Adam Rafferty – Guitar and Spirit

All about music, guitar, spirituality, personal development and being happy


1 Comment

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 60,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


1 Comment

Youtube Copyright Violation, Prince, Van Morrison and an Impossible Task

Greets friends. I spent the morning studying more blogs and articles about the Youtube copyright issues, videos and accounts and cane up with interesting info.


Prince and Van Morrison Zero Tolerance for YouTube Videos

Prince and Van Morrison have a zero tolerance policy and hired a company called “Web Sheriff” http://www.websheriff.com/websheriff/ to police unauthorized videos on Youtube and get videos and maybe even accounts deleted.

On the Wikepedia page, Web Sheriff claims that CD sales were better than ever since the pulling down of these videos.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_Sheriff#cite_note-WS_guardian-12

Web Sheriff, this is bullshit. Sales were better? Better as compared to what?

D’oh #1: If you are comparing an artists sales to that of his last CD, you have to factor in that the presence of the videos you deleted could have in fact contributed to the new sales. Logic strikes again.

D’oh #2: I searched on Youtube for “Prince Purple Rain” a few years later the alleged “web sheriff sweep” and found 5012 related videos to “Prince Purple Rain”. Wow you guys did a great job of really cleaning up the unauthorized videos. 🙂

D’oh #3: Compared to artists who don’t have stuff removed? Do many artists who have stuff up on YT for free sell better or worse than those whom you have helped with your service? The point is, we DON’T KNOW if Van Morrison is selling more than people who are freely all over YouTube.

Van Morrison and Prince pay you guys, so of course you’ll say they are getting their money’s worth. They are your clients!

Fighting Mother Nature and Losing
Two “mother nature” issues come to mind. Man usually loses battles with nature.

It looks like eliminating one copyright violator is akin to stepping on one stray roach when 10,000 are lurking behind the stove of each apartment in an infested building. And, weeds which are fragile and weak will bust their way up and grow through concrete. Nature wins over man.

With 200,000 videos uploaded daily, and about 300 MILLION youtube accounts, do you really think that even eliminating 1, 1000 or even 10,000 accounts will put a dent in the copyright issue? The sheer numbers show the impossibility of your endeavors.

Copyrighted material getting uploaded to YT is like weeds growing. There is no stopping it. There’s no stopping newcomers and those who don’t know the rules.

If I get suspended today, I could open up 100 accounts on YT tomorrow and put videos up again. It’s like the 1977 New York blackout. People can walk into stores and take stuff (looting) because no one can stop them.

And, if Youtube is losing $470 million a year (according to Credit-Suisse) the whole thing is this weird, entertaining losing game.

http://www.slate.com/id/2216162/?GT1=38001

As the artilce says at the end, “YouTube and its fellow user-contributed sites really did change the world. Too bad nobody could find a way to pay for it.”

=-=-=-

According to Wiki Answers, here are some interesting (but unfounded) stats:

Total number of YouTube videos — over 120,000,000

Number of videos uploaded per day — about 200,000

Time required to see all the videos — over 600 years

Number of videos watched daily — over 200,000,000

Amount of content uploaded every minute — 13 hours

Number of accounts on YouTube — over 300,000,000

Percentage of videos violating copyright — over 12%

The top categories of uploaded videos — music 20%,
entertainment 15%, people/blogs 14%, comedy 13%
sports 7%, educational 6%, automotive 5%, film 5%

The source of videos — amateur 80%, professional
(meaning “partners”) 15%, commercial/corporate 5%

Top countries uploading videos — United States 35%,
United Kingdom 7%, Philippines 4%, all of the these
countries have around 3%: Australia, Brazil, Canada,
France, Germany, Mexico, Spain, Turkey


10 Comments

A Financial Solution for Youtube and Music Publishers

The music industry always seems to drag its feet. Often, they want new technology to work the old way. They want to jam that square peg in the round hole, no matter what. A new way – suggested below – would make them a ton of money. Are they smart enough and forward thinking enough to try it?

In the past, the music publishers have made a “ka-ching” off each play of a song on the radio or tv, they’ve sold CD’s and licensed songs to others to record. Because of this narrow way to make money, they see the Youtube cover artists as threats in the following way:

1) “The unlicensed song is getting millions of hits, and we’re not making out money for each play. This means the creator is our enemy, taking away from OUR publishing. Oh no, plays of our song are not making money.”

Based on the false premise

2) “If we eliminate the people doing cover material, viewers will want to watch the ORIGINAL artist, so lets eliminate the people who do cover material, to create the only endpoint possible – our original artist performing the song.”

Another premise, pretty weak

3) “If people see ONLY the original artist performing their tune, then they’ll want to buy the original artist on CD, mp3, etc.”

The solution that occurs after these false premises:

4) “Let’s cut off people who do covers, as it dilutes our sales.”

They have it so backwards and essentially are not coming up with a creative solution. Guess what guys, the internet shook up your world. Deal with it, and adapt.


THE BRAINSTORM. THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX!

Instead of seeing musicians doing cover material as “the competition, the enemy, and the blame for no sales” – embrace them as the NEW customers. If you can’t sell CDs, why not sell licensing to cover artists? It’s your new product, and you have a new customer base who have identified themselves.

Imagine – for $9.99 a year, anyone can license a song to do as a cover on YT. Then it’s legal, won’t get deleted, and will create a NEW income for the industry. Instead of alienating the new group of YT musicians, why not get them on board as customers?

“Do’h! Why didn’t we think of that?”

Youtube, c’mon you guys are Google. Use the already existing Harry Fox, Warner, UMG and other publisher databases to make a nifty control panel insnde YT. You could even have a cool url like http://coverband.youtube.com, and you could charge via Paypal or credit cards. Keeping a database of which user has performed what song is easy. Then divvy the money up with the publishers once it gets onto your side and leaves our hands.

Let’s say I pay $9.99 yearly for a song like Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean. Well, someone like Sungha Jung sees me do that and also pays $9.99 a year for the tune when he does a version. He gets 5 million hits. I think you’ll get a few more $9.99’s a year after other people get excited and motivated. Now Sungha and I also do it on our CD’s because we have a fan base, hungry for the tune.

Suddenly you are not selling CDS, you are selling licenses for YT performance but who cares. It’s better than CDs, you need not manufacture anything – and YT viewers are your FREE advertising agancy. You could be making some serious dough, YT and publishers. But you gotta think outside the box!!!

Oh, and by the way all the “Billie Jean” official viewers can now see ads that you could overlay on the video.

Oh, and by the way you can target ads. If you see I have done 5 MIchael Jackson tunes, you can make smart suggestions to me.

Oh, and by the way you can see which songs are most popular amongst musicians…and so on, and so on.

And what if someone puts up a version without paying? No sweat, first send a notification to get the person on board and pay, then if they don’t – remove the video. Give them 21 days to decde. A potential customer has identified themselves. Don’t alienate them, embrace them!!!

This is not hard to implement, but takes creativity and a willingness to do a new thing. YT, publishers – you have identified a new customer base. People who do cover songs! So sell ’em something!!! Don’t cut em off and whine that CD sales are slumping!

I have about 40 cover tunes and the list is growing. I’d pay $400 a year in a hearbeat to have those tunes on YT, legally, and I bet others would too. If I had 100 tunes, I’d pay $1000 no sweat. Over 10 years, that would be $10K in income for you, earned off one guy – me. That’s way more than I’d spend on CD’s. It’s waiting there for you. And I would not be the only one!

Anyhow, just a thought. All the whining and moaning won’t make it “the way it was” so it’s time for you guys to get creative.

Until next time, keep Swingin’

Adam


5 Comments

Spring 2010 Tour Highlights, Miracles and Averted Catastrophes

Hey Gang!

I am back in good ol’ NYC and feeling so satisfied and thankful for the incredible European solo guitar tour Feb 27 – Apr 27, 2010. Special thanks to all the friends and fans who came together to make every gig a screaming success!!!

Looking back, here are the “News Headlines” of this unforgattable tour.

The Backpack Incident

Touring alone ain’t easy – so I am on the lookout for a traveling partner / soundman assistant type person. Let me know if you or someone you know may be interested. Traveling alone it is easy to make a mistake – just like this…

On March 5 I had a gig in Eschweiller, Germany. As I was about to step out of the train, the door was broken and would not open. I had to get out and get to the gig…and other riders said “you need to use the other door”.

No problem. I grabbed 2 guitars and my suitcase and ran off the train. Uh oh….where’s my backpack with my laptop, passport, paper train tix AND plane tix, guitar pedals, 2 ipods, 2 cell phones…it’s still on the train heading to Aachen! D’oh!

Just imagine. Your life is on this train as it’s pulling out (different town, but same feeling):

Hallelujah! A young student found it and called me within 15 minutes. Had it been a major city like Brussels I probably could kiss the backpack goodbye. Problem solved…needless to say this young fella got free CDs, DVDs and lifetime admission to any of my concerts…

Roll Over Amadeus! Concert at the Vienna Mozart Haus

As I wrote in a previous blog post, it was a thrill to play in the house in Vienna where Mozart lived. It is there that he and Haydn met. At first I felt apologetic to ol’ Amadeus as I busted out the human beatbox on Herbie Hanckock’s CHAMELEON, and then realized – he would have liked it.

I felt his smile in the room. Thanks Wolfgang!

Oxford Jazz Festival and Big Bang Max

Well, a lot of guys say they’ll give you the shirts off their backs. Actually Max – owner of Big Bang in Oxford London tore his shirt in half for me in the middle of a concert so I could wipe sweat from the bald head o’ mine.

That’s a dedicated fan!!!! Yeah Max!!!

http://www.twitter.com/BigBangMax

I got to hang there for 2 sold out concerts and 2 late night jazz Jams. Can’t wait to go back for the frighteningly tasty bangers & mash next time!

http://www.thebigbangrestaurants.co.uk/

THE VOLCANO

Yes, I was 3 hours outside London and had a plane ticket all set for London to Berlin on April 16 and then this cute little volcano happened, creating a historic air travel deadlock worse than Sept 11. Luckily I moved quickly to buy a train ticket and made it outta there!

Travel started at 3:30 am after the last UK gig and didn’t stop until 8pm. 17 hours of trains more crowded than NYC subways at rush hour – and straight to soundcheck and the gig in Magdeburg, Germany. The audience and vibes were so great that the gig was one of the best on the tour. Yes, I slept late the next day.

Adam Rafferty at Blue Note Magdeburg April 16, 2010

Adam Rafferty at Blue Note Magdeburg April 16, 2010

SUPERNATURAL Festival – Belgrade, Serbia

Wow. This gig was a milestone…this festival is called the “Woodstock of Serbia” – no less than 3000 people in the crowd, a killer sound system and a non stop party. PA speakers were 3 stories high….beatbox and percussion were awesome through this rig.

http://www.supernaturalfest.com/eng_index.php

That’s the tour in an itty bitty nutshell. Thank you for viewing, listening, reading.

Keep swingin’

Adam


2 Comments

Attention Artists! Success Comes from Within…

Greetings Friends!

It’s been a busy month over here at Adam Rafferty’s humble home / office / studio. This past month we all witnessed the launch of the Stevie Wonder DVD so it’s been BUSY. Things are calming down now that the initial rush is over. Talk about exciting! I am catching my breath.

A bunch of my musician buddies are asking me how I got my stuff out there on youtube and am having this guerilla success in terms of making a whole lotta friends, fans and making noise in general about gigs, tours, DVDs and the like. In fact, my buddy Peter Mazza and I had lunch the other day to discuss this.

I’d love to do a book or course on this stuff. While it reeks of “success guru” crapola, it works. And I vow to never spew info unless I can back it up 100%.

There is a combo of “heaven and earth” in success, I am finding. What I mean is that there has to be a spiritual element. You can’t fool the universe. You can’t bulls–t people, or yourself. Whatever it is you do or offer should hook into your integrity and be intelligent.

Ok, there are guys who sell toilet paper and fill a need, but I am talking about being a musician or an artist. Just look at any musician who has to play music where the soul disconnects – usually that type of musician is miserable. So, I play music that really feels good to me. That’s step 1.

Before I get to step 2 (and I am improvising this step by step method…) let’s go quantum. I listened to a Greg Braden (author, philosopher, and very cool dude) interview, and he mentioned an experiment in which photons in a vaccum “lined” up in the presence of human DNA. Yep, light particles assumed form in the presence of human DNA. This suggests on a quantum level that we create our reality.

This truly fascinates me. And hey, a Stevie Wonder DVD was first a vision, and now it’s real. That’s just lotsa little photons lining up….

So – step 2 would be to retrain the mind to look for, find and create success. Rather than tell my buddy about the step by step actions, I gave him my favorite book titles to learn about the mind.

When you learn that we have 4 billion bits of info available to us at any second, but “see” only 4000 – you learn that we see what we train ourselves to see. Insane. The mind and the universe are more mysterious than we’ll ever know.

In my case, I have truly had to re-program my mind to see and live success. The choices I make – whether it’s song choices, design work, who I hire for my team, what I spend time on – all these choices are now aligned with a deep, subconcious “problem solving” mechanism of achieving success. Each action is merely a metal shaving being pulled by a bigger magnet, which is the subconcious.

Bottom line – I love people. I want to make ’em happy and bring ’em music. The success I speak of is multi dimensional, and has “money” as a sliver of the pie. Jeez, what do I do with money anyway? Put out another CD! Of course it helps survival also. The real joy I get is to brighten people’s lives, for real, yo!

Well, this is just coming attractions of some type of course I hope to teach on day. I find it to be utterly upside down that there are so many gifted talented people out there who can’t “get out there” and figure their business stuff out. Maybe I can turn some people on to the good stuff now that I am finally discovering what works.

Until next time!

– AR


2 Comments

Why Achieve Goals?

Greetings Friends!

I am writing to you right now on a delightfully quiet, damp Sunday morning at 6:15 am EST. Life is good. I’m huggin coffee and aside from the occasional car alarm or Bollywood Hip Hop drive-by-car-stereo-blast, it’s quiet here in NYC 🙂

Last week I finally shot the video to my Stevie Wonder Instructional Guitar DVD and I edit tomorrow…but this post is not about beating my chest, alpha male style, and getting you to cheer me on. I have an inquiry about the whole nature of achieving goals.

It’s gratifying to knock out goals and see one’s visions take shape in the world. But why? The more one does “winner” type things, the more one (I) become addicted to the elation of achievement.

Is it an addiction? What’s happening here? What’s the point of goals, accomplishments and so on? Will it ever end? Can’t I just relax into the moment and simply “be”?

Don’t get me wrong – accomplishing things is the coolest thing ever. To place an image of an achieved goal in the drop box of my mind – and watch it spring up like a flower is unbelievable. It’s like playing with the mechanics of the universe!

Maybe I’ll never be able to answer the “why”. However – one of my heroes, Lester Levenson explained the following. (You can find audios of him on youtube).

In the achievement of goals our inner resistance comes up. The “can I do it?”, the doubts, the anger, the impatience, the feeling that something is too big, too small – or even that “this is easy”, “I’m the best / the worst” (ego), “I’ll show them”, “I’ll never be able to”…the point being – our deep emotions get unearthed.

The overcoming, releasing and understanding of these emotions ultimately are the lessons we need to learn. We come up against our own resistance and ego. Goals help us shine the light on our inner junk and see it for what it is worth.

Food for thought.

Have a wonderful day y’all. Love you.

Adam


1 Comment

Introducing the Human Web Browser

I saw a youtube vid the other night which talked about quantum physics, spirituality and self realization.  That’s my late night tv fix…since I have no TV, I tune in youtube.  Sometimes I get very kooky stuff, and sometimes I stumble onto very profound information.

One video dealt with perception.  Let’s say we see a bird out there.  But wait – a small portion of the inside of our brain is showing us a bird.  The eye is a camera lens letting in photons.  So the image of a bird is in our brain, not out there.  Better said if I say “when you think you see a bird out there, you actually see the image of a bird inside your brain.”

Likewise, the words you are reading now are not out there, they are “in your brain.”

Just think, a flavor or odor is not out there.  It is only when it hits your taste buds, it sends a signal “to your brain”. That’s more understandable than sight, in a way.  But  if 2 people smell perfume, or a fart, they think it is out there in the air. Really all they know about is what is in their 2 brains.

Isn’t there something comical about always saying “YOUR BRAIN” over and over ?:-)   Hang in there, let’s see where this goes.

When you hear something molecules move in the air and hit your eardrum.  The sound is in your brain.  And, the sense of distance – like “I hear the bus outside” or “I see the bird 50 feet away” – the sense of distance is – yep, you guessed it – in your brain!

The point is this – we get signals as input – and then de-code them into sights, smells, sounds, flavors and more.  Then from there we experience feelings and emotions based on what we experience.

We know that our senses are limited.  Blow a dog whistle – and to us it is virtually silent, so we see our hearing is deficient.  Examples for all the senses like this could be given.  Just think of how many radio signals and wi-fi networks are going, and we do not have the perception to even know they are there, further proof that there is more out there than “meets the eye”, ear, smell, taste or touch.

WE HUMANS ARE LIKE “WEB BROWSERS”

Then the thought occurred to me – as a person who has worked with coding for the web, if you look at “the source” of a web page it looks like total gobbledy gook.  Please, do this as an experiment, go to View>Source in your browser menu.  Look at the code.  Then notice how the browser turns “information” into colors, fonts, images and more.

Yet, a web browser is a magical little program that “interprets” or makes sense of this gobbledy gook.

So, if we humans look out there and see shapes, colors, people, hear sounds, etc – that is akin to viewing a web page through a browser.  (By the way, colors exist in our brain – they are not really there)

Just imagine this unbelievable electrical “matrix” out there – and we make sense of it, just the way a web browser makes a page of code intelligible.

You are like a web browser looking out into this unbelievable “field” of energy (code) and in your brain you are able to separate, identify and sense things.  For the sake of total redundance – what you see is interpreted, just like a page of code is interpreted by a web browser.

WHAT’S THE POINT?

To see profound truth always sets us a little more free, and to see through the eyes of the creator always makes us more and more blissful.  So, I sit in wonder and awe as I think about this.  And then I sip more coffee….my brain likes that.

Don’t think there is a creator?  Well just think about the incredible engineering it has taken to come up with a MAC G5 computer that can surf the nt and have a web browser.  That was no accident, right?  Can you really say that we are a random accident?  Just as we created computers and are greater than them, something or someone greater than us must have created us.

As well….can a computer know the human?  No.  Imagine, a G5 as complex and unbelievable a piece of machinery as it is, cannot know love. I believe there are many things we can’t know much in the same way.  However, through quiet and meditation we can know much more than what our senses tell us.

The point is this – can we look at our reactions to things and can start to take ownership, and know – beyond the shadow of a doubt that we are responsible for our life experience, out emotions and they are inside us, not outside?

Just like the bird image is in our brain, and sound is in our brain, so are the notions of success, happiness, spiritual connectedness…it’s all an inner game.  Can we take responsibility for interpreting things the way we do and know it is not “out there” but inside us?

Have fun in your brain today.


2 Comments

Adam Rafferty On the Road: April 2008 Europe Tour Review

Greetings Friends!!!

It’s 4am and in feels like 10am and I am back in NYC after a long commute back from Linz, Austria – you know, one of those good ol’ 14 hour treks.

Well all I can say is THANK YOU to those that helped, hired, drove and hung out with me overseas. The tour was an absolute success, and ridiculous fun. I am on Weiner schnitzel overload, but some NYC chinese food and Starbucks will balance out my body’s PH.

I did want to do some road blog entries, but time was too short, and I was in “tour zone”. It ain’t like sittin’ at home with my ibook! Here is a quickie video greeting, and an in depth review follows…

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
ABOUT THE PERFORMANCES
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

I have only toured Europe with a band, and going solo I must say – there were certain aspects that were MUCH easier (sorry guys, I still love you!). Coming and going when I wanted and less overall managerial functions made it easier. Also, no one to egg me on to stay out until the birds chirped kept me in better shape physically 🙂 Fitting in a taxi also made things comfy. (Yes, I have done a whole jazz trio with upright bass in a German taxi….that’s a good way to practice swear words in a foreign language)

Oh, and did I mention one plane ticket, train pass and hotel room on off nights instead of 3?

Hey – that’s just gravy though…the music is what led me to solo playing, but it is a nice perk to have lower expenses. 🙂

I did miss having some other musicians to “lean on” sometimes, and the intensity of playing solo was, well…intense! Of course I will play with bands, but this is what is happening now!

Fortunately I had more than enough material to do 2 long (1 hour plus) sets. That’s with pretty much no improvising, so it’s quite a lot of music.

I really re-learned an aspect of practicing music, which is “practice the tune you think you know” because just when you think you’ve got it covered – that’s where a brain fart can happen!!! I was shocked at where mistakes happened. I knew, and I am sure no one else did.

As well, I found that early in the tour I had concentration problems and difficulty being “present” while performing. I was concerned with the show’s flow and often thought about “what tune will I play next” while playing a tune.

That’s ok – a few musical brain farts in the music would zap me back into the present moment, and all would be well again.

Audiences were of 3 sorts: 1) a hushed concert audience that had to be shmoozed to an loosened up. 2) a cigarette smokin’, beer swillin’ audience that had to be attacked 3) and something in-between. All 3 types are expected and totally cool. A performer should be able to deal with all those situations. Just don’t play a sentimental ballad for the beer swillers.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
ABOUT THE TRAVEL
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Well, at least now I know I can actually move across an airport and train station with 2 guitars, a suitcase and a laptop case. I was a little unsure about the sheer physicality of moving around, but it worked out ok.

And, kudos to Bruce Lamb of http://casextreme.com – guitars did get thrown around, but survived. The only scratches on my Taylor are due to my percussion!

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
ABOUT THE PEOPLE
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

One of the success / self help people I have been checking out lately is a guy by the name of Joe Schroeder (I got hold of an interview done by Mike LIttman) and he made a comment “people first, money second” and really beat the drum of the spiritual approach to business, as opposed to the “money first, people second” approach.

You can’t TRY to do this because that’s like saying “once you fake sincerity, you got it made”. It’s only in hindsight that you see what attitudes take you through life happily. Dare I say maybe a smidge of wisdom is dawning? 🙂

I came to realize that touring and playing music can be summed up in one word: LOVE. That is just where it is at! Sounds easy and as if it is regurgitation of someone else’s principle – but I realized that it is all about “people first, gigs second” and NOT “gigs first, people second”….which is an easy trap to fall into when you are booking a tour.

I enjoyed my time with the people who helped me organize and helped schlep PA systems, and all that. I enjoyed connecting with parents of kids who enjoyed that concerts at schools. I enjoyed shmoozing with the audiences. People first!!!

Funny how it works. There was just way less ego involvement than I have had in previous years, less self importance. There I was, just wanting to turn people on with the music…and when faces would light up, and there’d be a buzzing energy in the room. One club owner told me after the gig “I do 100 concerts a year here and can see whether or not the people REALLY dig it or not – and man, they loved this!!”

And I realized, this is about people, whether it is a student, a club owner an audience member, an old friend – whatever. All the yummy stuff surrounding success comes second. All the books say this, but to experience it first hand is POWERFUL.

I am not an articulate enough teacher in this subject to tell you how to do this, all I can tell you is that when my mind shifted to LOVE and PEOPLE, the world shifted to SUCCESS!

I guess another way to say this is when one shifts from GIVING instead of WANTING the world opens up and actually gives the giver even more!

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
ABOUT THE MUSIC
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Playing solo is much more akin (at least to me) to being in a rock / pop band than playing jazz guitar with a band.

Every tune is planned, and the evening is “crafted” with dynamics, highs an lows, covers and originals. Contrast is vital to making solo guitar interesting for a long time.

In the vein of my hero, Tommy Emmanuel – I strove to make it enjoyable for non musicians as well as musicians…and it worked!!!

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
WHAT, SO WHAT, NOW WHAT ?
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Well it is over and in the past coming home from tours has been a downer. Not this time, I am psyched for the next one. I have some Kentucky gigs in May, some summer stuff, and a festival outside Prague in November 2008, so I’ll be busy filling in dates.

Time to catch up on some sleep!

zzzzzzzzzz


Leave a comment

Adam Rafferty Mini Tour in PA 2/2008 – Review

Wow. My little road trip was tiring – yet fulfilling and eye opening. That’s what I call success!

Last week I made my way out to Butler, PA (just outside Pittsburgh) because I lined up a few gigs at coffee houses. Not huge gigs, but the people were so appreciative, boy it felt great to connect with them.

Since the solo acoustic genre is pretty new to me, I had to do a “rubber hits the road” situation for my own knowledge. I had several questions that I needed answered, like –

Do I have enough material for 2 good sets?
Will I get the guitar on the plane?
What travel expenses can I anticipate traveling solo?
What kind of sound systems will I encounter?
Just how big is the USA? 🙂

And so on.

While a jazz trio tour in Europe (of which I have done several) may sound more exotic – it’s really just a different set of circumstances and logistics. I needed (and still need to) learn this new aspect of touring.

First off, let’s just say the music was a hit! I loved connecting with the folks out there. Bruce, the owner of Kairos Coffee (where I played the Saturday night gig) told me that he’d never seen the audience be that attentive before, and stick around for 2 sets.

I was also very curious to see how & what I’d do for a full night of solo guitar. For every 3 parts playing, I did one part shmoozing on stage. We hired a local sound guy who brought a great little PA system, which made that gig a breeze.

Flying with the guitar was stressful. Until now I have flown with small electric guitars which fit in the overhead. I read an article by Pat Kirtley here: http://www.win.net/mainstring/carryon.html but things change every few years and this web page is from 1997!

Luckily I got the axe on the flight. I loosened the strings & packed the neck & headstock joint in the case with bubble wrap (read Pat’s article) and planned to GATE CHECK the guitar. But even so, if the baggage guys are using lifts, or if a flight is turbulent there are no guarantees that an axe will arrive safely.

This was a serious lesson as far as touring with an acoustic guitar. Upon arriving home I called Taylor and the unofficially recommended this guy – http://www.caseextreme.com

Check out the vids on his site, if you are in need of a flight case. He hilariously works up a sweat beating a guitar case up. I ordered one of his cases immediately.

As well, I will need a backup guitar. Not out of attachment and because it’s cool – that’s just reality! (my reality 🙂 )

-=-=-=-=-

As far as the area – and mind you I was from out of town – I felt like I was in a Michael Moore movie. I found myself itching during the day wanting to do something and drove over to the Walmart and walked the isles when I couldn’t take any more practicing. Weird. Ok, I know that the US is not all like that but it was a shock to my system to see all these strip malls and huge mega chains, making every place in the USA look and feel so similar.

=-=-=-=-=-

Another aspect of this that felt particularly good is I just had a sense of “I’m doing what I have to be doing”. This is tricky to describe, because it was my own sense of fearlessness and accomplishment.

Until recently I had this sense that there was a way via promotion, smoke and mirrors, and contacts to get a career going. Of course knowing the right people and working intelligently is important. There are higher visibility events – magazine articles, radio interviews & airplay, TV appearances, hits on a website, etc. But the fabric of playing music is not just that.

Not to get off topic – but allow me to digress for a second. I can’t believe how much music is out there that people don’t actually like – but that is promoted because of an agenda, a connection, and ego trip. Maybe people pretend to like it to seem hip, cool or intellectual. I myself have seen so much music where I find myself scratching my bald head saying “is this touching me?”

When you hear great music it’s undeniable. It touches people and the people demand it because they love it. They come back for more. Just look at Ray Charles, Earth Wind & Fire, Stevie Wonder, not to mention all the other greats. There’s no denying it. Many jazz musicians, I believe, get de-railed and lose sight of the goal – which is communication (not the greats, though).

That’s the standard I hold for my music. Let’s see if everyday folks like it. Let’s see if they want a CD and feel their souls light up. If the music is on that level – it is for real. I am just at a point in life where I prefer the brutal honesty of this. Life’s too short! I want to be touched by music in the heart – not the head – and would like to do the same for people.

The meat and potatoes of it is the actual playing music for people and communicating. The actual activity of it. It’s about paying the dues to get out there and just do it. Until I did this new acoustic music I experienced an inner holdback, like a pride of saying “I won’t play for less than…” or “it’s not worth it..”.
A wise person once said behind each prideful “I won’t” is really a feeling of “I can’t” – simply hardened over.

Jack Canfield also has a great saying – “99% is a bitch, but 100% is easy”. When I read that I went – “yeah!”.

There is no substitute for getting out there and playing. Why? Because it’s not only music – it’s about people and connecting. The silent dialogue behind the words and music are the true communication, the presence, the sense of interchange and dare I say – love?

Yes, love even with total strangers. Because at the moment you meet – your eyes meet, greetings are interchanged – it’s the same as knowing someone for years. It’s all the same – the souls are in a dance, and energy is shared, given and taken. It feels good.

I did a Sunday workshop and my only attendees were a little girl (age 5) and a young fellow (age 12). I gave both a lesson and simply tried to impart enthusiasm and turn them on and inspire them. Whether it’s a young person, old – whatever – it’s my job to send them off excited and happy through whatever I can churn up with these 10 fingers and 6 strings.

So was the trip worth it? You bet!


1 Comment

Thoughts Become Things and Things Become Thoughts

And if you watch Victoria’s Secrect ads you’ll know that thongs become thoughts and thoughts become thongs. Thongs can then become things.

All joking aside…

There is plenty written online about “thoughts becoming things”. That is a pretty solid cornerstone in the concept of manifesting the things in life that you want, right? You think of the cup of coffee- and it’s just an idea, an image. In a short time, relatively effortlessly – you can manifest that cup of coffee.

It’s the self help du jour, and very interesting to discuss “removing resistance” when you or I want something more – something bigger, more costly or more time consuming to get or achieve. So if I have a vision of a master’s degree or career change, that will take some time, money and effort, right? As well, if I wanted a rolls-royce or a new house, or a better job that would involve what I feel to money and effort.

But for some reason I wanted to look through this thoughts to things “rabbit hole” backwards.

But first – a word from our sponsor – TIME.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=
Time does not exist. I’m no Einstein, I know – but time is totally connected to our minds and is inside us, not outside. It is a humans way, though five senses, of “decoding” an ever present now. Meditation will bring you to a timeless state, and you’ll see that time is relative to our mind.

Someone once said that time is our way of not experiencing eternity and everything at once so we don’t go completely mad.

I hate to gloss over this, but just let’s take time out of the equation for now. There is really only a present moment and memory. Past and future are actually quite similar for us – and experiments have shown that imagining and remembering are incredibly similar. There is NOW and then there is the “imagined somewhere else” idea.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Back to thoughts and things. If we take time (and money) out of the equation – we see that whether it is a term paper, a musical project, a cup of coffee, a vacation to a far away place – the thing has manifested as a result of thought.

How about if we looked the other way? When you look at a thing, you get a thought.

Example – I am walking down the street in lovely peaceful NYC and I see a couple walking with venti starbucks coffee cups. I go get a cup. I hold it in my hand – it is a thing…

And the thing, in my hand gives me thoughts. The warmth, the taste, the smell, the cafeine buzz – are a thought, right? The thing is just a thought.

Let me share with you the real example that made me think of this. I did a major clutter removal and clean up in my apartment and am enjoying things like a clear desk, folded and put away clothing, a clean swept floor.

On a quantum level, I think everything in my house that I started with was still here – every speck of dust included. The clean up thoughts shifted things, and then looking at a clean place gives me thoughts.

These things don’t make me feel good – the THOUGHTS make me feel good, free and inspired. Pretty crazy that a clean desk can unlock such a great feeling.

(What is happening is my creative thoughts can flow unimpeded without the distractions of my past – bills, objects. All the clutter gives you/me thoughts and your / my mind becomes like a car swerving on the road instead of going straight with an idea. The clean desk allows a flow of thought. That then feels good!)

=-=-=-=-=

Then of course, the “thing becomes a thought and the thought becomes a thing” cycle endlessly with no seeming begging or end. I suppose it all had to start with thought.

(Please hang in there until the end -I am getting to my point!!!)

Thought: You saw coffee.
Thing:You drank it.
Thought:You like it, so now you envision it.
Thing: You buy and drink it.
Thought: You enjoy it and think about it.

And you are now in the endless feedback loop of T & T.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

The more I ponder this – and look “backwards” through the “rabbit hole” it seems that there is this “swinging door” between thoughts and things – and here’s the whammy – PHYSICAL MANIFESTATION OF IT DOES NOT MATTER MUCH AT ALL – it’s a simple swinging door in us, our mind. The manifestation, the will, the want – and the dissatisfaction unless we manifest it – is inside us. Whether it’s learning to play a Mozart Sonata or steaming broccoli for dinner – the urge and need starts in us. So the “inside us” and “outside us” are like a swinging door as well.

Take out the proving to others, the proving to oneself, the money, the time, the fear and all that is left is this swinging door. It’s a given, there’s no way out – and it is effortless to make thoughts into things.

We can know now that there is very little difference between the thought and the thing, as if we can just take pleasure in the thought because it is a thin veil between the idea and material.

=-=-=-=-=-=-

I say this all because I am my own guinea pig. In 2006 I wanted to play around with this idea – the manifesting being really fun and exciting to me. I decided to embark on my journey of solo acoustic guitar and saw in my minds eye a CD, gigs, tours, performing, and practicing. I saw in my minds eye happy faces of people who I am playing music for.

I didn’t even own a steel string guitar, and I had no solo repertoire under my fingers. All I had was inspiration. When I spoke with my girlfriend (we had just met at the time) about my plans, she looked at me and I don’t know what she thought, but I sensed a “well, we’ll see” speck of doubt. I declared – “Watch and be amazed! It is done!” Needless to say – she’s amazed at my results and my biggest fan!

And lo – it’s happening. CD is done, touring is happening. I’m happy. And it happened in a blink. Time doesn’t matter, and is only an idea. (Also, money is an idea as well. I know, that’s a hard one for us Americans!)

But – here’s the point. I look at the thing, the tour, the CD- and I get these happy thoughts. It is not too different a feeling from before any of it was manifested….so what is the point of manifesting stuff? Can we be happy not bothering to manifest?

Ahh – the conclusion, for now. There is some deep, deep, deepak, deep thing about “knowing oneself as creator”. It is an unearthly, loving, spiritual satisfaction to be part of this process. I remember composing a fugue and feeling an unearthly satisfaction and connection “to it all” when I was done. The music was wiggle in the field – out there and I manifested it by writing it.

Just think – if you saw a magic act and someone manifested a person out of thin air, it looks and feels like utter magic to you, right? Well – take time out of the equation – slow down the video of them doing the trick, and it looks like the reality you are used to.

Then, look at something you have achieved and “speed up” the video – and it looks like the guy doing magic. That’s because what you did was in fact magic. Take time out of the equation. You getting that car, house, graduating, learning that new thing – is magic.

All you have ever been doing is manifesting ideas into reality and probably don’t see how magical it is! It’s so magical that most humans walk around deadened to this mysterious, delicious, miraculous cosmic reality. It’s like a fish not realizing the feeling of water.

Spend time with your thoughts and think big, now that you know you’ll get what you think about! But know – the thing won’t make you happy – the “creating” will.

You are creator!

Here is Yogi Gupta talking about similar stuff:
http://ecomall.com/greenshopping/gupta2.htm