Scales & Ales Podcast
Mark Gibson – How To Succeed as a Touring Full-Time Musician | Tulsa Podcast
Mark Gibsons’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/MarkGibsonMusic/
Mark Gibson’s Website: www.markgibsonmusic.com
Mark Gibson’s Music: Listen & Purchase Here
- Now, you perform in a number of markets across the country, and the concerts are a ton of fun, how would you describe your music to someone who’s never been to a Mark Gibson concert?
- Some have characterized your music as soul/blues. You sometimes perform with a phenomenal 7-8 person band! How do you begin putting together all of the pieces like that?
- Mark, how long have you been playing music and how did you get into music?
- There’s an article with NewOK where you say “There started to be special shows happening with the current band lineup that’s on the live album, and I wanted to capture that magic.” What’s it like putting together a band that plays together and how do you achieve that magic?
- I’d like to talk briefly about one of your songs. One of the songs that many people will recognize from Mark Gibson is “Nothing Will Be the Same” Can you break down a little bit of this song for us?
- What are you working on right now? Can you hype up one of the songs for us?
- Now Mark, I’ve seen the songwriting process change quite a bit from musician to musician. Walk us through your songwriting process. How do you get your ideas into a fully-finished song?
- When it comes to performing, you put on an incredibly entertaining show. Where have you performed around Tulsa, and what was your favorite venue outside of Tulsa on your last tour?
- Do you have a particular show that has been a highlight for you? And Why?
- Many musicians find that one of the hardest things about being in charge of their own career is booking shows. Are you going around reaching out to venues to book shows, or have you guys reached the level where everyone is already beating down your door? Walk us through that process and any advice you have for musicians getting started.
- For other musicians or bands that are working towards achieving success like you…it’s taken a while to get to where you are now, what have you learned along your journey that’s been the most important?
- What about something that is the least important that you should not have spent time on?
- If you want the listeners to take one action as a result of listening today, what do you want them to do?
Eric Chupp: What’s up, what’s up, what’s up? My name is Eric Chupp, and we are here in the Snug at Marshall’s taproom and as always I’m joined to my right by the wonderful co-host, Marshall Morris. What’s up Marshall?
Marshall Morris: Hello.
Eric Chupp: How you doing, man?
Marshall Morris: Doing phenomenally well.
Eric Chupp: Now we got Adam Marshall, cofounder of Marshall’s Brewery over here next to us as well. What’s up, Adam?
Adam Marshall: What’s up? Thanks for having me again.
Eric Chupp: Absolutely man. And we’re super excited for our guest. Marshall, you introduced me to this guy a couple of years ago. Probably, we shot some video photo, did some audio work with him and is one of my favorite live musicians around Tulsa to come watch and play. Mark Gibson, sir. How are you doing today?
Mark Gibson: I’m doing well, thanks for having me today.
Eric Chupp: Super excited to have you on man. Like I said, Marshall introduced me to your music, you know, a long time ago, a couple of years ago probably. Maybe. What do you, how long do you think it was ago?
Marshall Morris: Well, I think the very first one, the first project that Mark and I did together, it was probably, I dunno, beginning end of 2016 maybe. Something like that.
Eric Chupp: Okay. So. Well, we want to get this thing started off, so cheers fellas. Cheers. Thank you for joining us in Snug. Let’s get ready to snuggle. Let’s get ready to snuggle. So as we were just getting prepped here, we were talking. So, Mark, kind of talk to us real quick. Just catches up to speed. You’re living in Cincinnati right now. Are you from Tulsa or where are you actually from?
Mark Gibson: Basically Broken Arrow is where I went to school—1st through 12—you know, born in California, but well, it’d spend some parts of my summers there because of the parents got divorced when I was young and so I kind of have a little bit of a background in California as well, but all intents and purposes it’s been Oklahoma.
Eric Chupp: Cool. So how long have you been up in Cincinnati now?
Mark Gibson: About a year and a half almost.
Eric Chupp: Give us some highlights, man. What’s Cincinnati like for all us Tulsa folk?
Adam Marshall: Other than us old people that remembered WKRP, Johnny fever and all that. You ever met dude?
Mark Gibson: I have not. It’s a deceivingly a beautiful. Honestly, I expected flat, you know, industrial towns like it’s beautiful. It’s got a ton of hills. It’s a river town. Um, it’s just pretty. This rounding farmlands really pretty Its got a very inclusive music scene. People were really nice and been really gracious to me since I’ve been there. And so it’s a, it’s a wonderful town.
Marshall Morris: Did you guys experience the crazy cold in Cincinnati?
Mark Gibson: I’ve gotten some of that, but it seems like every time I’m down in Tulsa that’s where it’s at
Eric Chupp: We’re recording on February 1st of 19. So like, yeah, it right now it’s like in Chicago, what the wind chill is -51 or something like that.
Adam Marshall: There are actually days on Mars where it’s warmer.
Eric Chupp: Yeah, I was looking at the temperature of Antarctica and it was like 10 degrees warmer than Chicago right now.
Mark Gibson: It’s not that bad. It’s the south western corner of Ohio, so it’s not competing with Chicago’s craziness.
Eric Chupp: That’s awesome. And that’s awesome. So, um, what’s been some of the big highlights for, uh, for your music career up there in Cincinnati? What, what have you been accomplishing? What even working on what’s going on up there while you’re there?
Mark Gibson: I think two major accomplishments. One is, um, you know, when I used to live in Tulsa, it’s such a comfortable city and I think as a musician you don’t really have to leave. You could, you know, between a playing private events and public shows you could be really busy and make a fulltime living so you get really comfortable and you don’t really ever tour. You don’t make that leap. Cincinnati put me out of my comfort zone and put me in a different part of the country a lot closer to some major markets, so it forced me to start touring on a more regular basis.
Eric Chupp: That’s cool
Mark Gibson: and I think that that’s a huge accomplishment because that’s something I’ve always wanted to do and just maybe just been scared. I didn’t know how and I’m, I’m really happy that’s going on. And then the other thing is just spending a lot of time. I have a dedicated music room now and just writing and working on the next couple of projects, so
Eric Chupp: that’s awesome man.
Mark Gibson: Accomplishing that stuff to spend on a slow down a little bit and do that. Uh, it’s crucial.
Eric Chupp: I’m just going to ask you right now, what’s the process look like when you’re trying to put together a tour? You said, you know, you’re touring a little bit more now than maybe when you were in Tulsa. What does that. Let me just reaching out to people nonstop. Do you have a list? I like it. How does that work? Walk us through that.
Mark Gibson: It’s a lot of work. It really is.
Eric Chupp: So it doesn’t just fall in your lap?
Mark Gibson: No. Yeah, I’d only have people from Chicago, you know, shooting me emails saying we’d love to book you for.
Marshall Morris: Come on over to Chicago.
Mark Gibson: Yeah. Um, so what, what it starts with is having a good enough sound and representations of that sound. You know, live video for instance, like a lot of stuff that Marshall’s done you guys have done for me is, is, is so impactful for booking so someone could see how you look and sound live what you’re about. And so that’s been huge. So you basically have to create something in your local market that’s good enough, that creates a lot of momentum, have all the content and then like be from a place and have something going and then you could kind of take that energy and put it into other markets. And so essentially what you do is you just do your research. You go to all these cities, you look above all their different venues. There’s different websites you go to as well. Sometimes you look up local listings of the bands, look at where they’re playing, where their plane. Sometimes just even on Instagram I’ll be falling like really good artists that do tour and they’ll post all their dates and all the venues and, and I’m like I’m still in. Although now that I reached out, you know, and you base it off of genre and if you’re going to be playing solo or band and you could pile this. I mean I have a spreadsheet of like I could even tell you how many states and the different venues and then you reach out and you make your notes, you know, first email was on this day so I can on that day they responded,
Eric Chupp: Marshall does this, this is amazing because this is, this is like, so this is one of the things we do as, as business coaches or business consultants is, is you know, as you’re marketing a business, it’s a lot of the same stuff. But like you don’t hear a lot of musicians talk about that
Adam Marshall: Yeah especially spreadsheets. Yeah, but the realistic picture. Yeah. Yeah. Enjoy your passionate about. Very similar what we do here. Marshall Brewing. But I mean, yeah, there are spreadsheets involved. Any business.
Eric Chupp: That’s amazing because like, uh, one of the other concepts that we teach is be a pirate, not a pioneer. So you’re looking like, oh, these guys are doing in these venues that we’ll already roles. Why reinvent it? That’s amazing.
Marshall Morris: That’s so, so you’re reaching out to these different venues. You, you send them emails, you send them videos, you said you’re sending some kind of short bio. Hey, my name is Mark Gibson. How are you marketing yourself? So for somebody who’s never heard of Mark Gibson or heard your music, how it, how are you marketing yourself and how are you selling your music?
Mark Gibson: So currently when I tour I just do it Solo, just just it’s easier, you know, and uh, so I have to rely on people just accept that you know, you, you’re needing a whole van and trailer and the just the pay and where you could play. So doing it solo, I find it’s easier to make that happen at both financially and logistically. So, um, you know, I, I market myself as being a solo guy, but his is more interesting than the average solo person because I do a lot of looping. I do play acoustic and electric, jumped back and forth, and uh, I just feel like it’s a more impactful, interesting show than the average and even me back in the day it is in the corner playing acoustic and singing songs that can be really great. But I, I put on a show even though it’s one person and I just think, you know, even though there’s a bit of a resurgence with a retro-soul music, um, it’s still something that, a bit of a novelty and to get somebody that could sing in that manner and a soul kind of bluesy way that’s kind of, I don’t know, reminiscent of Sam Cooke and all those artists, Otis Redding. Um, I think it’s something cool and unique for a lot of different venues that they don’t get that all the time. So I think it’s the uniqueness.
Marshall Morris: And so you’re not only reaching out to venues that, uh, bring in acts that are souls and blues, but part of playing soul and blues is the novelty of that. And so venues are like, oh, this is good. This isn’t something that we always have. But because it’s good, it’s novel, right? It’s not, it’s not so far outside our niche that we wouldn’t have it. It’s actually cool. Our audience would love this type of music.
Mark Gibson: Yeah.
Adam Marshall: Ostalgie at the St. Right, right.
Mark Gibson: Yeah, absolutely.
Marshall Morris: So you mentioned, you know, touring with a band poses all kinds of logistics. I mean, for anybody out there that’s listening, that is like what, how do I put together? Like how, how, how, how do you do that? You play, you perform with a seven, eight percent band that I’ve seen. It is, it’s a really fun. Um, but how do you, how do you meet those people? How do you reach out to those people? How do you like,
Eric Chupp: What pitfalls are there?
Marshall Morris: I mean, we’ve, uh, we’ve, I can’t imagine just like getting seven to eight people, like at a certain place together and we can hardly wait. We can’t get two people together at the same time, you know,
Mark Gibson: you know, I got lucky. So when I did my 2016 release, uh, I did it in Oklahoma City and I had that the drummer, Jeff Hall, I help produce the record and he had, you know, just a Rolodex of all these great musicians that he’s used and known and been friends with over the years. And so we got like a really great team together to do that record. And from that record, uh, several of the players, uh, had are now in the band and I do it, you know. So there was that connection, uh, they played on the record and so they have like a more of a, just a personal and emotional connection to it I think. And so they’re more likely to say yes when I, when I reach out, but it also just like in a, in a cool way, it built up a relationship. You know, when you’re building these songs together in the studio, you have those conversations. It is a bit of like a, a real personal, intimate thing. You know, you’re sharing your music with people and they’re adding their flavor and it, it’s, it’s a big thing of respect. And so some of the players came from that and then other players, it’s just a, like a who I currently have on drums, Chris Wiley, funny enough, I just saw he was playing drums on a video for a local band, Nightingale. And I was like, I like his style man. And so I just, I knew we had mutual friends and I reached out to him and he liked what he heard and we’ve been playing shows for like three years. Um, so it’s, you don’t contacts, you know, I’m not a big. Um, I, I definitely don’t think it’s a good idea for the most part, even though I’ve already mentioned one guy in a minute, but I’m usually just like the post, you know, like the cold craigslist ad or the Facebook looking for a basis, you know, like sit in a professional, must be willing to travel to a big thing.
Eric Chupp: Yeah, I hear ya.
Mark Gibson: So, um, those references, because nothing’s worse than like getting someone in a rehearsal space and it’s just not being a fit. Then you feel like you got to have that conversation. You know, it’s almost like a little fire somebody, even though they never had the job that’s still like dating and you’re like, I’m sorry, this is gonna work out, you know, and then it gets, someone could get hurt. So the referrals is great.
Eric Chupp: That, that leads to a question like, because I’m, I consider myself an amateur musician, right. I grew up in playing trumpet and drums and Jazz Band taught myself guitar. So Marshall and I like it. Like I said, we’d like to have fun, but like what is it like working with some of these, I will call you guys, professional musicians, right? Like, is it, you have to get with them and show them the songs over and over and over again. Do they do send them a recording and they listened to and they show up and they know it. What does that look like when you’re working with these guys?
Mark Gibson: It’s weird for me and I’m getting better at it, but uh, I’m, I’m self taught to, you know, I, I’m professional by trade but not by schooling. And so, um, with a lot of the musicians that I use, they do have a background, especially the horn players, so it could be disarming because they’ll just need the music and they’re fine. They’re like, I got this, I got this, we can do a rehearsal for you if you want to feel good about it, but they’ll just show up and hit the park, read this music. Yeah. And so that’s, I’m used to like being in a band when I was younger and we’re like hashing out the parts style, right? Yeah. You know, um, and so yeah, I think the better than musician, the quicker they could come into the fold, but I will still say even, you know, the greatest, most skilled jazz musicians or whatever, I still do like rehearsals because I feel like beyond just playing the correct notes, it builds a chemistry between the player and just personally as people start to care about each other and then you care more about the music and yeah, it’s just a better relationship and a better vibe on stage because of that.
Eric Chupp: Very cool. Well, how did you get into me? Like, how long have you been, have you been playing? What got you into music? What, you know, did you pick up a guitar and it just sparked. You’re like, hell yeah, this is my sh*t right here. This is what I’m going with a
Mark Gibson: Man I’ve been playing music for 22 years.
Eric Chupp: 24, 25. I’m guessing that’s old you are?
Mark Gibson: 36. Since I was uh, 14. Uh, I started with guitar, you know, I always actually wanted to play guitar. It’s a weird thing, like even a very small five, six years old wanted to play guitar, was really intrigued by it, but, you know, just a real shy kid didn’t feel like I could do it or you know, we were kind of tight on money back in the day as a family and it just didn’t feel like I would ever have the courage to ask for it either because I knew they weren’t cheap. And uh, so when I was 14 I was on the wrestling team and one of my buddies was like, Hey, this kid is selling these two guitars, like made in Korea, 50 bucks. And it comes with an amp, do you want to go in halvsies? And I’m like, yeah, let’s do this. So for 25 bucks that dream started and you know, his dad had a re-sauder or on electronics to make it work. Yeah. That’s amazing. But. But he did and they worked. And I know his dad’s name. Uh, uh, Joey, joey sat out. Shout out to joey. Joey Ryan. Yeah, yeah, yes. Soldering captain buzz out of there with a soldering. Uh, he uh, yeah, actually his son Patrick Ryan plays drums for a lot of bands.
Eric Chupp: Cool. Very cool. What about the vocal aspect? Because, you know, like I said, I can play guitar, I can play lead, but I am not a singer. So how did you kind of find your way into being a vocal artist as well?
Mark Gibson: Okay. So two years into playing guitar. It’s not that I was getting bored, it’s just I, I, I was starting to write songs and then it’s like, okay, you have this chord progression or this riff or whatever and okay, it’s just kind of dies at that. Like there’s nothing. And I didn’t, I wasn’t anywhere near ready to be, like collaborate or being a ban or anything. So I was like, well, I guess I’ll sing. This is just like I need to have a song and I guess I’ll try to sing and I’m sure it’s pretty terrible actually. I know it was just jump into the deep end and just start singing and, and start, you know, working on your pitch and all that stuff. But um, yeah, I think it just out of necessity to write songs.
Eric Chupp: So that was kind of just felt like that was the next step in your progression as a, as a musician.
Mark Gibson: Absolutely.
Marshall Morris: Now Mark, I had sent this, uh, this outline over to you and I was trying to ask myself, I’m like, which of these questions are going to catch him off guard or maybe which are not expecting the outline. But um, we were, we were working together on some media stuff and you were performing at soul city. I’m a shout out to Kevin and Amy. Fabulous people. And um, and you were performing there and where did you originally get the idea for the live album, the, the, you were like, Hey, I want to put out an album, we’re doing some really cool shows with a full band. Um, I wanted to capture that magic. How did that go about that? Where did that idea maybe generate for you?
Mark Gibson: Well, funny enough, you know, obviously the, the, the live record was recorded Soul City. It was actually Kevin, one of the owners because um, he, he’d gotten this new board and he’s all excited about and he’s like, Hey, you know, marketing like I could, I could record shows now, you know, I say, well that’s awesome, you know, and we kind of discussed the idea of a live show and then we recorded, I think it was like maybe 2017. It was a February show it was an indoor show, like a four piece. And there was a couple of gems out there. We did a couple videos out of it. I’m like, this is, I think this is viable. And, and the idea, because I had released a Blue Eyed Soul in 2016 and it’s great, a great record, um, for that time period. But because I started building a such great chemistry with these players, the songs started to get a lot more life I felt like. And I just got more comfortable singing them and playing them and I just, it almost, it appealed to me to get a second crack at some of these tunes and a different weights. And also I just think, you know, ultimately people will always say, even like some of the greatest artists on the planet, uh, there’ll be like, oh, the record’s great, but you got to see him live. And that appealed to me like it could I capture that magic? Could I get that live sound and put it on a record. So just all that kind of energy coming together, we just started going for it and we recorded a few shows and as Soul City and just kind of handpicked the best cuts, which was nice to some of the pressure off. We’re doing one show, one recording, all 16 songs, all the words and everything are going in and which that’s beautiful too, but I was like man, on that. Sometimes you’re like that song. It’s been better. Absolutely.
Marshall Morris: So. So you’re. So you’re putting this out and I will never forget. I will never forget that you’ve, you’ve finished the mixing and I think you had finished the mastering and you had all the cuts for the live album and we’re going and we’re starting to put together some of the different video and media for the album and there was a track on there where we’re like, this song might be the dark horse of the album and it was. Nothing Will Be The Same. Yeah. Yeah. And it sounded, I don’t know, on the live album, I just think it is awesome. It is incredible. It’s, it’s, it’s, it’s one of the best performing songs. So that just got me thinking about like how did you come up with the song and in how did that, how did the lyrics manifest it? Because I know that song writing happens a number of different ways. Sometimes it’s the melody first for sometimes it’s the lyrics first. But specifically what, what was the, what was the perfect formula or combination for that particular song?
Mark Gibson: Well, um, so that song is essentially about a being with somebody and knowing that if you actually took yourself out of the equation, the sh*t-storm is going to keep on continuing. Right? And they just realizing that you feel like so invested in it and that it’s 50% your fault, but it really isn’t. They’re going to play that narrative again with somebody else. So the concept is saying is it’s never gonna change. It’s always gonna remain the same between us and also with you, like unless you grow, you’re just going to keep on replaying the same relationship. So the verses are kind of talking like I don’t need to actually be in the fire in the house. I don’t even actually be drowning in the ocean. I could just watch it from the beach. I can watch it from the street. Like I don’t have to be involved in this relationship anymore to know that’s going to continue unless this person changes themselves. I can’t do that for them.
Marshall Morris: and so is that, is that got serious? Real quick, you’re saying this is, this is the song for the people. This is the song. Oh,
Marshall Morris: I think everyone can relate to it. How does that process work for you? Because I had the opportunity to sit in on one of your song writing workshops that you’ve done where you explain a little bit more in detail how the generation of songs happen for you and for more musicians in general. Right? Right. But maybe not specifically, but how do you write? Is it one thing first or the other thing first or, or how do you, how do you arrive at what is right for the song?
Mark Gibson: Yeah. Okay. So initially all my songs were came up with the music first and then I would sing a jibberish. Or like A. Yeah, nonsense. Cool.
Adam Marshall: Like that guy from Sigure Rose.
Mark Gibson: I created my own language. No, and it was more about the vowel sounds that the amount of syllables, the cadence, all that stuff, syntax. And then at every once in a while there’ll be like a gem of a word or phrase that would come out of that. Subconsciously I pulled that out and then I’d build from that. And within that sound, it’s very time intensive. I would put it in words that fit all the vowel sounds or the rhyming schemes that made sense with whatever phrase that I took from
Eric Chupp: this is why I suck at writing songs.
Mark Gibson: Yeah. And when it’s done right, it could be this very beautiful, smooth, natural sound.
Marshall Morris: And so you’re saying this is what you used to use to do that. You used to do this
Mark Gibson: to almost lose my mind doing it. And so I started to, um, try to dis simultaneously write the lyric, the melody and, and, and, and I got away from playing guitar all the time with it. And I started to write a lot of songs, uh, like one song in particular, Something To Cry For us on the live record and my previous studio record, um, that was just in the car coming home from a gig in Tulsa. And I just started singing that acapella and the car and, and it’s sometimes just as a, as a songwriter tape for yourself from instrument is really nice and just start singing. You’re not a kind of tied up by your, your lack of ability on an instrument, you know, because because everyone, no matter how good they are, I only know so many rhythms there. They’re comfortable doing certain changes and tempos, but if you just seeing you, I think you’re a little bit freer. And so that’s one way I write songs now I am in the car lot so I’ll just do like a voice memo and just do
Adam Marshall: I do that with ideas all the time on things. But it’s like lyrics. I mean, that’s amazing to me. The way to do it.
Mark Gibson: So I will say this to save yourself some time, uh, make a note of the title of what it is. So it’s not as voice memo 1,200. Yeah. Well, and in that point, so um, I was going back through all my voice memos the other night and I stayed up till four in the morning. There’s over thousand and, and it was insane and I essentially out of those songs probably narrowed it down to about 100 concepts.
Eric Chupp: So one out of 10.
Mark Gibson: Yeah. And then I got it down to now I’m at around 50. Um, but like, because those were just those moments captured. I have all this stuff and between now and the next big studio record I’m like, I want to release something in this year. I just don’t know what to do. And you know, I started to kind of think of the concept of like, well maybe I’ll read like every created a live record or excuse me, the live show with that record, maybe I’ll create like all these solo shows I’m doing where I’m playing acoustic and electric and has broken down just really about the song kind of vibe. Like why not put out a record like that this summer. And so the, the problem was, okay, I have a few tunes like that that will work, but I felt like I’d just be pirating from the new record, did to make this record and I didn’t want to have the double kind of song thing again with a live record. I did the previous record. Um, so I was like, I need new material and that’s when I start going back through all the memos. And it was a staggering amount of stuff. It was almost like, you know, when the gal in A Beautiful Mind comes into the room and sees all the crap. Oh my goodness, that’s what it was with all his voice memos. It was so much material that it was like, am I partially insane? Like this is, this is crazy, you know? But it was amazing because there’s all these songs that just for whatever reason, just where I’m going to make the whole record based off of all these last voice memo.
Eric Chupp: That’s awesome man. And I want to hit on something because like I think a lot of people, artists and whoever, you basically just broke the math down. It’s like one out of 20, was it maybe a gym, right. You had all of these things and so like if you’re out there you can’t just expect that everything you make up is perfect or it’s going to be great. Right. If you, if you have those false expectations, like you’re going to be sad a lot because people are not going to like everything. So like talk a little bit about like, what’s that like how do you, how do you cut your own work? You know, you come up with this thing, you think it might be your baby, but you’re like, man, this sucks. I got to get rid of this. What do you, what’s that process like?
Adam Marshall: How do you avoid smoking your own dope?
Mark Gibson: I’m so awesome. A distance. So I think the beautiful thing about listening back to some of these voice memos, some of them are, you know, this year, some of them are the last year, some of them are four years, five years ago. Okay, cool. And so having that distance from the actual creation of it, you don’t have emotional attachment when you wrote it or when a beautiful thing. I’ve actually got to be, I think the most I ever will be as far as self being a producer for my own work. You know what I mean? Because it’s like I don’t, I don’t remember this stuff. You know, I’m just kind of just judging this guy was a song. I’m just judging off the merit of the melody and the lyric. Yeah. And it’s, it’s been really nice and freeing that way. Um, I think it’s crucial to not live in dive. Every song you write, it’s crucial to not think that everything you do is going to go out. Because what I’ve noticed going through these voice memos, there’s sometimes this pattern of like writing, there’ll be like four or five similar sounding songs. And sometimes it’s like the first one was the best in, it’s the fifth one was the best. And if you didn’t allow that journey, if you just said, no, this is, this is it. I’m doing it. And if anything else comes that’s similar sound, you’re like, no, no, that sounds like this one song. I’m not going to do that. I think you need to allow yourself as an artist or a band to like hammer a sound and just get the best version of a song. It could take you five, six, seven different types of lyrics and melodies, but it’s within the same kind of scope of songwriting and vibe and energy. Just allow better versions of it.
Eric Chupp: So what I’m hearing you say is is it’s actually work for a lot of write songs,
Mark Gibson: It’s a lot of editing. It’s like being or any kind of writer, like a novelist. It’s like they don’t just like put their first. You edit on the.
Eric Chupp: What’s the goal in your first draft of everything is sh*t.
Marshall Morris: Yeah, just terrible. But there’s a couple of people but a Paul Graham, he was the guy that ran YCombinator and so that launched Airbnb, Reddit, Dropbox, all of these Silicon Valley incubator that launched that and he goes, it’s going to take seven or eight versions…Reid Hoffman who founded LinkedIn. He said if you are happy with the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late. It was like the first time that you play, it’s not going to be good. Yeah, but, but it’s the repetition in the practice that you’ve worked yourself into, which kind of leads into this question. Is there a particular song that you can remember as part we’ll say, we’ll say go back to when you were writing the song, so not the live album, but the album for that Blue Eyed Soul that you agonized over writing that, that you can remember that just you’re like, my goodness, I have the entire album. It’s good. Writing the songs and I have it here, but this particular song, well I can’t. I’ve finished this one.
Mark Gibson: Uh, well I think it was the title track that probably gave me the most trouble. Okay. You know what I mean? It was, uh, you know, I had the chorus, but the verse lyrics were just not coming. You know, even some of it got written in the studio. It was that big of a crunch time as I figure this shit out. That’s not my personality. I hate doing that, but, but it just, we ended up, you know, adding the last two songs for that record. I’m arguably lot of people like the most. It’s Something To Cry For and a Blue Eyed Soul. And um, and so we did like the tracking for both sides.
Marshall Morris: Did you just say that one, a couple of the last songs that you added, one was the title track?
Mark Gibson: Yes.
Marshall Morris: Really?
Mark Gibson: I kept on putting it off because I couldn’t finish it.
Marshall Morris: That’s amazing!
Mark Gibson: Well probably the pressure of that. Yeah. Um, you know, so when we went in and added those two songs, you know, we did the band, did their thing, you know, the rhythm tracks and all that stuff. The horns. But yeah, I was just holding off on those vocals. So last minute, you know, because I just, I couldn’t work out the lyrics and it finally happened, you know, in the studio. But yeah, it’s sometimes you kind of know what you want to say, but you can’t fit it in the melody in a way that sounds natural smooth. Um, it’s, it’s frustrating because sometimes, you know, as a writer, if you’re not having to worry about melody, if, if you’re a poet or whatever, um, you ride it, it sounds good. Awesome. But as a singer it’s like you can even sound good spoken, but the moment starts singing in that melody at that, that bpm, it just, it may not work. And so, you know, you want to say, you write lyrics that you’re proud of, you get on the mic, he starts singing and you’re like, that doesn’t sound right.
Marshall Morris: That’s, this isn’t how it should sound.
Mark Gibson: No, you know, and like with most things with songwriting and music, ultimately you’re probably trying too hard. You’re trying to be too complex. And the, the, the, the simplest, usually lyric wins, you know, because you want to like flex your intellectual muscle, right? You want to like, I’m an idiot is going to be really profoundly somebody. All this stuff. Yeah. And then it just, you just sound like you’re trying too hard. Like some artists get away with that. They have really high level lyrics and you’re like, man, that’s, that sounds highly intelligent and it flows really well, like Kudos on them. But for me, usually it’s like the simplest thing gets through. It’s just like, what’s the heart of the matter? Say that. Don’t color it too much,
Eric Chupp: Just get the point across. Sound Nice.
Marshall Morris: So, so you’re, so you’re in the process of, you’re always writing music, you’re always writing new songs. What’s it for either a upcoming project or an upcoming song that you liked performing? What? What’s a song that you are excited to be writing or working through? Like you’re in it right now that, that maybe something that we could look forward to with Mark Gibson?
Mark Gibson: Um, well, uh, there’s a tune that I’m working on called um, Those Ladies Aren’t Your Property a Ooh, and that’s going to be on the next one. I’m released this summer and it’s just, it’s a ton of tongue and cheek song about um, what’s been going on in our society and it’s just kind of like a how to, for men to not be a Douche Douche bag. Yeah. towards women, but you know, and not like an overly serious way. Um, it’s, it’s obviously a very serious topic, but it’s this kind of a poking fun at men for like, you know, I’ll just hear men talk about it. Why don’t even know how to like be around women in the workplace. I’m just saying like I don’t like I don’t understand how you do it. So it’s kind of making fun of those meant a little bit. Not, not aggressively, but, and, and speaking some truth and cheering on that cause. But I’m so that I’m excited about that. There are a few tunes on the record that are a little more socially a plugged in. Then some of my past projects, because I would say it’s fair to say that we’re all so inundated with that stuff since 2016 with no matter what side of the political fence on or whatever, we’re just, it’s just constant. So for that to kind of bleed into some of my work I think is probably natural.
Eric Chupp: A little bit natural. Right? Yeah. How’d you get into, I was going to ask you this earlier actually, but how’d you get into soul and blues? I mean like for whatever reason, you know, blues just fits for me. Like it just feels right whenever I play it or I hear it. I love blues. Right. I don’t know, like with some people hate it. Yeah. All right. So how’d you get into like this kind of soul and blues sound that you’re kind of known for?
Mark Gibson: Well, I, you know, when I initially started playing guitar I was in the world of the nineties and there was like Bush and Nirvana that you learn all these jams and all this angsty teenager stuff. But quickly, you know, probably about a year that I, I started, uh, you know, at the time there was a in Tulsa, the Star 103. And they put all the classics. I started listening to that station a lot and Darwin.
Adam Marshall: But before that it was 94.1 the hawk. There it is. And that was the classic station. The Eagle Free grunge. Yeah. Because to me the hair movement wasn’t really that great.
Eric Chupp: Come on, listen to classic. I liked it all.
Mark Gibson: And so I started getting exposed to Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton and bb King and uh, she makes on you are a big one, Buddy Guy was a big one and it just from a guitar player, like just as a novice guitar player, it, it was, it was
Eric Chupp: Stevie Ray Vaughan is my favorite of all time. I mean, I can listen to his version, a Little Wing on repeat 14 minutes at a time just over and over.
Adam Marshall: It makes you realize how much blues was in Jimi Hendrix. I mean he had just amped it up into the psychedelic experience, what it was fundamentally blues.
Mark Gibson: The riffs he did, uh, even the scale at scales that he used the pentatonic blues scale a lot. And um, but no, uh, and so I just start playing that a lot and I was doing the rifts and I actually was playing along to a, what was it, Texas flood, all that stuff. I loved it. But something happened where I started to get into, to college and you know, there was open mics and I just, I started kind of going more to the acoustic singer songwriter thing. I’m like, well, this is how. I mean I can’t just melt people’s faces. And so I got a lot more into that. And then once I graduated from university central Oklahoma, I went down to Austin, Texas. I joined a band down there for about six years. And uh, it’s called Meridian West and like I took the songwriting thing and made it full band and guitarist and singer and we kind of went the more like ambient rock, coldplay, youtube, big sweeping anthems and all that stuff, which I like that style of music. But it was always a point of contention for me because I never felt like I was being earnest with who I was, is that
Eric Chupp: There’s a key hole in your soul and blues fits right in.
Mark Gibson: And I would, I would inject, I remember this like looking back and saying I would inject blues songs every once in a while, you know, and the set. And it was always a point of contention a little bit. It was like, okay, we’ll give you two, you know, and ultimately did, it wasn’t enough for me. Um, but because, you know, I. So I got away from that, that uh, that band and I went solo and I had to start this like a three or weird transition time of like letting go of who I was becoming, who I was. And by the time I released my first solo record, a Beautifully Deconstructed in 2012 in Tulsa. I’m Bet I’ve moved back at that point. Um, I was done with that sound. Yeah. I was emotionally just done with it. Like I put it out and I put it away. And then immediately between like 2012 to 2016 just went straight. Like I’m going to write blues songs. I’m the right soul songs. I’m going full in. I’m letting go of sounding like somebody else letting go of that foundation that I had with the fan base of burning west and, and people that liked even my singer songwriter stuff, uh, in my original solo days. And just be like, this is so I’m going to be. And I know I’m going to lose some people. And I know I did, you know, the people, some people like that softer and more ambient sound that I was doing. But I love this.
Eric Chupp: And that’s what it’s all about, right? Yeah. I mean, it’s gonna put you in that place of passion where you can create something that you really love, right. Instead of just like a facade of this whatever music, right? It’s, it’s the real. It’s the real Mark Gibson right there.
Mark Gibson: It got me back to the kid that was playing guitar and with a smile on his face.
Eric Chupp: That’s awesome.
Marshall Morris: So, so you’re, you’re back in Tulsa, you release beautifully deconstructed and your launch it rave reviews, rave reviews, and you are really beginning your solo career and then really beginning to put together the full band sound. Right? And I think this is where many musicians begin to have challenges. They, they’re like, well, we have a couple of really good songs. How do we make money doing this right in this is. This is a thing that I think you have really latched onto and become good at. Okay. In that you’ve been successful in Austin, successful Tulsa, successful in Cincinnati, successful in booking tours between all the different places. You’re doing a tour this upcoming summer and so it. And so being able to do that, I think that scares a lot of musicians. And so as far as, um, maybe thinking about making money or we’re monetizing your craft, I’m monetizing what you are wanting to do full time with your career. What are the couple things that you do on a weekly basis? You’re like, I gotta do this. If I want to keep putting food on the table, what are the maybe two or three things that you, you’re like, I’m going to hold myself accountable to doing this if I want to be successful?
Mark Gibson: Uh, number one is booking. Okay. I know I, I still, you know, 90 percent, at least in my income, comes from just shows per performance shows, you know, it may be 80 percent when you, you know, incorporated the merchandise within those live shows, but you wouldn’t be selling. It wasn’t for the light show. So,
Marshall Morris: and I want to, I want to emphasize the gravity of what you just said because I think a lot of musicians, they think we’re going to put out a couple great tracks and we’re just going to distribute it and put it online for streaming. Right? Um, and uh, for, for uh, just distributing the few songs that we’ve created for through all the different mediums, whether it be streaming or selling cds are selling, vinyls are getting picked up by a label or whatever that is. They think that the content in and of itself, the song in and of itself producing one or two great tracks in and of itself is going to bring them the fame and fortune for it. That’s, that’s the work. Once we get there then it’ll get, get
Mark Gibson: That’s the beginning. Oh yeah.
Eric Chupp: Thanks for coming by Mark
Mark Gibson: That was like, that’s the most insane thing and I’ve, every artist has been guilty of that. You essentially put everything you have into whether it’s a single LP and once the time that you released that and you have a release party, you’re kind of just spent and there’s no any kind of like for thinking of, okay, we did the release. Did we do that enough press? Did we book a tour for this? We’re, where’s all the Promo? Like there should be like, you should have your record in hand like months before you actually release it. Oh. And then you set up all your promotion. You have your release, you set up a tour, I mean, beforehand to another option is your. Before you even release it, you’re submitting it to a bunch of independent labels. They may want to jump on board and sign you and release it together. But if you release something before he, uh, and then you try to reach out to these levels, I don’t know. I mean, what’s there, what’s the hook there? You know what I mean? So there’s, you basically need a huge timetable a lot longer than you think when you actually have the record in hand. But most bands, myself included in the past, it’s like you’re waiting on disc makers. It’s like your CD release party is on Saturday and your district coming out Thursday, you know what I mean? It’s, it’s, it’s real tight. And they just haven’t had time to fully promote it. And then they get it out. They put a couple links online and then it doesn’t do anything. And then they get discouraged, sometimes bands break up, sometimes they change lineups or sometimes you just really start working on the next stuff and it’s like any product you’ve got to properly, you know,
Eric Chupp: kind of market it, you can mark it.
Mark Gibson: Yeah, you do. And it. And I think so many people as, as artists take things personally and when something isn’t successful they think there’s something inherently wrong with them as an artist or the product that they put out. And it could just be something inherently wrong with the way they put things out like that.
Eric Chupp: I feel like there’s a lot of people that say, okay, I have this independent culture now with the Internet, right? Musicians for however long they had to go to somebody to, to release their music. Well cool, now I can put all my music online right now. Well guess what? The Internet is massive and people are not just going to stumble across your stuff. Right? So let’s, we’ll that goes to your point. You’ve got to be planning all of that. You got to be proactive. You have to be working that out. How much of your more recent success, you said you’ve made some mistakes in the past as we all have, right? Would you attribute to like making some type of a schedule or making sure that you’re going to hit deadlines for yourself? Because like I’ve said in the past, Marshall and I work with a business owners a lot and there’s nobody to hold you accountable if you’re a musician and you’re trying to get your aircraft out there in front of people. If you don’t do the stuff that you’re going to do, nobody’s going to slap your hand. You’re just not going to see the results.
Mark Gibson: No. Besides your little fan base, like nobody’s really that, you know, people just don’t care. Like another dude with an acoustic guitar put on record. I mean, it’s not that important, right? If you’re outside of your mom and dad, not that. So yeah, like it’s, you’re going to have to hold yourself accountable to the state is some sort of schedule. I mean, it’s tough when you’re creative because you also don’t want to like white knuckle things and then like you suck all the joy out of it and you’re like too left brained and he put, yeah, he put the record out on February first, but it suffered, you know, so there’s gotta be like some sort of balance there. But like, so, um,
Eric Chupp: that’s where drugs and alcohol come into play.
Mark Gibson: That’s all you’re worried about. Your record. Have a couple of whiskeys and you’re like, ah, sounds great. Let’s do it. It’s done. It’s done the mastering because you’re, you know, 12:00, you know, middle of the day personality be like we need to remix this thing seven times over. But yeah, you know, so just considering keeping a schedule, especially with releases a having video for like the whole, like releasing a single, you know, and some I see people like on facebook, they’ll be like, oh, check out my Soundcloud link. No one’s going to check out maybe three, you know, like you’ll release, you put all this time or this song, it’s been all this money, all this effort for like 73 plays on Soundcloud and like to make any traction in this day and age and he video released that song with video and if you don’t have the budget then you again, like the timeline.
Eric Chupp: So I’ll figure it out. Well, and it’s important for people to realize that just because you launch something and didn’t get a huge reception doesn’t mean it sucks. It doesn’t mean it’s bad. It means you’re not marketing it. Right. Yeah. Right. You got to get it out there.
Mark Gibson: Maybe here’s another option. Maybe it’s just okay. Right. It’s solid, but it’s not turning heads and that’s, that’s still good. Yeah. It’s something that build off of take that do something else. Move on. Um, so there’s that too. Like again, like I was talking about the songwriting, that could be your first version of that sound and you have four or five more steps to go until you start thinking about Kings of Leon. Like they’ve changed a lot over the years, but like there was a time period where each record that like almost coming out one year after year kept on refining their sound too. They got to a point where it’s just like boom, you know, and then they started taking left turns, but there was a while there were. They’re just build it on a sound, building on a sound, you know, and it’s kept on building a fan base.
Eric Chupp: How much of your songwriting process do you take in as far as you’re working on a song year, a couple months into it. How much do you take in the feedback from the audience? If you’re playing a new song live? Are you looking? Are you kinda trying to feel that, see how they’re reacting to it? Or are you just in the moment not really paying attention to it?
Mark Gibson: I definitely, I definitely keep that in mind, but I also have to keep in mind the environment, right? So I could play a song that I know that in my heart is solid, but if it’s in a bar that’s real chatty and I play this song they’d never heard before. I mean
Eric Chupp: Did three people hear it?
Mark Gibson: is, it’s not a standing o, you know, at the end I’m not going to say, oh, this song doesn’t have any worth. So you gotta kind of know the environment. And I think when you play a show that is more like a listening environment, that’s a little bit more indicative of maybe how people are connecting. But even that’s weird. It’s so strange with music because how many times have you heard a song or an artist and thought me two years later you’re like, I love that. Aren’t sick, are amazing. Yeah. You just, you weren’t ready for it. Movies work that way too.
Eric Chupp: That was just about to say that’s how I was with an anchorman. Know you guys remember when I walked out of the theater, I theater a 45 minutes. Me and my buddy walked out of the theater and then I watched it again in like junior college. A year later. I’m like, this is the funniest sh*t I’ve ever loved it later. That’s exactly. That’s so funny. That’s so,
Mark Gibson: Yeah, you, you can’t get caught up in that. Um, which is a kind of a point I wanted to bring up that’s really changed my life as a performer is as a business person and you know, doing your own little small business with music is truly learning to not take things personally.
Eric Chupp: Yes, your song is not, you know.
Mark Gibson: Exactly. So there’s a line that because I have an inherent need to have people like me, right, right. I have to have a fan base and people have to enjoy my music or so it’s weird because. So there is that point and you have to be open to that, but you can’t allow it to start bleeding over into your self worth. And that’s like a hard lesson that I had to learn over time. And I think that even with your songs, it’s like you sometimes, you know, you know, especially we do a full link, you have 12 songs, maybe there’ll be a couple songs on there that people won’t really love. And that’s okay. Like you love them and sometimes you got to do stuff just for you as an artist, knowing that, uh, the whole Canon that you’re releasing, there’s going to be enough for every.
Eric Chupp: Did you under. Did you feel these feelings when you were younger or is this something you had to battle through this?
Mark Gibson: Yeah, I lived and died about every song every before, like a no. And I have anxiety issues, so like that, that I’ve learned to control over the years. I don’t even know what it was when I was younger. I would just certain shows down in Austin with the band if I felt like the sound was bad or whatever, I would just shut down. Like the walls will close in a whole hour would go by, had no idea. Like what happened, where was, I don’t know. It was crazy. I can understand that. So yeah, learning to just. I mean I think it’s playing all these different markets, plane in different states, you know, like to all these random people that have never heard of me. That’s made me grow a lot. Yeah. You kind of have no choice to. Right? Yeah. You’re like, yeah, because your performance will suffer every night if you’re gauging the crowd all the time. Looking at them and I mean I’ve been crazy enough to like see people laughing and thinking, oh they laughing at me is having a good time laughing about a story or something. But you’re taking stuff so personally because
Eric Chupp: it’s easy to. When the spotlight is literally on you. Yeah. Right. You’re in front of the MIC and an instrument. It’s like, that’s, that’s cool.
Adam Marshall: One. In addition to the personal lessons kind of learned through this journey, what, what are, what are some unwritten rules of the road when you’re out there that either surprised you or you know, new artists that are trying to follow their passion would say you wish you wouldn’t, you wish you would’ve known. I mean there’s got to be. I’ve heard great road stories out there but not a lot of like, you know, hey, this really surprised me being out there on the road.
Mark Gibson: Well, I think it’s surprising how taxing it is. Like how careful you have to be with how much you drink, getting sleep and, and honoring. It’s so odd. And, and uh, somebody that maybe has a schooling on this, a more biological kind of background, but like what sitting that long in a car does to you. It’s exhausting. It’s weird like being a car for 10 hours thing that has been sent around and get up on stage and play and then you’re like, I’m exhausted. And so it’s like, it’s considering the wear and tear and reality of that being on the road and, and, and, and scheduling a for that, you know, like, yeah, it’s a, it may be enticing to sleep on someone’s couch. It’s free. You’re not, you know, or your car, which I have done before, but it’s like you sleep like hell. Your performance pays for it, you know, it’s better to like, you could find some times apartments on airbnb for like 60 or 80 bucks, you know what I mean? And you’ll sleep and somebody’s bed, but it’s a bed. It’s a bed and a and it pays off because you know, ultimately you’re there to perform well and connect with people. That’s something. Yeah.
Marshall Morris: One of the things I want to tap into is you, you, you’ve just been driving for eight hours to your next show, right? You probably played a show. Yes. You just played a show yesterday, last night. Okay. Then you’re driving to your next show and you walk into this new venue that you’ve never been before. Meeting the person who booked you for the very first time, what is that like and what do you do in that moment? That’s exactly what it is. It’s a blind date. How as an artist, how do you navigate that?
Mark Gibson: I think you just, you start performing the moment you walk into the door, not when you strapped on the guitar, like personable. You look at them in the eye, shake their hand and you just put them at ease by being approachable and hopefully that’s just the way you are naturally. But you know, we all have our anxieties or whatever and new people and you may close up. But uh, but yeah, just just put them at ease, you know, and just be, just be a professional. I mean, I think that goes a long way. What the sound check and just articulating what you need and not being too needy
Eric Chupp: or too timid probably.
Mark Gibson: Yeah. Or being too timid and just you know, and doing your thing. And uh, ultimately it’s like from the first song, you know, to sounding good. I think it puts everyone, everyone in the crowd, the owner. If it’s yes, you know, because yeah, maybe they heard some saw some live video, but this day and age, you know, maybe people, dr or whatever, but so of, in real time by yourself up on stage. Okay. This sounds good that,
Eric Chupp: that takes me to a place. I had a question here I wrote down for you and you just said be professional. Like that seems like that can get you a long ways. Right? But I remember, uh, tell me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure Marshall and I recorded some video of us all city when you were highly under the weather. Sick. Not feeling well and dude, it was crazy. It was super hot outside. It was an outdoor show, right? And you were under, you’re under the weather. You were feeling bad. But my man, I’m telling you halfway through the show, I’m sitting here behind a camera, I’m doing this stuff and I’m like, Mark is bringing it like. So when it comes off, five songs mean you were kind of alluded to it, you know, sleeping on a couch, doing whatever. But what I, when I think of you and your performances, I think of like this energy like this, this soulful blues, but you bring this passion and energy to your performance. Talk about how you get your mental mind, like your mindset ready for that showtime moment, right? Like, I’m just drenched up here. I feel like hammered sh*t. But like I’m going to freaking rock a show right now. And you did. It was awesome.
Mark Gibson: Thanks. That’s very sweet of you to say. It’s uh, you know, I, I do have a warmup process. You know, I, I hear about even famous singers that don’t really warm up. Their vocal chords are just, they just kind of go up on stage and do their thing. And I’m not, not that way. I’m kind of like a locomotive I takes me because I think I know what I gotta do is a lot like, it does take a lot of energy, takes a lot of vocal energy. The way I play guitar takes a lot of energy because I’m not like the, the, the most graceful noodler like it’s like, no, you’re getting into it in the forearms and hands and um, so I have to warm up so I do like, I hate going onstage, cold it vocally and like with your hands and fingers, he probably worst vocals, but even hands like you’ll start soul and you’re like, Ooh,
Eric Chupp: I can relate to that. It’s like, man, stubborn fingers here. This is. I’m stumbling through this right now.
Mark Gibson: And it’s amazing what just five, 10 minutes of stretching and warming up. We’ll do for email one.
Marshall Morris: Well, in, in that particular show, the footage. I remember reviewing this. That was one of the shows that I remember you being the most animated during the show. I want to ask because. Because I think there’s a difference between performing a song in playing a song. Absolutely. And so for, for you, you’re performing a song, what are the things that you’re doing differently? Because I think a lot of musicians could get up there and just like play their song and it sound good and everything, but how important is it to entertain the audience when you’re in one of these venues?
Mark Gibson: It can be the difference between having a career and not having a career, to be honest, because there’s so many people, especially with the Internet, they could get on Youtube or Instagram and sound really good. They’ll sound where they get on guitar, those sound really good with their vocals and then you get them on stage and they’re just kind of stand there and just. And they still. They still sound good, but people want to connect with you and that’s not just with literally what you’re seeing at them. They want to connect with you as a person. Your energy. They want you to say some stuff between songs every once in a while. Don’t be like the self involved artists that goes on tangents about everybody act. It could be like a short little something or observation to say something and you know, I clearly need. Still need to get a lot better at that, but it’s something to work towards because I see huge difference when I’m kinda like standing there playing a song with my eyes closed versus like being in the moment, connecting, looking at people saying stuff between songs. It just. And I think it makes the band even more comfortable because I mean at the end of the day, you are the leader like you as much as you try to be democratic. It’s in a day. It’s like, dude, this is your project. If you’re behind the mic right there, right? It’s on you. You know, unless it’s a true band, know 25, 25, 25, 25. It’s like you’re usually. There’s a leader and you’re not only leading the band with the crowd, you’re leading the energy of the band and the way they feel and if you’re uptight, they’re kind of to kind of be uptight where they’re at.
Eric Chupp: Yeah. They’re not gonna step on your toes. Right? You’re out there in front of everybody’s. They’re going to follow what you’re doing.
Marshall Morris: I’ll never forget Mark, just feeling under the weather, sweating profusely. It’s not his fault, it’s 110, so literally it was crazy. It’s humid and he is on his knees Slash style doing some guitar. So bringing in the heat and it was one of the most epic solos I’ve seen him do is amazing. You know, you remember what I’m talking about it okay. Yeah, it was, it was awesome because I was getting those tight shots on your fingers there. I Got Soul like when I did that. So no, it’s great. And you have these songs that really build, but if you build in, you just performed them so that people can hear the sound or the audio of it. Then you don’t get those moments that are like, there’s that much emotion.
Eric Chupp: You remember when Marty McFly came and played Johnny Be Good in Back to the Future. That’s like slightly better than that. Now that’s way up there. I mean, that is, that’s good stuff. Yeah. You know what I mean? It’s in beef it luckily we’ll be fine.
Mark Gibson: Trust me. Your kids are going to love it. Yeah, no,
Eric Chupp: It’s your cousin. Marvin Barry.
Mark Gibson: I think another point in these lines is, is with live shows and connecting, I think it’s getting a little older and being a little more humble and realizing all these people that are at the shifts where second city show where you’re paying money to be there. It’s a good size crowd. You realized, man, like what did it take for all these people to be here tonight?
Eric Chupp: Right. Babysitters,
Mark Gibson: babysitters planning their schedules, you know, um, in just the amount of money they’ll spend that evening, the amount of time that’s like the older I get, the more I’m sensitive about time. It’s like any, anytime you spend on something you cannot get back, that moment is gone and so someone’s going to spend two hours Friday night or Saturday night. Yeah. We with such a huge compliment. And so you know, to get back to like, why, you know, how do you bring in that energy and you know as much as you can. It’s because of that too. I don’t want to let them down. Is that, that’s amazing. I hadn’t really thought. I don’t want to let people down that come. I feel like they’re expecting something. I want to connect with them and I don’t want to let them down.
Eric Chupp: You’re a good dude. If you were out there listening to this and you know, listen to Mark Gibson, then shame on you. Shame on you.
Marshall Morris: These are, these are tips for life because they’re tips.
Eric Chupp: Really good stuff.
Marshall Morris: Um, so, so you, for any musician or independent artists that’s listening, okay, give us, give us the Mark Gibson path. What are the things that they should be doing in order to take their career to the next level? They have
Eric Chupp: Wake up, be handsome, be talented, perform.
Marshall Morris: I think you underestimated how handsome he is. He’s pretty handsome guy. But, but for, for anybody that’s listening, like how do you, what? What do they need to be doing? They need to be booking shows. They need to be working on. How do you divide up that time? What are the things that you do every week? Give me an n in maybe a couple minutes here. Just like what they need to do to be successful as somebody I would consider achieving what they want to achieve out of their career. They’re building, you’re continuing to grow. What do I need to do?
Mark Gibson: Well, I think number one is getting a certain technical ability on your instrument and your voice. Like too many songwriters, I think start to early going out and playing live before, um, you know, they could play in time and no one’s perfect. I’m not perfect. We all make mistakes and everyone’s pitchy or whatever. It’s different times. I’m not saying be perfect, I’m just saying like. There’s a certain bar there where it’s like you need to be able to hit at 90 something percent of your shows. Right, right. Um, and so getting there like practice, practice, practice, practice, practice on your instrument and your songs, your, uh, your voice. And then as far as like before you come out into the world, you need to have a very solid product. Yet it’s like, you know, I, there was times in my life, especially those transitional times was talking about going from genre to genre you still need to make a living. I was playing in bars and stuff. Was that ideal? I don’t know. Maybe not. You know, maybe I should have been spending that time, you know, just working on the craft, but ultimately like don’t bother booking shows unless you’re technically good enough to do it and that you have something to say. Your songs have something to say like, wait until there’s something to be put out. Like any business, like, wait, so you have a product, like, wait, so you have an app. You know, it’s like most artists, they can’t even explain who they are. Imagine that you’re trying to release an app and you’re like, well, what is it? Well, it’s a, a, pull it up on your phone. Here’s what you’ll do with it. What’s kind of a mix of several apps. It integrates into your daily life. Um, it’s like they don’t know because there’ll be like, oh, well, you know, I’m kind of like bluegrass. And wasn’t American too. And well we don’t really have any. We don’t define what we do really. It’s like song to song. It’s like, okay,
Marshall Morris: so, so balanced. This for me, don’t book shows until you have a product. Okay. How do you balance this? Okay with don’t release until it’s perfect because there’s a certain element of you just got to get out there and do this. Okay. So, so how do you navigate that?
Mark Gibson: Well, everyone’s timelines are different. There’s people that by the time they’re 18, they’re putting out like pro level stuff, which is insane. Um, other people. It’s not until they’re in their twenties. I think it’s trying to be objective about your process. Like you, you may be having like the release several eps before you’re worthy of a full length. You may need to have several albums out before you really hit. So I agree. I see what you’re saying as far as don’t wait so long that it’s, you know, your first draft is right one. So you know, it’s, it’s late, right? They just said earlier in the podcast, but um, but you know, so there is a learning curve. There is, you know, falling a little bit in front of people. Absolutely. But I guess where I was getting as a more dramatic, like don’t go out and play if you just don’t have your stuff together. There’s a difference between putting out an album. No, you’re not the best artist of the band that we’re, yes, you have things to learn, but that’s part of it. Putting out an album as part of that process as opposed to like not even knowing what genre you’re in, not having the technical abilities to play and seeing a, to a level that is, I think, doable for people to really enjoy it.
Eric Chupp: It’s kind of that balance of like everybody has a different talent level and everybody has to work a different amount. Right. So like wherever you fall on that, how important would you say it is to find like a group of people that give you honest feedback? If you’re a musician that’s getting started at this, oh,
Mark Gibson: that’s super crucial, but you got to be willing to, uh, to receive it here. It, yeah, there’s been times in my life where I wasn’t, I mean it was just too emotionally involved and, and, and, and then getting wrapping my identity up with the song. So then if someone, quote unquote attacks your song, which they’re not, but they’re just giving some sort of constructive feedback, you feel like they’re attacking, you personally, just don’t receive it.
Eric Chupp: I mean, that’s such a good life lesson in general, right? Relationship, friendship, everything, right? Like take, take, uh, take feedback and do with it what you feel like you should.
Mark Gibson: Yeah, absolutely. And so, I mean, that’s huge. Uh, it’ll make you grow whether it’s other musicians, a producer, engineer, um, they give you a different. It’s almost like we all have such blind spots of our overall image as a person, as he didn’t
Eric Chupp: want to look at yourself. Like, you suck. You don’t feel good. Right?
Mark Gibson: But when you start taking more like the growth mindset versus the fixed, when you take a growth mindset, Oh yes, baby speaking our language, then you start realizing I’m not failing. This is I’m learning, right? And this is going to. Their criticism is going to make me better. Yeah. And, and the cool thing, you start craving it because you’re like, this is gonna make me a better.
Eric Chupp: And if you’re proactive about this, then you can decide whether or not you want to accept their criticism. Right? It doesn’t have to be a shield. Oh, I’ll let that criticism in, but I hear what this person’s saying and that’s not what I’m going for. So I’m not going to listen to that criticism, but I’ll listen to this other criticisms. Does that make sense? Like, once you’re comfortable with yourself, you don’t have to accept a blanket criticisms from everybody. Cool. You like Metallica and I don’t play that band, that stuff. So like I hear what you’re saying, but I’m not trying to. Wow you. Yes. Right. And that’s a huge thing for anything that you’re doing, let alone a music, right?
Mark Gibson: Yeah, absolutely.
Marshall Morris: Um, I got to quit. I got a question for you. Is Far is like the things that people should be doing. You’ve outlined some of those things that they need to be doing. What, what are, what are a couple of things that you spend a lot of time on that had no value to your ongoing career?
Mark Gibson: So, you know, backing up just a little bit. Uh, when I said, you know, first have like a really solid product, solid product, get out there with intention booking shows, with attention, um, and having a plan. We talked about, you know, having a true plan. Like what, what is your, what are your goals? Like are you trying to get signed by independent label, tour nationally, trying to go across seas? Are you just trying to be like the, the local guy that every once in a while does a weekend warrior thing. Like what do you, what do, what do you want you, do you want to be more of a songwriter? Do you want to be more performer? Do you want to be both? Outline those goals? Uh, and all the micro steps to get there and then being open to reevaluate and changing things if things aren’t working. Um, but uh, you’re saying like something I, I focused on, I think uh, I’ve been to obsessive in the studio, you know, worried about any kind of wart, you know, showing up, popping up, rearing its ugly head.
Eric Chupp: It’s like behind your knee where nobody will ever see it, but you’re still freaking out of
Mark Gibson: vocal. It’s like, you know, I’m flat on a word or something and freaking out about that, or just or just thinking that that guitar tone isn’t good enough for the mix isn’t right. I’m rethinking about the tempo and wanting to retract the song faster, just obsessing and slowing things down and spending more money and sucking some of the life and soul of the music. I’m definitely been guilty of that.
Eric Chupp: We talked about this a lot. Paralysis by analysis. Yes. That’s kind of what you’re talking about. Absolutely. Thinking about it over and over and over when it’s like nobody else is gonna notice literally, literally nobody else. Right?
Mark Gibson: Yeah, and the way I’ve been starting to break away from that as the same thing, constantly talking about not taking things personally and not wrapping. My whole identity with this music is one mistake. This one. Yeah, because I was projecting that onto myself. Well, I don’t. I’m not worthy. I’m not good enough, and if people hear this, they’re going to think that I am not good enough. And putting that will kind of weight into your music. It’s just wrong. It’s not like if you really care about your music, you really care about what you’re doing, you won’t do that to it because it’s not. It’s responsibility that’s not their songs responsibility, that’s a therapist or yourself too much on your music there, pal. So learning that and being more intentional shows, not just booking everything to make good money, not playing gigs that are soul sucking and not playing gigs appeared as yelling over you. Getting better about that and learning to say no, I think is another.
Eric Chupp: That’s a good. Like we talked Marshall and I talk about that with our clients a lot is the poverty mentality. I’ve got to do everything right. Most musicians have that advantage. When you’re living in poverty, it’s easy to have a pop.
Mark Gibson: It’s going to be awesome. I want to make you know, four or five grand and I never get to do that.
Eric Chupp: You play a show that weighs on you for five months, whatever. It wasn’t the right venue, it wasn’t very crowded, it wasn’t whatever. And now you’re like, your confidence was shattered for a little bit when maybe you should’ve just said no.
Mark Gibson: Or You can get you play 20 shows your water down and half of them you’re tired and you don’t sound that great
Marshall Morris: But I imagine that you’re being very strategic and booking your tours that you don’t book too many shows. I mean, I’m sure there’s a lot of shows that you could do that, that you. You’re saying no to
Mark Gibson: know. He do, you know, in La that’s selecting, you know, when I do the research, you find five to 10 venues that you think you’d be really good fit for. You just weed out all this stuff you’re like, I think I get a gig there, but I probably hate my life. I did.
Marshall Morris: Yeah. I hear.
Mark Gibson: What are you working on right now? What are you most excited about? I’m most excited about doing a little solo record. Like when I say Solo, truly solo, like just mostly just guitar and vocals made out of a few embellishments here and there and just get that out as soon as possible. Just a real simple thing between now and the next, a studio full band record, just getting out new material, you know, the voice memos I was talking about earlier, I’m getting those out and just getting really good, uh, emotional like great takes just broken down and just get something to people that when they come to show and it’s a solo show, they could take that home with them.
Mark Gibson: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Well, okay, well we’re going to quit spending so much of your time here. So I want to go around the table one more time. Marshall, want to start with you then Adam will kick it to you for one last round of questions and then we’re going to let Mark get outta here. Right? We’ve been holding him down for a minute. So, Marshall, do you have any last questions?
Marshall Morris: I mean, anybody that’s listening to the podcast here, what do you want them to do as a result of having listened to the podcast to check out mark Gibson, what do you want them to do? This is, I’m giving you carte blanche to self promote here. I’m actually more than that. I’m encouraging you to self promote because you’re a very humble man and so I want to encourage you to, to, to hype yourself up here because. Because I’ve seen Mark, I’ve seen Mark, I’ve been to the shows. I’ve been to a lot of shows and filmed a lot. I’ve seen the show up on my computer for a long time, weeks on end. And so, uh, it’s, it’s really a phenomenal thing. It’s a lot of fun. It’s not just a show where you’re like, man, he’s impressive. He’s a talent, but more than that is, it’s an entertaining show. And so that one, I don’t think, I don’t think every show is like that. I think there’s a band coming to town here coming up next month, a St Paul and the Broken Bones phenomenal in. I haven’t seen him live yet. I love their music. I’ve seen videos. And so I’m excited to see that. But that I would say that your shows are in the same vein of being entertaining and a big talent. So, so what would you encourage everybody to do to check out more about Mark Gibson?
Mark Gibson: Well, I guess for starters, markgibsonmusic.com,
Eric Chupp: markgibsonmusic.com
Mark Gibson: you liked me on facebook markups and music gives some music on Facebook. Yes, yes, yes. And then, uh, in mgibsonmusic on Instagram, it gives them music yet that’s Instagram. You know, just if once you fall on a cell phone number, uh, um, you know, if you go on those, those different pages and you’re following my tour dates and stuff, just, you know, come out to show if you can and check it out for yourself.
Eric Chupp: Can we promise that you will high five people if they say they were on the snug cast?
Mark Gibson: Yes. I will give free high fives, high fives, anybody that from now on. So the end of time.
Marshall Morris: I don’t know if you’re, I don’t know if you’re allowed to share this or not, but if I felt compelled to buy you a drink at the show, what could I buy you? Am I allowed? Am
Adam Marshall: You just stole my question.
Mark Gibson: I would do a, usually just some bourbon
Eric Chupp: Classic Mark Gibson right there. Slick ass over here.
Mark Gibson: The beer. Uh, the darker, the better, you know, apparel style something. Yeah. What’d you just enjoy for Marshall’s at the tap room here? You’re supposed to stout. What was the name of the building stones? Very tasty.
Eric Chupp: That glass is empty over there. I see that glass is empty. So Adam, once you got brother,
Adam Marshall: you know, just just kind of a, a part of curiosity out there. Uh, you know, you talked about being in Austin and leaving kind of a style of music behind to go the path that you’re on here. Are there any styles that you may be seeing the future that you might like to get a get a crack at?
Mark Gibson: Well this is, um, so I, I’ve covered belly before, you know, a couple things. So listening to all these, these memos, I hear a little bit of Gospel, a little bit of Gossip Gospel in almost like old style folksy country in the mix of that, you know, like just a little bit more of those shuffle grooves. And so like a record like that could be interesting. They might even be a couple songs on this next record that pop up like that. Cool. I had this weird concept that I want to do in the future, a complete side project. It’s called Alex and the Airships. Okay. And it’s a straight eighties inspired, so it’d be like synth and all that. And it’s actually the lyrical content. I grew up playing a game called Final Fantasy, an RPG game. And so the lyrical content is based off the storylines of those games. Total concept. Yeah. It’s just straight. Yeah.
Eric Chupp: That’s mixed marketing right there.
Adam Marshall: That’s a way different. It’ll be a different name every, you know the name Chris Gaines was already taken.
Mark Gibson: Alex & The Airships is a big kind of thing in those games. And then Alexander is my middle name. So. Yeah, that’s a weird offbeat thing in the air ships. Cool. Now I’m excited to hear whatever the hell you’re talking about.
Eric Chupp: Alright, I got one more question for you as well Mark. Let’s say that you could travel back in time 10, 15 years ago. I can talk to yourself and have a beer with yourself. Have lunch with yourself. What advice or what criticism, what would you tell yourself back then as far as like, you know, I’m back here, I’ve seen the future, my man, you need to do this or not do this. What would you tell your young self if you could go back in time?
Mark Gibson: I think maybe three things. One would be stop taking yourself so seriously. Okay. And your music so seriously, like just lighten up. Whatever you’re live and die by right now you’re going to just progress and move forward.
Eric Chupp: The day goes on, right?
Mark Gibson: Yeah, and then I would say number two is I’m a, be honest with yourself much more quickly, you know, like don’t take a decade, like finally be like, Hey, this is the artist who I am like, quit lying to yourself like what’s saying? Like, no, this is the sound that people like me for. This is what I think I could sound good at. This has already been successful. It’s because I sound like U2 or whoever it was. So I’m going to sound like that. And it’s a safer path. Like don’t be safe. Be Yourself just more quickly, you know, that I don’t have regrets because it is what it is. You, you’re left with, Yeah. So it’s stupid. It’s a wasted emotion. But, but I’d say like we’re just hypothetical as you could travel back in time. And then the last thing I’d say the third thing would be um, just give up perfectionism. Like just, it’s just, it’s not attainable, it’s sucks the soul out of your music and work on your insecurities and don’t try to make your music be some sort of vessel for that.
Eric Chupp: The gospel of Mark Gibson. That’s awesome.
Adam Marshall: That’s amazing because you know, you’re, you’re a craftsperson, you know, just kinda like so many other people in whatever business when you give up the perfection and you focus more on the authenticity because that’s what this is about. And that’s what I preach a lot of people. I mean, it’s authenticity, not perfection. And that’s we’re here to share.
Eric Chupp: Yeah, that’s cool man. Well that’s very good. Very good. Well Mark, thank you. Thank you for coming. Marshall’s Taproom and the Snug Cast with us and doing a little snuggle session. So let’s do a cheers. Cheers, brother. Appreciate you coming by and it was a lot of fun and appreciate all the insights. So I appreciate you guys. Thank you for listening in.