From The Desk Of Peter Holsapple: Chickie Wah Wah

It makes sense that since Peter Holsapple has long been the go-to guy for musicians such as R.E.M., Hootie & The Blowfish, John Hiatt, Indigo Girls, the Troggs, Juliana Hatfield and too many others to name here that when he needed assistance on his first solo album in 21 years that he would turn to, well, himself. Game Day (Omnivore) is a solo record in the truest sense of the word, as the dB’s co-founder pretty much did everything himself on the LP. Holsapple will being guest editing magnetmagazine.com—for the second time—all week. Grab some beer and some pizza: It’s game day.

Holsapple: I wish Chickie Wah Wah had been around when I lived in New Orleans. It’s a superb experience playing there in a city full of superb musical experiences. What makes it special? I think that the key difference here is that the audience is first and foremost there to hear and listen to the musicians, rather than pour themselves a raucous good time. There are plenty of places you can do that in New Orleans or New Hampshire or just about anywhere. But find a good listening room, especially one with a well-matched sound system, and both player and listener are satisfied with what they hear.

I’ve played there solo and with the Continental Drifters, and I will say that the stage is not quite as comfortable for a six-piece band (I was basically beneath Russ’ cymbal); but everyone heard everyone else onstage, and in the audience, they liked what they heard—and that’s really the desired result.

I mean absolutely no disrespect to any of the other venues in the Crescent City, ones I’ve played at and others. I just think that Chickie Wah Wah is a rare and beautiful thing in a music city like New Orleans, and that natives and visitors alike can “pass” a good musical time there just digging who’s onstage and not feeling the competitive and exponential drinking/loudness urge. (I’m pretty sure they invite you out if you misbehave like that; their commitment to the musicians’ time there is remarkable.)

Next time, I’m bringing the trio!