Friday, June 3, 2011

Confessions Of A Greg Brown Part Five

               By this time, those around me recognized I was completely out of control.  I bought a mini-disc recorder that could be plugged into a soundboard with permission.  Wore a hat that looked like it belonged to the tattooed, pierced guy that sold me blank cassettes.  Walking around in between sets of a Greg/Kelly Joe show at the zoo in Portland, a girl asked me if I was Greg Brown.  I loved that hat, but my family unanimously decided to secretly kidnap and destroy it.  I had collected other hats that were irritating, but less annoying to them.  Fear was inflicted into each of them to never mess with another one of my hats.  Of course, they refuse to be seen in public with me wearing my striped railroad cap. 
               Periodically, I would touch base nicely with the Corvallis promoter and inquire about a copy of the show.  It turned into a joke as time went on and on.  But, we did get around to discussing ideas of how to help raise money for In Harmony.  Greg was willing to do a benefit show on their behalf.  Being a momentary exemplar of keen intelligence, I suggested we record the show and sell CDs.  Knowing full well after all the months that had passed that I would never get a copy of the previous show, I selfishly felt this would ensure me getting a copy of the next one.  The same sound person could record it, but neither of us had a clue how to create a saleable CD.  I assured my friend we could figure it out and I was more than willing to help make it happen.  When all the parties agreed to the concept, I found myself with local volunteers and two other out of state people on the list unloading music gear out of a truck and into the Majestic.  The curator prohibited duct tape on the hardwood floor to secure the chords from the stage to the soundboard, so we used masking tape.  That evening when Greg started the show with I Must Be In Oregon, I knew we had a gem.  So many of his lyrics can be subtle and translate into different meanings in a person’s life.  Maybe he was referring to slugs when sang about raising bananas, but a dozen years later my adopted Korean daughter described herself as one, yellow on the outside, white on the inside.  The lyrics to the song Solid Heart were less abstract.  After Greg performed it, the foster kid-poet who wrote it was acknowledged and given a standing ovation.  That night, magic permeated the Majestic.  There was a post-concert meet and greet down the street in a restaurant for volunteers and those who paid a small fee.  The place was cram packed.  I fail to recall seeing Greg there, but due to lack of space, I met lots of people up close and personal.
               The real work behind the scenes were set in motion to create a marketable CD.  We found a company to mix and edit the recording and a duplicator.  My artist, list friend donated her sketch of Greg which became the cover of the original version.  I was honored to be included in the acknowledgements.  Some laborious months later, the Solid Heart CD was born.  Now I had to justify my initial greed and prove we could turn this enterprise into a money making project.  Give me something I believe in and I will passionately sell it.  I pretty much made it mandatory that everyone in the discussion group had to purchase a copy or they would be banished.  I didn’t exactly have that power, but most everyone eagerly purchased a copy.  I also became the warehousing and shipping department for In Harmony processing orders received in the mail.  Boxes of CDs were sent to me to sell at concerts, to friends, strangers.  It was all a blast.  Sales records were never reported to me, but we sold enough units to reprint them more than once.  All I know is we sold enough CDs to make Greg notice.  It was a lot of work to earn a copy of one concert, but it was worth it and I loved volunteering for the noble cause of In Harmony.  I was involved and helping the deal along and my efforts were far from over.  And in the midst of all of that, the promoter sent me a cassette of the prior show!


  1. You remind me of an old boyfriend - a bit A.D.D. but very determined and you don't take no for an answer!

    Thanks for a glimpse of times past...and yet, not so far away.


  2. Persistence and persuasiveness permit opportunities for positive permission.