Friday, October 12, 2007

Squeeze Machine Secrets: 'Wrinkle Suit'

TDA does a fair amount of traveling, and lately I've been spending a lot of time in airports. In fact, I'm writing this while I wait for a flight to San Antonio, Texas, to play the International Accordion Festival. Looking around, I see a lot of folks on cell phones, and in the past, if I wasn't writing this, I'd probably be on mine, too. It's a good time to call around the country and talk to festival directors and anybody else that might be interested in hiring a six-piece rock accordion band. Can you imagine what a cold call sounds like when you are trying to pitch this band?

"Yes, hello, this is Paul Rogers with Those Darn Accordions. Is Bob Jefferies in? Yes, Those DARN Accordions.... No, not that Paul Rodgers -- he spells his name with a "D," but we do have the same birthday! How about that! Well, anyway, we're a six-piece rock accordion band and we play lots of fairs and festivals and we would love to be considered for next year's ... Hello? Hello?"

You get the picture.

Well, last year I was waiting for a flight and making those cold calls and a salesman was seated right next to me doing the same thing. Only he was selling large industrial waste compactors. I'm not sure who had the harder job, but when you think about it, we were both trying to convince our clients to buy our squeeze! (Sorry about that.)

Anyway, this hapless fellow was going through his Rolodex and getting nowhere. I stopped making calls and began to listen to his calls. He had one heart-breaker where the potential client had just bought a new compactor the previous week. The poor guy had missed the sale by days and he looked pretty depressed. I noticed that his suit looked wrinkled and figured he had been traveling around the country for the past week and probably just wanted to get home. That's when the title "Wrinkle Suit" popped up, along with the first line from the song:

"I've got a cold call up in Raleigh and a red-eye to L.A.
If I can close in West Covina, I'll be home by Saturday"

And of course if you are going to write a song about a traveling salesman, you have to include a nod to the most famous of them all, Willy Loman. So I got right to it in the second line:

"I'm low man on the totem and Loman back in coach
And I'm feeling like a shadow of myself as we approach."

Lately I've been cutting back on the cold calls and just taking the calls that come in after we play a show. I like this approach better, because, let's face it, you really need to see TDA to get what all the hoopla is about. It's just about impossible to explain this band in 20 seconds! Well, time to get on my flight to Texas -- wrinkles and all!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved your cold call story. I remember an old friend who told about calling on Wm Morris in L.A. He told the man, "I write and sign songs in French and accompany myself on the accordion." End of interview.

11:35 AM  
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