Kristin Hersh comes to The City to promote her latest book-and-music release “Wyatt at the Coyote Palace.” (Courtesy photo)

Kristin Hersh comes to The City to promote her latest book-and-music release “Wyatt at the Coyote Palace.” (Courtesy photo)

Kristin Hersh easily rides music biz wave

Why did Thowing Muses and 50Foot Wave anchor Kristin Hersh make her new solo release “Wyatt at the Coyote Palace” a combo pack of two CDs and a prose and poetry book?

Short answer: Because she can.

Early in her 35-year, risk-taking career, she foresaw the post-digital music-biz collapse so presciently, she seriously began exploring new avenues and formats for releasing her work. She started with her ThrowingMusic imprint in 1996, and followed with subscription services like CASH Music, as well as an interactive app for her 2007 children’s book “Toby Snax.”

She also has a tiered collective of hardcore supporters, Strange Angels, who exchange financial backing for exclusive perks.

Hersh — who played almost every instrument on “Wyatt” and appears in The City this week — admits that some of her survival methods were established by her ex-husband Billy O’Connell, whom she recently divorced after 25 years.

She calls it “the opportunity to not engage in anything superficial or shallow or even ear-candy-esque, because I’m listener supported,” she says. In the old major-label days, there was a third ear in the room at all times, she adds. “So it took me a few years to shake off that ghost and be obsessed with the material again. So now, if nothing else, I have integrity.”

That’s why the Rhode Island-bred artist traded the rights to her first solo album, 1994’s “Hips and Makers,” for Throwing Muses’ contractual freedom.

Gradually, she grew more isolated, separated from her actual fan base when touring.

“I liked that, I’m very shy,” she says. “But I noticed that when we did in-stores, the people that we met were sentient beings, almost like friends, and that’s who we were working for. It had never occurred to me that this was such a social endeavor — that you can’t lock it up in your closet and expect it to live and grow. You have to treat it more like a child.”

Her son Wyatt – high functioning on the autism spectrum — played a crucial role in her CD/book set.

As she was recording tunes such as “Detox,” “Wonderland” and “Secret Codes,” he went exploring in a nearby abandoned apartment complex that had been commandeered by a coyote pack. Watching his wide-eyed reaction to nature reminded the mother of four to reconnect with her own inner “Little Prince” child: “So I did, and I really threw myself into this project,” she says.

Through the years, Hersh has learned that fans and serious listeners are different: “Fans are kind of nutty; they’re the people you want to avoid,” she says. “But a listener treats you like a plumber. They want you to keep going, so they pay your bills. They don’t think much of you — they just want your work. And that’s perfect.”

IF YOU GO
Kristin Hersh
Where: Swedish American Hall, 2174 Market St., S.F.
When: 8:30 p.m. Dec. 3
Tickets: $22 to $25
Contact: (415) 375-3370, www.ticketfly.com50FootWaveKristin HershPop MusicThrowing MusesWyatt at the Coyote Palace

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

A view of Science Hall at the City College of San Francisco Ocean campus on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
CCSF begins search for next chancellor amid new challenges

‘It’s arguably the biggest single responsibility the board has,’ trustee says

Some people are concerned that University of California, San Francisco’s expansion at its Parnassus campus could cause an undesirable increase in the number of riders on Muni’s N-Judah line.<ins></ins>
Will UCSF’s $20 million pledge to SFMTA offset traffic woes?

An even more crowded N-Judah plus increased congestion ahead cause concern

Music producer Phil Spector looks up during his murder trial in Superior Court July 10, 2007 in Los Angeles. (Gabriel Bouys-Pool/Getty Images/TNS)
Phil Spector, visionary music producer convicted in notorious murder, dies at 81

Phil Spector, the visionary record producer who revolutionized pop music in the… Continue reading

Toni Isabella, a counselor at Ohlhoff Recovery Programs, finds helpful assistance from service dog Barker Posey.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Toni Isabella: Helping people indoors and out recover from addiction’s dark side

Counselor supports holistic, progressive approach to healing

In recognition of recent news surrounding Donald Trump, here are two peach drinks: Frozy Navel, left, and Peach Gin Fizz. (Saul Sugarman/Special to S.F. Examiner)
Impeached twice? Try these two peach cocktails

Mix these up and toast in hopes of more laughs, lighter times in 2021

Most Read