“I do my killin before breakfast”…
I’m talking to you, venues. Now I’m not one to tell people how to run a business, but when your business is bands (people) I’d think we should have a say.
Lately, it has become more and more likely to see bands stepping up and calling out the absolutely laughable ways owners and bookers treat bands. I will put most of the blame on them, some bands are a little socially inept sometimes, but it really shouldn’t be a problem for an owner who opened his business knowing he might have to face that sometimes. I wish this was true, but as experience has taught me most of the time it is not the band’s fault at all. Here’s a few things that need to be addressed by us all to put a halt to this at all.
If you book a show, COMMIT COMMIT COMMIT! For the love of fuck, don’t cancel anything at all for any reason if there is only a few days left before the date, minus of course major catastrophes or sudden global meltdown. All this does is waste time, money, and more time. Unless your establishment is doing 100% of the promoting, do NOT cancel events in a week’s proximity. This is not only irresponsible, but also damning to your business when whomever your booked acts promoted to heavily (like they should have been) show up just to find out that no one is there. This makes YOU look bad, the BANDS look bad, and will probably result in over half of those people never coming to your business ever again. I’ve been seeing this happen over and over again along the past few months and it is completely alien to me. Economics can play an issue, but a wise businessman should know to have all that in line before even considering handling such a gamble as a concert. Bottom line, if you can’t afford it don’t bother.
As if I have to go into this one. It’s always a topic of debate all over but here’s what it really is. Presales are horseshit. You can throw whatever economic or promotional spin on it all you want. It’s h o r s e s h i t. Unless you have full command over 600 fans present at the drop of your name, this practice is one of the most hurtful things to our scene. You can ask any band and they will say it is a pain in the ass to constantly have to sell up to 100 tickets every freaking show they play. “Shut up if your band was actually good and has a good following it shouldn’t be a problem, fartydickmouth. Ur a gayfag”. Guess what? It fucking is. No matter how popular you are. The last thing the average Joe or Jane wants to have instructions to is going out to a show to have fun. I really think this is a dissociative issue between being a musican and a fan. We take this seriously on many varying degrees but I think some people forget what it’s like to just be a fan without all those hangups and obligations. If I want to support a band, I will go to their show, enjoy their music, buy their merch, and possibly get them plastered. When I have to buy tickets to ensure I’ll even be able to see them, I feel like I’m supporting some fuckin Larry in a suit I’ll never know nor ever want to know. That’s another thing, if I buy my friend’s band’s ticket and they don’t sell enough to play, I just wasted my money especially if I don’t really care for the other bands on the bill. Yea that kind of throws a wrench in supporting the scene as a whole but that’s apples to oranges on the scale of damage presales have done. I feel the idea it came out of and it isn’t inheritly bad, just a bad execution.
Finally, where are my creative fliers? Where? FUCKING WHERE? This one goes to bands as well, but mostly at venues and “promoters”. Remember the Flint Local in its heyday? Remember those wonderful full page fliers released weekly and strewn across a 30 mile radius from downtown Flint printed on the most annoying neon colors imaginable yet brilliantly designed with new images each week? I could not absolutely wait until the next one came out, even if I didn’t like any one of the bands for the weekend. It was pure fucking genius. Where are our venues and promoters on this now? Nothing has a theme, nothing is ingenious, and most of the time it’s just a piece of badly printed pictures on a 5 minute Paint program design. It does not cost that much money or time to create a decent eyecatching flier, bands. Venues, find a design that is simple yet creative and that is your own. Do a different one each time so that no matter what, even without reading it, we know that “Such and Such Tavern” is having a fun show. You see the bigger venues in MetroTimes and RealDetroit all the time right? Generally it’s not that complicated is it? Outdo them. Play that shit up or someone else will eventually. I’d be willing to bet there is a boatload of artists in this state that will help, sometimes for nothing more than exposure.
Now of course I’m going to hear back about not being a business owner, or how little I know of it. That’s granted. I have never owned a business nor do I really want to. I come at this in the musician’s aspect as I will continue to do. It’s not about money to me, it never has been and it never will be. It shouldn’t be for you either. It’s about finding that key to what makes a scene thrive. We’ve been there before, local shows used to practically sell out anywhere less than 10 years ago. Have we become so apathetic to culture and expression after years of being wallowed in an increasingly dysfunctional society? If anything, I would expect shit to be bigger than ever since that, to me at least, is what metal was about. Being aggressive, expressing that disappointment and frustration in a healthy way so as to not slip into schizophrenia, and most of all to keep reaching past the lines of mediocrity and ignorance outwardly to do the same within? Why are we are all so very bitter at ourselves that we have let these peope walk all over us and virtually shun everything we should be standing for?