We honored our fallen friend Stefan on April 3rd. In old school style, between the gig attendance and the raffle we raised 3K for his family. A lot of peeps stepped up with prize packs and donations. It was a great night of music. I know everything these days has gone the way of anonymous and couch driven crowdfunding but it was really nice to just get together as a musical community. It’s a lost way of life. Good old technology is really fucking up social camaraderie. We are not forced to leave our comfort zones. What do we have now? Pack driven cyber clique relationships?
Touring season is upon us. Out of financial necessity, many old school bands are reforming and touring. Sure doesn’t say much about the music empire benefiting their nostalgia reunion musicians. I really don’t know how their aged bodies could handle the grueling tour party lifestyle. A punk bar work life did my liver in. All their efforts made churning out albums and some received minimal profit from it. You only hope they get a bigger piece of the pie from their merch sales than they do from their record companies. It wasn’t until the last 20 or so years that bands realized that a D.I.Y. approach to funding their music was the only way to go. There are just way too many stories of destitute bands after getting “signed”. The musicians that you do see with mansions must have a crazy debt ceiling, or they managed to somehow cash in like Gene Simmons with his KISS branded merchandise empire.
Most musicians I know have ‘real’ day/night jobs. That’s reality, especially if you have a family and children. Gear is expensive and doing local shows isn’t exactly lucrative. Touring as a band is even less glamorous. Some have even resorted to the previously mentioned crowdfunding to tour, record a new album, or get said music to press. With the Government reducing funding to the Arts at an alarming rate, and changes to an audiences life priorities, it prevents fans from actually getting out physically to support a band. I can see why this ‘help us’ kickstarting is occurring. Sad really, when people think nothing of spending 10 bucks at McDonalds or flipping a twenty to see the latest flick. How about minimally 80 bucks for a hockey game. When you relate that same couple plus hours to three or four bands sweating it up, giving a live performance, it makes me want to punch the cheapskate cover balkers right in the brain. So kudos for fans like Matt, who drive from Edmonton to see Nightwish and promoters like Mayo who is going to squeeze him into the meet and greet. He’s also checking out some uncool grindcore acts at Funkys as I type this column. A music fan!
After getting deeply promoter ‘ownpocketed’ from a recent show, I am currently squeamish about giving touring bands the guarantees they hope for. As promoters we’re in the same boat as bands. We rely on music fans that turn up to support live music. Everything is so iffy. You can have a killer lineup booked 3 months in advance, fully postered, updated online and you’re still on the break even precipice from every imaginable roadblock to a show’s success. Weather, other shows that night, other shows that week that cut into a show goer’s budget. Never mind what Facebook says the turnout will be. I chuckle as I type that. I believe we’ve come full circle back to the topic of our phantom social network social lives. Maybe people get a wishful sensation by just clicking going on an event these days. Onto the next stimuli. I truly don’t know how anyone can say they’re bored in this day and age. Entertainment engagement is a click away, on your couch unfortunately.