Singer/clever-song writer John Wesley Harding is back with his first rock album in five years, Who was Changed and Who was Dead, and an inspired marketing plan: In advance of the March 10 release, fans can purchase various packages on his website, including the "Crazy Deluxe & Personal," which, for $5,000, comes with a private concert at their home. While house gigs aren’t a new concept, Harding himself has shied away from them in the past. "There’s one guy whose house I’ve often played at in New Jersey, but I don’t go ’round looking for those kind of gigs," he says. "Like, people have asked me to play their weddings, and I have said no. I mean, I’ll be the reverend and marry you, which I’ve done a couple of times, but I’m not a party band. It wouldn’t mean very much to the rest of their family having somebody playing the acoustic guitar."
As of now, he has one confirmed date and four floating. While the rider for his upcoming public tour, Wes & Eugene’s Cabinet of Wonders with comedian Eugene Mirman and friends, is a work in progress — sample: "The dressing room must be newly painted white, and a large selection of Sharpies should be provided" — his demands for in-home performances have been finalized: "Don’t insist that I stay in your house. That won’t happen. That’s the only thing on my rider… That, and a bottle of bourbon."
Is a private John Wesley Harding concert worth $5,000? Since Harding is also an accomplished author (his novels, Misfortune and by George, were published under his given name, Wesley Stace), we asked him to pen a list of reasons why that answer is yes…
Here are 20 Reasons Why A Private Concert By Me Is Worth $5,000:
1. The price for me NOT playing a concert at your house is $10,000, and it therefore saves you $5,000.
2. Otherwise, you might have to see me in a local club or similarly disreputable establishment, and this would mean mixing with the unwashed, unvetted and underhand. Avoiding this is worth about $4,980.
3. Because you get to pick the songs — but only if they’re ones by me that I know.
4. Because a concert in your home by anyone is worth about $3,000 — even by one of your children, if you add up the money you’ve spent on their musical tuition. And I’m probably a little bit better than them.
5. Oscar Wilde said: "A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing." Don’t be a cynic. Leave that to me.