What Do You Mean Am I OK?

Kristin Hersh Glasgow Oran Mor

The following is an extract from a post on Throwing Music by Billy O’Connell, Kristin Hersh’s husband and manager, in the wake of 2 breakdowns of the tour bus on Kristin’s current American tour:

“ … unfortunately yes, the tour(s) as a whole have been a money pit. It’s so disappointing, especially as we thought that by bringing the Big Show out on the road, we’d have the opportunity to draw more people and regain some ground lost over the last few years. It’s so bad out here these days that we’d be just covering expenses even if we’d toured solo-acoustic — I have to say it’s been bleak with very few exceptions.
… More expense, added hotel rooms, more hardship (ever tried doing 1800 miles in 2 1/2 days with a car filled like ours will be?) This will break us. Such a drag and so many tears. Music is the only good reason to suffer all this — but something’s going to have to change. We’re now officially destitute.”

Where to start? Throwing Muses originally broke up for financial reasons and it seems that the economic facts of life for Kristin as a solo artist haven’t improved much. Sadly artistic merit doesn’t pay the bills.

Despite the fact that some American artists often don’t come to these shores, particularly if things aren’t so great money wise, we’ve been lucky in the UK to see quite a lot of Kristin in the last few years – the Throwing Muses reunion shows in 2003, 50 Foot Wave in 2004 and 2005 and earlier this year the solo tour backed by Bernie and Rob from the Wave AND the McCarricks. Believe me, the Glasgow show was better than Arcade Fire the following night. And Arcade Fire were great. In fact all 3 shows were superb.

For my money Kristin is one of the few original artists around these days. When I heard the Muses’ ‘Fat Skier’ EP for the first time I couldn’t quite get a handle on it. It’s something that in some ways has stayed with Kristin’s music, band or solo, ever since and I like that. But in a sense it’s also part of the problem. Not only is Kristin a music scene veteran now (old hat to many people) but her music isn’t easily categorized and therefore easily sold.

Yet this year’s LP ‘Learn to Sing like a Star’ is an invigorating blast musically. It’s her most accessible record in years and it has some memorable hooks (see below). With some decent promotion it is a record that could garner some attention. Surely some enterprising TV producer could see the potential of ‘Winter’, ‘In Shock’ (ominously retitled In Shit on a recent setlist) or ‘Sugarbaby’ to use in their TV show and give Kristin a break?

To try and do my little bit to raise Kristin’s profile here are 3 tracks from her career – the first Throwing Muses song I ever heard along with 2 more recent offerings:

Throwing Muses – Garoux Des Larmes (from ‘The Fat Skier’ EP – available on CD with the full length LP ‘House Tornado’ here)
50 Foot Wave – Hot Pink Distorted (from ‘Free Music’ EP – download it here)
Kristin Hersh – Sugarbaby (from the LP ‘Learn To Sing Like A Star’) Buy here.

All I’m asking you to do is to give these tracks a listen. More than ever, if you like them then go and spend your cash online or in your local record store.

I’m off here to spend some of mine.