I restarted my home brewing hobby at the suggestion of an old friend, KalenBorg. KalenBorg recommended I not only start brewing again, but also join a local homebrew club and learn tips & tricks from experienced brewers. I joined the Arizona Society of Homebrewers (ASH). It was a great club, full of fun people. I still consider some of those guys friends despite my moving half-way across the country.
At the end of the year ASH holds annual elections for club officers. Those brewing overlords get to rule over us for the year. The election was typically hand voted on, and for unopposed positions. In fact, most of the people were asked to run, making it them more appointments than elections. I had the opportunity to get to know most of the new leadership, including Brad who just became the president. Brad still has no explanation for (or recollection of) the 300 cases of Pabst Blue Ribbon recently delivered directly to his home. I was asked to commit to one of two officially appointed positions as a Brewer-at-Large. I accepted the appointment as long as they knew I was moving from Arizona to Minnesota in August and could only commit to the first half of the year.
Times were good! I attended monthly board meetings (typically held at brewpub). They gave a stipend for beer while attending board meetings. It was like being paid to drink to attend a meeting. As long as the meetings didn't conflict with my class schedule, I was there.
The previous year, the board sponsored a club hop experiment. The goal was to have brewers make the same beer changing with only the final hop addition changing. The brewers didn't know what hops they would be adding either. The club asked for, and received, volunteers for the brew. The club purchased all ingredients and Sonoran Brewing Company provided yeast to everyone who showed up at their brewout. It was a great experiment to see the differences in the taste from the hops, and brewing styles in color and body of the beer.
I stole that idea and modified it to become the next years yeast experiment. We started early and put a lot of time and planning into it. We got all of the wort (pre-yeast beer) from a local brew pub, eliminating differences from individual brewing methods and styles. The yeast was provided by Dave Logsdon from Wyeast, plus we added an example of dry yeast. Another club member volunteered his garage walk-in cooler so remove fermentation differences. Through planning we eliminated most potential problems of inconsistency, thereby making yeast the only real variable.
We also spent lots of time preparing for Oktoberfest. The club used Oktoberfest as the big fundraiser for the club. It was a big party we held in a city park in Tempe. I emailed and called craft brewers from all over the country and Germany asking for donations. We asked for beer, signs, and brewing ingrediants to be used as competition prizes. We'd also get glasses and clothing for door prizes. Another task laid upon the two Brewer-at-Large members was to arrange for a band. Stevo, the other Brewer-at-Large typically arranged for his favorite band to play, like they have every other year.
I had higher aspirations! Scouring the web I found some rock band contacts, so I sent some emails. I told Stevo Partridge (known to be hording thousands of pounds of hops in the event there is a shortage), about the bands I requested information from. At this point I still didn't have anything solid as to whether they could play Oktoberfest or not, but it was fun.
I forgot all about the emails and the bands I was trying to contact, when I get a phone call from the booking manager for Cheap Trick. I had somehow found their booking manager online and sent an email. He called and told me the band was open for our date at the moment.
I exchanged information with the booking manager and saved his info. Then I sent an email to the board’s mailing list. I started slowly by telling them I had been called by Cheap Trick and had the date open for them to play Oktoberfest. They responded by sending replys telling me I was full of crap. Convinced I was serious I started to lure them into my plan them by sending the appropriate and pertinent links.
Then I started to let the air out a of the plan a little by telling the board that Cheap Trick couldn’t give a firm commitment for another couple weeks. At this point there was a chance they may be playing a much larger gig in Scottsdale the previous month. They don’t like to play the same area too frequently, avoiding overexposure. The booking manager had put our club down as tentative. The date was reserved at this point. Folks, I had tenetivly reserved Cheap Trick to play for our little fundraiser.
At this point I have the board getting excited at the possibility of getting a national act (and one of my all-time favorites) to play our Oktoberfest Festival. Then I dropped the bomb; the fee starts at fifty-thousand dollars, plus staging allowances. The cost would go up if our audience went over certain thresh-holds.
The board explained their budget for the entire festival was five-thousand bucks. I was unable to dig up any dirt on board-members fast enough to sway them from the budget (I’m sure they’re guilty of something though). The saddest email I ever had to send was when I replied to the booking manager letting him have the tentative date back.
I’m glad I didn’t have to book any of these events!
Check out their new release. The band, as a little marketing gimmick is releasing the album as an 8-track (for you kids out there, the 8-track was a briefly popular form of cassette music, though it lived on at radio stations for years after it disappeared from public use).
Cheap Trick wants you to pirate and spread the new release out for everyone, saying;
"We're kind of more worried about being ignored than being ripped off."
Indeed. This is just another way of saying that "obscurity is a bigger fear than piracy."
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