I am not sure who I am anymore. Well, musically that is. I started out as The Wedding Industrial Complex back in the year 2000. The name is long and the Eisenhower reference is lost on everyone. Still I have always liked singer-songwriters who use band names rather than their actual name. In the artistic world, the alias is fairly unique to music. Artists in other mediums typically just use their given name.
Well, a couple years ago I decided to drop The Wedding Industrial Complex and start calling myself El Rey De Lo Fi. But alas, this Spanglish moniker (The King of lo-fi!) was no less confusing. Still, it will lives on as the title of my blog. Then, recently, when I was approached by the owners of SLO LIFE Magazine about the commercial and article I did for them, I had a moment of clarity. As it stands, I am a virtually unknown singer-songwriter. There are people in my hometown who have no idea that I play music. I used to like the anonymity in that I felt it gave me a greater degree of artistic freedom. And at the time I did need as much artistic freedom as I could get as I struggled to find my voice. But now I am comfortable with my persona as a singer-songwriter and there is no reason to hide behind an obscure name. When people read the article who know me as Derek Senn the real estate broker or Derek Senn from high school or Derek Senn the dad from Charlie’s preschool or what have you, I wanted them to see me as Derek Senn the musician. So, for the foreseeable future, my musical persona is now the same as my work persona and my dad persona and all my other personas.
This realization led me to visit the bio I posted on my now rather obsolete band website, theweddingindustrialcomplex.com. It was actually very cool to revisit the bio from that site, which I had not read in years. It was like reading a journal entry about my musical journey. So I took that bio, updated it, added to it, and posted it here on my blog. Be forewarned: it is interminably long. I am the first to admit that the reality of the cyber world is that no one takes more than one minute to read something as trifling as a bio, so best to make it short and sweet. Well fuck that. Here it is…
A few posts ago I embedded the commercial I wrote and performed in for SLO Life Magazine. Well, the February/March issue of the magazine finally came out and there was a little article about me. Here is a link to the article…
I got a text a couple nights ago from Todd at SLO Brewing Company asking if I would like to open last night’s show. I had no idea who was playing so I checked the schedule and it was a woman who goes by the moniker Storm Large. I did a quick scan of her bio, and all I learned was that she was a contestant on Rock Star: Supernova, and that she has a video for a song called “my vagina is eight miles wide”. Hmm, interesting. Not like it mattered who I would be opening for. I would have said yes if it was the Dick Cheney speaking tour. A gig is a gig, and I don’t get many so I say yes to them all.
In a sense it was good that Todd only gave me 24 hours notice, since it limited my obsessing over the gig to a mere 24 hours. I was hesitant to say yes at first since I have not been playing a lot, but the alternative would have been yet another Thursday of hanging out at home and putting the kids to bed. A yes meant an interesting evening of playing on stage and meeting Ms. Large. Something different. Something unpredictable. I was in.
I think it was Regina Spektor who said that she still always gets nervous before shows and when the point comes where she does not get nervous she will be worried. Well, I still get nervous before shows too no matter what, but it would be kind of nice if I didn’t. My stomach gets in knots and I need to have a couple beers to calm my nerves. That is how it was last night and I feel like that is how it will always be. At least I know that I have to live with it.
Storm Large, on the other hand, was pure poise. Her show was part cabaret, part stand up comedy, part storytelling, part rock show. She was in absolute command of the room and oozed confidence on stage. It is something I cannot relate to at all and therefore I was in awe. She was simply a great entertainer and put on a really good show. And she had a great voice.
It turns out that she is the fill-in singer for Pink Martini, which is a fairly successful adult contemporary band. Her solo shows are far more raunchy than the more restrained Pink Martini show, which I think is a good thing.
Here is a link to her site
As for my set, I played for 30 minutes to the usual small crowd of unattentive chatterboxes. Not complaining, just reporting. I am used to it. It is actually a good thing, since a room of people paying rapt attention to me would likely make me even more nervous. I like playing to a fairly unattentive crowd because I know there are always a few people out there paying attention to my awesome songs and amazing lyrics. Or at least that is what I tell myself.