Friday, January 9, 2009

Geri X's novel way of accumulating fans

Posted By on Fri, Jan 9, 2009 at 2:12 PM

St. Pete-based singer/songwriter Geri X will release her first album on a label next week. It's called Anthems of a Mended Heart (24 Hour Service Station), and it's definitely worth your while. She'll be on the cover of next week's CL. She really opened up about her life and her past, which has long been open to speculation and rumor.

click to enlarge geri-x.jpg

I sat with Geri X and her bassist/boyfriend Greg Roteik in the small courtyard of their home. Our interview ranged over a wide array of topics. I got on my usual rant about how the Tampa Bay music scene, while it has a lot of terrific acts, can never seem to reach out past the people who are already connected to the scene.

It's not the musicians' fault, in my opinion. The rank-and-file folk who live around here just aren't dialed in to going out and seeing live music by locally based acts. The people who live three doors down from me, for instance, (whom I barely know) -- I'm all but certain they're not planning to see what's shaking at New World this weekend.

This is a dinner-and-a-movie town, or a drop-a-hundred-on-The-Eagles town.

Geri X largely agreed with me in this matter, but she has her own way of reaching out beyond the scene. You might even say it's novel:

"We play a lot of restaurants. The reason we have fans from 13 years old to 80 years old is because we go to the places where they are. When you play a restaurant you're playing to people who would never set foot in a venue to come and see you play. But once they get hooked, they buy your CD and come out to your shows.

So it's not a matter of the crowds coming to us, but us going to the crowds. My favorite venues to play are restaurants. You start out being background music, but at the end of the evening they might buy a CD or drop 20 for a tip. We collect a lot of fans that are in their 40s and 50s.

If you can endure the cold shoulder you might get at first, it usually works out. Besides, if out of a group of 10 people, two people like me, I'm satisfied. I don't like everybody's music and I'm OK with people not liking my music."

Geri X has played the Fly and the Grape in Tampa, 516 Burns in Sarasota and others, and she has no plans to cut restaurants out of her performing schedule.

Geri X's Record Release show will not be at a restaurant, however. She and her band will play the State Theatre on Sat., Jan. 17 with Have Gun, Will Travel, Will Quinlan and The Beauvilles. It starts at 8 and costs $8. Be there.

Keep an eye out for a multi-media package in next week's Loaf and on this site.

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