Times aren’t generally good for the alternative rock stars of the ’90s; after all, how many state fairs and Indian casinos are there, anyway? Still, a man’s gotta eat, so the Verve Pipe’s Brian Vander Ark is making do playing for a market that Fastball hasn’t gotten to yet: People’s backyards.
Yes, for a minimal fee (and likely unlimited drinks from the cooler), the man who brought you the hit “The Freshman” and another song I vaguely remember will play your backyard.
So last year, Vander Ark spent his time playing living rooms, backyards or anywhere fans paid him to play. He hoped for 25 shows; he ended up with 75. One of his stops included performing for two pregnant couples in Louisville at midnight after a gig in Indiana.
“I also played for a young couple celebrating their anniversary,” he said. “They had a babysitter watch their baby for a couple hours. I play whatever they want me to play.”…
“It’s so much more enjoyable than the club thing,” Vander Ark said. “It really is a campaign — shaking people’s hands, thanking people for their support and playing music for them.”
The jokes really write themselves here, but in the end, if you know six other Verve Pipe fans and have a Sam’s Club card to get cheap booze, maybe you can throw a better show on in your backyard than you’d see in some lousy club off Highway 80. You can skip having a miserable open act, lower the drink price, and have at least an equal chance of having decent sound. Then again, you’d be booking the guy from the Verve Pipe, so maybe the deal isn’t that good.