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I hate my local music scene...

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by CJ_Marsicano, May 27, 2003.

  1. I've been playing semi-professionally since 1985 in the Northeast Pennsylvania area, and I've already given my musical history elsewhere on this board a while back, so I won't elaborate again there. In short, I haven't played in a regular band since 1996 and only sat in once with one other band two and a half years ago. Not long ago, after taking the two-hour drive (and the day off from work) to see Mike Watt play in Philly, I got the itch and decided to see if I could get a new band together, only this time I decided that I want to be the H.N.I.C. this time around, after years of being a sidemouse and playing other people's music.

    So I wrote up an ad, printed a couple of flyers which I posted at the music stores in my area, and took out an ad in the local music paper, listing the influences for what I wanted to do as far as covers and originals (Stooges, Black Flag, Minutemen, fIREHOSE, Husker Du, etc.).

    It's been about four or five weeks since I did all that, and here's how many responses I've gotten via phone and e-mail so far:

    Yes, that's right, none. Nothing, zero, zilch, ****-all, gooseegg, nada, bupkiss. I am beyond frustrated enough. If you're not playing overplayed bar band standards/classic rock, tuneless nu-metal garbage, or wannabe Deadhead/Dave Matthews jamband stuff, it seems like musicians around here may not be interested... YET I know for a fact that playing a repritoire different from the same old dungheap would be a welcome change of airspace around here.

    Am I banging my head against the wall for nothing, or is it just that musicians in Northeastern PA simply have no sense of adventure anymore?
  2. if it makes you feel any better, if I saw an ad citing the influence of "Stooges, Black Flag, Minutemen, fIREHOSE, Husker Du, etc" I'd be calling you immediately. But I live in Portland.
  3. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    You know, all those bands are pretty OLD...1980s!!! Heck, the Stooges go back to the 60s, dood!!!

    I bet if you posted the same ad with the names of modern punkoid bands that sound similar (don't ask me I don't follow that style of music any more) you'd have better luck.

    Besides, music store ads don't work that well in my opinion. Yeah, I know everybody suggests them but all the gigs I've gotten out of music store ads were a waste of time. All the great gigs came from word of mouth. You need to network with local players by hanging where they hang.

    Good luck.
  4. I live in southern Ontario. Burlington Ontario to be exact. The music scene here is amazing. I feel for you though. When I was trying to do the lead singer Guitar Player thing it was hard finding the right people or people at all that were interested in the same stuff and had the talent to pull it off. It came to the point where I realized I was way more valuable on the market as a bass player(my firts calling). Sometimes you just have to give a little. I found that it was best to put up very general adds to get lots of responses and then you may hit on something you like or could live with. It's better than being very specific and getting litte or no responses.

  5. All of those bands were ahead of their time. And I want little or nothing to do with the "clone" bands. If the musicians that might be interested aren't familiar with what I want to accomplish, why should I bother?

    Actually, the music store ads have worked for me before... Whatever networking and other footwork I've done prior to seeing the Watt show has had me leaving clubs I've entered to check current local acts out of curiosity after about a half-hour because they're not doing ANYTHING different or interesting.
  6. There are two reasons against my doing that, because I've tried similar versions of both routes you suggest.

    "Giving a little" is completely out of the question for me at this point. I had 15 years of trying to be Gumby - squared off ain't my shape, green ain't my color, and I'm made of flesh, not clay. After 15 years of being a sidemouse and playing other people's choices in music it's about time I started being specific... and maybe a little selfish.

    Being general is also a no go. I tried that once and all it got me wsa trouble - too many people that were not even in the same universe, let alone planet, as me. If someone walked into the audition with an untuned seven-string guitar and a f*cking Korn, Godsmack, or Mudvayne T-shirt, I'd be asking them to go home almost immediately. In the last band I was in, I was told when they recruited me that we would not be doing the same old bar band bullsh*t and that I would have an equal say in what went into the set list. That ended up translating into throwing me a few bones (three of my choices out of forty songs in the set list) just to get me into the band. PLUS a few months into our performing career, a few of the band members were getting ready to go back on the "not the same old bar band bullsh*t" credo and give in to the miniscule minority of racist white trash motherf*ckers that don't know any music outside of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Needless to say, I quit that band in the fall of 1996 and I haven't played in a band formally since.
  7. Bless you. :)
  8. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    This might be an indication of how many people in your area want to play that kind of music. It might also be a representation of how many want to listen to it.
  9. I've gotten that lame excuse when I would suggest any of those songs in previous bands... often delivered in a vocal tone that suggests "We don't want to rock the boat"
  10. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    But of course, right is right, and you're right, right?
  11. Don't take this the wrong way or anything, but if I had the opportunity to be in a band with people who had your attitude towards other people's choice in music:

    "a repritoire different from the same old dungheap"
    "is it just that musicians in Northeastern PA simply have no sense of adventure anymore?"
    "they're not doing ANYTHING different or interesting."
    "that lame excuse"
    " "Giving a little" is completely out of the question for me at this point."

    I probably wouldn't.

    It's elementary that the fewer musicians you are willing to play with, the less likely you are to find acceptable matches. You don't seem willing to accept this - all I hear is complaints about how boring they all are, as if someone has to interest you and your narrow tastes in order to be a valid musician.

    In short, you are banging your head against the wall for nothing, and it's a wall entirely of your own choices.

    Hope you find who you're looking for.
  12. That came out wrong. Sorry. I meant narrow in the selective sense.
  13. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    I feel for ya CJ, Ive gotta drive an hour or more to find anything that Im willing to even consider being a permanent member of. The scene here in Port Richey Fl seems to be all Rock. I dont wanna play rock, It doesnt pay well here. So I dont waste my time with it.

    I have put ad's up in local stores in the past, and have yeilded the same results as you. Only difference is the type of music, Mine ad's were usually lookin for others for R&B, Funk, Soul,Dance type stuff, Reggae or Smooth Jazz.

    Its like Munji said. Theres either little market for it or nobody wants to play it. In my case its due to people not wanting to play those styles, because I know the R&B, Funk, Soul dance type stuff is marketable.

    I dont blame you for holding out until you find others who see eye to eye with you and the project you want to try and get off the ground. The other musicians will be more into it, and not as quick to bail on it. IME the more specific the ad the better. Less there for others to misunderstand and it helps shorten the weeding out process.
  14. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Yeah, I know just about exactly how you feel. I've put out specific ads that got zero response, and general ones that got me floods of all the wrong people. I'm playing music I dislike right now just so that I can be playing with a band. My story matches Cassanova's, too - I would most like to play funk/R&B/dance stuff but no one locally wants to do it - though they whine at the 'injustice' of out-of-town bands 'invading their turf' and being paid good money to play music people actually want to hear.

    The 'chopped liver' reference in my user title is all about this frustration.

    A local 'patriarch' bassist of the local scene stopped by a gig with my sucky classic rock band this past weekend. He left me a note that said sorry he had to split and something about what a killer bassist I was. Actually, by TB standards I'm just your regular rock shmoe of a player - but I mention this to illustrate that I definitely don't suck - yet, my inability to find a band has raised some self-doubts that I have to keep kicking aside.

    Anyway, you can take some small solace in the fact that you're not alone. It's okay to stand your ground and hold out for what you want to get out of playing music - just bear in mind that as frustrating as it is, you are the one who made the decision to stick to your guns, and the local scene is not actively plotting to make your life miserable. That seems ridiculously obvious, but I actually have to take a mental step back and remind myself of that fact on occasion.

    Hang in there. Best of luck in finding the situation you want. And remember that it is the people who are loyal to their passions, who make the best artists and musical craftsmen.

  15. Whoa, brother. It's not like I'm treading some obscure territory here. All the bands I mentioned still sell records and have loyal followings.

    Point number two is a lot of people (unfortunately, they don't play anything else my problems would be solved!) that I talk to who have seen what the area has to offer bandwise would like to see something other than classic rock, nu-metal, southern rock, or Dave Matthews clones in the local clubs. I mention some of what I dig and they say, "Oh yeah, I'd definitely check that out."

    There's only so many times you can see a band sleepwalk through "Brown Eyed Girl" or "Not The Only One" before you just stop going to clubs entirely, and so many times you can be forced to play those songs in a sh*tty bar band before you just take your amp home.
  16. Actually, I _might_ need a bassist because there's a 50/50 chance that I'd be playing rhythm guitar and a 90% chance that I'd be singing lead. Depends on who I can find. :)
  17. I'm sorry if what I want to accomplish is too set in stone for you, but there's 15 years of frustration and experience behind every remark I make on this matter. I know what I want to do and what I don't want to do. What I want to do is play music I can put my heart, soul and mind behind. What I don't want to do is be in "just another band". How hard or unreasonable is it to say, "Here's what I want to accomplish, here's the type of music I want to base this on, and here's the songs I want you guys to learn and play so that you can fully appreciate and accomplish what I want to do and hopefully bring your own ideas through that same prism."

    It ain't brain surgery.

    I've been through every other musical route, and I've turned down band offers that have been similar routes that I've gone down before.

    Yes, I'm being that f**king stubborn. But after 15 years I have a goddamn right to be.
  18. I believe the word is "picky". :)
  19. Cass, looks like were in remarkable similar boats, brother! Florida's pretty much death metal terrority isn't it? (Nothing against that music at all.) Here's the punchline. I like R&B (especially 70's stuff and TLC) and reggae but never got to play any! Same reasoning at the time: no other musicians with testicular fortitude, and even more dissapointingly, female singers who have the pipes to go toe to toe with Aretha, Patti LaBelle, Mary J. et al yet end up killing their voices doing the same ten or fifteen Ethridge/Morrisette songs.

    Thanks for the kind words. If you ever get that R&B band formed, play "Waterfalls" or "Damaged" for the guy from PA in the red Mike Watt T-shirt :)

  20. secretdonkey,

    same sh*t, different town, eh? thanks for the kind words of support. :)