Published on August 28th, 2014 | by Dylan Lott0
Irony of a Dead Scene
There’s a reason people claim ‘the scene’ is dying. I’m here to explain why, from the view of an active musician, someone who’s directly involved in my local scene and the reasons why I find it funny that so many people claim this.
1. The Humble Opinion
There’s a lot about music that I love. The passion, the drive, the high you get on stage when all eyes are focused on you. There is no better feeling in the world. I would do anything to keep that feeling alive and well. These stages, these venues, and these fans are what keeps me going. Being able to do what I love, regardless of whether I’m paid or not is what gets me up in the morning excited about whatever is headed my way that day.
Unlike most people, musicians thrive on frustration. It’s what drives their music and gives them something to write about. At least that’s how I do it. I love being frustrated about life, frustrated about people being bullied, and assholes ruining the music scene. With none of these I wouldn’t need an outlet to vent my frustrations. So for everyone out there being a dick to someone, thank you; I can’t fucking stand you and you have just given me fuel for a rant or a song. Sorry for rambling, MOVING ON!
I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany.
2. All too often….
6:00 – Sound check finally complete. Fucking drummer took forever as usual.
6:05 – Everyone off stage leaving only our gear in the light. We’re so cool and totally the only musicians to do that here!
6:10 – Meeting backstage to discuss what order we enter. Gotta make sure our entry is prefect….not like we need it since our band is so incredible and everyone wishes they were in it.
“We’ve rehearsed every song, synchronized all of our actions, and now we walk on stage like rock stars and give these people the best show they’ve ever seen!”
6:15 – All of our songs playing in our head to make sure we have everything down completely.
6:20 – Drummer practicing blast beats on the couch to warm up as everyone else checks Facebook.
6:25 – Guitarist decides to put out the word that we go on first. I wonder if anyone of us has bothered to say something to our fans earlier. Oh well. No big deal. They’ll figure it out. We’re popular and everyone loves us.
6:30 – Doors open. Palms start to sweat. Nervous laughing and jokes ensue.
6:35 – “This show is going to be sick guys! So many people are going to show up!”
“Yeah man! We have 500 likes on Facebook! That’s enough to pack the house!”
“Yesterday and the day before sucked, but this time will be different! We have a new song!”
“Aren’t we playing the exact same set list with one additional song?”
“Yeah bro so it’s like a totally new set list.”
6:40 – Text girlfriend to remind her to sell our shirts.
“Flirt with them so they buy some!”
6:45 – Bassist almost walks out from backstage.
“Whoa dude we can’t show ourselves until we go out. If we want to be famous we need to act famous.”
Guitarist from the small touring band looks at us like we’re fucking idiots and leaves.
“What a bitch. He doesn’t even know what it’s like to be a rock star. Not like us! We’re the newest and best band here and we’ve been playing a couple shows a week non stop! They wish they were as popular as us!”
6:50 – Touring band walks backstage.
“Did you guys promote for this show?”
“Duh dude we’re not fucking idiots” says Mr. Rock star vocalist.
“Yeah bro I just posted on our page right now about this show” the guitarist exclaims!
“….you just posted something right now? That explains a lot.”
6:55 – Touring band leaves backstage.
“Alright guys time to kill it! We’re the biggest band here. I doubt anyone will even stay for the others.”
6:59 – “Showtime!”
7:00 – We all walk out with our backs facing the crowd. Don’t want to look until it’s just right! The drummer starts his iPod backtrack. As it’s playing he looks puzzled. I can’t hear what he’s saying because the audio is really loud. It’s so loud I can’t even hear the crowd. We’re going to sound so sick! The louder the better. At least that sound guy got one thing right. Probably saying the crowd is huge! Sweet. Just like I wanted!
“Hey sound guy…”
“I have a name.”
“Whatever dude. We want our D.I. to be as loud as possible so people can hear how loud and totally cool we are when the bass drops go off. We’re the only band here using them and we need to make it clear!”
7:01 – Cymbal counts to four!
We turn around and start blasting our incredible music! My god….We’re the best band ever! Everyone loves us and we’re totally going to make it in this business and we’re going to be fucking millionaires. We’ve got it all figured out. This crowd loves us and I know they do! Who wouldn’t like us. Can’t see the crowd with the lights, but I bet they’re going crazy!
7:04 – First song done.
“This next one I want to see all of you dancing to! Turn up the lights on the floor so we can see this shit!”
7:05 – Frozen….. Where is everyone? I only see 15 people and only two of them aren’t in the bands we’re playing with. What happened?! Where did we go wrong? We’re doing this touring band a favor because we’re so much better than they are. We should be on tour not them!
My hair has been playing guitar for 7 years.
3: The Problem With the Rockstar Mentality.
Countless bands carry the rockstar mentality now. More and more musicians are considering themselves rockstars after playing to a “big”crowd of fifty people. They think because their first show was insane and their second show, two months later was just as big, they are now, the IT band. Most bands are getting a good response from spaced out shows and they automatically think that, no matter how many shows they play, they will not have to advertise, promote, and post it up and down on Facebook, Twitter, and the other various social media outlets.
Where did the mentality come from? Why do they feel, just because you had a few good shows, they’re now entitled to perfect show every time? They don’t even realize that their crowd gets smaller and smaller until it’s just girlfriends and other bands that watch them. With that mentality they do shit like leaving right after their set because they don’t feel the need to support their scene.
They consider themselves to be “the scene” and therefore are above watching other locals. When they decide to stay, they sit in the back of the venue or backstage playing on their phones and ignoring everything going on. When you’re too busy posting “Tonight’s show was sick! Thanks to everyone who came out and raged!” even though it was only one person in the mosh pit by him/herself, you don’t deserve to be on that stage, taking time from another band, who would sacrifice everything just for a chance to play that show.
You’re making your city, your scene, and yourselves look like shit.
Ah, fuck, I forgot I don’t know calculus!
4: The Solution
A brick. Hit someone with a brick. Or don’t get arrested for assault. Because as much fun as that would be, there is another way that doesn’t involve beating those self righteous fucks near death.
Let these guys flop. If you see them book a killer show, jump on it with them. As crazy as it seems, booking a show with a band that will flop can actually really help you out. You know they won’t sell shit or bring anyone to the show, so that’s your opportunity to place yourself on the proving grounds for the venue, promoter, touring band, and other locals with a sense of humility. Being humble will get you much farther and earn you much more respect than being an entitled douchebag.
When you play a show with a band that doesn’t care anymore it will always make you look better. You can sell the shit out of that show; even ten tickets sold makes you look awesome behind a promoter operating on ethics. I’ve played shows with bands that refuse to sell tickets and the plus side to it is, you will always play in a better spot! As frustrating as it is to deal with a band that doesn’t give a shit anymore, it can be the most rewarding feeling to show those fucking assholes who the kings of music are. You motherfuckers that kill it every day! Rant over!