Back in the eighties when I was in a band called The Enchanters, gigs were a big deal. The ritual began with a long Saturday-afternoon flyer-mailing session (and I am talking snail mail here). Rumor has it that someone connected to the band, whose job involved processing incoming mail for a large utility company, made note of envelopes that came in with un-cancelled stamps, took them home, and steamed the stamps off for recycling purposes.
I utilized the latest in cutting-edge technology (the copy machine at work, scissors, glue stick, and construction paper in all the colors of the rainbow) to make our band flyers. But even though they were low tech, they were pretty good. Don’t get me wrong—it wasn’t a case of “Stanley Mouse, move over”—but they were charming and funny, and they worked. Some of our fans even collected the flyers, if you can believe it.
Then on Saturday we’d all sit around on the floor folding and stapling (but not spindling or mutilating) and fastening pre-owned stamps to the addressed flyers. This generally took all day, in-between a little bit of rehearsing, a little bit of eating, and a little bit of partying.
On the night of the gig, we’d gather at Rick’s house and load all the gear into Joe’s truck, caravan to the venue, passionately “discuss” the set list, play the show (in which a thrift-store bowling trophy was always presented to the best dancer on the floor), drive back to Rick’s house to unload, sit around until three or four in the morning listening to the tape we’d made of our performance, and passionately “discuss” the fine points of who had screwed up. I guess we had a lot more time on our hands back then.
When everyone started using personal computers the flyers got fancier. They could be centered, aligned, and elegant, created and emailed to a list; no stolen stamps required. But though they were more relevant and informative, they weren’t as cute. Unless you were a mac-usin’ graphics pro (which I was not) it was hard to figure out the new programs, especially in between job and family obligations.
Now we do our gig alerts on Facebook and Twitter, without any glue stick art, which I honestly kind of miss. Sometimes I forget to send out the alerts at all. But the point is the same. We want you to come to our gigs, to support live music, to make that trek across the bridge, or across the street, or across town, to hear us play.
You have a chance every month! Los Train Wreck, hosts of nineteen years of all-star jams, takes up residence at El Rio in San Francisco on the second Tuesday of every month–where we live to make YOU sound good. We’re also playing at the Glen Park Festival on May 1, with special guests Charlie Owen and Laura Barry. Please come. It’ll be fun, we promise. We’ll try to rustle up a bowling trophy for the best dance, or at least a glue stick.