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.support your local band.jpg

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...



It's just a fact that rock & roll now occupies a very small, minor section of the music industry. It's unfortunate in the sense that many brilliant artists are not being justly rewarded for the great things they're doing, but it's also a positive in the sense that the fans who do love that form of music get to see incredible bands in intimate settings that would not otherwise be possible. In a few days I'll get to see The Queers in a small club - if things were fair for them, I'd be sitting somewhere in the upper deck of an arena in a $50 seat squinting at a speck that kinda resembled Joe.

The other part of this situation is that as unfair as the lack of tangible recognition is for so many wonderful musicians who deserve it, it's also true that fame and fortune ain't all it's cracked up to be. Rock & roll's history is replete with story after story of crashing and burning after sudden fame. There are worse things than having to hold down a day job to be able to do the thing you love. The economic equation at the local level for my sport - auto racing - is even worse than rock & roll's. The prize money local racers receive only covers approximately 10% of what it costs to field a moderately competitive race car.

I understand why you could occasionally get a little beaten down by all the problems you have to face. Just try not to let it divert your attention too far away from the love and excitement you feel for the music. And when things start to seem truly bleak, be thankful you're not a race car driver! ;-)


i hear ya screamin'. especially when you said "if a local band tried to get in to the place where the out-of-town musicians play, they get laughed at." the locals most likely expect one thing at the place the local bands play: drinking, and all that typically goes along with it. at those other places - the ones where the out-of-town bands play, the locals show up expecting a different kind of experience.

don't know if there's any easy solution. guess you can try and cultivate a "scene," and by that i mean a co-op of like minded individuals who dig playing out. they needn't all be the same style, but just into fostering some kind of collaborative effort / network of support where you can play decent places and build a rep for quality shows.

or you could go the fugazi route and say fuck it...set shows up at art galleries, VFW's, people's houses, parks, dorm rooms, or any other thing out of the ordinary.


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