Marketing: "... - Otherwise I Don't Know Arkansas!"
... as for us, we are enjoying with our own mosaic-like memory of the tour.
Boris stores anecdotes mainly in his RAM: the ones about his former wounds ... - and the most one: on his best (and only...) reward - marketing success ... 1
Marketing: "... - Otherwise I Don't Know Arkansas!" 2
Each madcup who would plan the tour like that, would take into account several significant details - immediately, within just moments, right at one's desk (or in a swingchair ...). 3
The Small(est) Dot ...
First, an audience of improvised music was (and is ...) surely always small enough (or the reasonable one would say rather generally non-existent ...). 4 As it was pretty evident since the very beginning, it will be knotty enough to attract any new audience for this type of music. 5
"Our Eagles Would Knock To Foreign Chicken" 6
Then, a duo - as a format - seemed particularly dangerous one ...
They could hardly provide common standard for USSR of the days: uninterruptable 1.5 hours concert or so 7 (for their ability did not exceed "one hour plus" only).
The good format for any jazz festival, 8 with the latter's hype, concentration of aficionados and the agitation, duo seemed at least too small for the bare stage of the dedicated concert.
So them evidently needed some "backup"/pre-"heating". 9 And - extra hype ...
"Either Orchestra" 10
The very instrumental format (ds, reeds, something plus) promised to seem not too much attractive for more general audience (believing at least in "guitar rock" or "4/4" - t r i o) preliminary, i.e. before the concert ... By younger audience, it could be considered idiotic, emerging somewhere out of "serious music"
Besides, there was no full confidence a character of the music would fit the hopes of an audience as well ... - instead, their LP "Shams" 11 turned out rather the intimate one (well too intimate for the concert presentation ...)
One could only wonder if SHAMS - as a duo - could provide live something fully "orchestral" (i.e. "standards" of dynamics, loudness etc alike) and really smashing for eastern ears ... - non-prepared to chamber music ...
File Under "Unknown"
Both Talisker and Henry Cow were unknown.
All - !!! - were unknown, there were not even books! Not TV/video
Their names would say nothing.
Whom Do We Sing To At Last ?
Target audience: advanced rock audience mainly, chamber music one?
So we decided to attract the most moved, advanced, developed - or just non-preconceived - part of the rock audience.
"Kids of Different Natures"
Meanwhile, SHAMS seemed non-ordinary and multi-sided musicians able for the most. We have asked them to add this and that ... to attract an audience - and they promised.
"I Need You"
SHAMS relation to:
There was something more in need: hype ... The relation to something VERY big... to master all things for sure ...
"Good By, Innocence" ...
It was not enough though. Something should shake off some pollen of innocence from and break some primeval pleura of the audience's attitude to modern music ...
Serguey's poster was new to Russia yet. It attracted ... And -
Below Tim Hodgkinson's name, there was put some small phrase in small letters - about "personal friend of Pink Floyd since 1967" ... It was not true - but could be truth in USSR
"... and below the poster it was put with the biggest letters: "Women and kids are not allowed".
- Here it is! - said Duke, - when I'll not manage to lure them with this line, then I dont know Arkansas!" 2 ...
... and - it have worked out indeed!
N o t e s top
1 He is not sure the example could fit any music marketing textbooks though - when he is rather feeling safe about the condition of his face now, ten yeras later, due to some limitation ... He was indeed lucky with his face even during the very tour ...
2 I quote Mark Twain's "Hucklberry Finn", Chapter XXII - when translate the phrase it once more, i.e from Russian version back to English. Apologies.
3It is all about sociocultural structures / traditions etc of the late Soviet society that we bring in rather mosaic way here - just due to the needs (or a bit more), as a necessary background..
4 Even after the decade of successes from (more/less offshots of / natives to improvised music) "Russian jazz", "Russian New jazz" or so (GTCh, Vapirov, Ponomareva, Kuriokhin, TRI"O", Alperin, Shilkloper etc) and its rather total ideological domination - or at least illuminated existence within (younger/rebelling or just more developed - and thin ...- stratas of ... ) Soviet jazz community.
5 Rather no comments. Evidence.
6The paraphrase of ironic Russian sport-like (football/socker) slang phrase "Our eagles would wanna knock to your chicken" where "knock" means "play" (or "/sport/ fight").
7 Common Soviet philharmonic concerts traditions for "variety concerts", "symphonic concerts" etc. It may be greatly extended for the particular public concerts etc. certainly when generally stayed the same "1.5" for more regular events.
8 A tradition of foreign free jazz-like / improvised music small units performances was already established for the biggest Soviet jazz festivals in the jazz-capitols like Leningrad, Novosibirsk etc big cities since say 1987, and at least since early 80ies for domestic ones.
9 That was not generally that bad indeed for the case: domestic jazz (+) group(s) participation due to be attracting jazz community, fans, girls, more hidden publicity etc. "Our eagles would knock to foreign chicken" 4 formula would bring more (rather chancy ...) proud audience of course - who otherwise would never come ...
Besides, "it is about PA/halls" in a poor with music hardware country: single domestic promotor, often just music aficionado and exalted lonely wolf, often (willingly or not) beyond any "pro", 6 .. contacts, was equally often based upon this or that jazz-like (or rock ...), amateur in status, team.
The latter was - usually ... - less related to music per se (in terms of education), with more roots in material reality, more practical in daily life and so possessed with the set of (sometimes good ...) PA/instruments, the place for rehearsals (often within Palaces/House of Culture, i.e. some sorts of Public Cultural Centers for you, foreigners) and some contacts to domestic cultural officials.
They were sometimes governed by strong (and technically minded) personalities and practiced both reasonable hedonism (of girls/drinks level etc) and the incredible practicism of being very big at domestic: serving dances (that brought money and hype) and public events ("official" recognition).
The practicism and the youth (under 30) energy made their participance welcomed - even when their music was from some other opera etc.
We should mention also the union like this was characteristic rather for the kind of rather closed communities of (rather) distant (or/and industrial) cities/city's district etc.
(For example, even so so well known PheeLee Corps was originally based in the powerful "defence industry (missiles etc.) corporation"'s district, based upon the Palace of Culture, population etc and its head originated from the young qualified staff of the military enterprize. Yakutian national rock-group Tcholbon, country shepherds in essence! - have significant support from fellows working in the same "House of Culture" - "social property" of the huge diamond mining enterprize in Siberia.)
Sometimes, promotor was based upon thisor that pro-status6 team/contact as well of course, but with the latter's less publicity within community or less possibilities.
Sometimes, the group was strong/influental/tenacious enough to choose the place.
Certainly, heatting brought in some technical troubles etc equally - as well as some cultural danger: there always existed the chance for domestic cats to shadow guests in audience minds due to the domestic hype - when certainly guests were noncomparably atop in quality of music etc.
10 Apologies to the West Coast (USA) modern jazz team the name I have just used for the heading.
11That brought the (temporarily?) name to the duo - as well as some marketing ideas ...
In USSR, State (i.e. federally) owned Philharmony was the monopolist, the only legal type of the promotor/concert presenter for the professional types of music in Russia. All the rest were considered non-pro(i.e. non-existent...). Compare to say Czechoslovakia where Philharmonies left pop-music, jazz etc consciously to concentrate on their traditional attractions of sympho/ chamber/ opera/ music comedy ...