The most brilliant live performer you may have never heard of-Peter Himmelman.

by Kevin on December 17, 2013

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Peter-Himmelman2In 1994, I toured 70 US cities with Peter Himmelman. He is the most brilliant live performer I’ve ever seen. He has the quick wit and spontaneity of Robin Williams, and his music has strains of Elvis Costello, Tom Petty, and Bob Dylan. He’s also Bob Dylan’s son-in-law, but that has no real consequence in his demeanor……just an aside.
I knew Peter’s name from working at Cat’s Records on West End in Nashville. We sold quiet a few of his records. When Bob Garcia from A&M mentioned me opening his tour I was all for it.
So, I opened up for his “Skin” tour. Basically, I had 70 days to learn from a master at connecting with an audience. I saw him get 300 people to lie on the floor and do breathing exercises during the show at the WOW Music Hall in Eugene, Oregon………………I saw him get at least 500 people out of 2000, at the Vic Theatre in Chicago, follow him out the door and through the city streets to an all-night cafe after a couple asked him if they could take him to breakfast. He said “yeah, if you will take me and EVERYONE else here”………..
I watched his show every night. Learning.
So, jump 20 years. I’m still watching.
A few months ago he came out with a kickstarter campaign to put out his new cd. I had been wanting to do exactly the same thing, but was too afraid of failing.
Being afraid of failure has been a constant theme in my creative life. I’ve sat on good songs for years…….unfinished, because if I finished them then I would be “judged”…………I’ve sat on good ideas for years…….i’m getting too old to do that now.
I watched how he conducted the campaign, shared it for him on my Facebook wall, tweeted about it………rooted for him.
Then he shared a video that put me over the edge.
His son, Isaac, interviews him. It was poignant to me because I have a son. There are times when I struggle with being a creative person that sometimes has to leave home for stretches of time to take my “art” into the world, and sometimes i’m the strange man that wears funny clothes meandering around the house, struggling with juggling dad stuff with being the “artist”……it hit home.
The obvious love and respect Isaac has for his father, in all his falterings…….was very cool to watch. Suddenly, Peter Himmelman was more human. I kind of figured that Peter had it ALL figured out, but with this interview……I could see he struggled with some of the same demons that I struggle with. (Spoiler alert-I cannot find the video of Isaac interviewing Peter…..bums me out. Inspirational. I’m sure it will appear again, but they’ve taken it down it seems)
So, this interchange between father and son put me over the edge. I HAD to go ahead and push the button on the Indiegogo campaign “Giving Wings to Some Comfort”………I knew that I couldn’t move forward as an artist until I gave “Some Comfort” a chance.
I’m 24 hours away from the end of the campaign, and am so thankful that I finally pushed the button on it. I’m 27% funded…….far short of the goal, but happy. I’m a few house concerts away from reaching the goal. It could happen. Either way, I can move on now. I have Peter Himmelman to thank for that.
He was open and honest about his life…….and that gave me strength.
In the absence of the interview video……i’ll leave you with “Impermanent Things” from the Strength to Strength cd.

This year i’m going to move forward without fear………try it for one year and see what happens…………thanks for everyone who has contributed to the campaign.

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