Tag Archives: entertainment industry

Like My Music: Entertaining the Entertainment Industry

In Winter of 2008, not even a year into playing out, we were booked to play Kimball’s Pub in Williamsport with dream-popish Austin indie band A.M. Syndicate, and a dancey rock band called something-box. We listened to both bands on Myspace and especially liked A.M.’s sound so we contacted them—they were likewise excited to play with us. Unfortunately, a few days before the show, we were sent an email by Eric, our booking contact at Kimballs, stating that A.M Sydicate and Key of V were removed from the bill, as the something-box dance music band wanted the three-hour show to themselves. Omar and Golfball of A.M. messaged us and asked if we could get a show anywhere else, as Williamsport was already etched out on their tour schedule. We ended up landing a gig at Kelly’s Grill, with fans outnumbering cockroaches at least 2 to 1. Since then we’ve played with A.M. in Williamsport one other time at the Valley Inn, and Omar and Golfball opened their home to us in Austin when we traveled cross-country two summers ago.Four years after the canceled Kimball’s show I can’t say much has changed in regard to booking shows. Certainly our music and local fan base has evolved, but I suspect we could lose a stable, local show to a crowd pleaser any night because the venues we book operate on a certain formula that has little to do with art.Last weekend, I was getting ready to bed down early, preparing to pack our tour bus with fans and local sister act Clawfoot Slumber, to play the Barbury in Philly with another traveling band, Tennessee Two Piece. I was excited to see some Philly friends and fans, and to play with a new band. At around 10:00pm I received a text from Erin stating that our booking contact at the Barbury called off the show—the woman apparently went on vacation after setting it up, made no plans to staff the bar, and ultimately forgot about the entire thing until Erin emailed her asking where to buy tickets online. Erin and one of the members of Tennessee Two Piece expressed their dilemmas as far as having invested in the event, and pleaded for even a free show, but the Barbury declined.Obviously paying a booking person and signing contracts with venues can prevent these things from happening. But as a businessperson, would you sign a contract to host (let alone pay) a band that can only guarantee to bring you 50 patrons–and you’re thinking more like 25–barring yourself from a more lucrative option should one present itself? Probably not. I mightn’t. But anyway, my belief is that we can’t curb a system that disrespects the unsigned musician simply by finding a way to better fit into it: by getting on a reputable label, by hiring a lawyer to secure paying shows, by getting more Facebook likes or a snazzy Sonicbids presskit. Not that I haven’t done or thought about doing all of these things.Every time I visited in Olympia, WA, I donated a few bucks to sit a barren room somewhere and watch a band play. I saw Kimya Dawson this way, was introduced to the heart-throb act tUne-YarDs, and stumbled upon Julian Koster’s experimental pop project, The Music Tapes.I realize we live in central Pennsylvania and I don’t expect Kimya Dawson to play in Cornball’s basement–Olympia has been the heart of the underground music scene since the late 80’s. But we have the potential, as creative people, to bring something empowering to musicians and listeners here in central PA. King Street Coffee House has been providing a Northumberland-based listening room that runs Fall through Winter for 16 years in the Susquehanna Valley. The folks at King Street sincerely appreciate the musical arts and succeed at showcasing it. They charge a cover and fund raise; all the money goes to the bands and the expense of renting their space. Their listeners are faithful, their musicians are grateful, and they love doing it.And so do we. Those of us who hosted the Absorb Music Festival learned that creating a cool space to reward musicians rather than use them to supplement a commodity is pure love. The only problem was that most of us suffered burn out jumping through the hoops of the city and begging local businesses to sponsor us so we could afford to run a festival-worthy sound system. If the space is too cool, it doesn’t pay the musicians. But we could solve this problem by finding a free space and scaling down the show: a house show or a listening room with the same principles of liberating the arts and less hype or flare. The steps are simple: someone agrees to host the band or bands for a certain number of hours, and we all tell our friends there’s a house show at so-and-so’s December 2nd at 7 for a 10 dollar suggested donation (sliding scale). Details can vary, but the important thing is that there’s no venue owner giving our show to some dance rock motherfuckers or forgetting about our little band when we already put our tour bus on the insurance to haul a party to Philadelphia!Pondering this, I decided to rant with music behind me and record it. So enjoy this song, which illustrates the satire in my queer relationship with the “industry” or the “scene” or whatever it may be at the time.

lyrics
You can read my email
And never get back to me
Read my email
And never get back to me
Delete my email
And never have to deal with me
Cause I’m not bringin hipsters out there
spendin all their money on you yeah.You can play my CD
And never get back to me
Play my CD
And never get back to me
Delete my CD
And never have to deal with me
Cause venues operate
According to booze and moneyYou can lose our CD
And never get back to us
Lose our CD
And never get back to us
Like our fuckin music
And yet never respect us much
Cause I’ll never play my penis through
the mic the way that kid does yeah.Wooh.
Alright.
Glass ceiling?
Huh.Play our CD
And never get back to us
Play our CD
And never get back to us
Like our fuckin music
And yet never respect us much
And I might go crazy like Steve
Buscemi in Air Heads does yeah.
credits
released 05 December 2011
King Street Coffehouse:
www.kingstreetcoffeehouse.comOlympia International Pop Underground:
www.judithbaumann.com/play/category/house-shows/
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