Wednesday, November 14, 2007

death of the club scene

So I’m always wondering what’s going with the wide wide world of music and why it’s in such a sorry state. Mostly, how did it get to a place where no one goes out to see bands, even really good bands anymore? I’m sure it varies from city to city. But it’s starting to get pretty bad everywhere according to every club owner I’ve talked to. I think the situation in Europe is a little better, that’s why I love playing there. Our friends from England agreed. “I think we really DO go out more” Lindy says. So what is it keeping folks at home these days? Number one, in America, nobody has any money. Gas has been a real killer lately for bands, not only because it costs the band to travel, but it costs the patrons too. And what about stiffer DUI laws? Both of these factors concern the music fans who have to drive and that’s why the metro areas have it a little better, cabs, subways and shit. So everybody just stays home and drinks, watchin’ sports on HDTV or they are on the computer watching videos on YouTube. Times sure have changed since we would pack’m out on a Tuesday night down at the Free Advice in Raleigh. And it was so “Spinal Tap” in Knoxville on Saturday night. After doing an interview on camera about how great the music scene was in the Triangle (Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill) in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, we stepped up on stage and basically played to 4 people. And I know one thing, it AIN’T because we suck! The show we just did in Cleveland was one of my favorite shows that I’ve ever been a part of, right up there with some of my other favorite rock history moments, The Yayhoos Roskilde show in the summer of ’96, The OakTeam’s Chattanooga show last summer and numerous sold Fabulous Knobs shows at The Pier and Café déjà vu in Raleigh (among hundreds of other priceless moments in my infamous “career”). I guess as the generations change over, the club scene has become more and more forgotten. It’s particularly heartbreaking to me, having seen and been a part of so many great gigs. They don’t know what they’re missing.

12 comments:

Bobzilla said...

The raising of the drinking age from 18 to 21 was the first nail in the coffin...

Anonymous said...

Maybe if the clubs allowed bands to play earlier than midnight, it might encourage folks to come out..I say start around eight and be home by midnight...

TA said...

Both great points. I agree.

Javi said...

Well, in Europe things ain't that great either.

Anonymous said...

I also play in a band ("Raptor`s Ball") and the situation here in Germany is pretty similar. One (smaler) reason is, that they prohibited smoking in clubs, bars etc. But I think another major reason is, that people are used to the music of the charts and this kind of music was not writen to be performed live. But I think this will change! Why? Because in times of illegal downloading the music-industry is more and more addicted to the money they earn from concerts. That will change what we are hearing on the radio -and the taste of the people.
That´s at least my theorie. ;-)
Cheers, Arthur

Anonymous said...

people are now just too lazy. i remember going to see bands in london which is and hour and a half away, now people dont even want to go 5 miles! you know it was getting band when tribute bands do national tours. its stadia or nothing?

Anonymous said...

Live music is better - bumper stickers should be issued.

Anonymous said...

i have to say that imho clubs don't work as hard on the promo as they should in some cases. they aren't doing much to help the bands succeed like in the old days. their business is to draw customers, but i've seen far too many clubs put the bulk of the promo on the bands. there's only so many people a band can get to a show on their own. it's a catch 22. bands need to play frequently in an area, but if the club doesn't pull their weight or put most of the onus on bands, what do they expect? one lost (and very helpful) practice is clubs allowing bands to have residencies (once a week for a month, or 3 or 4 nights in a row starting on a monday or tues, etc.) to build their audience. when a band builds a following at a venue, they build more customers for the club. it's a win-win. it's not the cure-all to all of this, but it has worked.

Ace said...

The biggest killer is what T mentioned. A DUI here in California will ruin your life for years. (and cost you about 10,000 dollars when its all said and done) Before I stopped gigging in 04, I was followed by a CHP officer (remember chips?)Pretty much from the time I loaded up the Van and headed home. 30 minutes later I was in handcuffs. They didn't have enough to charge me so they cut me free. But I knew then the fun was gone from going through essentially 9 hours of work to risk ending up in a drunk tank because you're out late in a bar. They notice the cars that are at a club all night then persue them. In California there's a statistic that 70 percent of drivers on the road after 2AM are legally drunk.

The other point I firmly agree with is Clubs wanting the Band to do it all. You know it's bad when the owner asks two things, 1. How big is your following, and 2. Can I see your set list. Back in the day we never had to compete with DJs, HDTV, Rap, and every fucknig no-talent garage band that thinks they can perform in public. Another thing that I'm actually in favor of, but is a real killer are the no smoking laws. I played a club that was packed, the same club that Neil Young showcases his new stuff at, and everyone was in the back (outside) dancing and smoking. Only the people that didn't bring Jackets were inside.

Plus 10.00(u.s.) for a shot of tequila won't take you very far. Back in the day, a shot of Patrone was 3.50.

What about Karaoke?

And the new generation of drinkers, are (I'm sad to say)more easily entertained than we were. We use to go to clubs to "meet chicks and dance". Now you can stay home on your computer and go into a chatroom and meet someone to hook up with, exchange Jpegs, (have cyber sex) and spare the whole night of looking. We never had to compete with internet porn. Or on-line gaming. Yes grown adults spending hours on line playing Halo or counter strike etc.....

I heard the new thing is house gigs. For about the same price, people will pay you to play in their home. The liquer is cheaper, if the neighbors are cool with it, anything goes.

I seriously see the old fashioned pub or speak easy as something that you only find in airports. I'm hoping that more and more of these old theaters will be turned into live music venues.

But you're absolutely right T, the club scene started dying along with pay telephone booths.

12 Bar said...

I don't know about other towns, but in Memphis, the shows at some places don't even start until about midnight. Some of us, unfortunately, have jobs and have to work for a living. The New Daisy theater won't even tell you what time the show's gonna start. If you call them up, all they'll say is "the door opens at 7:00." They won't let you in and out of the place, so if you get there too early, you're stuck in there for three hours drinking their shitty draught beer. Fuck that place. A lot of the clubs are too cheap to pay bands and just hire DJ's. The youngsters are too ignunt to know what they're missing. As much as anything, I blame techno for the death of the live music scene.

Anonymous said...

Simmons has identified the root cause: Free music, enabled by technology, has removed an entire generation from learning about the enjoyment of live music. That, plus for about 20 years now the majority of college students can't buy a beer.

So that leaves us old guys and gals. We can't stay out late and we can't afford a DUI. So we stay home, or at the very least, we can only go out when the next day is a non-work day which we are prepared to piss away on the couch cuz we don't recover from drinking even a few beers like we used to be able to. Plus, we've got to add $20-40 to the tab for the night for the cab ride home, then do the perp walk and go fetch the truck the next day, hoping the shit-ass club parking lot was secure and it's still got tires, etc, etc, etc.

I love me some Rock Star, old pal of mine, but it's a real project for me to get out and see ya.

FB

Tony said...

Nancy Reagan helped kill the clubs back in '85 when she got Ronnie to tell the states that their federal highway money (that we already paid taxes for) would be withheld unless the local drinking age was raised to 21.

You know, we never took a vote on the drinking age, the decision was made for us.

Fast forward to now and I'm a dad. Do I won't my kids to drink at 18? Maybe. But I sure as hell don't want them to drink AND drive at 18. Actually, I don't want them to drive much at all.

The clubs had everything for us. A beer. Girls. Smokes. And great music. I don't know where guys find girls nowadays (or where girls find the guys) and they tell me booze and cigarettes are bad for ya.

I've downloaded stuff from blogs ("out of print", etc.) like a year ago and haven't listened yet. BUT if I plunk down 12 bucks for a CD, guess what? That sucker will be playing in my car or basement within the hour.

There's also too much rock everywhere. Go to the Kroger--rock music in the background. Watch TV--damn, these commercials have better music than the radio. Go to a movie--more great rock.

It was better when the 3 places you could rock out were the radio, your record player and in a club.

It's hard to raise the value on something that ain't scarce.