Many people interested in music in New Zealand will have heard of Blink - his real name is Ian Jorgensen but you get the feeling now that it is probably only his immediate family that might call him Ian.
Blink was/is a gig photographer - he takes a great shot, he was at every gig snapping away. And then that love of music morphed into producing a magazine, starting a label, producing, making mixtapes and compilations, booking bands, managing artists and promoting.
Most of his endeavours are collected under the name A Low Hum - and he's possibly best known for the annual hipster-fest, Camp A Low Hum.
Blink has recently released a guidebook called D.I.Y. Touring The World - and it's a great read; a handy tool no doubt. But in recommending it I have to say that it's very unlikely I'll be touring the world with a band - or promoting gigs or managing a band. I mention that to show that the book is worth reading for music-fans, for people interested in the industry without actively looking to follow the book's advice.
And then of course it is perfect for local musicians, managers and people connected with tours - from the friend called in to help do the driving, to the guy or girl designing the nice poster for free tickets.
In fact I read the book on the plane on the way to America - and there were practical tips for travellers - let alone gigging musicians.
Thanks to Blink I was able to point out that it was quite common not to find an electric jug in homes in America - every house we stayed in had the old-fashioned stove-top whistling kettle.
But the real strength of this book, I think, is in the hope that it gives - a real hope filled with practical know-how and learned-on-the-job nous; not the faux-hope that NZ On Air gives so that the likes of Autozamm can continue to make ghastly music that sounds like Dave Grohl covering the feelers (or maybe it's the feelers covering Dave Grohl?)
Blink's book should be a must-read for Kiwi musicians - you don't have to wait, with hand out, for funding. You don't have to pretend you're on a hip-hop fact-finding mission that rips off the government; you don't have to move to Australia and sink into an unsettling obscurity or join the church crowd over there...
Instead you get a copy of this book - you pick the brain of someone who decided that it could be done. You get your best mates to support you, you get your best tunes ready and you hit the road. You work it like it's a holiday - a hard-working holiday. Nobody owes you a career but why not go and see the world and play some music while you're at it.
That is why I loved this book - it wasn't sugar-coated, it wasn't filled with "advice" that came off as sanctimonious or pretentious. It offers a warts-and-all reality of driving long hours, eating two-minute noodles and sleeping in cars - playing house-parties for tips and free beer, playing 35 shows in 30 days. It also points out that some of the "designed" options like international music conferences are tantamount to a scam; a way of sucking money from bands who can't afford it - offering exposure that never really amounts to much.
The book is smart and easy to read. It's filled with passion. And knowledge. And insight.
And it's a bargain at $10.
This weekend Blink is concluding a series of release shows - so tomorrow night he'll be at Mighty Mighty in Wellington with Disasteradio, Golden Axe, Quarks and Name UL on the bill. The gig is free - you can buy the book for a tenner.
And on Saturday it's the Wine Cellar and Whammy Bar in Auckland. From 8pm at the Wine Cellar there'll be Emily Edrosa, Bookself and Abraham Kunin. And after 10pm at Whammy there'll be Mean Girls, Ghost Wave, Headaches, Carb On Carb, Totems, Shanalog and Ralph. Again it's free entry and you can pick up the book for the price of one Kate Sheppard.
Click here for more details.
If you can't get to the shows - or they don't interest you but the book still does - you can pay $13 to get a copy shipped anywhere in NZ or $15 for shipping anywhere in the world. You can order from Blink at his alowhum site. (And there'll be a pay-as-you-like digital/download option from July 1 via the site).
Here's a review of the book from The Corner.
What do you think? Have you picked up a copy already? Or does this sound like something you're keen to read? And maybe you have your own tips for D.I.Y. touring - if so do share.
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