I’ve been featuring quite a few writers lately on Support Friends Friday, but the series featured a lot of musicians early in its run. As such, it seemed like a good time to get back to some musician buddies.
For those that have forgotten—or steadfastly ignored my many, many, many, many, many posts about it—Bandcamp Friday is when Bandcamp waives the 15% commission they usually take on sales through the site. So, if you buy, say, Electrock EP: The Four Unicorns of the Apocalypse for $4, I get almost the full $4 (PayPal takes a small cut still), instead of $4 minus $0.60 to Bandcamp.
Another, more dramatic example: if you buy my full discography at $19.98, Bandcamp doesn’t take their $3 cut, so most of that goes directly to me (again, minus the transaction fee PayPal assesses).
Bandcamp began doing Bandcamp Fridays during The Age of The Virus, when most musicians (myself included) witnessed a catastrophic drop in their revenue. Venues closed or stopped live music; parents withdrew students from one-on-one lessons; and private parties were cancelled, meaning fewer of those lucrative gigs. Also, fewer live performances meant fewer royalties for songwriters.
Fortunately, that situation is improving, and people are eager to get out and hear live music again. Still, pitching in a few bucks helps immensely—and you get some good music in the process, too!
So, on with the sales pitch! Here are my seven releases, in chronological order:
- Electrock Music (2006, $5) – Twelve tracks from my senior year of college, all instrumental MIDI tunes. I gave physical copies to my Fiction Writing Workshop class; I wonder if they still have those little homemade copies.
- Electrock II: Space Rock (2007, $7) – I’m obsessed with the idea of the sci-fi rock opera (I actually tried to write one for piano and vocals back in 2012-2013, but never finished it)—it’s the most decadent, self-indulgent form of musical expression. That was the driving spirit behind this rockin’ collection of out-of-this-world jams.
- Electrock EP: The Four Unicorns of the Apocalypse (2012, $4) – My younger brother introduced me to a song call “Biomachinery” by some melodic death metal band, and the rhythm of that word inspired the lead-off track of this four-song cycle, “Cyborg Unicorn.” Of course, the instrumental chorus of that track is basically Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,” so it’s true what they say: composers swipe from each other all the time.
- Electrock Retrospective, Volume I: Dance Party (2013, $3.60) – I had a number of tracks stored up for a never-completed Electrock III, so I thought I would begin dribbling them out as part of repackaged “retrospectives.” This first one, Dance Party, features “Robobop,” which is also a perk for $5 subscribers to my SubscribeStar page.
- Electrock Retrospective, Volume II: Technological Romance (2013, $2.14) – Technological Romance features “Pwrblld (Ballad II)“—with apologies to Chicago’s “You’re the Inspiration.”
- Contest Winner EP (2015, $5) – This album is my tour de force. I recorded it in a real-life studio, overdubbing my vocals with my piano part. It was an amazing experience, and these tunes are staples of my live shows (especially fan favorites “Hipster Girl Next Door” and “Greek Fair“).
- The Lo-Fi Hymnal (2020, $4) – I started playing piano at my little Free Will Baptist Church a couple of years ago, and I began taking little recordings of offertory, invitational, etc. I compiled the four very lo-fi recordings into a short compilation. I’m hoping to record a second volume at some point.
An easy (and free) way to support me is to “follow” my Bandcamp page and my Amazon author page. I post updates about new merchandise, new music, and other interesting offers about once a month to the Bandcamp page, and new books will pop up on my Amazon page as they’re published. It’s a good way to keep up with the latest news on my musical adventures.
Another free way to support me is to turn off your ad-blocker. The site delivers several thousand ad impressions monthly, but most of those are blocked, which means they don’t pay out. You can usually find the ad-blocker as a little widget or icon in the upper-right-hand side of your browser; click on it and it will usually give you the option to “pause” or stop the blocker from running on this site. I know ads are annoying, but seeing a few DuckDuckGo ads helps out in an incremental way.
Even if none of that entices you, no worries! I’m just glad to have you here, reading my self-indulgent garbage and my lengthy advertisement posts.
The first two editions of Supporting Friends Friday (highlighting the poetry of Jeremy Miles and the music of Frederick Ingram) have been well-received, particularly by the friends being supported, and it gives me a great deal of joy to showcase their works, albeit from the humble platform of this blog (read by dozens a day!). As I have written many, many, many times over the last year, making a living through creative work, like writing books and playing music, is difficult, especially in The Age of The Virus. Building up a community of artists who celebrate one another’s works is an important part of the indie music and publishing business.
It’s also just fun, much like the music of Robert Mason Sandifer, the young composer I’m highlighting today. Mason, as I call him, is a private student of mine, so this post is perhaps a tad self-serving, but even if he weren’t my student, I would adore his music.
Last Friday’s very first Supporting Friends Friday, which featured the release of Jeremy Miles‘s (read his blog) latest book of poetry, Hindsight: Poetry in 2020, was quite fun, and at the very least brought delight to Jeremy, and at the most hopefully helped sell a couple of copies of his book.
In that spirit, I wanted to dedicate this second installment to the music of my musician buddy Frederick Ingram. Frederick is a gifted and skilled guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter, and we have played together or on the same bill on a number of occasions. Frederick also recently made a surprise appearance to the inaugural TJC Spring Jam, and treated us to a three-song set.
Recently, Frederick released the “Funky Margarita Mix” of his ode to open mic nights, “Fish Bowl.” Frederik wrote “Fish Bowl” some years ago, inspired by a (I believe) now-defunct open mic night once hosted at a groovy little joint in Columbia, South Carolina. The story, as I recall, is that the venue’s stage had an aquarium as a backdrop, which surely made for any intriguing performance experience.
I have been writing like the wind today. I have finally caught up on all SubscribeStar content from the past couple of weekends.
It’s a detailed rundown of the concert, including the major tunes played, the in-depth financials, and the organization of the concert. Learn from my mistakes and successes!
Also, Sunday Doodles LXXXII is up, too!
Thanks again to subscribers and regular readers for your patience. It’s been a wonderfully quiet day at home—literally, I’ve only gone outside to check the mail and to cut some oregano from my garden—so I’ve gotten a ton of writing done today.
It’s good to restore order to the blog!
Today’s post is a SubscribeStar Saturday exclusive. To read the full post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more. For a full rundown of everything your subscription gets, click here.
Last night was my first ever Spring Jam, and my second ever front porch concert. The first such concert, my Halloween Spooktacular, was far more successful than I imagined. At the time of this writing—which is actually before the concert (gasp!)—I don’t know how well the Spring Jam will go financially, but I’ll have detailed numbers, as well as an overall review of the event, next Saturday.
That said, in putting together this second front porch concert, I’ve run into a few more hiccups than last time. Most of these have been relatively minor—and one of them quite major—but they’ve taught me some lessons for next time.
Most importantly, they’ve driven home the risks and opportunities inherent in putting on any endeavor. Impresarios past and present know well the risks of producing any kind of stage or musical production. Even at the very small scale at which I am working, some risks are present.
To that end, allow me to share with you some of the learning opportunities putting together this Spring Jam has afforded me, and how these lessons can be applied to future entrepreneurial ventures of any kind.
This post will be finished later; I was slammed with the Spring Jam and wasn’t able to finish the subscriber essay. I’ll let y’all know when I have it done. Apologies! —TPP
After seven long months, it’s time for another front porch concert! Following the success of Spooktacular II, I decided I should try the format twice a year: the classic Halloween event, and a springtime one. Thus, the TJC Spring Jam is born!
Halloween is easy, because it comes packaged with all sorts of fun activities: Halloween songs, costume contests, spooky décor, etc. A generic springtime theme is a bit more vague, and with it already feeling like summer here in South Carolina, the theme presented some initial problems.
Later this month I’m hosting another front porch concert, following the success of my Spooktacular event in October. I’m quite excited to do another front porch concert, and I’m interested to see how the May date will stack up compared to Halloween. I’ve also ordered some great t-shirts, which I will have available on my Bandcamp merch page soon.
In preparing for the concert, I thought it might be a good time to look back at a post I wrote one year ago today, about the Tom Jones song “Delilah.” The first time I truly heard the song was when I heard Bruce Dickinson’s version. The Iron Maiden singer nailed the performance, and I immediately set about learning the song.
Of course, I wrote all of this a year ago, so I’ll let the original speak for itself. Here is 6 May 2020’s “My Musical Philosophy in Song: ‘Delilah’“:
The theme of this Spring Break Week is short stories, but more deeply it’s that of culture generally. Indeed, The Portly Politico has dedicated itself increasingly towards cultural, filmic, musical, and literary matters far more over the past few months than ever before, for a reason: creating culture is far more powerful and interesting than largely meaningless squabbles over minute points of policy. That’s not to say that politics aren’t important—at the local level it’s very important—but there’s not much we can do in a practical sense to sway the indifferent national government at this point.
Culture, on the other hand, is something we can proactively create and promulgate. A major push on the traditional Right as of late has been to do just that: create a compelling (counter?)culture to the prevailing popular culture of nihilism and materialism. Rachel Fulton Brown’s Centrism Games: A Modern Dunciad, the product of her excellent Telegram chatroom Dragon Common Room, is one exquisite effort at creating (and reviving) a rich literary culture on the Right. The collaborative nature of the work—RFB is the editor, with sections of the epic poem composed by different members of the chat—further highlights the proactive act of creation among like-minded individuals, each mixing their unique voices into a scathingly satirical blend.
My own book, The One-Minute Mysteries of Inspector Gerard: The Ultimate Flatfoot, is my own meager contribution to this new culture—a work so honestly reflective of my teenaged self, I didn’t even fix some of my collegiate typos! It’s a bit postmodern and absurdist, but it at least gives a glimpse into the gradual transformation of one young creator (in this case, me!).
My music, too, is a humble contribution to cultural creation. I’ve always thought of The Four Unicorns of the Apocalypse, in particular, as an eschatological statement of sorts. At the very least, it attempts, musically, to reflect a civilization‘s fall into decadence and nihilism, before the cycle repeats.
But I digress. For this week’s edition of TBT, I thought I’d do something I’ve never done before: bring a post from my SubscribeStar page out from behind the paywall.
The occasion for writing this post—“The Creation of Culture“—was the release of my friend Jeremy Miles‘s collection of poetry, A Year of Thursday Nights. Jeremy is no Right-wing traditionalist, but his collection is the result of a year of attending open mic nights and performing his (very entertaining) poems. In essence, he created culture out of a vibrant community of artists and musicians, both chronicling and enhancing the performances that took place at a local coffee shop’s open mic night over the course of 2019.