Hey everyone! This is Robert Champion typing from the truly fast forward area that we like to call Chicagoland. There is a lot happening with The Sloping Companion and I haven’t sat down to give the full run down in a while so away we go! I have to be honest. Sometimes it feels like I am trying to do too much. We are making merchandise, filming bands, producing original videos, trying to invent interesting ways to raise money for The Mockingbird Foundation, producing cloudcasts, adding audio content to our radio station and trying to build as many solid relationships with other like minded people along the way.
We’ve also begun to produce our own shows in Illinois under the ELEVATE umbrella. These are proving to be very rewarding experiences. We are not generating large sums of money at this point. However, we are building an infrastructure that we hope will grow with time. This growth will hopefully capture the attention of nationally touring acts that will be interested in donating their efforts to our fund raising shows for one night of giving back to that which has given us so much over the years.
The Sloping Companion has been using some of the money from our merchandise sales and ELEVATE shows over the past few months to make investments in our infrastructure so that our shows will stand out more than your average night at the bar to see a band. Our ultimate goal is to create an experience where the senses are constantly being triggered in all areas of the venue. We are very lucky to have some great bands involved in these shows and many of these players have become good and loyal comrades in our efforts. We’ve purchased a projector and a large flat panel television with these funds to help create a multimedia experience that keeps people interested and captivated as our performances take place. We are also currently using money to help fund a lighting rig so that we will not have to pay the extra $150.00 per show that it costs to hire a professional lighting director to perform with the band. One of my luxuries that I have in my bag of tricks from being a classically trained musician is that this carries with it a natural ability to act as my own lighting director. Running lights for a band is a lot like actually playing in a band. Our hope is that we can build a lighting system to add to our multimedia experience so that sensory overload can take place and cause us all to elevate together. The first installment that we purchased with funds from our shows is a lighting truss that will hold our par cans and intelligent lights. We’ll be sure to keep you updated as we make more progress.
I’ve had the honor to be a part of the productions at The Abbey Pub in Chicago over the past few months. We have made several friends at the venue and I get the child like joy of being able to run the lighting rig for Terrapin Flyer on Wednesday nights. The wonder that comes out of that room when Doug and his ensemble are performing Grateful Dead music is essentially church for me. That may seem odd to those that have never been exposed to the ascension that takes place when music lifts one up but it is perfectly natural and complete for me. Here is a video of Terrapin Flyer from the Abbey with The Sloping Companion on lights.
Check these guys out when you get a chance. They do hit the road.
The Sloping Companion was also honored to be a part of the Rock For Autism event held at The Cubby Bear North recently. The Helping Phriendly Orchestra recreated a classic Phish performance from The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival that took place in 1996. I was lucky to have been at this actual festival when Phish played it. The Sloping Companion auctioned off a print for the event and it helped raise $80.00 for the organization. I was also happy to volunteer my time to run the lighting board for the band during their performance. We’ll be adding more footage as we move forward of some of bands around Chicago. Here is an excerpt of the performance that features a string of Phish classics both original and of the cover variety.
If I still have not convinced you that we have been busy busy busy then stay with me. We have been collaborating with some of the finest musicians and artists in the scene and have dropped a bunch of new gear for people. We recently developed two new posters that are now for sale in our store. Our ELEVATE poster and our “Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan” posters are both now available and ready to ship. “Got A Blank Space Where My Mind Should Be” resonates as this painting came to life @ ELEVATE III in Downers Grove by the hand of Jonathon “Crazy Red Beard” Blake and Jessica Bone. The painting sold for $375.00 after it was all done and over and we were so pleased with the painting that we decided to create 100 limited edition prints for you to enjoy. You can purchase the print by either clicking on our store above or by just clicking on the image below.
We also have our iconic ELEVATE graphic depicting animals found in Phish songs available as a poster print too now. You can buy it in our store by clicking at the top or just click the image and it will take you there as well.
Our “got a blank space where my mind should be” pin has been released. We took things to the next level and created nine different very limited edition variants for this design. The Sloping Companion, Jessica Bone and Crazyredbeard Productions collaborated to turn our ELEVATE event painting into a very special pin for the Phish song “Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan” and we’re excited to make it available. There are nine different variations of three varying colors. Each color offers three separate styles. One pin has two embedded red rhinestones. Another version has two white rhinestones and a third version exists without any rhinestones. We only made a small amount of each version so grab them before they go. Again, you can click on our store at the top or just click this image below to take a closer look at all the varieties. The response to this one has been great and we want to thank everyone for the awesome support as our ELEVATE events continue to grow in the Chicagoland area.
And the bus keeps rolling on in The Sloping Companion land. We have turned some of our more popular graphics into four inch diameter stickers. These are weather resistant vinyl stickers that you can put just about anywhere your imagination can take it. We’ve had a good response in Chicago with some of the local concepts but there are also stickers for a more national audience in the collection as well. Feel free to browse through the collection by clicking on the store at the top of this page or just click this sticker below to take a look at the current series!
Is that the end of this rant? The answer is a resounding no! Jamband pins are huge and people love collecting all the great designs that are out there on the Internet and at shows. The Sloping Companion took a bit of a departure and created a non jamband related pin to gear up for all the news about the Star Wars franchise moving over to Disney with talks of a bunch of new projects for the story. Our first pin to commemorate this awesome tale is taken from the first four minutes of Episode IV when the Princess inserts the hologram into R2D2 – A New Hope – You’re My Only Hope! This scene only takes place for a second but it is so iconic that we wanted to immortalize it in pin form. Moreover, we have noticed that there are not nearly enough pin designs out there for women or acknowledging the female force with the Star Wars pins that are out there so we decided to fill that gap. We created a color variety and an antique silver style. They are both available by clicking on our store at the top of the page or by clicking this picture.
Sorry….Yoda is NOT for sale
We’ve also released a Star Wars/Phish mashup pin taken from a lyric in the song “Tela” as the lyric reads “Tela…Tela…jewel of Wilson’s foul domain” etc…We released two versions of this mashup. One is a Storm Trooper and the other is Darth Vader. You have the option to buy them individually or as a pair at our store. Again, just click on the store at the top of this page or click the image below to help our infrastructure and mission grow.
THE MOCKINGBIRD FOUNDATION – It’s the night before Memorial Day in 2013 and so far The Sloping Companion has raised $1,645.00 for this great organization. We are so happy to be a part of such an important group of people that are doing important work for music education throughout the world. I have been playing music since the fourth grade and was raised in the classical tradition of music education and this cause has been something that has been near and dear to my heart for a large part of my life. Our team of creative people continue to grow and we continue to strive towards the goal of keeping the arts available for everyone because it is our soul that is at stake if we ignore the importance of music and the impact that it can have on the individual and the cultures that make up this dynamic world that we live in each and every day. You can check out all of the details of our ongoing donations by clicking on the Funds Raised section at the top of this page. We’ve got a lot more planned in the coming weeks for everyone and will be adding more cloudcasts once Phish hits the road for the Summer Tour. We’re also planning another Kickstarter campaign to ramp up another important element of our media presence.
Have a great week and stay safe out there…Take care of each other.