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by Pril Stevenson
I don't know why we keep at it. Really, I don't.
People don't care about live music. They want to hear things that are on the radio, exactly like it is on the radio. Places that would be good for live music don't have it, and won't pay for it. People complain that there's nothing to do, that they're tired of the few local live bands that are here, but try to drag them out to something different and you may as well have cement shoes on. B-listers get all kinds of publicity when they come through town, and no one ever says a peep about supporting your local musicians or bands. In fact, if a local band tried to get in to the place where the out-of-town musicians play, they get laughed at.
Now here's the funny part. I could travel the 250 miles to where I used to live and ask for a lot more money than we used to get playing there, and get it. Because suddenly, I'd be part of an out-of-town band, but people who live there who have huge more amounts of talent than I do can't get a gig for more than $200 a night. And that's twisting arms.
I was part of a band here that had eight people in it. We'd play regularly- and, if it was me booking, we wouldn't have been playing this place- at a place that didn't want to pay out any dollars. But we got free food and booze. So we'd all bring our significant others and get steak dinners and drink all night. Because if they weren't going to put the money in our pocket, we'd eat it out of theirs. That didn't last long. Now, you get your penny, a cheap dinner for one and like two Budweisers. Oh and someone else's worthless opinion. Yeah, buddy, here's my bass- you get on up there and show me how it's done, mmmkay?
I have gone on before about how we play for ourselves. But if you're going to hire people to entertain your crowd, and those people have a combined 250 years experience playing, aren't their skills worth something? You pay your doctor. I mean, you'd never say to your doctor that you'll pay him a week's worth of McDonald's UnHappy Meals and six rolls of quarters. The doctor wouldn't do it. You can't tell the guy who's fixing your sink that you'll tell everyone you know how great he is and here's a bag of cans and a sandwich and expect anything less than a punch in the face.
So yeah, I don't understand why we allow people to stomp all over us. When I book, no one stomps on me or my bandmates. Maybe I'm tired of being dragged all over for a shitty attitude from the toothless bartender and the paws of a drunk on my ass for four hours, to walk out with $20 and no buzz and an hour's drive home at 3:30 AM.
I've been grouchy lately and isolating myself because I'm really tired of other people's crap and I think anyone who's been playing as long as some of the people I know deserve a lot more respect than they get.
Pril might be getting getting that "fuck the audience" attitude.....maybe...