In my last newsletter, I spoke of a possible gig offer where the producer of the event asked us to "leave the dog at home" - referring to our band mascot, Jazz - Rick's taxidermied canine pal who we bring to all of our Jazz The Dog gigs. I received many responses from people applauding our commitment to our artistic ideas, and a couple from friends who suggested we consider how leaving the dog at home might present us with more opportunities.
What struck me about the responses was that many seemed to focus on "the stuffed dog," which was really only a small part of my message.
What was really on my mind was how we can sometimes allow our insecurities to take over and sabotage our visions. By allowing others to impose their values, limitations, and sometimes their limited creative visions on our ideas, we "water down" that original idea to make it safe and palatable. By trying to please everyone, we lose ourselves.
And making strategic decisions of those sorts can be beneficial, when made intentionally. If we were to play at a children's party, we certainly wouldn't do adult themed songs. Songs of divorce and breakups at a wedding gig? Kiss that gig goodbye. A Top 40 dance band that plays trance? Not likely.
But consider the many artistic decisions we all make: tatoos, purple hair, shaved heads, bright clothes, dark clothes, sad songs, happy songs, disco... Of course, with every decision, we take a chance of turning off some element of a potential listening audience. So what do we do? Play, dress, and act in a way that we believe will please our fans' interests - or do "our thing" and find fans that are willing to trust us and go for a ride into unknown territories? If no matter what we do, someone somewhere isn't going to like it - then I want to make sure that at least, I do.