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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Rockin' it in the free world - Down to Dewey Beach DE and final tour spot

I think it is serendipitous to end, always, on a high note. I am delighted, enlightened, invigorated, satiated... i have performed, spoken, felt, lived, laughed, wept, celebrated and feasted. The ordinary tour has ended, at least for now. Because life is too extraordinary to pass up another ordinary tour. But this time on the east coast of good ol' USA, is now at at an end.
Melissa Mullins fellow comrade, artist and friend, and I drove 7 hours and a sleep over, down from CT/NJ to Dewey Beach Delaware, heading to the Dewey Beach Music Conference, our last tour stop for this month long expedition. I forgot to mention in my last blog our actual drive from CT to Montclair NJ, so thought i'd spill the beans here. After leaving Danielson CT, we hit a huge rain storm on the I-395 to New London. It was 10pm at night, and impossible to see. When it rains in Connecticut, it rains hard. We had to pull over. And so we did, into this seemingly normal BP gas station, for a pit stop, a cup of tea and a place out of the rain.
I walked into the gas station, and i just wanted to walk straight out. Firstly, there was no tea. Waa. Secondly, it was filthy, and thirdly there were about 5 filthy ol' men staring at my dress size as i walked in and walked around. I decided to seek cover in the loo. It seemed unlocked. I opened and hit the guy inside who was half naked getting changed.
"Goddam woman, you 'bout broke the door down", he loudly professes.
"I'm sorry, I didn't realize anyone was in there" I meekly replied.
"Well, look-a-here, look what yer did with the door."
We examined it together. Yep, it seemed that in my haste to enter the bathroom, I pushed not only the door, but the whole side frame around it, right off the wall, nails and all. He huffed and puffed, and promptly slammed the door in my face, leaving me outside wondering if I was ever going to pee in this town.
The gas station owner, however, was very nice about it and noticing my accent, he asked me if perhaps I was with the Beach Boys (I guess they were on tour, or one of them, tonight in the area.) I asked what that would have to do with my accent, and he said th
at one of them was Australian, and then he pulled is wallet out and showed me the shiny orange $20 bill this musician had given him. A bit of a show and tell on this rainy night in the middle of nowhere.
I went back to the bathroom, whereby the door was still closed. I waited another 5 minutes, now tightening my knees together, and then knocked.
"Hi there, just wanted to let you know I really need to go."
No answer.
ANOTHER 5 minutes went by (and that's a long time in the pee waiting business), he finally opened the door, gave me a surly look of complete disappointment in door management. I stepped in, closed the door, inspected the paneling, and decided there was better things to do than find a hammer.
The rain subsided quickly, fortunately for us, because we just didn't feel like staying here all night. Back on the road, Melissa at the wheel once again (she will not let me drive! She's a nut!)... we drove south west on the I-95 to the I-287 and where CT meets NY and NJ all at once, we crossed the Tappan Zee Bridge for the 3rd time in 3 weeks. Give me a house in Nyack and I'd be happy. It's truly a great spot on the Hudson.
Arriving in Montclair at 2pm, central pivotal point, we slept 7 hours, said goodbye to Patti, this time the last for this trip anyways, and at 9am we were off again, south to Delaware. There's no rest for the wicked.
We drove through the sludge of NJ and some nice quaint towns, stopped at many highway road stops for a pit break with international tour buses of people I generally don't want to do multi-cultural exchange with. We drank tea, listened to Texan band Spoon, U2, Tracy Chapman, Sting and India.Arie. We arrived in the small town of Dewey Beach by 2pm, checked into our hotel and marveled at the view. We had no expectations here, except to peacefully be included in what has been now a 6 year gathering of music artists and like-minds. We were the new comers.
Promptly setting up our booth in the exhibition hall, situated right on the water at a restaurant/hall at a marina surrounded by boats, we started to see familiar faces, Madalyn from Go Girls Music, Stephen from Music Registry, da boyz from, and the troops from Myxer ringtone
s (fabulous bunch of techy wonders). The room was a buzz and we had our Songsalive! booth filled with merch, tees, books, cds, membership flyers and a whopping mailing list. Ready for business.
The opening party at sunset included a smorgasbord of free luxury foods, like sushi, seared tuna sashimi, strawberries and free drinks, with an amazing view of the water. It was an amazing start. Melissa and I were beside ourselves with the free food.
Water views so magical.
Tables and chairs were in the sand.
Rock bands in black t-shirts and wearing festival lanyards and spiky hair does.
Bus boys and waiters in white serving multi-color drinks.
Cross section of diversity and lots of music talk.
The room was buzzing.
That night, Friday night, Melissa and I had an outside festival gig in Ocean View, about 10 miles south, that was set up by the Showin'Tell band. Chris, their manager, is an absolute sweetheart, and Micolino (sp?) the drummer, is the cutest Goth long haired mascara eyed sexy straight dude ever. This gig was a great lesson in never making assumptions. Firstly, we were told we were playing at the Back Street Cafe. First impressions, before getting there, was that it would be a tiny java cafe on the beach, filled with hippies and internet coffee drinkers. So I wore my flower dress and looked al girly for this one. Were we wrong about this location. What we really arrive to was a back street (suburban) dive bar, with a row of about 10 trucks outside, and inside pool tables, sports on the TV and a
bunch of locals getting mighty drunk. I was so not dressed appropriately! Or so I thought.
I knew that Melissa could get through this gig, because she can just get feisty and loud, with her rockness on guitar. It's harder for me, or so I thought, to do a solo gig on the piano, with lyrical love songs, in a dress, to a bunch of yahoos. I let Melissa go up first. She did great. I got up and plugged in the keys as well as my loop station, so could diversify my performance... somewhat. I started into my first song, "Release Me" (track 2 on the extraOrdinary life album), with a few harmony layers on the loop station, and did some beat boxing to create my beats, which picked th
e vibe of the song up. Low and behold, I grabbed some attention, which turned into everyone in the room enjoying the set. Some drunk but happy blonde woman in her late forties starting yelling about her son, "Eric, Eric, he's great.... Get him to get up with ya and jam. He's really good". After about 5 times of her doing that, I coaxed the shy sun (hair falling all over his face) to come up, and so.... we jammed. He was a great guitar player. Really lovely. We had a good time. And that clinched the deal with getting the room to "get jiggy with Gilli". I had a great show. People clapped along, sung along, and hooted and hollered. I enjoyed performing, and didn't hold back. "Look, she's writhing in her seat," I hear one local comment." I think the truckers liked the cleavage in the dress. I mean, hey, sometimes sex sells, even if it's just natural and not planned. One trucker dude who hadn't slept in 48 hours bought me a Tequila Shot. When in Rome... He bought a CD too and was, infact, the nicest fella. He's just driven from Mississippi.
I learned that you can't make assumptions about anything through this gig. What I thought was going to be really hard, ended up being a joy, and it was mainly because I realized that these people, the Ocean View locals, love music, and love entertainment, and if you're prepared to entertain, and not take yourself so seriously, then everyone is with you. Sure, some were watching the baseball game, some played pool, but I was in the room too and it was fun.

> Check out our hotel room view to the right. Pretty nice!
Saturday was really fantastic day at the Dewey Beach Music Conference. Melissa represented our Songsalive! booth while I mentored
for some bands. One band I spoke to were trying to work out their next steps to take themselves to the next level. In 10 minutes we found the way together. They talked about their lyrics being uplifting for their audiences and the youth who hear them, and yet they play heavy punk music, which they love to play. But their bio didn't even touch on their uniqueness of uplifting positive lyrics. So I suggested they brand and market themselves as the new Creed of punk music, changing the youth through punk to have hope and bring uplifting messages. They dug it. I mean, the world needs this now. More positive statements for kids to latch on to.
I also spoke on the DIY panel which is quite interesting because having spoken on DIY panels for 7 years now, and having been one of the first DIY artists since the Internet came out, I realize that DIY is now changing as a definition for indie artists. I think most artists now have it down pat as to how to do things DIY, whether you get online, or tour, or promote, embracing the digital age. But what we are facing now, in this new music revolution, is a new wild west, where no one really knows what is truly going to be the next dawn. So we are all navigating our way through it all, trying to create revenue streams in this ever decreasing revenue market for songwriters and artists who, ultimately, "make" the music business exist. Yet DIY artists are struggling because everyone is doing SO much, touring A LOT, constantly WORKING it and never CEASING with the doingness. Is it time that artists make smarter decisions and choices so that they can build revenue? Does one just continue to go go go, as an answer to finding success? Does one continually plow forth alone, doing everything? I think not. I think it's time to change the phrase DIY - do it yourself, to - DIT - Do IT Together. I don't think this is about doing things yourself. I think this is about building community, of like minded people, to create shared revenue and success. The panel was a great brainstorm for food for thought.
That night Melissa and I had our last gig, at McShea's in Dewey Beach, as part of the festival. Another great lesson learned, about having FUN and again, not having any assumptions. This was another sports bar vibe with guys ready to drool at short skirts that come in, or dibble at the baseball player on the multi TVs. But, again, both Melissa and I rocked it. We had SO much fun. Everyone clapped, and danced, and laughed, and enjoyed. As the final piece, we ended with Don Henley's "Heart of the Matter" to everyone's complete satisfaction. If they weren't already standing, we would have gotten a standing ovation. Melissa was grinning from ear to ear. I think she needed to feel audience love again after somewhat lackluster responses in Redbank NJ and the little "quiet corner" towns in Connecticut. For me, McShea's launches a FIRST for gilli moon: After 15 years of playing the piano sitting down, I was forced to stand up because there weren't any chairs: I LOVED IT!!! I've found a new way to perform with the piano. I know many artists stand to play, but i just never did it, and i can't believe it took me this long to have a go. It really does provide me with more of a connection as a front singer, being behind the keys. I can dance, stomp my foot, wringle, jiggle, gosh it's so much fun! NEW STANCE: STANDING! Yay!
After our gigs, we were ready to celebrate, the end of a great weekend, and the end of a great tour. We band hopped a bit, (we loved the heavy metal band Panacea from North East Pennsylvania), and we just let go and enjoyed knowing the hard work of door to door salesmanship, lugging gear, sleeping on couches, and following tour maps, was over. We could relax.
Sunday morning after a nice moment on the beach, and a free bloody mary breakfast (thank you Vikki Walls for a GREAT festival!), we packed up and headed south. Through some humble beach towns down the Peninsula, past Ocean City Maryland, we crossed the border into Virginia (third state in one day) on the I-113 then I-13 south. All of a sudden, I felt safe and somewhat at "home". Since staying in Virginia Beach for 10 days before this tour had started, and having future family in-laws living there, I've kind of built a warm and fuzzy connection to this State all of a sudden. Being on the road for 3.5 weeks, coming back to Virginia made me feel closer to the home in my heart.

I had a fantastic time on the road, seeing and feeling the East Coast of the US. I really enjoyed the festival as a book end piece to the tour, to remind me what my purpose is as an artist, a community builder, and a motivator. Right now we are living in freedom as artists in the music biz. The world is for our taking, really, if we are tenacious and ready to create revenue streams in diverse areas and ways. If we think outside the box, and try something different, embracing new technologies and the internet, staying in touch with our inner talents and creative flow, we really are in control of not only our creativity, but also our business, and therefore our future. I've been doing this for over 10 years and yet I feel I've barely scratched the surface when it comes to my own artist empowerment. What I do know, is that I'm rockin' it in the free world, my world, our world... and a creative world. Thanks for being part of my ordinary tour blog. Catch ya on the next wave.

every day i give myself the authority to be who i am, 'cause i can. and anytime i need a little energy i reach for your hand, 'cause i can. in another world i would have been six hundred feet tall but i grew small and feisty. i never look back and i feel alive inside.. i am mighty. take my hand and i'll guide you take my hand and i'll show you the enchanted forest
sometimes i climb from the outside in and get lost in a thousand leagues under, 'cause i can. i swim through mud blinded by comfort, cling to the ladder, passing the thunder, 'cause i can. in a prophet's world we would never look back, never look back there would only be you and me take my hand and i'll guide you take my hand and i'll show you the enchanted forest take my hand and i'll nourish you i can give you the enchanted forest
don't be dismayed by my unencumbered strength i know.. what's... true and when i seem a little distant i'm just taking it all ... in ... all ... of ... you 'cause i know what's right for me... female intuition and i know what's going on with you... woman's suspicion getting from point A to B, trust in ... ... my hand to guide you (the enchanted forest) ... my hand to show you (the enchanted forest) the enchanted, the magical, the ever wonderful forest (the enchanted forest) my hand to nourish you (the enchanted forest) my heart to guide you (the enchanted forest) my love to show you that nothing else matters, but seeing the forest through the trees. (lyrics from "enchanted forest", by gilli moon, from the extraOrdinary life album.


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