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The title of this post is borrowed from the title of Steve Martin’s comedy album released in 1980. It’s a fitting title for this collection of words. I have always loved comedy and comics. The first recollection I have of comedy is seeing Tom Dreesen on the Mike Douglas show. Yes, I know that is a long time ago! He did a bit about drugs and said that someone described a particular drug as being great: “It’s just like being hit in the head with a shovel”! After that, I was always looking for comics and comedy albums. Living in Lakeville, IN with no driver’s license meant I wasn’t going to get to the clubs to see comedy live. I remember getting Steve Martin’s album “Let’s Get Small”. I listened to it nearly every day for a year. His non sequitur style was perfect for a weird 13-year-old. I then branched out to George Carlin and Bill Cosby. They both had different points of view and they both made me laugh.

I started wondering how comics could write and deliver the great stuff they put out. I also wanted to know if I could do it. Naturally, I became the class clown. Now, that is a difficult thing to do when you’re an extreme introvert. I enjoyed making my classmates & friends laugh but I always broke out into flop sweat before getting started on my schtick. I dreamed of being a comic but their was no opportunity when I was young as their were no comedy clubs within 2 hours of where I lived. So, life went on. I went to work, married a great woman, and had two wonderful children. I forgot about the itch to be a comic. I enjoyed comics but the urge to be one was just not important to me.

Fast forward to the age of 52. My workplace asked me to provide comic entertainment for our annual company party. My first response was “NO”. I really had no desire to try standup at my age. I talked to my wife about it and she said “You’ve always wanted to do that so, why not”? I ended up saying yes, fought through the worst case of panic I ever had, and actually did a decent job.

The problem was, I was hooked. I started looking for open mics and actually did them! Now, I’m not saying my sets are good but I think I’ve managed a 6 out of 10 at least a couple times. I really enjoy the rush of nerves I get before going up. It’s like major dread but in a good way if there is such a thing. I disappoint myself quite often as the stuff I write on paper seems a lot more funny than the stuff that comes out of my mouth. What I’m trying to say is that my delivery stinks. Stage fright and general nerves tends to eliminate things like timing and pausing for effect. The great thing is that I’m not trying to get famous or even be a working comic. This is more of a hobby for me. A hobby that brings back the same flop sweat I got back in school.

Open mics also allow me to meet new people. Comics who are really trying to make a career out of comedy. The surprising thing is they are actually nice to me. I’m awe-struck that most of these comics are holding down full-time jobs, doing open mics, and driving all over Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, and Michigan just to get some stage time. They are truly perfecting their craft while I am playing in the sandbox whenever I feel like it. I’m impressed with the work ethic and the fact that they actually take time to talk to me.

Maybe my foray into comedy is a foolish endeavor as my aspirations are not very high. It’s certainly not pretty when I do my 5 minutes on stage but I’m thankful for the people I’ve met and the flop sweat I’ve shed.

I believe the subject matter of this post is self-explanatory from the title. Let me first tell you about my experience Ignition Music Garage. Several years ago I found a band called Sons of Bill. I could write another article on them but to make a long story short; they are the first band to get me excited about music since my teen years spinning Who albums with my headphones on until dawn every weekend. While checking their tour schedule, I saw they were playing in Goshen, IN! Some place called Ignition Music. Now, I work in Goshen but had never heard of the place. I checked out their website and bought my tickets for the Sons of Bill show. I learned that Ignition Music was a record and stereo equipment store by day and a music venue by night.

I ventured over there after purchasing my tickets to see what the place was all about. While I was there, I chatted with Steve Martin, owner and resident musical genius at Ignition Music. I have to say that when you start talking music with Steve you should be prepared to be talking for a while. Steve knows his stuff and loves to share. I told Steve that I had given up searching for new bands to love a long time ago because of the proliferation of crap in the music world. He agreed but gave me about 6 artists to check out based on my musical tastes. I obviously loved them all.

My wife and I along with another couple experienced the Sons of Bill show at Ignition together. I am a live music lover and have seen more shows than I can count in some great venues. The experience of seeing Sons of Bill at Ignition Music Garage became my hands-down favorite show of all time. Steve Martin has put together the perfect live music experience. The venue is intimate, holding around 130 people, the acoustics at Ignition are some of the best I’ve heard, and the band is right there about 6 feet from the audience. After the Sons of Bill experience, my wife and I decided to make Ignition Music a habit. We really didn’t care if we knew of the band that Steve booked. We knew if Steve liked them, we would too. Artists previously unknown to us like Amy Lavere, Shannon McNally, The Harpoonist & Axe Murderer, and many others came to Ignition Music to play and we were fortunate enough to be in the audience. I already said this but it bears repeating: Ignition Music Garage is the perfect venue for live music and Steve Martin brings in the best artists for the venue.

So, now Steve wants to turn it up to 11. I’ll use the words from the campaign page for Making a Scene: Build the Stage:

Our event revenue has increased 50% so far this year because Ignition produced two outdoor shows at Goshen Brewing Company. Our first show in The Goshen Theater is scheduled for October 20, 2016. New venues and concert series are also launching in the larger South Bend market. This is a sign that the audience is out there. The question is how do we get that larger audience to try out Goshen’s scene? Goshen Funded is important to us because it aims to support the whole downtown entrepreneurial ecosystem.

High quality music, whether live or recorded, moves people. The shared experience of a live performance when music and the audience come together creates a magical feeling. Here at Ignition we pride ourselves on providing the stage where the magic can happen.

Building a Stage

The stage exists as more than a physical space. The stage is a metaphor for local creatives to produce their art from a platform in Goshen, Indiana. By connecting artists to more fans we advance the artists, Ignition, and the community.

Our plans are to record high quality audio and high definition video from Ignition Garage, and offer digital distribution. We feel it is critical to bringing in younger fans. By moving into the digital realm, we’ll connect with new music fans, and hopefully show the magic that happens when musicians and their songs connect with an audience. We believe that video and online music can be the first connection point between a listener and an artist. If the song and performance are compelling, a new fan is created.

Building Artists’ Careers

FiveCore Media, from Goshen College has been contracted to produce the first program, a film about the release of Wilson Reservoir’s new album, “The Last Will & Testament of Buck Baker”. The record is scheduled for a September 30 national release. The short film will be part of the promotion of the new album. Nate Butler of Nimble Wit Productions will be the Production Manager, Recording Engineer, and Music Producer for the project.

Please consider an investment to help us build a larger stage and create our own media content to expand the Ignition community to a new larger fan base.

It’s a great idea! Here’s where you come in: Donate as little as $10 to make Make a Scene: Build the Stage happen. Why? Because you’re a music lover. Steve is helping the underdogs of the music business here. He’s helping the indie artists that are living gig to gig get the exposure they deserve. Wouldn’t you like to say you were part of that? Wouldn’t it be great if one of the bands featured in an Ignition Music produced film made it big and you could say you helped?

I know there are endless campaigns out there that want/need your money. You can’t support every cause. I know that. However, if you are want to support the indie music scene in a big way, this is the one for you. If you want to do some research before investing, check out my interview with Steve Martin here:

Michiana People Podcast: Steve Martin

Check out the campaign page here:

Making a Scene: Build the Stage

Or, drop in to Ignition Music Garage on Washington St in Goshen and ask for Steve. If you’re not fired up after a conversation with Steve Martin, you should check in with your doctor.

Lastly, go to Ignition Music Garage, find a show, and get tickets. You will experience the treat of a lifetime.

 

Peace, Love, & Wonderful Music,

Scott Curtis

I had the opportunity to watch a Singer/Songwriter competition at The Acorn Theater in Three Oaks, MI last night. This was the finals as they had several previous rounds that came up with the top 10 performers. The Acorn Theater as a venue is fantastic. The acoustics are great for music and their sound engineer is really top-notch. I’m happy to say the event was packed and sold out. It’s great to see so many people out on a Thursday evening supporting local talent!

I’d like to talk about each individual performer but that would make this a very long post. I can say I didn’t see a bad act out of the 10 that performed. This got me to thinking about all the TV singing competetions that are available for the masses. I’ve watched a few of these and heard some really good singers. The problem is they are singing the same cover songs that you can hear in pretty much any karaoke bar. Every time I hear a judge say “You made it your own”, I cringe. They can’t make it their own by changing the key or tempo because it isn’t their song!

The performers I saw last night wrote their own music and I heard better singing than I’ve heard from many of winners of all these TV competitions. I feel compelled to give all these performers some exposure so I am including links to all their Facebook or other social media pages for you to explore and take a listen. I’m not going to go into the whole “Support Local Music” so the performers can pay their bills thing. I will say that if you like music, go out and listen to local musicians for your sake. Every time I find a new singer/band, I feel like I found myself a little treasure. If you have the opportunity to see any of these talented performers, please get off the couch and do so. You can always DVR The Voice and watch it later.

Andrew Kitzman

Starheart

Joe George

Chris DuPont

Chaz Hearne

Linsay & Russell John

Amy Andrews

Mike Vial

Bailey Williams

Kirk Saffle

So, if you ask half the people that know me if I am an introvert, they would say absolutely not. The other half would say absolutely yes. As I am me, I can say without hesitation that I am the poster boy of an introvert. I remember talking to a new acquaintance at a friend’s gathering. He was shocked that I had a sales role in my company and had me pegged as an engineer.

When I’m in a group of people I don’t know, my behavior is normally to keep my mouth shut, sit in the corner, and watch the room. I don’t like to start conversations and especially am scared to death to introduce myself. I don’t know why. It’s just what I am: An introvert.

Why would someone like me get into a sales related position? Well, I spent quite a few years as a “boss” and didn’t want to do that anymore. I also wanted to do something where my earnings would equal my effort. Sales met the criteria. I just had to meet the criteria of a salesperson. That meant going way out of my comfort zone. I knew I had a couple things going for me that salespeople need. I’m intelligent, sincere and perceptive. Now, I’m not puffing myself up. When you’re an introvert, you do a lot of self-evaluation and those three things are just a fact.

I’ve actually been successful in my sales career over that last 11 years. Not because it’s easy but because I constantly push myself out of my comfort zone. The side benefit I’ve found living outside my comfort zone is that I LOVE to be pushed out of my comfort zone! What a rush to be scared, nervous, sweaty, and totally on edge. Nothing makes me feel more alive than doing stuff that makes me uncomfortable.

I guess I should talk about my night on the town. I started the Michiana People Podcast a couple months ago. Again, going way out of my comfort zone. I had to call, email, and walk up to people I didn’t know and ask them if I could interview them for the podcast. This made my sales position feel like staying home and reading a book!

So, I was supposed to meet my wife at South Bend Brew Werks for their monthly event called “The Collective”. It’s a really neat concept where they bring in several local artists with pieces of their work and a musician to create a cool mood. I got there about a half-hour before my wife and found myself in Introvert Hell. I had spent all day outside my comfort zone and I couldn’t muster the courage to “mingle”. I’m just sitting there and watching the people talking and laughing while feeling invisible and beating myself up because I can’t just walk up to somebody and talk to them. Finally, the organizer of the event came over and asked if I’d like to enter for the drawing. Then I started talking. I told her I was waiting for my wife but would put my entry in. I said it was a really cool thing she was doing and was just about to crawl back into introvert zone when a nice young man came up and said “Hey you’re the guy with the podcast” (He turned out to be one of the artists). I felt like a 500lb weight had been lifted off me! Introvert zone was pushed to the side. I started talking about the podcast and asked Jacob of he’s like to be interviewed for an episode. Then I asked the organizer (Kelsey) if she’s like to be on the podcast. They both said yes! Jacob took me over to show me his photography which was excellent. My wife came and I introduced her to Jacob. I went and talked to one of the other artists and asked him to be on the podcast. I invited a couple from Toledo in town to see Book of Mormon to sit with us and talked to them. On and on and on.

It turned out to be a great night and all I had to do was get out of Introvert Zone. Thankfully, somebody gave me the nudge I needed to break out. If you really want to see where the magic happens, jump out of your comfort zone and I guarantee that you will find it.

So, a lot of folks are asking me why I started The Michiana People Podcast and what it’s all about. If you’ve listened to the first six episodes, I’m sure you realize that I’m talking to everybody who will talk to me about anything. I’ve talked to people running for political office, dog groomers, musicians, etc. The common denominator in all my inteviews is “PEOPLE”. I’m on a constant search for people in and from the Michiana area who are making a difference, bringing value, making great music, and making Michiana great. I really don’t care what your passionate about as along as you can articulate your passion and give my listeners a nugget or two of wisdom that will enhance their lives and their appreciation for what you bring to our community.

I wasn’t aware of the time commitment I was getting into starting a podcast. Every half-hour episode translates into 2-3 hours of editing, recording intros, inserting meta-tags, uploading, rechecking sound quality, and on and on. Now, I’m not complaining. It’s actually a lot of fun and the learning curve is decreasing as I go. My first intro took 23 takes and a lot of cussing. My last intro took 2 takes and no bad words were said! I’m also running a race to keep up with all the people who want to talk to me. I thought the hardest part of the show would be to get guests. I’m actually getting a big “YES” from 80% of the people I ask for an interview. The icing on the cake is I already have great people contacting me with an interest to be on the podcast. My original goal was to be able to produce 1-2 podcasts per month. I now have enough interviews recorded to get one podcast per week out to you for the next 4 weeks and more interviews waiting to be done! I’m humbled by the response of the community. We’re currently sitting at about 500 total downloads of the podcast. I think that’s phenomenal since this podcast has only been in existence for 4 weeks. Thank you for your support so far! Please tell your friends to listen so I can bring content that you want to here.

My hope is that this podcast will give a voice to the people who help make Michiana a better place and give the listeners inspiration to find a way to make a difference in their own way. Let’s face it; this podcast is my way of dealing with mid-life crisis. With my daughter getting married and my son graduating college on his way to grad-school, I gotta get a hobby. So, sit back and listen to the best people Michiana has to offer. You may learn something and get a little inspiration. There’s nothing wrong with that!

 

I welcome your feedback, comments, & suggestions for guests and topics. You can contact me directly here:

Scott’s Email

I would also love to have you follow me on social media. That way you’ll know what’s coming out and what’s coming up.

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