Texas Freak Show

I’ve been playing music for a long time now. Not conventional music, either. My band is eclectic and has almost zero commercial potential. Still, we have managed to sell a few thousand CD’s with a modicum of effort and enjoy a small but enthusiastic following.

Our primary outlet these days is festival performances, primarily the Texas Renaissance Festival each year.

While playing these festivals one thing became obvious. Bands with unusual instrumentation enjoyed much larger audiences and sold more product than those who lacked said unusual instrumentation. I’m talking about bagpipes, hammer dulcimers, hurdy-gurdies and the occasional glass harmonica.

I actually coined a term for this.
I call it the Freak Instrument Principal.
Any band, no matter their overall actual talent, that sported a freak instrument was going to do much better than a band that did not feature a freak instrument.

You can see this in action if you pay attention. There are two bands at faire that I like a lot. Cantiga and Wyndnwire. They are beyond talented.
But check out their shows. Not a huge crowd and a small but steady trickle of CD sales.

Then check out The Rogues or Tartanic. Piles of people gathered around clapping and hooting and buying CD’s hand over fist.

Are The Rogues or Tartanic better or more talented than Wyndnwire or Cantiga? Not by a long shot. But the sheer bombardment of sound combined with men wearing dresses compels people in a way that other bands will never be able to compete with.

The Freak Instrument Principal does seem to have a counterpart in politics. This is exemplified in the upcoming election for Texas Governor. I’m talking about Kinky Friedman and his bid to get on the ballet for 2006.

Yup, it’s the Freak Candidate Principal.
Should he be governor? I honestly don’t know.
I kinda lean towards no on this.
Will he become governor? We’ll see.

He’s compelling. He’s outspoken. He’s probably crazy. The idea of Kinky being elected to public office has a “theater-of-the-absurd” appeal that just might get him to his goal, not because he’s suited for the job but because he is so ridiculously NOT suited for the job. And many people here in Texas seem to think that concept qualifies him in and of itself.

He’s not the first one of his kind.
Jesse “The Body” Ventura was elected Governor of Minnesota, Arnold Schwarteneger was elected Governor of California (even though Gary Coleman was far more freakish) and let’s not forget they guy who was the original freak candidate…

Who could have known?
The important thing is, we know now.

Vote wisely!