By now, seven months into this pandemic, we know that if there is one segment of the population that is suffering as much or more than others, it is musicians. With most venues closed and their ability to play live — which is their lifeblood — largely stifled, many are truly in a bad place.
But many have also seized the moment to do whatever they can to find ways to stay active, engaged and sane, and Bobby Thompson is no exception. Living On Music‘s Steve Houk talked to Thompson on this week’s episode about how he has survived, and even somewhat thrived, amidst the uncertainty that he feels is largely already part of a musician’s life.
“I think I’ve handled it like alot of us have, ups and downs and sideways,” Thompson told Houk. “Some days seem normal, and some seem strange, but that’s like the music business. It’s just a little more amplified.”
During the last few months while awaiting some kind of opening up of venues, the Arlington born-and-raised Thompson has done some productive things: he’s put together two compilation albums, started crafting what will be his new record coming out in early 2021, and amidst going through archives in his basement, found some 8mm film of him and his two sisters as kids, and used them in a video from a song that will appear on that new record.
“Well, it started with archiving cassette tapes, some stuff I’d played in the 90’s. And I knew there was some 8mm film, ya know, the old round tapes, but I couldn’t find them. But my Mom said they are definitely down there, and when I did find them I had them transferred digitally. So that was fun to see some old stuff from the 1970’s.”
Thompson took a song that is set to appear on the new record, “Someone Else’s Blues” and blended it with the 8MM childhood footage, creating a wonderful montage of blues meets youth that resonated with Thompson.
“When I tried the video editing with the old footage and the song, I just attempted it and it just worked out. You work on things and it just kinda comes together unexpectedly. I put it together, did a little bit of editing, and I’m happy with it.”
As far as playing live again, even in places like the parking lot outside Jammin Java in Vienna, Thompson is thrilled to be out in front of people after a longer than desired hiatus.
“It kinda gave you that feeling when you were just starting, you know, when you were 18 and that’s the only place you could play, a parking lot or a backyard. There were little things you didn’t know about, like the crowd or car noise. But it turned out to be really very comfortable, and a great time to just be out there.”