Last night, I became a more "official" kind of host for Kulak's Woodshed. The truth is I still feel very new there, and not just among the other volunteers (which we need more of, by the way.) But I also feel new to the L.A. roots songwriter scene despite the fact that I used to be a integral part of it 20 years ago.
After last weekend's debacle where I started off by talking to the camera while being totally off-mic -- as if the room had magic sound-soaking properties -- I needed something to help me focus.
Miraculously, one of the other hosts, Randall Kirby (who's very good on the air) wrote a little "how to host" form. I printed it out and read it over several times. I don't think Randall even knew about my previous debacle. Because the Woodshed is not a formal organization, but rather staffed by whoever happens to be there that night, or has committed to volunteer work in advance, it's entirely free form. We're all making it up as we go along.
At 8:00 (or within at least 10 minutes of 8:00), we go LIVE. The lights are on, the musicians are in place, totally crammed into a tiny space, and before they know it, someone's doing a countdown and they start. It can be jarring to suddenly be on television if you've not done it before. So, having a host is a good thing.
Also, we have rules. We have to keep the aisles clear, make sure people know to throw money in the bucket if get a drink out of the fridge or pour themselves a cup of coffee. Don't sit in front of a camera, etc.
Anyway, last night, like a good schoolboy, I showed Paul and Randall my folded up, printed out Rules for Hosting, and I went to the right spot, grabbed the microphone, looked into the camera and introduced the talent for the evening, Arnold McCuller.
He and his band were new to the place, but he said he'd seen it on the web. And they were fantastic. It was a great night of music, the place was packed, the emails were flying in, and I really enjoyed being down there without having to man a camera.