a singer-songwriter, musician and writer based in San Clemente, CA. He's released two solo CDs, and appeared on two CDs with the newgrassy Andy Rau Band and two CDs with the roots rockers Blue Mama. His prose has appeared in a variety of publications such as the OC Weekly and MOJO magazine. Writing about his music has appeared in an eclectic group of publications such as Bass Player, Acoustic Musician, Dirty Linen, Blue Suede News and Sing Out! His oddest folk resume entry would be the period of several months in 2002 when he danced onstage as part of both Little Richard's and Paul Simon's revues. He was actually asked to do the former and condoned by the latter. He apparently knows no shame.



All Columns by Dennis Roger Reed