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Readers Blog: Dobie Maxwell's 'Dented Can' Diary

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Sunday November 11th, 2012 – Ottumwa, IA/Fox Lake, IL

   I’m still buzzing about how much fun the show was last night in Ottumwa, IA. Everything that needed to come together to make it happen did, and it was a grand slam home run. We all made a fair profit, and the people who came out were satisfied customers. For a night, we were big stars.

   That night is over, and that’s what can be so frustrating. It took months of hard work to put that one isolated show together, and as fun and successful as it was we’re all back at ground zero and have to find work all over again this coming week. All I have is a one nighter in Champaign, IL.

   That’s on Friday, and it’s all I was able to scrape together for the week. It would be convenient to tack on a Saturday in the area somewhere, but the chances of finding that this close to the date get slimmer with each tick of the clock. I can’t count on it, so it’s likely my income for the week.

   This just isn’t going to cut it much longer, and I’m going to have to find a way to start bringing in a much more regular income. Words like ‘stable’ and ‘steady’ don’t tend to fit in with the life of an entertainer very well, but after a while living on fumes gets old. I have reached that point.

   Lucky for me, I didn’t have to do anything but show up for this one. I know how much sweat it took to organize, as I just did it for the benefit show last month at Shank Hall in Milwaukee. That was also a satisfying experience, even though I didn’t make a nickel. It went for a worthy cause.

   At some point I’ve got to be the cause, and raising money for me becomes the focus. I have no problem helping others, but if I can’t help myself everyone is out of business. I still haven’t been able to put myself over the top financially, and until I do it’s going to be a continuous distraction.

   I’ve been making some rock solid decisions lately – ones I probably should have made decades ago but didn’t. Now the question becomes did I turn things around with enough time to salvage a real career. That’s still a question, and I don’t have a definite answer. The truth is I don’t know.

   Shows like the benefit in Milwaukee and the one last night give me real hope. They were both representative of what I want to accomplish, even though it doesn’t happen every night. They’re getting a lot closer together than they’ve ever been, and two in less than a month is a good sign.

   I’d like to do stuff like that every single week of the year, and I don’t see a reason why it can’t happen in theory. In reality, it makes my brain hurt. How big name entertainers make major tours happen is beyond my comprehension. There must be a staff of people working overtime to put it all together. Arranging venues and hotels and travel and media for a fifty city tour must be hell.

    Still, the idea of pulling one off really intrigues me. Even one tour like that could set me up for the rest of my life financially, and be the most fun I ever had. An extended run of solid dates like last night would be the ultimate reward for a lifetime of dues paid, and I’d love every last second of it. Yes the road can be a grind, but it’s a lot worse doing it like I am now. Getting a taste of the next level makes me want to keep slugging. The show is there, now I have to grow the business.

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