Friday, February 1, 2013

Legendary Failure: How Country Music Lost Its Way?

Most people would be surprised to discover that Rock and Roll and Country music trace their respective origins to the same place. Then, some would be astonished to learn that Country Music played a highly significant role in the birth of Rock and Roll. In fact, for a time, early Rock and Roll artists were the first to cross over genres. The music they played was even given a name: Rockabilly. Most people do not realize that the country genre had been in existence for about two decades prior to Elvis Presley exploding on to the scene, creating what would become an industry rivaled by none and respected by all. Bearing that thought in mind, Country Music has not celebrated the same amount of success as the industry it has been instrumental in helping to create. The explanation is simple. Rock and Roll was allowed to grow. Over the last 60 years the genre has evolved to the point where one can no longer truly define it. There are innumerable styles and sounds that play through a listener’s radio, with an equal amount of radio stations that play the music. Country Music did not follow this path, with what has appeared to be with a blatant intent to do the opposite of what the Rock and Roll industry chose to explore. Unfortunately for the industry, its artists, and listeners, that decision came with a heavy cost. Country Music’s avoidance of Rock & Roll’s model for expansion has: stunted industry growth, alienated its fan base, and shortened the careers of its artists.


             Rock and Roll has cultivated a multi-billion dollar industry in which the profits are distributed to the record labels and the artists. Think for just a moment and count the number of different stations on your radio dial. Now, think of how many of those stations are playing the same music, competing with other stations for listeners. The higher the population, the more options would be available from which to choose. Assuming for just a moment that a listener lives in a market that only offers one station for each sub-genre of Rock and Roll and Country music, here is what would most likely be available to choose from: Classic Rock, Pop, Alternative, Heavy Metal, 80s, 90s, Punk, Southern Rock, Modern Country, and Classic Country & Western. (Depending on the region where a listener resides, the choice of Classic Country may not be available except for off peak hours, or an occasional play on a station that chooses to do so.) The ratio of Rock and Roll stations to Country stations would average about 5:1. There is no reason for this ratio to exist. Country music has long held to a “one sound” approach to what is offered to its listeners. While it is true that some Country artists have a more traditional country sound than others, all Country artists are lumped together. The one genre approach of airplay that Nashville has created has potentially cost its industry billions of dollars in revenue. It is important to note that each time a song is played, money is made.  Having more than one choice of Country radio genre to listen to increases the amount of money the industry can collect. Thus, had industry executives allowed the artists themselves to explore and expand the country sound, more sub-genres could have been created, leading to more radio stations, more record labels, more engineers and producers, more jobs for musicians, and most important, more variety for the listeners.


            It should be said that the sound of Country music has evolved; the executives who run the industry have not. It is an industry that is run more from the aspect of tradition than one that recognizes the advantages that come with expanding its business model. That tradition is that Country music is one singular sound. Allowing new sub-genres and corresponding radio stations the opportunity to explore and seek out success benefits the industry. There are many artists of Country music legend, such as Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, and Randy Travis still making new music and playing concerts to their fan bases. They are respected by their peers both in and out of the industry, while being heroes to many more contemporary artists. Their praises are sung by industry executives when those executives are required to do so, but are virtually ignored when the subject of airplay is introduced into the conversation. With how the Country sound has evolved over the last 80 years, it is confounding that each new sound created was not given the opportunity to succeed.


Also heavily affecting the way the industry is managed is the contradictory focus on putting “cookie cutter” artists in the public’s view, relying almost entirely on the attractive physical appearance of the performer rather than his or her ability to produce quality music. Music is, and always has been something experienced through the mind and heart. Music allows its listeners to feel all emotions, and the simple fact of the matter is, no one can see a music note as it floats toward them in the air. Why should it matter that the person delivering the lyric be beautiful? More important, how many truly gifted artists were never afforded an opportunity to share their gifts with the world simply because an executive in the offices of a record label deemed their physical appearances as not worthy? These short-sighted factors result in the loss of revenue for the entire Country music industry and frustrate a loyal fan base.


            Nashville has always given the impression of holding tradition as sacred. In the beginning, the sound was indeed unifying. Over the decades, and despite the natural evolution of that once singular sound, Nashville continues to sell itself as staying true to its roots. Rather than accepting that each new variation of Country created by its artists is worth, at the very least, exploring its viability to create revenue for the industry on its own merit, the industry simply chooses to amend what the Country sound is. Listeners are not offered a choice. Instead, they listen to what they are provided, not fully realizing their power in how the industry is managed. Simply put, if Merle Haggard’s latest album went platinum, the executives would be forced to play his new music on the radio, as the choice not to would cost them substantial income. One practice that is denied and illegal is payola. This is an act performed by record labels that pay monies to radio broadcast corporations to play certain artists’ songs more than any other. Several years ago, a mediocre Reba McEntire song rose from the bottom of the charts to attain number one status nearly overnight. This spurred investigation into the practice shedding light on the corrupt side of the business. Many current listeners have called for a return to the tradition that Nashville prides itself on. While many enjoy the new sounds they hear, they also desire to hear new music with the old sounds, from artists new and old. Each time the choice is made to re-define what the country sound is, the animosity that has grown between the listeners and the industry grows. Many listeners have chosen to stop listening to the new music and to the stations that play it. Also lost in this process are the artists dropped when the music they play doesn’t fit the sound dictated by industry executives.


            Too many fantastically talented artists have become undeserving casualties to the system in place in Nashville. Having not been offered anything but the door and, possibly, gratitude for their previous accomplishments, these men and women were left behind as though they had nothing left to offer their industry. This could not be farther from the truth, especially if Rock and Roll’s business model was in practice in Tennessee. The longevity of artists would perhaps be greater in the Country industry than in Rock and Roll, as most listeners of the genre are extremely loyal, lifelong fans to their favorites. While some artists were provided an opportunity to adapt to the changing times of their industry, an expansion of the business model would eliminate the need for any artist to conform. This provides that an artist’s success or failure is earned on their own merit, not the decision made based largely by an antiquated system.


             Billions of dollars have not been actualized over the course of nearly a century of Country Music. Aside from rhinestone suits and big fancy cars, what do those billions offer? Opportunity. The opportunity for a form of music that is viewed as way of life by a wide margin of its fan base to expand itself exponentially. Those dollars would offer opportunities to take a chance on a new direction discovered through the brilliance of an artist who calls it home. There is room for all forms of Country music in Country music. There shouldn’t be room for closed minds and bottom lines. What was good for Rock and Roll should be good for Nashville as well. Not every exploration will be successful, but should be undertaken none-the-less. Throughout history, advancements for the good of a society were undertaken by those strong enough, smart enough, and courageous enough to make the attempt. Rock and Roll showed how it can be done, the executives in Nashville, Tennessee need to absolve themselves from the responsibilities of an antiquated system, and strive to build an industry that is as loyal to the artists that drive it, as the listeners are who continue to fund it.

Monday, September 17, 2012

My submission to a scholarship contest.

This may not be your cup of tea, but if you're willing, I'd appreciate you taking the time to read this.           

          “Let me give you a tip on a clue to men’s characters: the man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it.”  Francisco D’Anconia

            As a much younger man, I completely missed this statement.  I can find no reason for that omission in memory other than to say: my youth hadn’t experienced enough to understand how profound that statement is.  Now, as a father to five, who, in the not too distant future, will experience that which I’ve referred through their entire childhoods as “the real world,” I find Francisco’s words carry more meaning, more truth than my days preceding fatherhood could ever hope to fathom.
            Two sides fight for supremacy over the currency of a nation – no, that’s not right exactly; two sides fight for the value of currency.  Not for the values printed or stamped to the paper and metal, but to the men and women who seek to gain it, the means to which they seek to acquire it, and their reasons for doing so.
            The men of the mind believe that money is theirs to earn and to enjoy.  The “looters” as Ms. Rand labeled them believe that money exists only as means of destruction of society, they just refuse to acknowledge that they understand their beliefs.  To them, money is a barrier that separates good from evil.  Evil are the men who seek to gain wealth from their accomplishments.  The good are those who continually give theirs away for the benefit of a society whose needs outweigh those of the earner. 
            Dagny experiences a moment in her teen age years that defines, to her, the true purpose of wealth.  Her mother hosts this lavish, formal affair for her.  Being a true child of Nathaniel Taggart, she at an early age comprehends the concept of hard work and dedication to one’s trade.  She always knew she was proper heir to Taggart Transcontinental, and she would operate and manage it effectively and successfully.  Her party was something she hoped to enjoy, only to find that those in attendance never and would never understand the purpose of an occasion such as hers.  Hank Rearden and Dagny spoke to this moment later when Hank finally understood the purpose of his wealth:  Enjoyment.  Dagny, at the party her mother had thrown, couldn’t enjoy hers when the world around her flaunted their wealth for the purpose of making an impression to those around them, while Hank couldn’t enjoy his due to the people around him constantly punishing him for having it.  Through his relationship with Dagny, Hank eventually learns how to enjoy his wealth through their shared morality.  He bought her gifts for his pleasure, not for hers.  This is an important step Hank takes before he dies later in the book, at least his ego does.  She admired the spirit of a man who asked for nothing from anyone and demanded the same in return.  He loved a woman who exacted those very principles upon him.
When I think to Ellis Wyatt’s home in Colorado, the mental image I have is of a house warm and inviting.  I see a living room that speaks to the character of its owner.  A couch that is beautiful and impressive framed by two sturdy, handmade end tables built of mahogany to last generations.  Impressive, yet understated.  Expensive, but not pretentious.  The overall feeling I would get walking through Wyatt’s residence is, “This is someone’s home.”  Every piece of furniture, every fixture in place because its owner wanted it and chose it, not to impress his peers, but because the piece impressed him, thereby becoming an extension of him.  His personality on display for those who entered his home to witness. 
On the other hand, if one were to picture James Taggart or Wesley Mouch’s homes they would find the exact opposite in place when they entered.  Everything would be beautiful, but for all the wrong reasons.  Furnishings would be there for the purposes of being there.  They would have been picked for the price on the tag, rather than the value placed upon them by their owner. They would be bragged about for their value while not being valued in the least.  The houses would be domiciles full of all the finer things money could buy, comforts purchased under the ruse of hospitality, but fooling no one into believing they were welcome inside.  James and Wesley would have their homes decorated by someone else.  The reasons for this are two: because they had the money to afford it and because they really didn’t care.  They were more interested in keeping up appearances and out doing the company they kept around them.
Imagine Hank Reardon and James Taggart behind their desks in suits and ties.  Both suits tailored by the same individual, in fact, alike in all respects.  It would be easy for me to know which man was the better of the two.  I would know because each would wear their suit differently.  Hank would be at home in his.  He wouldn’t constantly check his appearance to assure his tie was straight, his lapels flat.  James, on the other hand, would.  His reasons for doing so tie directly to my train of logic:  James and his friends, very simply put, just do not get it.
Ms. Rand leads her readers on path of villainy and corruption perpetrated by fools who pretend not to know what they are doing.  I completely disagree.  They don’t know.  They’ve been trained, by Ms. Rand’s own admission, to not have to know.  Centuries of human civilization have conditioned these men and women of the United States of America to have a sense of entitlement and have been assured that’s it proper.  “If I want or need it, then I should have it.”  The true villain of Atlas Shrugged, James Taggart, adds validity to my belief. He is the embodiment of all that is wrong with the community first mentality.  He helps plan the destruction of society and is the first to hold his hand out when he suffers for it, citing his need.  At the end of the novel while in the process of attempting to murder John Galt, Taggart only then comprehends what he is, and it destroys him.  Just as Hank’s ego dies with the riot at his mills, James’ ego dies with his sudden self- awareness.  What happens to James goes unnoticed by the others in the room, save Galt.  They don’t know what Taggart discovered and just assume he has finally broken down.  They carry James out of the room not understanding why John Galt refuses to save them and why the men of the mind deserted them, but I do:
John Galt and all his strikers get it.
Money is not the root of all evil.  Money is paper and metal.  It’s a check backed by gold, rather than an account at a bank.  Man’s attitude is what determines money’s true value.  In other words, look to the examples I’ve given, men who respect money choose to earn every dime they touch and spend it for the benefit of enjoying that which they earned.  They ask nothing in return, but to respect what they value above all else, freedom; freedom to exist as the people who achieve and create for the rest of humanity, and to be left alone to do so.  Where the evil lies, comes from those, as D’Anconia states, who don’t respect money.  It’s not really the money they don’t respect, it’s the effort, knowledge, dedication, and intelligence needed to earn it.  Finally, let me add this:  those people who demand something for nothing, those who have expectations for some sense of entitlement due to need or just plain want, those who have chosen to live by this moral code, have respect for nothing at all.  Not money, not their brothers’ lives, and most especially not their own.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Today is the 21st birthday of my guitar player's daughter.  Beautiful and smart, in a relationship with a man who treats her well, adores her, and she feels the same for him.  The combination of that along with the episodes of "Say Yes To The Dress" I've seen while watching with my mom and showing Zoe family photos yesterday sparked some thoughts of my own daughters.

For those of you who don't know, I have three.  12, 10, and 18 months.  They're all beautiful and smart.  Of course, I supposed to believe that.  In this case it happens to be true.  They each are individualists and carbon copies of Dawn and me.  They are head strong, stubborn, obstinate, and have an incessant need to be right all the time.  (shut up all of you)  They are also funny, witty, entertaining little ladies who have hearts the size of mountains.  Every day I'm proud to be their daddy.  Every day they make me fall in love with them again.

It's a tough job being a dad to girls.  For example, unlike with my two boys, I can't stick my foot up their asses when they do wrong.  If I raise my voice too much it makes them cry, which to me is okay to certain levels, but it still just hurts my heart to see the tears well up.  They're fragile.  And, despite the fact that I know it, Dawn still reminds me. 

Which brings me to my point.  They are fragile....

And no stupid sumbitch man is going to hurt them....ever!  sigh.

Being a controller type personality, this is my biggest struggle.  The older two already are starting to see boys as the opposite sex and not just kids to play with.  This is a terrible feeling for a father, but they're still young enough for me to not worry about....that dirty scumbag high school kid who will spout a cornucopia of bullshit with one objective in mind.  That's the little bastard I fear.  If teen boys understood that, they'd realize they have the upper hand in the dynamic.  That's why as fathers we tend to do our absolute best to put the fear of death in their brains, both of them.  What am I saying?  I was there once and though I was respectful, I had no fear.  So.  For the future suitors of my daughters there will be no empty threats, no promises I know I can't keep, but there will be a trainload of insinuation.  There will be the day spent out in the field showing the little seed spreader just how good I can shoot a rifle and from how far away my aim is still true....with a scope or open sights.  They'll learn to fear what I can do, but never really know if I'll do it.  That's humaity's biggest fear.  The Unknown.  That's my weapon and it is a damn good one.  Don't get me wrong, I'll let the little bullshit artist attend family functions.  I'll let him come to the house to hang out.  I'll let him take my pure as the driven snow angels on dates.  They won't be alone, but he won't know that.  The girls' brothers take this shit seriously too.  They are destined to be experts at infiltration and exfiltration bringing back all intel to me...the Director of the CIAOMH.

Now, don't get me wrong.  I recognize that I need to be worried about my girls as well.  That's why I've been planting seeds with them for years.  They've heard me tell them of the lies they will be told.  They're being taught to honor themselves.  Their bodies are their own, belonging to themselves.  No amount of pleading, rationalizing, or cajoling can change that.  We're also working on the open communication between them and us.  We want to know when he-who-thinks-with-his-pecker says stupid things like "If you really loved me you do it" or "I want to prove how much I love you."  They won't do that if they're afraid of the reaction they'll get from me.  Truthfully, that's the hardest part. 

I've also instituted the "You will not date anyone who doesn't come and ask us first" policy.  Pretty self-explanatory.  I figure with the amount of respect the younger generation shows these days, that'll limit their social lives with those horny little shits.  And, despite how smart my children are, they're not wiser than us.  We've been there.  We've done it.  We have the children to prove it.  Just kidding.  Point is, "the wool" will not be pulled over our eyes.  Technology is a wonderful thing.  Using technology subversively is even more wonderful.  I'm not doing my job as a dad if I don't check up on the things the kids say they're doing.  Do I trust my kids?  Yes.  Do I trust them unconditionally?  Hell.  No.  That's just stupid.  They're kids.  That's what kids do.  Any person who says they never lied to their parents is either one in a million or completely full of shit.  So my darling daughters, when you tell me that you're going to Becky's to spend the night expect me to make sure that's what you're doing.  You can get pissed at me all you want, but it's my job.  No apologies from this end.

If all else fails folks, I can always use my secret weapon.  It's a destructive force of immeasurable strength.  Her name is Dawn.  She's their mother.

"Fathers be good to your daughters
daughters will love as you do
girls become lovers who turn into mothers
so mothers be good to your daughter too." - John Mayer

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Changes Coming......

Hello All.

Been a while since I put thoughts to fingertips and keystrokes. I've discovered this blogging thing is a discipline. If only I could type as fast as the thoughts in my head.

So. Changes coming. That's the topic. However, its not really what I'm here to talk about today. I'm here really as close to how I personally got to the change.

The changes are two. One, we are adding a new female member to the group. No names yet as it's an exciting announcement that should be given its just reward when we're ready to go. So be ready for that one.

The second has been the most difficult. I'll just come out and say that as a country artist, who lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, it's time for me to evolve. You know what kind of Country music I play as well as the kind I've tried to avoid playing. It's time to stop doing that. In a market such as I'm in where Merle and Waylon are often referred to as "who?" it's time to start playing the more modern music if I plan to make a living at this profession. Idealism is great.....except idealism hasn't been paying the bills. I imagine some of you may think I'm selling out, but for my family I would do just about anything to provide for them. My only real regret is that I've taken this long to reach this conclusion. I'm reminded of a guy I once knew in my younger, cockier years I was giving a hard time about some of the songs in his catalog. I asked why this one particular song I felt was ridiculous and he sharply (and correctly) told me that he plays the songs people want to hear. Damn.

I've been holding on to my idea of what Country music is and how it should be handled for so long that I lost sight of the obvious: I am supposed to play the songs the crowd wants to hear. I've been playing the songs that I wanted to play assuming that "real" country fans wanted to hear them. I was called a snob today because of that fact and it occured to me that it was an accurate assessment of me. As a cover band, it's my job to think of the crowd first. I can be the same entertainer no matter the song I sing. When the crowd's right, I can play the songs I want to play, the songs I know they want to hear. Those are called rodeo crowds. Cowboys and country music fans are not cut of the same cloth despite liking similar music. Epiphany. As the saying goes, "you're never too old to learn." Or perhaps, in my case, never too old to accept the truth.

So, in conclusion, I'm choosing to evolve as an entertainer. I'm not changing personally. I'm not even giving up the music I most love to play. I'm adding to what made me who I was before that's all. I can choose do it regretably or begrudgingly or I can be happy about it and make the most of it. I'm still singing. I'm still getting paid to do a job I love. Why not be happy about it? Why not take some of these songs and make them my own? Oh wait, I do that with most everything anyway!

I look forward what's on the horizon for STHDD! Hope you are too!

p.s. I'm still not going to sing Red Solo Cup.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Reflections of a 36 Year Old "Starving" Artist

We got shut out this year for performing during NFR.  There I said all of you. 

Disclaimer:  I am personally booked for four different shows doing an acoustic thing.

That being said, that's not my band playing with me.  That's upsetting.  Those of you who have been out to our shows know that it is dumbfounding that we aren't playing together during the greatest ten days for rodeo fans, cowboys, cowgirls, and buckle bunnies.  WE ARE A COWBOY BAND!  WTF?!  My guys are as good as it gets when it comes to musicianship.  I have a group of professionals around me.  For hell's sake, I'm the weakest member in the band.  It's a damn good thing I can sing because nobody would ever hire me to play guitar for them.  But you know what?  They've made me better.  They've pushed me, been irritated with me, I've even pissed them off a time or two all to mold me into more than just having a voice.  They've taught me that playing an instrument in a band means you actually have to become a musician.  They were never on board with me "faking it."  By no means am I a great guitar player, but I now can confidently say that I contribute to our band with that Taylor of mine.  I mention this because through the nearly five years we've been together they have all been very loyal to me.  Aside from having a few different guitar players I use when my regular guy can't be there, I have the same band mates I did when we threw together a group nearly last minute to do a show downtown at Mickey Finnz.  This is what provides longevity for bands; knowing that your guys will be there every show.  I can tell you with all modesty and humility....we're not just good, we are one the best shows you will ever see.  Period.

It's for my guys that I struggle so much with not playing this year.  They deserve better than this.  Not to mention that our shows are their livelihood, they should be heard all the time.  This is a talented group of men.  Forgive me for being dramatic but its really heart breaking that I can't reward their efforts.  NFR is what I work for every year.  The best crowds and, yes, more money.  AND WE'RE A COWBOY BAND!!!

I will tell you this.  It's been very hard not to be bitter about this and to not take it personally.  Dawn has worked very hard to keep my spirits up and stay positive for me.  Through all of this I've realized one thing.  Despite the fact that we've been playing in this town for close to five years.  Despite the fact that we put on one of the best shows you'd ever see.....we are relatively unknown.  Is this our fault?  No, not really.  We've played just about everywhere here in Vegas that a band would need to gain notariety.  Have I been resting on my laurels waiting for someone to book us because they heard we were good?  Used to.  Haven't this year.  My friend Raymond and I have been working our asses off for months to help facilitate booking Seth Turner and the High Desert Drifters.  We know who we need to talk to, we just don't know how to get them to talk to us.  I'm telling you right now though, we'll get it figured out and we'll do what we've set out to do.

We're not pop country folks.  We never will be.  I won't apologize for it.  Country music fans actually want to hear country music strange as it may seem.  If you want to dance, that's us.  If you want hear the lyrics we're singing over the instruments playing, that's us.  If you want to see a band that looks like they gave a shit what they wore that day, that's us.  I have no problem with Pop Country bands believe it or not.  I have some favorites even.  Ryan White Maloney and his group are a fantastic show.  Marshall Reign is one of the best groups I've ever seen.  I love to see both their shows.  I have a respect and admiration for these bands.  I however am traditional country.  I play songs from way back to Lefty and Hank moving along to Waylon, Willie, and DAC then through King George and Alan Jackson and then finally to the modern day guys like Zac Brown and Jamey Johnson.  Music that proves country music is still alive.  Guys who sing songs that don't use every stupid redneck device or cliche to show how country they are.  To those who have forgotten I say this....

Country Music is a sound and a lyric.  It's a feeling down deep inside that stirs when you hear it.  It's twin fiddles and steel guitars and a really bitchin' riff blowin through a Fender Amp from Terry Greene, Alvin Blaine, and Eric Wicks' telecasters.  It's Nashville and Bakersfield, yet it loves New York and L.A.  Everyone's welcome in our music.  We're proud to have you, even if you don't tell your friends.  We don't get too bent that our music is evolving, but we do get mad as hell when you tell us that the sound of old isn't wanted around anymore.  For that we'll roll up our sleeves and kick somebody's dumbass.

For now my friends I'm going to go play my solo shows.  I'm going to go enjoy NFR 2011 as a spectator and fan.  I'm going to go watch some good bands play some great music.  And I'm going to leave you with this:

My name is Seth Turner.  My band is The High Desert Drifters.  We play Country Music.  We play it well.  If you don't like it, ok.  Thanks for listening either way.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Social you can keep up on ignoring everyone.

Nearly all of us these days have a Facebook or a MySpace (soooo 2009) or a Twitter or a seemingly infinite amount of other options for internet connectivity to our pasts and presents.  Some of us even have a combination of these places to show everyone how we live our lives and secretly compare them to our "friends." ha.  ha.  Most of the time, at least for me, these sites are a cool way to do just that (except the comparing part).  I have friends that are funny and I enjoy reading the crazy shit that travels their nervous systems from brain to fingertip on keyboard.....or cell phone.  I also enjoy seeing the pictures of them doin' what they do.  Watching babies grow up, blah blah, all that.  Don't get offended, I'm just trying to get to the point of this one.....

So the other day it suddenly dawned on me that not everything about the social network experiment we live in is awesome.  I had sent out invitations to my friends to come to our house for my birthday celebration.  The convenience of sending that "event invitation" and knowing that it would be a one stop shop, instant gratification thing that we as a society have grown accustomed to.  Out of 40 invitations I sent, less than 10 people actually responded to it.  Of those, a few actually told me if they had more notice they would have come.  I didn't bother letting them know that I sent the invite out a week ahead of time.  In my world seven days is plenty of notice.  I don't get offended if people have other plans, I understand that kind of thing.  Scheduling conflicts are everywhere.  I don't think less of myself if someone just doesn't want to come either.  I'm gonna have a good time no matter what.

It occured to me the day after the party that the same thing was going on with invites I've been sending out regarding shows that the guys and I play.  Send 'em out, not many respond.  I put a little post up on Facebook asking if I was the last one there to realize that people just ignore them and sorta hoping that it wasn't just me.  I got some truth.  Out of the four responses, three told me they pretty much ignored event invitations.  Wow.  That is exactly the thought that went through my mind.

Now, I do understand some of the frustration that some of you might have with them.  I get invites from people I barely know (yeah, yeah save the wisdom, I get it) who are in completely different states.  Dude.  I'm probably never coming to your show.  If I'm in or have plans to come to your town, I will check in with you then to see where you're playing and I'll be there.  I'll make one small amendment to that statement, by saying that I do have some friends in the music business that I like to see the events come in just to know that they're out there working.  It's good to know they're out there doing it. 

I try to be polite about my invites by doing a few different things.  1. I have all my Las Vegas Area people on one list (Facebook does it for you for hell's sake) and those are the only folks that I send the invite to.  2. If I'm playing at one venue for consecutive days, I only send one invitation and explain that it's for the duration of the gig.  3. I have a few people that I send "come on out's" to for the reason I explained in the last paragraph.  Pat Watters and I have even made a game out of it by clicking the maybe button because "you never know....."  And, that's it.  I use my upbringing in the process of inviting by being respectful, but still promoting myself and the band.  I guarantee that I am in a very small minority.

Because I'm artist who has this tech to take advantage of and because I've always thought it rude to ignore other artists, I do my absolute best to answer each and every invitation and add a little blurb on their walls.  I say this to all of you who are reading today because....well maybe you just don't understand what it takes to be someone who isn't a household name.  With all the time we spend Socially Networking, it only takes a few more seconds to head to that section of your home page and click yes, no, or maybe.  I promise you I will never be offended by the folks that click no.  To the contrary in fact.  I appreciate the folks that do so, if only because they took the time.  To all you I say thank you very much.  To those of you who ignore, just remember that your response just might make someone feel good about themselves and the effort they're putting forth while chasing a dream....even if you click no.  Believe it.

To all my fellow Event Inviters I say this:  Think about who you're inviting.  Don't just throw a blanket deal out there because Facebook lets you.  It's not necessary.  The amount of people who are your friends or like your page doesn't provide any justification for that kind of thing.  Stick to those who are more likely to come.  Let your peers know what's up.  I'm sure many of them are like me and will be happy for you that you are out there gettin' it done.  But if you're in L.A......

As for me, I guess the old school is calling with the test message, email, and phone call.


Friday, September 2, 2011

Hey look at me with a blog again!

Once upon a time there was a guy (me) who had a blog on that dinosaur of a social network called MySpace.  I had 300 and something followers which absolutely blew my mind.  I was always left to wonder how it was possible that this many people actually cared what I had to say.  It's actually a pretty gratifying feeling that so many will sign up just to read your thoughts.  That was four or five years ago now.  I guess it is time to start a new one.

I tend to be one of those guys that shoots straight.  No one will ever accuse me of sugar coating anything.  I have my moments where I will, but for the most part it takes too much energy from my ever rotting brain to think of the "nice" way to say something.  I'll pass.  I have five children now and it's hell just staying ahead of their little deviant minds.  (That reminds me of the time my Dad wished five of me on me.  What a terrible thing to wish on your child.....but I do understand it now.  Sorry about that Dad.  All of it.)  Anyway, my blog will consist of whatever happens to be on my mind in that moment.  Sometimes I'm going to let you know where we'll be playing a show or talking about a show we just played.  Other times I'm going to tell you about a funny thing that happened (or really not funny) in the course of my day.  There'll be the days where a soap box is involved or perhaps where I should be typing from a pulpit as well. 

One of the nice things about blogging is you get the opportunity to share your thoughts.  Anyone can have one; they're like children.  Don't need a license or even have to take classes.  They are amazing that way.  Point I'm actually trying to make right now is this:  you may not always agree with what I have to say and that's ok.  There may be times that I say something that offends you.  You know what?  That's ok too.  It's my blog and I can paint it any color I want to.  The part of blogging that is most important to me is that it's not Facebook.  If you want to read what I have to say, you actually have to come to this site to do it.  It's not there on Facebook for everyone to see.  Philosophy is great.  Amazing subject, especially if you know what the hell you're talking about. 

I tend to be a philosopher at times.  I think it comes from being an idealist.  What I don't do is share it on Facebook.  That's really not what I have a profile there for.  I do it to keep up with the people in my life that I care to know what is going on in theirs.  I prefer to see the status updates that are funny or sharing important moments.  Once I realize that preaching, proselytizing, or philosophizing are taking place I lose interest and drive on.  I wouldn't bring it up, but I've had many a conversation on this subject with many people AND I can honestly say that everyone (yes everyone) finds it annoying in some form.  So, I promise no Facebook Filosophy or is it Phacebook Philosophy?  Whatever.

If you choose to become someone who wants to see what I have to say, I want to say thank you in advance.  As I referenced earlier, it's gratifying to know you take the time.  If you don't want to read that's fine too.  Sometimes I am full of shit.