Across the station is Eric Fournier, another young man with an acoustic guitar. Like Chung, he says he's earning his living through busking. It's no hobby; it's his day job. He plays in the station five days a week. He's even got regulars; there's a man who often stops by to listen after picking his daughter up from daycare.

"I remember when she was so small she couldn't even walk; she was a baby when I first started busking," Fournier says. "Every time I see him, he always waits with her in the stroller. Now she's getting so big, she walks around and jams and stuff. He always stops, and he always tips me."

Across the station, Chung launches back into one of his money-making covers, a rendition of "The Weight" by Bob Dylan. He admits that he sometimes drags a song out as long as possible: "I kind of feel like a dick to the attendants, because for my songs that will bring in money, I'll repeat verses. I'll drag on that song for another two minutes!" Earlier, someone tipped Fournier with a book about Bob Dylan, but he says Dylan isn't really a role model for him.

As Fournier and Chung play on opposite sides of the station, within earshot of each other, it seems like they're each other's competition. But the two get along just fine. Fournier even tipped Chung off to his favorite spot in the station, a corner that has the entrance on one side and the Muni ticket machines on the other. With commuters rushing down the stairs on his left and lining up to buy tickets on his right, it's the perfect spot to win tips. Whoever arrives first gets to play there.

On his way out of the station, Fournier tips Chung a dollar and says, "Bye, buddy." Chung will stick around for a little while longer — he's trying to save up enough money for a minivan, so he can take his act on tour.

But the mark of a good day isn't necessarily a large tip — although that certainly helps. "Occasionally, I'll get a couple that listens," Chung says. "Occasionally, I'll get a small crowd. And then sometimes — sometimes — they dance." K.C.

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8 comments
Samantha Hill
Samantha Hill

I already read this in print last week, Joey, you're late, get on a plane already.

Ruth Gottstein
Ruth Gottstein

I sure wish someone would come and play the accordion for me.

lorenzogempy75
lorenzogempy75

Craig Ventresco is widely regarded as one of the best guitarists in the world.  I used to hear him in the Haight 20 years ago...  He was just a kid; he blew everyone's mind.  Then he showed up in the New York music scene, years later.  He's famous; he plays all over the place.  You make him sound like a loser.

sfdavidkaye2
sfdavidkaye2

You don't know ANYTHING about being a musician, do you, Joe?  Your article is INSULTING.  But then you're working for, what, pennies a word as an indie hack writer?  

mike3k
mike3k

I enjoy most street musicians, but I really *HATE* that guy who plays the drums in front of Old Navy, as well as the guy who drums on buckets in front of the ferry building. They're just plain loud & obnoxious and drown out the other musicians that I actually want to hear. I would be very happy to see them gone.

 

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