Ever since I started dating my wife (maybe even before that when we were working in the same office and trying to keep our romance a secret) I have been familiarizing myself with Afrikaans culture, especially music. One of the musicians that my wife really loves is Jan Blohm so naturally I have shown interest towards him and have gone to a number of his shows.
For my wife’s birthday this weekend, we planned to go watch a show called the BlohmTrein, a collaboration with Jan Blohm and Neil Nachtrein. We invited friends and headed off to the Asbos Teater in Lynnwood. When we got there we all took our seats only to find a Jan Blohm, too drunk to perform. He tried really hard, but similarly to a drunk trying to order a King Steers burger at the Macdonalds drive through at 4am, it didn’t work. After the second song he called for a smoke break and went for a quick nap in the car. Imagine the horror. I saw two older couples dash out and they never came back. This left a rather flabbergasted Neil Nachtrein to do the whole show on his own.
Neil is a great singer, with a gnarl that would make him an ideal singer in a Pearl Jam tribute band. He has a love for Springsteen and played two covers, so naturally I loved it. He was just very underprepared and I don’t blame him. Eventually Jan summoned the strength to come back and tried to play his well-known Breyton se Brief, with little success. After the show he had no problem having a few drinks with the friends at the birthday and offering to kiss my wife…on the lips. He even had the audacity to ask my permission to do so. What a muppet?
We have always spoken about the Jan Blohm experience and what it entails. The man is well renowned for having demons, something quite normal in rock n roll. Jan has had his problems with the bottle and has struggled for many years. I saw him play Café Barcelona while he was on his journey to sobriety and he was fantastic. He’s a great guitarist and an all-round entertainer.
I always like to look at interactions from a brand and business point of view. Looking at what could be the future, I’m not sure that I would ask Jan Blohm to play my venue. It would be a gamble that I wouldn’t be willing to take. We talk about people becoming brands and I think his brand, as well as his liver, have been damaged lately. No confidence in his brand will ultimately limit the shows he plays and alienate his album-buying fans.
Jan, I hope you read this at some point. You are a great musician and I promise to come watch another of your shows, but only if you promise to never try kiss my wife on the mouth.