“I was born into a musical family,” explains Potlatch Foggarty. He’s got the look of a silver-haired gambler from another time. His arms are crossed, his legs resting up on the rustic table. Sitting on a dock surrounded by the sea, a watchful lighthouse and soaring seagull flank us on the left, his partner Bellaby Ballyhoo beside him.
“One of my brothers learned how to play the guitar and the three of us sang songs. That was in the 60s. We were very much into radio then,” he recalled.
Potlatch recalled that their favorite radio station sponsored a singing contest. Jumping at the opportunity, he and his brothers called the station and performed a song. Soon after, the DJ cut them off and said they were using a recording.
“We were that good. I was so upset,” he remarked, the frustration still evident. “We ended up calling the DJ back until finally he listened to us. We told him we’ll stop anytime you want. We ended up winning the prize,” he said, laughing at the memory.
He can’t remember what the prize was, but the cool part was going down to the radio station. It was a real thrill.
In high school, he was friends with free thinkers, whom he called hippies. Living in Nashville, anyone that loved music, that played the guitar, was going to be a star, or so they thought. Potlatch and his brothers auditioned in a few talent shows, but just skimmed the possibilities.
“Everyone knew somebody,” he said. “So I met a lot of talented people, a lot of guitarist and I learned to write some music.”
He decided to work for his father’s construction business, even though he was accepted into college. He felt that building was more profitable and education would have to be put on hold.
It wasn’t until he got his first IBM computer that he was able to record himself singing. It was before MP3s, and Potlatch said to open a wav file took fifteen minutes. After about five years, he was finally able to record his first song.
“I never really had an audience until I went online and started singing. Ten years before I ever went online, I was writing music and recording it constantly. There’s not a lot that I can’t do when it comes to recording, altering or editing music. I’m self taught, but I’ve been doing it for more than fifteen years now. I create a lot of my own background tracks and what I do is add my own background vocals and sing to that. It makes my voice sound deeper and richer. It’s a pretty standard industry trick. They call it the wall of sound.”
Potlatch admits that even though he lived in Nashville, Country music wasn’t for him. He was more into Led Zeppelin and all the psychedelic bands of the time. He was strictly Rock ‘n’ Roll back then. Now, he loves Country, and since he came to Second Life, he’s performing two Country gigs a week. Before Second Life he performed on PalTalk. He met a “whole lot of people” there. His friend Alex introduced him to our virtual world.
“We were just wandering around. We didn’t know anything,” he confessed. “Who do we run into but ChelseaMarie Noel and Shamrock. They were already here. We were told not to tell anyone about this place, but we told everybody. I’m a competitive person, but when it comes to singing in Second Life, we’re here to sing. I think the world of everyone. I really do.”
Bellaby said that they used the search feature and were able to locate a number of clubs. Potlatch would stand on the stage and ask Bellaby if she could hear him. They had no idea how it streamed to the audience in the beginning.
“Bellaby would say, ‘No, and there’s no one here anyway,’” Potlatch joked and they laughed recalling the memory. “I entered this contest. I made it to the semifinals. The judges told me that they loved my voice, but I looked like a noob.”
Potlatch didn’t think that mattered. He felt that only his voice should represent the artist he was. But he learned it was so much more. They also judged him for his presentation and style. That’s when he started figuring out that there’s more to performing in a virtual world than turning on a microphone and singing.
In time, Potlatch opened a venue and invited their PalTalk friends to perform there. Then he met a music lover who invited him to have a set on Saturday nights. He took it a step further inviting friends to sing there, as well.
Striker gave him is first gig at the Whiskey Go Round. Back then he sang twice a week. Potlatch took a year off from Second Life and headed to InWorldz. He and Bellaby bought their own sim and learned to build. They built a three-level furniture store, their own club, and several homes. They had a great time over there. Potlatch hopes to open the club one day in Second Life.
“It took awhile, as it always does,” he reflected. “You know, you have to learn how to stream. I’m inclined in that direction anyway. Today, I own a stream company with a partner, but when I got here, I didn’t even know what a stream was,” he admitted. “When I came here, it was 2,700L a month to have one. We’re one of the cheapest stream providers now. We have our big seller for 400L a month and if you don’t believe it, come to one of my concerts. I’m sure you know Harry Frychester. He uses our stream and most importantly we provide good service.”
Potlatch has performed recently in such SL venues as Solarwinds, The Blue Room and Smokin’ Ace’s. With a song list of about 650 Country and Rock tunes, he is sure to please. Tonight he performs live at The Blue Room, 6PM SLT.
To sample some of his music, visit Potlatch’s YouTube channel, http://www.youtube.com/user/PotlatchFoggarty. His calendar of upcoming performances can be viewed here: https://www.google.com/calendar/embed?src=potlatch.foggarty%40gmail.com&ctz=America/Los_Angeles.