Saturday, May 12, 2007

bad. good.

(I started this piece during the last few days of the Church's European tour but then got sidetracked and didn't finish it until now.)

I've been following the Church's European tour via several sources, but mostly through SK's blog. While he does usually seem to be up and down when he tours -- well, anytime really, but more so when he tours -- it's been heartbreaking to read some of his blogs this time around. He just seemed so discouraged and defeated, and I can't blame him. I think they had high hopes for this tour -- I know I did, and so did several other fans I talked to. It's easy to say "why did you play there? Everyone knows you wouldn't get an audience there" when the show's over. I know many people (especially after the fact) wondered why they played where they did, especially in the eastern European countries, but you know they didn't play there because they thought they would fail. I listened to an interview Marty did (when he was doing those shows with the Mood Maidens, so it was early last year I think) and he spoke about touring with The Saints. Guess where they went during their European tour? Yep, they went to many of the same eastern European cities the Church just did. Apparently they did well enough that the Church felt they could also do ok there. Plus their Budapest show last year was warmly received.

It has to be tough for him to put himself out there and not get much of a response. And to go out and play to a very small crowd when he knows they are losing money has to be really discouraging, especially at this point in his career. And then just the grind of touring -- long hours of driving, getting lost, being delayed at borders, not being able to find much food he could eat (I seem to remember him saying he ate nothing but bread and tomatoes for a day or two), tiny and no very nice (ok, crappy) hotel rooms, not being able to get a phone that works, equipment problems, personality conflicts -- all that crap has to get old pretty quick.

I mean I thoroughly enjoyed my little five day jaunt following the band last year, but all I was responsible for was myself (I did have a couple of PV's tripods for a few days, but I could have said no to transporting those). All I had to do was get get to each night's hotel and venue, and if I changed my mind partway through, I could have just turned around and gone home. No one was depending on me. I didn't have to be nice to a bunch of people when I really didn't want to be nice. I would have liked to have been able to have done it longer...but not too much longer. Even with no real commitments or concerns on my part I know that kind of travel would get old pretty damned quick.

So I can certainly understand SK venting on his blog about all the hassles. Isn't that what a blog is for anyway? I like that he is sometimes whiny, bitchy, petty, snarky, and bitter on it. That is a part of him -- just as the breathtakingly beautiful, honest and poignant entries are part of him. And I love the humour. He's an amazingly funny guy, and I don't think a lot of fans knew that until they read his blog for a while. It's all part and parcel of the man, and I appreciate that he's comfortable enough to write it. Sometimes, such as during much of the recent European tour, it is discouraging to read, but I'd rather know the problems and struggles than to be blithely unaware.

Now on to the good bit. While the band was on tour in Europe I had orders for eight of Steve's paintings come in. Of course I had just put up a new set on the site during the first few days of the tour and sent out the SK srt site email list email about the new work, and posted the same info to HW, Seance, and Myspace. Plus mention of the new work was made in the Church newsletter that was emailed out too. The attention from the tour, and having some of his prints and cards for sale at the shows, does help promote the art site and help with sales. So on the days of some of the most discouraging blog entries towards the end of the tour I was able to send SK some "good news" emails. Being able to do that, being able to provide some good news, was really rewarding. I was so thrilled for Steve when I got the various emails from people wanting paintings, and it was great to be able to pass that good news on to him when so much else seemed so bleak.

And I also generally enjoy dealing with the people who buy the paintings too. Most are totally thrilled to be able to buy a piece of original SK art and also to talk (well, email) with another fan. It's great to see how many buy one of his pieces and then keep coming back for more. A comment I hear all the time is "they are so much better in person!" And they are. The online images are good, and the prints and cards are quite good too, but it doesn't quite compare with the originals. And that is even more intense with the pieces where he used iridescent pastels and/or metallic gouache. The originals of those are really distinct and quite special. And it is such a thrill to be able to hold in your hands an artwork actually made by Steve. How many fans are able to do that? I remember the first SK pieces I bought and the absolute rush I felt holding them. It's great to be able to help others have that experience also.

What's also special is that for some of the people buying one of Steve's originals, it is the first time they have purchased an original piece of art. Being the person who helps them do that is also very rewarding. With any luck they will buy more original art -- not just Steve's (although that obviously very desirable). There is something very special about art that is hand made by someone, be it a painting, pottery, a quilt, a carved piece, a piece of jewelry. You can feel the love and care put into the work -- it's that same love and care the Church put into their music.


Blogger veleska1970 said...

yeah, i got the same heartbreaking feelings while reading the blogs this past month, too. but as far as them playing in these far-flung places~~i think it's great that the church would do that, bring their wonderful music to people who would otherwise not be able to experience them live and in person. it's a thrill to see them live. i've been to four of their concerts, and it's an experience like no other. it's just unfortunate that they didn't do as well as they hoped. and you're right~~i don't think they would intentionally play somewhere that wouldn't do so well. that goes without saying.

one of these days i'm going to own an original by steve. having been in the art business for as long as i have, and worked in an art gallery and sold art~~yes, an original work of art is something to behold, with your eyes and with your hands. i miss being in the art business!!

8:28 PM  

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