And no, it’s not about what’s going on the news channels. I cannot feel the urge to care about that in this moment. Selfish, perhaps. But I’ve got something else to vent about.
It’s not a toupee, by the way. It’s modern science. Check the New York Times.
No sir or ma’am or otherwise, I’m not here to preach about that.
I’m here to tell you to quit your bitching about dying local music scenes. You, with your blood-soaked hands. You hold the knife motherfuckers.
Fuck “The Club”. And fuck the jukebox too. Well, not always fuck the jukebox. But most certainly when you play the same song every Saturday night as soon as you hit just that right kind of drunk. Unless it’s Tom Jones’ “What’s New Pussycat?” Then it’s fine. You can play that over, and over again. No one will mind.
If you haven’t noticed, we live in a golden age of music. Instant fucking access around the world, plus entire libraries of past masterpieces available with a click. Genre blending in exciting and exotic ways and instrumentation of mad scientist level brilliance. All in abundance to the willing eye.
Yet here I sit today, mad as hell. Mad as hell because something personal, sure, but no less relevant. So dig, I’ve been getting together this show. Upstate-ish New York. A famous venue, just the same. They love to post on their Facebook about a rather well known photograph of some band called Ramones, or whatever.
But my beef is not with that. My beef is that I don’t see a damn thing on that, oh so important social media about our show. A local showcase. A point that a venue of even a former rock prestige should value, quite highly. Yet, nearly nothing. Might as well be nothing.
And don’t you dare think for a moment that this falls on us. Yes, we are the headlining act. And yes, we were given a necessary number to sell ourselves. Which we exceeded and shall continue to do so for this week leading up. We even provided another band when another one on the bill dropped. As it stands, the venue has gotten one band to the table. And though I wait for a response on ticket sales from the other bands, the human that speaks for the venue has at the very least strongly alluded that the show depends on our personal ticket sales for survival. Everyone seems ready to wash their hands of it, though it were cardinal sin festering about.
And that, my friends, is fucked.
Riddle me this, how in the fuck do you expect a local scene to live if you don’t stop signing death warrants? And that’s not just to the venues but I’ve started with them, so I’ll finish the thought. I’ll get to the rest of you in a minute.
A band needs a place to play. It is an audience based art, dummy. And I am aware that places that have bands need to survive in a world of capitalism. Should work for one to solve the other, right? Scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours sort of deal.
But here’s the thing. Venues like to forget what a band offers to them. It’s something unique and profound and ancient. It’s an expression that blows through all the senses in a way that few other experiences can come close to offering, and you don’t even need drugs for it. But hey, a little of some doesn’t really hurt the vibe. Too much does though, trust me.
But music is one of the few things that can be both irreplaceable and yet constantly reinventing itself. And that is something a venue cannot offer without musicians.
A cooler can serve beers. A carpet works just fine as a stage. A tree is a quite suitable bathroom for most situations. All things that a venue has are replaceable. And these days, stagnant as hell. Microphones? Speakers? Ever heard of an amphitheater? The ancient Greeks could do it, and you’re supposed to be thousands of years more advanced than them.
Which brings me to you. You are the most powerful player in all of this and yet you’d rather click about your rage and nostalgia until you get drunk enough to feel bad about life to influence a bad decision. Half the time, in the same old place. Doing the same fucking thing.
Your etiquette is all off. The curse of the golden age. The fall of Rome. Your consumption has become sad and unenthusiastic. Sure, not entirely. But I can guarantee that the people who go on and on and on about there being no good music anymore should be convicted guilty of murder.
But here’s your chance! Repent now, you heathens! You sinners! You mortals!!! Heed my words and you shall find your paradise. Ignore me, and you shall be destroyed by your own glutton and sloth.
Get off your damn phone. Unless you’re telling someone to come to the show or grandma died, put it back in your pocket. Feel the life around you, don’t retreat to your illusions of social workings. And if you’re taking a picture, it better be of the band. You’d better tag them in it, you bum.
Don’t just come for your friend’s band. Most likely, a local show will have at least two other acts. Don’t just show up and leave once your obligation is done. Your obligation extends further than you think. And don’t mentally check out either. Give each band a shot. You can be as critical as you want, if you pay attention with a healthy bit of effort. Still, don’t be a dick, bro.
You don’t have to be silent either. Unless you’re at an opera. I don’t believe anyone expects that. In fact, you should be loudly participating. But be participating. Sing, dance, cheer, clap. All good things. All things that I can promise will make a show better for you. But don’t talk loud enough for me to hear you clear from the bar to the stage. If the music gets soft, get soft with it. And sometimes, just shut the fuck up.
They worked hard on this shit for you. Don’t ask them to fit the mold of monthly distributions of early 2000’s mix CD’s that all ended up at Walmart. Don’t demand covers. Just appreciate the gift they give you. It’s new each time they play, even if it’s the same tunes as last time. You’re a different person. They’re different people. Any recording can never have both of those. And besides, there are no new albums unless there are new bands. Remember that when you flake out on a show. You’re guilty. But you can make amends. It’s the easiest thing in the world.
Besides, I’ve been told by nearly everyone who has seen us that we are a lot of fun. Even helped someone get laid. Well, two people, I suppose. Not sure how many people pleasure themselves. Kind of upset that popped into my head at all now.
Update: After reading through this whole ramble, I got word back from the venue. At least one band is pulling their weight and it seems like our efforts have gone noticed and appreciated. Though I still think they could do more, the venue is certainly not standing in our way. Which you cannot say for all venues. I’m glad I can say so for this one.