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Elliott Smith Hour will be at Studio Grand playing music from Brahm’s Third Symphony
3234 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA 94610

With Inner Ear Brigade

Sunday, October 19th 2014
7pm Show
6:30 doors

Fog City Blues

Posted on

On Wednesday I and members of Elliott Smith Hour got to be on the radio! Specifically we were on the show Fog City Blues on the local public radio station KALW.

If you want to listen, you can get the high quality stream here: kalw.org/local-music-player until wednesday October 22. Just click on Fog City Blues. or you can check out fogcityblues.blogspot.com where they keep playlists and poorer quality recordings for a longer period of time.

Being on the radio was exciting. KALW is beloved local public radio, which I actually listen to almost every day. Snap Judgment and Philosophy Talks, among other shows, originated from KALW. Even though I held no illusions of it opening any doors, or even getting people to come to the show we were promoting, I felt nervous and was very eager to do a good job. I worried that I wouldn’t be very articulate, and that since Elliott Smith Hour isn’t famous we’d get some general lame questions (imagine having an awkward conversation broadcast live over the radio). I wondered if the mostly silent moments before we played a song would be awkward over the radio, where the audience couldn’t see us flipping through our music and looking at each other making sure we were ready.

I will admit that I wished we could have played better. There were some dubious entrances and endings, and some straight up wrong notes. I felt similarly about the interview portions. Devon Strolovitch was actually a very good interviewer and asked some insightful questions. I only had trouble replying because I usually had several answers that I wanted to explain at once. I felt I rambled a little bit, and said some things that weren’t exactly what I meant. After we left the booth, however, I felt that we did produce some beautiful sounds, said a few interesting things about the music, our inspirations and process, and dutifully represented what I want Elliott Smith Hour to be for any engaged listener. The radio interview is a really interesting performances format, where you can talk and tell stories, and play related recordings in addition to live music.

newsletter 10-15-2014

Posted on October 15, 2014

Hi Folks,

1)

The Elliott Smith Hour will be playing at Studio Grand on Sunday October 19th.
In addition to the usual fare of originals and Elliott Smith arrangements, we will be playing music from Brahms’s 3rd Symphony arranged by myself for the improvising chamber group, and played by:
Zak Hazen and Somin Lim: Violins
Daniel Brown: Cello
Steven Lugerner: Alto Flute/Bass Clarinet/#firshir
Roger Kim (myself): Guitar/Banjo

Doors open at 6:30, and the show starts at 7pm with Inner Ear Brigade, and we will be on after. Studio Grand is located at 3234 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA

2) KALW tonight (wednesday the 15th) at 9pm (PST)!

The Elliott Smith Hour will be playing on KALW’s Fog City Blues. Tune in at 91.7 or online at http://kalw.org/listen-live

3)

I’ve updated my website. Go ahead and check it out: rogerkimmusic.com

stay tuned to hear about our upcoming performance at YBCA in February

I Don’t Even Lyft

Posted on October 6, 2014

If you ask someone what they do, and they tell you that they are a musician, you probably wonder what they actually do (that doesn’t lose money). Some people actually do live the dream and all they do is perform, and drink booze, and get laid. I’m pretty sure most of us have money jobs, though, so you don’t have to feel like a jerk if you can’t believe someone can support themselves with their musical talent alone.

For a while I drove my car like a taxi in San Francisco.

A lot of musicians do. If you think about it, it is the perfect musician job. If you are a musician, you must live in a fairly large metropolitan area where it would be inconvenient to actually own a car, and you must own a car to carry your gear to get to gigs and to teach lessons out in the suburbs (another thing a lot of musicians do to get by). This is a great irony because musicians typically do not make money, yet they are doubly hit with city rent and all of the expenses involved with parking, maintaining and sometimes acquiring a car. Lyft and Uber (the two main app based taxi services in San Francisco), are great because it is almost as if someone had considered the musician problem and offered them as a solution. You need to have a car. Your schedule is flexible (you can drive whenever you want, and though you are encouraged to schedule driving times, this is not required). And you make a decent amount of money for something that basically requires no skill and no commitment.

I really enjoyed driving around San Francisco, meeting an almost diverse set of people (I have a theory that only a few types of people regularly pay for taxis in San Francisco). As soon as I could make enough money from other means to survive however, I stopped. I probably because I never felt comfortable telling people that I drove my car for money. The rationalization I came up with to explain this discomfort was threefold.

1. Driving around the city was not helping me any way besides helping me pay for my life. It was definitely not a resume builder, and I didn’t really develop any new skills (besides a questionably better understanding of city geography). I realized that I was only doing it for the money, which is not a compelling reason to do anything.

2. It seemed kind of unstable. I heard about drivers who drove full time and used it as their main source of income. I felt weary for them because of the economics of it. The amount you made depended on how many passengers you had. For me it averaged around $25/hour, because I drove at a fairly moderate time. Both services did their best to gain market share, and passengers, which would make more money for everyone. There was a danger, however, of their being too many drivers around, thus driving the average hourly $$ down. Signing up to become a driver is really easy. I started driving a week or two after I signed up for Lyft, and had a similar time scale with Uber. I knew that driving for these companies would never be a lucrative endeavor, because if it was, more people would drive, and things would balance out again. Moreover the legality of these services is still in question and it is well within the realm of possibility that the taxi people will pass legislation stopping Lyft and Uber from operating.

3. I was really afraid of getting into an accident or killing someone. The sheer number of hours spent hardcore city driving really increased the odds of doing something terrible with my car or run into someone who was doing something terrible with theirs. Driving in San Francisco is hard. Left turns are all but prohibited, there are one-way streets, and two of the main streets run diagonal to what might have been an orderly grid. Consequently people get stressed out and do crazy things when they drive. I only drove for a few hours at a time, but at least once a night I depended acutely on vigilance and reaction time to prevent an accident.

I actually do appreciate that things like Lyft and Uber are around. While they aren’t really saving the environment (it’s not so much ridesharing as it is a new kind of taxi), they do represent to me a lateral way of thinking that I appreciate. No one set out to save a bunch of musicians and justify their money-eating cars, and yet they did. And while I don’t care to drive professionally anymore, I am glad that option exists should I need it.

New Website

Posted on October 4, 2014

I’ve finally revamped the website with really nifty jquery. I still have to figure out a way to deep link to specific pages (like the Elliott Smith Hour part of the page, for booking), but it’s pretty much ready for public consumption.

It’s not really mobile friendly. If I wasn’t so old fashioned and actually used my smartphone I would probably be more saavy about that. I’ll get to it on the next round of updates.

I’ll do a longer update soon, but I think I might start doing shorter posts. Maybe then I won’t have another year+ lapse.