crazy dude

The Classic American Nuclear Family

This past week was a busy one with two big shows. The first, at R Bar, was my first show with my live band in four months, so it was great to get everyone back together and rock the house. Problem was, the house was pretty small. I was glad to have a few new faces there, and everyone enjoyed the show, but the problem is, when your show is late on a weeknight with a $10 cover charge and your friends are either broke and available or have some money because they’re working past 10pm on a weeknight, that doesn’t make for a big audience. That will be my last weeknight, high-cover-charge gig for the forseeable future. I wish these small venues and bookers would be more flexible about door charges because they really hurt draws for small bands/artists just starting out. Thank god there are some venues that will do shows with no cover where you can pass a tip jar so the musicians still get paid. That makes more sense to me since the venue makes more money off the bar than anything else, and more people in the venue means more money for the bar! Oh well, at least some venue owners understand that. The other option we have is to do gigs at house parties and other spaces where we can control the audience’s experience. So, to that end, our next show will be Saturday, December 19th at a friend’s loft in SoHo, which means no door charge, prime timeslot, free drinks, food, relaxed atmosphere, and good times. Plus we’ll be playing with the amazing Comandante Zero, an excellent electro-funk band out of Brooklyn who are friends of mine, so there’ll be not one but two awesome shows in one spot! I’m really looking forward to that show. If it’s still hard to get a good crowd at a free show on a weekend night with six weeks advance notice, then, to be honest, I’m not really sure what I need to do, haha.

Dance Dance Dance
"I don't care what you think, gonna flip my hair and sip my drink!"
Everybody's Crazy in New York
Everybody's Crazy in New York
JC Cassis
Me post-show

The show on Saturday in Central Park had a much better draw because it was Central Park on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, with a mammoth sound system. I had so much fun! I’ve always wanted to perform at the Bandshell and indeed it was a great time. I had a guest spot between house music DJ’s as part of Art for Progress’ Sunset Jam in Central Park, and sang “Anything You Want,” “Dance Dance Dance,” and “Everybody’s Crazy in New York.” Now, if you frequent the Bandshell area of the park, you know the regular crazy people who are always there, and they were there in full force! There’s the guy with the green ‘fro wearing brightly colored women’s clothes with a poodle and a parrot that he dyes crazy colors who skips around as people frantically take his photograph, and then there’s the old guy who either leaps and spins in circles continuously for about ten minutes at a time and never gets tired, or he stands in one spot and shakes his chest up and down as if he were an old, male, crazy Shakira in sweatpants. It’s a sight to see. I go to that area of Central Park all the time and I’ve seen those guys a lot, so it was pretty surreal to have them dancing to my music as I performed it. And it went absolutely perfectly with “Everybody’s Crazy in New York,” LOLOLOLOL. I wrote that song because it’s true, and they’re the perfect evidence of it!

me with crazy guy
Posin' with a parrot on my head
Dancing with crazy guy
Breakin' it down NYC style. That parrot has a great sense of balance.

The show was also great because a lot of little kids were there who really liked my music, and it always makes me happy when kids like my music. One little girl came right up to the stage and watched my set and would wave back to me and smile when I waved to her. Then later, she was like “I really liked your songs,” and SANG “Everybody’s Crazy in New York” BACK TO ME! SO CUTE AND AMAZING! Then this tween boy asked me for a hug and to have a dance-off, and this group of tween girls really liked my stuff as well. And another tween girl came up to me and was like “Did you go to Spence?” I swear, I cannot go anywhere or do anything outside without a Spence girl coming up to me! They’re everywhere! And I’d never know it if I weren’t always doing weird things outside! One lady asked if I’d come sing at her Christmas party. Not Christmas songs, my music. Everybody’s crazy in New York…

Me and little girl
Me and my new favorite little fan! (in the pink jacket)
from little girl's perspective
...and from her perspective!

One thing that drives me crazy is that no matter how much people like your music and want to take your info to look you up online after a show, people are SO hesitant to sign up for the mailing list, which everyone in the indie music world says is the one thing you HAVE to get people to do. I totally get it because even when I’ve gotten on people’s email lists, I often don’t have time or desire to read the emails, I’ve never bought their music, and I’ve never been to their shows, and I often don’t get on the email list in the first place because of all that. But it’s just hard to have people say they love your music or your show and then decline to ever hear about your shows in the future. You just have to hope they’ll remember to look you up later, which is where getting a song stuck in their heads comes in. But that’s why it’s ALL about getting publicity. If I were getting publicity and people were seeing my name over and over again, they’d start looking me up and having a context in which to think of me. When I hear of something once, I forget about it, but if I keep hearing about it, eventually I check it out. So I’m excited to start pushing for publicity once the album’s done so I can see if it helps the way I hope/think it will.

Dancing
In New York City we dance to house music.
more dancing
In New York City we dance to house music with babies and crazy people.

See you at that show on December 19th!

Follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/jccassis

All photos by Berette Macaulay except the fourth, ninth and tenth, which are by Kenny Bae. Thank you Berette and Kenny and Art for Progress!

Recently, I played another show for the middle school students at my K-12th Grade alma mater, The Spence School in Manhattan. Hands down, this is the best audience I’ve ever had. Two years in a row now, they’ve blown me away with their enthusiasm for my music, and it makes me feel so, so good. Last year I was so excited because after I played they were all so interested in knowing where to get my music etc etc, but this year blew last year away. Here are a few highlights:

-During “You Don’t Have To Worry,” some girls put their arms around each other and began swaying back and forth to the music, spontaneously! There was also clapping along to the beat.

-When I said I was going to play “Chocolate Cake,” there was a cheer like you can’t believe. They were SO excited for it, and this was 9 months after they’d first heard it. Amazing.

-When I sang “Chocolate Cake,” THEY KNEW THE WORDS! They knew ALL the words, and they were dancing and singing along all in unison–it was amazing!

-When I said “I don’t know if you’ve been following what I’ve been up to over the last few months, but if you have, you might know this next one–it’s called ‘Texas Boys,'” they SCREAMED with excitement. They all knew about it, they knew the words, and they wanted to sing along. So I brought a couple of girls up and they sang it with me!

-One of the girls actually made me a customized “Texas Boys” cowgirl hat, complete with a homemade “I ❤ Texas Boys" sign on it. That’s my first fan gift ever! Amazing!

-After the show they all wanted my and Socrates’ autographs, and we each signed a LOT of them. I love that.

So, Spence middle schoolers are the best. If any of you gals are reading this, thanks again! You made my day and I’m so happy you’ve got this old Spencie’s back!
-JC