Kenny Klein with Stapler

Kenny Klein with Stapler

Friday, September 30, 2011

Some photos of Nixie

Bellavia gave me some cigar boxes. I was inspired to use them with Nixie, one of my custom Blythe dolls, to do a 1950s pin-up style ad shoot. I think because I just watched the pilot of Pan Am (great show!) I was sort of channeling '50s Playboy and Bettie Page.
Apparently Nixie was too.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sheri's World: Fairy Tale Rituals by Kenny Klein

Sheri's World: Fairy Tale Rituals by Kenny Klein: Fairy Tale Rituals by Kenny Klein is gives a surprising look into the dark and mysterious side of the popular fairy tales we all grew up wi...

Your Musician Questions Answered

I am a professional musician (as you may know), and there are some questions I get asked all the time. Here are a few, with the answers, which may or may not be fact:

Questions About Me Specifically:

I have played every kind of music, in every kind of venue. Here are some points of confusion:

My favorite places to play are small, intimate settings. House concerts and small ren faire stages are the best. Irish bars are sometimes my least favorite, though here in NOLA I play at an Irish bar called The Kerry Irish Pub which I like a lot; I'm playing in a few weeks at the Plaza Pub in Texas. I'll let you know.

Yes, I have played music on cruise ships. No, they do not have Pagan music on cruise ships. I had to play Margueritaville and Sweet Home Alabama sixteen times a night like everyone else who plays on a cruise ship. You have not fully lived until you have seen hundreds of drunk obese redneck women in string bikinis.

I have played Country fiddle in bands all over the U.S. No, I will not play The Devil Went Down To Georgia for you. I learned to play Country music in, of all places, New York City, with a band called the New York Frets. I did play in a Missouri band called Eisel and the Heymakers (you can find them on youtube), who backed Clint Black's brothers Brian Black and Kevin Black. I have also played on CDs by some famous Country acts ( No, none of them played Pagan music.

Which in my odd logic leads us to:

Fiddle Questions:

There is no difference between a fiddle and a violin. They are different names for the same instrument. Fiddle comes from the German 'fythel,' violin from the Italian...well...'violin.' In the Renaissance, (somewhat arrogant) classical musicians distinguished themselves from folk musicians by using the Italian instead of the common Saxon/German name for the instrument. No, the Saxon/German fiddlers will not play The Devil Went Down To Georgia for you.

There are different playing styles used on the violin to get the sounds of a fiddle and the sounds of a violin. Generally, when playing Irish, Gypsy, Old Time Appalachian, Country or Bluegrass, one is playing 'Fiddle." When playing Classical, wedding music or Rock, one is playing 'Violin.' Opinions vary on Goth, Emo and Hungarian Oom-Pah.

No, that is not a machine gun in my fiddle case.

My favorite styles to play on fiddle are Western Swing, New Orleans Jazz/Jugband, and Old Time Appalachian. No, I will not play The Devil Went Down To Georgia for you. For that matter, no, The Devil Went Down To Georgia is, believe it or not, NOT the only song ever written with a fiddle part in it!! There are others! You just haven't heard them.

Renaissance Faire Questions (and you know who you are if you've ever asked me this):

No, Renaissance Faire acts do not all get in a train car together and ride to the next festival. We each have our own separate contracts with each individual renaissance festival; we sometimes turn up at several of the same faires in a given year because those are the faires that have hired us.

Just because I play music at a Renaissance Faire does NOT make me a "wandering minstrel." (For one thing, I play standing still). I'm more pre-minstrel.

Yes, thank you, Renaissance festival acts DO shower.

Yes, those elephants are real.

No, the Belly Dancers are not strippers. There is a strip club just down the road. It's none of your business how I know that.

No, I cannot tell you where the turkey legs are at, and no, I am not Moonie. Moonie is the guy standing right over there with a huge sign that says Moonie.

Yes, I'll be happy to sell you my CDs...which brings us to:

A Brief History of Musician Merchandising:

Do I get more money from the purchase of a physical CD or from a download? This is the question I really posted this to answer... I really get the same amount in the long run, depending on which site you download from. But I am happy with whatever I get. I just like people buying and listening to my music. It wasn't always this easy! Listen:

I began playing music professionally in the very late '70s (the dinosaur was extinct, but the mastodon was in its heyday). Then, if you wanted to have recordings or merchandise (merch) you had to be signed to a label. In the eighties I was signed to Kicking Mule Records, a small label run by the guy who had managed the band Country Joe and the Fish (they did the "Gimme An F" song in the Woodstock movie). But by the mid eighties there was a revolution in the music industry: cassette tapes!!! With this technology, any band or musician could record their music at a music studio (which then generally charged $25-$50/hr) and release it on cassette tape, which the act could sell at shows.

This meant that acts could manage their own finances. With the label system, you had to trust your label and your management. The Beatles and the Grateful Dead are both examples of bands whose label or management stole huge amounts of money from what individuals in the band were supposed to receive. (Kicking Mule never reported its European sales to its U.S. artists, and we lost a good deal of royalties). Now bands could handle their own sales, though without distribution of their product (cassettes), bands could not always reach a huge audience.

In the '90s this changed again. Enter the Compact Disc (CD). Now production became much simpler, and the sound quality better. They were also handier to cart around. And they were easier for radio stations to play than finding a song on a cassette tape! Most CD production services had a minimum order, usually 1,000, so the artist did have to shell out some bucks for both the recording and the initial order. It was not always a profitable situation, but it was a way to get your music out there.

The greatest advance in musicians controlling their own product came with the computer. By the early 2000s, you could record your own music using user-friendly recording software; you could create product on your own computer and printer; and you could market yourself on the Internet. This has become easier and easier, as services can now reproduce CDs with no minimum order, and websites offer download and sales packages.

The only problem is, getting people to listen to you in a sea of indie acts vying for attention on the Internet! This takes touring, promotion and mad marketing skills (which I sometimes don't feel I have).

So in a nutshell, I don't care where you download my music from, as long as you do! If you care about me getting the most $ from a download, get my stuff from . But really, iTunes or Napster or CD Baby are fine as well.

From NOLA, this is Kenny Klein explaining it all.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What I've Been Up To

This is a new experiment for me, keeping a Blog and actually remembering to write something fairly here goes. Let's start with (trumpet fanfare):

What I've Been Up To:

I got back home from my tour a couple of weeks ago, promising myself that once I was home I would work tirelessly on finishing the novel I started nearly a year ago. I would wake up early, write for hours, and have glowing pages to show for it, until the thing was done!!

That was the plan. In reality I wake up early, except early often occurs at ten am. I drag myself into the kitchen for coffee. I drink two sips of said coffee and decide I don't really want coffee. I check e-mail for an hour or two, looking at the various notifications I've been blessed with on all of my various social networking sites. I check in with my AWESOME GF Lauren, who is in the library working hard (checking her social networking websites), I watch an episode of Veronica Mars or Alphas (I'm actually out of unwatched episodes of both, so I will accept suggestions for my next obsessive Hulu, Neflix or WB show). THEN I write a few pages of the novel, which is coming out AWESOME, if very slowly.

The new novel is about (oh you're going to be SO surprised) Faeries. (I know, shocking, right? Should I have waited until you were sitting down?). And here is an offer to my die hard fans (both of you). I really need some feedback: real feedback, like "the flow here isn't working" or "this section needs more action." So if you'd like to read the manuscript as it currently stands, let me know. I'm willing to e-mail it to a couple of trusted fans/friends for some real critique.

In other news, I've got several new dolls to work on, including (for those of you who speak Blythe) a Chocolate and a Vanilla as a set (they're beautiful), and a couple of Prima Dollies. But I've been so busy writing (and throwing away perfectly good coffee, and watching V Mars) that I have not begun customizing any new dolls. This will happen soon. Except for the ever lovely and incredibly talented Beth Patterson, none of my band mates are back in NOLA yet, so other than a couple of Fidgety Rabbit gigs I have not been playing much music since my tour. But soon they will all be back, the streets will be filled with song, and I will be complaining on this very Blog about how I've been out making music every day and have had no time to write books or work on dolls. Welcome to my life.

That's about it. Lauren and I plan to move from Uptown NOLA to the Bywater in a couple of weeks. We will be living in a beautiful house full of strippers and lawyers, and a couple of dogs, with wrought iron pentacles on the gates. I'll let you know just how that goes.

From NOLA, this is Kenny Klein, explaining it all.