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Los Angeles Homeless Chamber Music Society Webpage

Hi fellow homeless musicians!! After being homeless for several years, and trying various times to get back into the "normal" world (ha ha!), I decided to try and become a street musician! My instrument is a little flute I made myself from PVC pipe! Here is a running account of my adventures, plus some links about street performers!

Check out some of the interesting links below--homeless musicians and street musicians who have written about their experiences.


Update: July 4, 2002

Well, I'm still here in Tucson, still trying to avoid the doctors, ha ha! I decided I was too weak to run away, at the moment, ha ha! So I'm in my usual trough of indecision! Ha ha!


Update: June 25, 2002

I was getting sicker and weaker all through the past few months, and my Mom kept at me to go to her doctor, so I finally did, and it turns out I've got aplastic anemia. But I really can't play this medical game. So I'm taking off. If I die, I will at least be a man. If the Lord makes me better, that would be good too.


Update: March 4, 2002

I'm sort of hibernating in my apt. y'know. I've got a Casio keyboard which I practice every morning, in lieu of the flute which would probably be too much for the neighbors.

Speaking of the flute, I haven't been playing much lately. I was thinking this morning: the flute seems to have a bad rep, left over from centuries ago when "flute girls" plied their trade on the streets of the Roman Empire. They actually played the "aulus", which was some sort of reed instrument. Also, the Dionysian "orgies" were apparently accompanied by wild flute playing. Dionysius was some sort of original hippie cult leader, drawing respectable citizens (especially women) into the woods for strange rites!

So flute players on the street are up against it! There is some guy with a huge web site who thinks Judas Iscariot carried around flute reeds in his bag. I don't know where he got this information!

But read psalm 150! That's where I'm coming from!


Update: Jan. 8, 2002

After 5 years outside I'm getting a lotta of sleep in my warm apartment. Whatsa matter with you people anyway, don't you realize the great importance of street musicianship, how come you never leave a message on my message board? Playing on the streets is hard and frustrating, but these days it is necessary, what with the creeping anti-freedom forces who want to codify everything!!


Update: Dec. 20, 2001

Well folks, I guess I'm not really "homeless" anymore, since I got into an apartment last week!! Therefore, I can't address all my dear readers as "fellow homeless" any longer!!! At least for the next six months!!! Because I signed a lease!!! So I don't know where my career as a homeless musician is going!!! The walls are too thin to practice the flute in my apartment!!! Whatever!!!


Here are some interesting quotes I found in the book "The Flute", by Raymond Meylan:

"Hunters use flutes because deer like their sound. While the stag's ear is distracted by the music of one hunter it fails to notice the one who shoots the arrow."--Johannes Egidus of Zamora, c. 1275 A.D.

"When the Egyptians wish to depict the weakness of a man ensared by the bait of flattery, they draw a stag and a flutist."--Aristotle

"The sweet sound of the flute.....deceives the bird so much that it can be taken."--Brunetto Latini, c. 1265 A.D.


Update: Nov. 30, 2001

"The history of the flute in jazz is a peculiarly short story. One of the great bandleaders of the 1930s, Jimmie Lunceford, played the flute, but never in public. Wayman Carver, a saxophonist in the Chick Webb band, coubled on flute once in a while. With very rare exceptions no other flutists were heard playing jazz until the 1950s....

"It is hard to explain the late arrival on our scene of so valuable an instrument. Trumpets, trombones and clarinets were the only horns in Dixieland and New Orleans jazz. The various saxophones were gradually added during the 1920s and it was considered normal for each saxophonist to double on clarinet, but never on flute.

"By the early 1950s several jazz musicians had observed this strange and unnecessary gap in the instrumentation of the modern idiom......"-- Leonard Feather

So let's put our music into a box and label it!!!!!


Update: Nov. 25, 2001

Well, y'all, I decided to get out of southern california and spend the winter in Arizona! Before I left LA, I sat down on a bench in Westwood a couple of evenings and played my flute! Didn't make any money, but learned a lot! Mr. Q, my manager, has been giving me some good suggestions lately, along with his usual mumbo-jumbo! Now I'm going to work hard on memorizing some pieces to play, because, y'know, when I sat down in Westwood last, I just couldn't think of any pieces at all! Since the people just basically ignore you anyway, I just worked on a few blues riffs and stuff, and finally came up with a sloppy rendition of 'Danny Boy'! Maybe next time I play on the street, I'll earn a nickel or something! It's not the biggest concern right now!


Update: Nov. 9, 2001

Well, I've gone down to Venice a couple times, with my flute in my pack, but I haven't played. Maybe some day, huh!!!


Update: Nov. 2, 2001

Mr. Q wants me to go to Venice and play my flute along the boardwalk there.


Update: Oct. 20, 2001.

Well, it's been a busy time, the past three weeks! My manager, Mr. Q (not his real name), whom I thought was missing, showed up, and he seems all right! By the way, Mr. Q, what does the Q stand for? Well, I'll tell you! It doesn't stand for anything! I just made it up on the spur of the moment, because I know you don't like personal names on the web!! Ha ha!!
........On a sadder note, my dear old father died last week. I came home to Arizona to be with the family and pay my last respects.

Proverbs 16:1


Update: Oct. 1, 2001.

Hi there!!! I'm reading a biography of Mozart (by Marcia Davenport, it should be easy to find in libraries). Very engaging!! I'm learning a few things about being a professional musician!!! ....I played in the Venice drum circle yesterday. They play every Sunday afternoon on the beach! While waiting for them to start I caught some good waves, body surfing!! There were a lot of people playing drums yesterday, maybe 40 or 50, and a lot of people watching, and dancing too!! I have a wonderful polka-dot tea kettle that makes a variety of distinct sounds, and two wooden drumsticks I sawed off a broom handle. I also played my flute there yesterday!! I am determined to continue my career as a street musician!! So far I have earned a dollar and six cents as a musician. That was earned in San Francisco (see below).


Update: Sept. 18, 2001.

Hi fellow bums! I bin outa circulation! Hope yer all doin' good!



Update: September 4, 2001.

I finally sat down and put out a paper cup last Saturday, over in the Haight-Ashbury district. I made a dollar and six cents, played my flute for about a half hour before I got cold, as it was night and the fog was coming in pretty hard. I slept in Golden Gate Park Saturday night.


Update: August 29, 2001.

In case you are wondering, dear reader, what is going on here; these periodic updates are composed by me, Wolfi K. Bach, the editor of this website. I am trying, sometimes more or less, to become a street musician, although I'm not sure I have the right personality for it. I'm living in some woods in Oakland, California, at the moment. Last week I took the BART (the local regional train) to the City of San Francisco, with my sleeping bag jammed inside my daypack, hoping to stay there and really start playing on the streets. But I wandered around all day and came back to Oakland in the evening, mission unaccomplished. It just wasn't happening for me, you know. I couldn't frame that picture. I play a little PVC flute that I made myself, last year. I've been playing flutes of various kinds (including Boehm-style, of course) for 15 or 20 years. The PVC flute is very nice for a homeless person like me because it is small and light-weight and nearly indestructible. I made it to conform to my own embouchure and hands, which helped overcome some problems I had playing the standard Boehm flute (I've got thick lips and an overbite, not great for flutists). My flute is in the key of A (more or less), so it is fairly small, almost like a B-flat fife, except the holes are fairly large, making for a fairly loud sound. I try to practice every day in the morning.


Update: August 28, 2001.

Here's a nice article about a San Francisco street musician, from yesterday's Chronicle. Also, read my personal commentary about this newspaper article.


"And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, 'Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain.' So God granted him what he requested."

Psalm 33:2


Update: Aug 20, 2001.

I sent out my website to a homeless page, Mr. Q, and it didn't seem to appear in their list of homeless sites!! Should I try again???


Update: Aug 7, 2001.

Here is a message that needs to be answered:

I think your approach is too slow, enough with the bumming around, allthough I like the new pictures on the site . You had better watch out for the wild animals in lake Tahoe. What is the purpose of this site if you are not gonna send it out to anyone ? Keep buliding though, maybe one day you can build an online empire like I have done . :) Mr. Q

Thank you for your nice message, Mr. Q....What is the purpose of this site if I never send it out to anyone? Hmmm.....I suppose you have a point, Mr. Q. When I have more time I'll see if I can send it out to a few sites!


Hey! YOU PROBABLY THINK THIS IS A LOUSY SITE! AND YOU'RE RIGHT! So tell me your tale, give me some tips, some do's and don'ts, tell me some interesting stories about being a homeless musician, or wanting to

"Whatever you do, do in faith"--New Testament

"Make a joyful noise unto the Lord"--Psalm 150

"And David danced unto the Lord with all his might"--Old Testament


Hey check this out--a short biography of Harry Partch, a music man who bummed around California during the depression.



Oh, why don't I work
Like other men do?
How the hell can I work
When the skies are so blue

(Chorus)Hallelujah! I'm a bum
Hallelujah! bum again,
Hallelujah! give us a handout,
And revive us again.

Oh, I love my boss
And my boss loves me,
And that is the reason
I'm so hun-ger-y.
Hallelujah, etc.

Oh, the springtime has come
And I'm just out of jail,
Without any money,
Without any bail.
Hallelujah, etc.

I went to a house
And I knocked on the door;
A lady came out, says,
"You've been here before."
Hallelujah, etc.

I went to a house,
And I asked for some bread;
A lady ame out, says,
"The baker is dead."
Hallelujah, etc.

When spring time does come,
Oh, won't we have fun,
We'll throw up our jobs
And we'll go on the bum.
Hallelujah, etc.


Mark Weisenheimer's Museum of Busking


Here's a nice link--another homeless musician's story


Psalm 63:7

Some Practical Advice for Beginning Buskers


Interview with a Street Musician


Welcome to the World of Street Performance (Santa Monica)


Update: Aug 2, 2001.

I'm not in South Tahoe anymore. Something happened there that made me feel bad.

Update: July 27, 2001.

I'm still in South Tahoe. I've been trying to interest another homeless dude named Steve into playing some music with me maybe or something whatever, but he doesn't seem that interested. He's sort of more into looking for work (he tries to apply at someplace once every two days), getting to know some local females, and wandering around the streets of South Lake Tahoe. After my first conversation with him I thought he was a police informant, though now I'm not so sure. I was practicing my flute in the woods last night, about to retire for the night, and I here a female voice saying "that sounds really nice". Then I look up and see two blue-suited Tahoe cops! They were nice enough, didn't ticket me, just told me I couldn't camp there. (I was camped in a popular bum spot in back of Raley's near the state line.) I guess they make periodic sweeps there. I moved elsewhere. I've only seen one street musician up here, playing guitar in front of Raley's. I only saw him once. He said he'd never been bothered by the authorities for playing music up here. I don't seem to have the chutzpah right now to play in a public place. But then I'm not broke yet! Mr. Q, my manager (at least I haven't fired him yet), isn't much help. He doesn't understand my sensitive musician's temperment! He just thinks I bum around all day! He should learn a little about music management, read a book or something!


Update: July 18, 2001.

Hey, fellow homeless musicians, I'll have to put off our first meeting of the Los Angeles Homeless Chamber Music Society for a while (ha ha)! I've become a bit fiddle-footed and took the big dog up to Tahoe, where I am now camping out in some woods. Maybe I'll try to start a chapter of the Homeless Chamber Music Society up here!


Update: July 11, 2001.

My friend Mr. Q is correct, of course. How can I get any response out of this venture if I don't send it to a lot of homeless-related boards and pages. But I, Wolfi K. Bach, do things slowly or not at all!!

Update: July 2, 2001.

Well you know, my dear non-readers, that I haven't done a whole lot toward getting out there on the street and playing. Something is holding me back. I practice every morning, I go look at the street musicians in Santa Monica and Venice, I even play in the Venice drum circle once in a while. But I don't sit down and play by myself on the street. Maybe I'm not quite up to it yet?



Update: June 12, 2001. Here's an e-mail that needs answering:

Sunday 06/10/2001 1:02:11pm Name: Darrell

Comments: Right on ! Bums rule L.a. ! Are you gonna add more to this site like they do on other homeless sites ? Political , and social comment ?


Hey Darrell, I'm only one lonely homeless muscician here, but I'm workin at it!! You know, us musicians blow our political and social comments out our horns! So that's our mileau, baby, and this here webpage is like for the enablement of that, so more of us bums can get together and stand on that street corner and do it, man!!! Yeah, all right!!

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