Chris Perricelli, leader of local 60s and 70s guitar rock influenced band Little Man, has been a mainstay on the Twin Cities music scene for years. Little Man released their latest album, In Between the Lions, last year.
Perricelli was one of the first local artists to do a streaming show following the cancellation of gigs due to the coronavirus. He sat down with us to discuss how he’s doing, how the Minnesota music scene is dealing with the pandemic, and more.
Hearby: How are you doing (physically, mentally, etc.)?
Chris: Feeling pretty good, just fine, normal. A little stressed under the conditions. It’s difficult to keep hearing rumors on the virus. Trying to limit myself to morning drive news. A lot of unknowns. So hard hearing friends losing their jobs.
Hearby: How has COVID-19 affected you so far?
Chris: All booked shows have been canceled or postponed. We had a tour out east and back that we’ve been working on for five months only to be canceled just under two weeks before heading out. So heartbreaking!
Hearby: How have your other musician friends been reacting to what’s going on/their loss of income?
Chris: There’s a major loss right now. I also think about the future of our beloved venues, clubs and bars that we play at and their future.
The social aspect of playing out, playing together and earning an income with that is mostly gone for the moment. Booking into the future is somewhat up in the air. Some local musicians do what they do full-time, some have jobs or had jobs and play to help make ends meet. A lot of local musicians do it for fun and don’t worry too much about getting paid. I think most of us have multiple means of income as musicians.
I myself work a low wage full-time job that is somewhat flexible, so playing music helps me actually make ends meet. My band is also my business, so I strive to make that successful in some way. Streaming shows and performances are great for the community right now, we’re still entertaining people at a time of need when people aren’t going out.
Can streaming help our income? It’s good to post a way that people can tip during livestreams, but I don’t think most of us are getting a lot of response in that way. There’s plenty out there to watch right now and it’s essentially free entertainment like live busking so it can’t be depended on.
We love to play, to share, to help in our unique way with music for the community, for the world. Music is a strong artistic element of our culture. It does bring people together; it connects us emotionally and carries with it a certain energy. Music is a part of our lives more than people know.
Minneapolis has strong support for its local music scene. There’s a ton of value in what a musician can bring for a community. So much great talent here. The thing is, as far as the local community goes, you know these musicians personally to some extent, they are approachable, they pour their passion into something that sometimes doesn’t give a lot back.
Like most artists, they do what they do because they HAVE to, there’s soul purpose and in return that soul purpose helps other people in some way. Expression connects. People identify with art personally. There’s more of a connection between the people of the community and the artists within in it. We play a role in the community that has value to people so it should be supported, and in these times especially in a big way.
Hearby: You’ve already done one live stream show, do you plan on doing any more?
Chris: Probably. I was a part of a really cool stream with local supporter Debbie Donovan where she drove me around in her car through Minneapolis as we talked and I played, it was alot of fun!(https://www.facebook.com/citygirldebbie/videos/1594951367323098/)
Hearby: Any local live stream shows coming up that you’re looking forward to?
Chris: I don’t have much time to watch but I do see them when I scroll through social media and pop in for a bit here and there.
Hearby: What other music-related things have you been doing? Have you been writing more or anything?
Chris: I’m working on songs. Wrapping things up with the cancelled tour details and beginning to reschedule that.
Hearby: What suggestions do you have for people to keep busy while on lockdown?
Chris: Call a friend. Video chat/Facetime/Zoom/Skype. Do an on-line gathering for like yoga or something or a lesson of some sort. Do things that will keep you grounded and positive. Cook. Maybe check job listings.
Have a new perspective on the time to be home, accomplish the things you say you never have the time for. Watch streaming performances of people you know. Buy a local musicians album. Read. Rest up! Get to know you partner better. Afternoon delights. If you have kids, entertain them in a family-oriented way.
Healthy isolation is so important at this time. People who are more extroverted might have a harder time with this. Being alone can be tough, being alone with your thoughts can be tough, addictions and drinking should be in check so pick up the phone if you’re having difficulties.
There’s more support and hope for every individual, more than they can imagine if they just call a friend. There’s a lot of power in reaching out no matter what mood or situation you’re in. Be a help to others in some way too.