“A pro a pro”? 

We’re not talking Pongonese  here, although the level of misunderstanding about what qualifies a musician as a professional is so high that we might as well be visiting the islands of Pongo for the very first time.

You might think that it’s about some level of competence, or tests passed in string changing, or stage presence, or maybe membership in the Musicians Union.

Nope.

High jumps, windmills, lush vibrato, hair cuts, tight jeans, lots of money behind the project, friends in high places, perfect harmonies on ProTools produced tracks — rock & roll bling — none of this makes a musician a pro.

I came very close to giving this secret away in a recent blog, where I revealed that it is the “psychology” of musicians and artists that opens them to being hustled – which is why everyone from the Grateful Dead, to Willie Nelson, to M.C. Hammer, John Fogertey and me, has experienced being financially taken by con men who promised to take care of the money, making sure that our careers and investments were solid as rock.

The “psychology” I speak of is the conscious or unconsciously held desire to be appreciated and taken care of for the unique beauty and creativity that we artists bring to the world.  Maybe it is infantile — but the desire to be celebrated for what one brings to the party is the psychic doorway thru which con-men enter — promising take care of the details so that one is free to do what one does best — simply to be creative!

This doesn’t mean that naive, trusting and developmentally arrested individuals can’t make spectacularly good music!  Check into the bios of your favorite artists and you’ll uncover many tragic tapestries of what can only be described as self-destructive behavior.

So — what makes a pro?

The knowledge that your art isn’t exclusively about you.

It’s the recognition that music and art are interactive, and that it is a shared experience that allows the magic to break through and shine.

Can we enjoy the work of tortured geniuses?  Sure.  But I for one don’t enjoy the sadness or unhappiness of their lives.

I’m talking about a higher level of creativity — a level where FUN is fundamental, where delight springs from the interplay of artistry and communion.

Where can you experience this? 

Hey — you don’t have to go far — Petaluma is home to a number of highly evolved creative artists that truly are pros.  This weekend, on Saturday night, March 20th, you can go hear a group of musicians who operate at this high level — right here at the Petaluma Arts Center. The group?   D’Bunchovous  – their show starts at 7:00PM  (doors open at 6:30), and they are bringing a lot of new music along with classic favorites to the party.

They have fun, (and so will you), they are the real deal, and you’ll never catch them being taken by a con man!  Tickets are $18.00 at the door.  Jot this date in your book, and experience real music by real people for yourself!