I’m going to come out and say it: I would not be nearly as happy a person as I am had it not been for the Red Devil Open Mic. KC Turner, in the year and a half that I have known him, has been a friend, boss, inspiration and mostly, a catalyst for me, and, from the stories I’ve seen and heard since the announcement of the end of RDL open mic, for other people as well. He has fostered a community so loyal, loving and talented that it is impossible for me to go to any music endeavor in San Francisco, on any given night, without seeing the smiling face of someone I have met through KC Turner and the open mic.
As I gear up for the blow-out party tonight at Café du Nord, I’m trying to let go of my heavy heart and focus more on the truth of it all – this community will persist. Our music and love of it was maybe garnered and realized through our affiliation with this open mic, but we cannot let it be extinguished by this set back. Instead of being sad/angry that it is coming to an end, I hope to see you all there tonight so we can reminisce about our shared experiences with the music, and the people of the open mic. Let’s talk about the first time we heard Addison sing “Colonized” and was blown away by that voice, or how we all sang along with Skeeze Nuts’ hit “first we get high, then we get lit, then we get drunk, then we talk $*!+, and do it all again, and do it all again..”. Then we can talk about how awesome it was to feature, and who we first collaborated with (for me, it was with Ben Brown on May 31st, 2011). We can talk about Mario’s blue guitar and how he’s covered both KC and Alan’s songs, how David Colon can breathe new life into any R&B song, how awesome it was to see Josh perform with SAGE for the first anniversary show. We can talk about the first time we tasted the Banh-Mi sandwiches, or the gumbo. And even the late night donuts that Julie brought, cupcakes that Anya baked, and the free La Boulange pastries that Trisha Hall used to bring. We can talk about how we used to check in on Facebook/Foursquare/Twitter to get a $2 beer, or how maybe we had a shot too many while singing along with Brentando’s crowd pleasing song, Bonafide (hey – yeah…. Hey yeah eh eh eh eh eh, hey- yeah). We can talk about how people like Rory Cloud and Maria Quiles and Ryan Clark and Melissa Lyn have found both musical and romantic bliss through the open mic. See, many happy things to talk about. If there is one thing to be sad about, it will be that we never got to see a classical guitar showdown between Ray Zhou and David Trevors.
The first person who’s music I downloaded onto my iPod from KC’s website was Greg Lamboy. My “feel good” playlist on my iPod has names like Bobby Jo Valentine, Gentry Bronson, Alan Monasch, Donovan Plant, Brent Shinn, Ben Brown, Mick Shafer, Aaron Ford, Levi Levitt, Endoxi, The Coffis Brothers, Alex Jimenez, Bobby Dunne, Robbie Welch, Thunderegg, Bekah Barnett, Roem Baur, Welcome Matt, and many many more. All names that I probably would not have heard of if it weren’t for this open mic. I have a 32 minute track of my featured performance that I listen to more often than I’m willing to admit, and that I know my mom listens to daily, all because of this open mic.
To anyone who’ll listen I’ll tell you about how I was celebrating/commiserating an end of a job on September 5th, 2011 and how KC hired me by September 9th. How having this job led me to the musicians I currently work with and how those same musicians have provided me with an avenue to actually perform myself. How without this open mic, I would probably still be in my boring job in foreign government instead of teaching voice lessons, managing musician’s business endeavors, working with KC Turner Presents, and co-founding a video production company with Dan Dan the Sound Man and Sean Dibs Burke. Which will bring me to tell you about how much I’ll miss the staff at the Red Devil open mic too. I met some of my closest friends because of being at the open mic. I spend much of my free time with Josh, Anna, Zimmie, Dan and Sean. All who were an integral part of building this community. I saw many of the open micers at Red Devil shows, and it was because of the level of comfort we had with seeing the staff every week that we felt the Red Devil was a go-to place even on non-open mic nights. For that, I am grateful.
I seriously hope to see as many of you as I can tonight – and not to say goodbye. But rather to celebrate all that we have gained by allowing ourselves to be affected by each other’s words and rhythms, and encouraging each other to thrive in our passion for music. I for one, have had no “bad” open mic nights, and I look forward to what KC will have in store for us next. I also look forward to my role in making it happen. KC, and my dear community, you have my respect, my gratitude and my friendship. Party tiiiiiiiiime!