No Photographic Evidence Of Pizza With Johann Wagner

2010 August 9

Johann Wagner and I go way back.  I sold him my neighbor’s car (she had moved and gave me 1/3 of whatever I could move the car for), and we share some of the same musical friends.  We made a pizza date, and he asked if he could bring his lady along.  I said sure.

Apparently, he didn’t tell her I was coming, he just said “honey, let me take you out for pizza”.  The plan was for him to get loads of brownie points, then find me at Home Slice, invite me to sit down, and then have me “buy” the pizza, thus absolving him of actually having to pay for the pizza.  Sadly, she saw through his tricks.

So we dined alone.  I was a little late, and saw him helping a homeless guy put stuff back in his cart.  We sat down and ordered a pizza piled with veggies (artichoke hearts, black olives, fried eggplant, green peppers, mushrooms, onions and spinach), but with no cheese on his half since he’s lactose intolerant.  We had Trey as our waiter, I’ve had him a ton recently.  I said “long time, no see”.  He smiled.

Johann is one of those folk musicians who’s really good at what he does, but poorly compensated for it.  He’s discovered a way to bridge that gap: songwriting for hire.  One of his songs just got picked up by Calfornication, some TV show.  He’ll get paid every time the episode runs, anywhere in the world.

He told me the story of a famous musician friend of his.  She had just sold a shitload of records (millions and millions) and was playing a gig when in walks Tom Waits.  The Tom Waits.  After the show he comes up and says he’s a fan.  She’s honored, what musician wouldn’t be?  Then he presents her with a manila envelope with a CD and songsheet inside.  Would she mind recording this song he wrote with her in mind?  What do you say to Tom Waits?  Of course.  Well, she recorded the song on her next CD, and Tom got paid for every one printed.  He made like half a million bucks, without having to tour, record, etc.

So apparently it’s a thing musicians do.  Get other, more commercially popular musicians to record your music, let them sell the records, and get your cut.  Kris Kristofferson, a well regarded musician (and actor!  he was amazing in Lone Star) in his own right, penned some music’s greatest hits (like “Me and Bobby McGee”), once landed a helicopter in Johnny Cash’s backyard to drop off some songs since Johnny wasn’t calling him back.

Johann has thought about going up to folks with manila envelope in hand, but hasn’t quite worked up the guts yet.  But he’s going through some financial angst at the moment, so that might change.

He told a story about finishing a show and standing by his merch table, hawking CDs and chatting with fans.  A hot chick came up, complimented him on his show, acted all nervous-like, and just grabbed a CD and left.  He was more surprised than pissed off, so he let her go.  Pretty girls get to play by a different set of rules.  Luckily I bought him a pizza, and he didn’t have to guiltily abscond with it.

For some crazy reason, I forgot to take a photo of Johann with the pizza, so instead you’ll just have to enjoy a photo of my grandmother (Gran) wearing a moose hat.

Cost: $30.50
Total this year: $937.50

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2 Responses leave one →
  1. 2010 August 9
    kelly permalink

    FYI — all references to Kris Kristofferson must mention he is a Pomona graduate!

  2. 2010 August 10

    came here to leave the exact same comment as kelly b! so i’ll just say that i enjoyed the pic of grandma very much.

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