Lesson learned

📷 By, Penny Pepperstein

So here I am, 3:45 in the morning with not a chance of falling asleep and the only thing I can think of to do is write. Now you may ask what in the world would anyone have to write about at that hour? Well for me, it is always about music. I haven’t written my blog in a while, and I have been getting a lot of inquiries about it. I would like to say that it has to do with my official project of becoming an unofficial manager for my best friend’s music career. I have set myself the task of helping him do certain things he would eventually get around too himself, but it makes his life a tad bit easier knowing he has someone he trusts making a few decisions. Make calls to venues, schedule practice times, and working on promos frees him to do more of what he loves, play music. However, this is not the case in my lack of providing my readers what they come to my site for, you don’t want to read my excuses nor do I blame you. at the same time, I can honestly say that it is not an excuse because what I do for my friend inspires me and gives me a sense of purpose.

I have seen two performances since my night with Taddy Porter. The first performance was a local band that was just recently signed to Atlantic Records called Emphatic. The second was a not so local musician by the name of Roger Waters. Those of you, who are familiar with Pink Floyd will read or have read a much better written review than my amateur one.

First, I would like to set the mood for Emphatic, which I have at times referred to as the Emphatic static. It all started in September 2010. My best friend (mentioned above,) was being wonderfully supportive of my new blog and bought tickets to see Emphatic at The Waiting Room Lounge. A band which, as I mentioned, had been recently signed to Atlantic Records and was performing in one of Omaha’s biggest hotspots. I had never heard of Emphatic nor The Waiting Room for that matter, until that night. We arrived in time to see three other bands before Emphatic took the stage. One band that was mediocre, one band that sucked and one band worth seeing again. However, my eye was on the gravy, the crème de la crème, the headliner.

I wiggled my way through a couple hundred fists pumping zealots over to the merchant's booth. Spying a young lady who appeared to not only be a fan but someone who might be able to help a girl out with who’s who of the place. I shouted my name to her, and she shouted back hers, both of us bobbing our heads up and down to the music while we talked. I waited a few minutes before strategically shouting at her what I do and that Emphatic was my target for an interview. She explained that Emphatic were a great bunch of guys amidst their excellent hard rockin‘ music. I immediately became more intrigued and energized to observe their performance and most of all ask my question.

I would love to say that I remember the songs that Emphatic sang that night in order to give you a more accurate observation, but I can’t and for this, I apologize. I let too much time lapse before writing this article to recall. However, I do remember a lot of things I did observe. I can tell you that Patrick Michael Wilson, the singer, let loose vocally what I felt was beyond anything amateurish. With his stylish dreads, war paint and sporting a vest with the Scarlet Letter stitched in red, he owned the stage without being greedy.

I do remember each of the other band members as well, but what I remember I actually cannot write about. I was forbidden and here’s why. After the performance, I waited side stage as all the lady fans got their pictures taken, CD’s signed along with hugs, kisses and words of devotion. Finally as the crowd dispersed, and I felt my friend nudge me forward toward my interviewees. An interview I was told from a friend of a friend who asked the band if I could have. Does this sound Ferris Bueller-ish to you? Hang in there it gets better.

I hustled my way around the venue to find scattered Emphatic band members and asked my signature question. I decided an autographed CD I had bought from my new friend at the merchant's table earlier was a nice way of breaking the ice. As I approached each of them, I tried hard to not to stutter and remain confident. I started with a little small talk and then went in for the killer question. “If you could bring one famous musician back from the dead and jam with them for ten minutes, who would it be?” I must say, every answer was outstanding, from Layne Staley to Kurt Cobain. No one had the same answer because even though they were a band, a team, they individually showed a personable side from the hard ass rockers on stage.

Ok, so your asking yourself what happened here. You must be saying, “what did I miss and why is Penny withholding good heartfelt answers from good heartfelt musicians?” Well my readers, because Penny failed you that’s why. I got so nervous and so excited while asking my snazzy little question that Tawnya the unprofessional, forgot to tell Penny the professional, to pay closer attention to detail as it is her job to count how many members there are in the band.

I didn’t realize until the following day when I went to review my notes, and my autographed CD that I had only four quotes and four autographs. My mind began to replay the scene. “Hmm let’s see there was guitar guy and bassist guy, drummer dude and the guy with the A on his shirt who sang.” Flipping through my phone notes my friend had texted me, so I wouldn’t forget, I remembered that I had forgotten someone. I began to dig into Emphatic's online profile and study the CD I bought. The back of it had six songs and damn it if each song wasn’t written by the guy I forgot. He is Emphatic.

I felt awful, but most of all I felt embarrassed at how completely unprofessional at this interviewing thing I was yet. What could I do? Well, my options were simple, and I didn’t care for either one. I could blog and quote the four I had talked with, and give a brief summary of the man I forgot. On the other hand, I could be the professional I knew I could be and fess up to my mistake. So I wrote to him on Facebook, apologized and explained my dilemma and asked for an answer to my interview question. He responded in less than five minutes only to give a swift blow to my ego. My heart sank when I discovered I needed permission from him or Atlantic Records to publish any comments from anyone in Emphatic. So I of course wrote back and begged for permission only to be ignored completely.

Is the delay in writing this blog due to an inadvertently neglected little musician with a God complex? Maybe. Is it due to the embarrassment of a journalist just starting out? Possibly. However, in all reality, it was irritation and frustration on my part that kept me from giving you what I promised, my observations and expertise on what I discovered. I will do my very best to never let that happen again. Once again, Readers my humble apologies.

My next blog will be about an Australian band called Sick Puppies performing at the ever famous Sokol Auditorium. This time I contacted the manager first about an interview. Check back to read what happens to Penny and the Puppies and I promise you won’t be disappointed.  Posted 12th November 2010 by Penny Pepperstein

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