Reverend Horton Heat Uses Virtual Shows To Connect With More Fans | Make
Instead of coming to blame his webcam like many of us in recent months, musician Jim Heath adopted it.
At the end of March, when it became clear that COVID-19 would prevent him from touring anytime soon, Heath (whose stage name and band name is Rev. Horton Heat), began broadcasting live from his home studio. in Dallas alongside bassist Jimbo Wallace. The goal was to make up some of the lost income from canceled concerts, and the duo quickly gained a small but loyal following. Live broadcasts continued weekly on stageit.com, where the couple – who named themselves The Jimbos – can receive virtual counseling.
“Like my entire career, I’m driven by desperation so we had to do something quickly because we had all these big tours coming up that we had spent tens of thousands of dollars on products,” Heath said. . “We had to get this money back somehow.”
The first livestream was a huge success, said Heath, but now that outdoor shows and a few smaller indoor gigs are back (including a Rev. Horton Heat concert on September 18 at Lincoln), their audiences and their tips have dropped. However, Heath has never felt so connected to his fans.
“It slows down the bleeding, which of course has been excessive due to the loss of gigs,” said Heath. “And (online) I can chat with the fans, so I can actually connect with the fans almost better than at a live show, because not all of these people are yelling stuff at me all at once… it’s a whole different world. “
Because his drummer is back home in Wisconsin, avoiding traveling out of caution, Heath said these two livestreams and the first socially distant shows he did this summer are very similar to the solo performances he started there. about five years ago. When it’s just him, his guitar, and Wallace, Heath can provide a more intimate experience that involves sharing stories and thoughts between songs.
Before the pandemic, when playing with the whole band, Heath said crowds always expected a high-energy rock show, so he rarely played his slower, smoother material. The smaller the show, the more it now sees a demand for introspective songs and a performance with a personal touch. This inner look at his music and, therefore, his life, is something he believes fans will continue to dream of long after traditional touring returns.
These weekly virtual shows – now every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday – have also helped Heath reconnect with some of his old music, as he tries to meet all the online requests he receives from members of the public.
“The livestream has made us do a new set list every time we do a show, so it’s really tough,” said Heath. “We managed to play 140 different songs on our livestream, and I’ve never worked so hard in my life, so it’s kind of a blessing. I can say that we are sort of better players after all of this, relearning old songs and new songs. When we go on tour, we play the same set list for up to six months, and the good thing is that we are very tight on each of the songs.
As difficult as it was to adjust, Heath said he felt lucky because Rev. Horton Heat is not Pearl Jam. Unlike bands playing arena tours, he can regularly book shows at small restaurants and theaters right now, which is gratifying for an artist who owes much of his success to the venues that gave him a stage at the in recent decades.
“A lot of sites have to scramble not to close their doors, but some great, beautiful historic sites are now gone,” he said. “A lot of them are also friends of mine who have done a lot for my career, and seeing them completely bankrupt is just plain sad. Hope that helps (The Lincoln). I know it helps us to come. make a concert.
Heath said it had been at least five or six years since he played Cheyenne, so he’s excited to be returning to a truly Western town that reminds him of audiences in his native Texas. One thing that never changes, no matter where he plays, is the kind of personality his music attracts.
“One of my observations after doing this for so many years is that a small town in Wyoming or Georgia or Alabama has people as cool as people in New York or Los Angeles. there just aren’t that many.
Niki kottmann is the feature editor of the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. She can be reached at [email protected] or 307-633-3135. Follow her on Twitter at @niki_mariee.