As Oz so lovingly put it, “I’d rather the artists (sic) make the money they deserve and continue to put out quality music … instead of answering phones in a cubicle.” Selling out in the indie world has been a long debated topic, yet when it comes down to it, the artists need money. Even if it is only to continue making music. Whether through CD sales, touring, merchandise, or — GASP! — commercialization, bills need to be paid.
With a reading of the script and his artistic consent, Ferraby Lionheart signed the dotted line and his song was played during last week’s episode of Gossip Girl. The world didn’t implode, black wasn’t white, up wasn’t down and maybe most surprising of all, his music still sounded the same. And while millions of viewers heard Ferraby’s song for the first time while watching the CW on Wednesday, 175 crammed into Schuba’s to see him live.
I was a bit in both groups. The Monday before the Live Session, e-mails amongst the writers began circulating as we tried to figure out who could make it to the studio. Oz was trapped on the West Coast 2,100 miles away. It was even further for Woody who was sunning in Cabo and Drinking Buddy had something called “Work.” So, as the only remaining Chicagoan, it was up to me. This was the first I’d heard of Ferraby Lionheart.
Already running behind schedule, Ferraby and the guys cabbed it to Shirk’s and quickly set up. On mostly borrowed equipment, they banged out the fastest, yet tightest Live Session we’ve ever had. Two songs with Ferraby playing guitar and then two with the borrowed Wurlitzer… and then they were gone (at least out of the studio).
We rode the always dependable (bitter sarcasm) CTA north to Schuba’s. Drummer, Jay, was excited to finally see the Marina City Towers made famous by Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot album cover. Despite our good intentions, Schuba’s didn’t appreciate our lateness to the sound check but Ferraby rocked the completely empty room, albeit with slurred and madeup lyrics. After a dinner, a shared a plate of macaroni and cheese, and a few cups of coffee, it was time for the show.
Schuba’s, more packed than most weekends, brimmed with people. Drinking Buddy, who actually arranged the Live Session, finally showed up and joined me in the middle of the crowd. Ferraby’s set was excellent and his songs took on a different feel under the lights along with a slide pedal and real piano. After the show and some time at the merch table, the guys quickly (I’m sure you’ve spotted the trend at this point) packed up the van and left town. They had to be in Ann Arbor or Detroit (they weren’t sure which) by 8am for a radio show. Once again, all for free and in the good name of self promotion.
Though the tours and sales at shows certainly help, The Gossip Girl gig really pays the bills. Despite this, however, not all offers are accepted. A line is drawn. It’s different for each artist, but they decide on where their craft can be seen or heard. So next time you see an ad for a Mexican beer not named Atlantico, remember that it’s not Ferraby Lionheart’s song playing in the background.