Gregory Page, one of San Diego’s most prolific singer-songwriters, says he plans to stay put even as many artists leave town for New York and L.A. “It seems that we have an exodus. If everybody moves away, our scene will go to shit. The city needs me. It needs all of us.” Page says he is about to release his 21st album. “It’s in the spirit of old jazz, like Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong.”
He just returned from a two-month tour of Australia. Some dates were with Steve Poltz. He headlined the others. “I got to play Tasmania and other parts of Australia I had never been to before.”
Page agreed to play November 9 as part of the Acoustic Evenings at the Athenaeum series. Last week, he backed out because he found out the Athenaeum asks for a $2 cut from each CD he would sell at his show.
“The CDs cost me $6 each. It seems like [taking a cut] is such a conflict of what they stand for. The Athenaeum is such a beautiful space. I wouldn’t agree to give any venue a nickel of my CD sales. CD sales are my bread and butter. Nobody gets a cut of my lifeblood.”
The Athenaeum Music & Arts Library was La Jolla’s original public library and is now run by a nonprofit organization. Its mission statement says it is “exclusively devoted to music and art,” presenting concerts, exhibitions, and lectures.
The Acoustic Evenings series pays artists at least $50 per performance for about a half-hour set. The series has in the past featured Jack Tempchin, Mike Keneally, Eve Selis, and Robin Henkel.
“We’ve always done that with all our artists,” says Kristina Meek, the Athenaeum’s public relations director. “We take a portion of their sales to cover our costs for the cost of the person selling [CDs] and for the space. We give the artist the option to raise the cost of their CDs $2 [to cover the venue surcharge].… [Page] is the first person who has ever expressed a problem with it.… We are a nonprofit.”
The November 9 lineup at the Athenaeum is now Sara Petite, Lisa Sanders, and Chris Zach.