“ Music is Life !” “ I ’ m dying to go to a show !” “ Can ’ t wait to get back to playing for you all .”
They just keep saying it . Over and over and over ... yes we know . Live music is still missing from the majority of our lives . It ’ s a bummer . You know what ’ s not a bummer ? Being alive . Friends and family not being sick . Having the ability to look forward to a possible future of new , live performance experiences as either a fan or a musician .
Our fellow musicians are dead . Owners of bars and venues have gone bankrupt . Bartenders and bouncers are working for Amazon . Sound engineers and stage crews are waiting for politicians to “ Save Our Stages ”. It ’ s pretty common knowledge that the last year has been a tragedy . So why am I seeing so many of us making it worse ?
The answer is , ( It ’ s a pretty common theme for me .) EGO . A bunch of you can ’ t keep your egos in check . You are fragile and insecure . You can ’ t just sit down and shut up because somewhere in the back of your mind you will be forgotten about or ignored . So what do you do ? You play shows you shouldn ’ t be , at clubs who aren ’ t following safety guidelines , to maskless drunks hanging on each other taking selfies .
That is not to say that there aren ’ t some cool venues , doing their best to put on some really safe shows . I also know some players who really just need to work and are doing whatever they can to scrape by . I would never begrudge anyone three squares and a roof . I ’ m not talking about them .
Probably half of the music being played right now is just for kicks . The B team , maybe even the C team , is out in force playing stages they have no right to . You think that when this is over you ’ re going to stay on top ? I have news for you , they will drop you like a bad habit and go back to paying “ Agency ” bands for packed rooms . All the pay-to-play , ticket selling bullshit will return with a status quo vengeance , when we could have stopped it by just doing nothing .
Those venues that failed ?
Some of them deserved to . Those promoters that disappeared ? See ya !
Free market pressure can be applied to the crappy business practices that we have all been victimized by for years . It won ’ t happen though because “ I just wanna rock out and have a good time !” Treating music like a mid-life crisis isn ’ t art , it ’ s just sad .
Let ’ s not lay all of the blame on performers and venues though . The fans have been extraordinarily disappointing as well . It ’ s a great virtue signal to “ Support your local establishment ” then walk in and proceed to violate all the rules set for your own protection . Honestly , it ’ s much cheaper to drink at home . The food would be better too , if you took a moment to learn how to cook . What was my point ? Oh ... Freebird ! Stop hanging on the singer , spitting in their face asking if you can sing a song ( yes , that is still happening ). Maybe in your down time some rehab might be in order . We must not forget that these are the same people who will regularly miss your shows but “ definitely let me know next time you ’ re playing ”.
The pandemic didn ’ t kill live music . It was already on life support . I really hope I ’ m wrong , but from what I ’ m seeing I doubt it . By the time the insurance companies , regulating agencies and big corporate promoters get done with this .... maybe we will be able to see a Fleetwood Mac tribute band from $ 500 nose bleed seats .
So just stay home . Write a song . Record a Zoom cover , if you must . If you go out , wear a mask . I know we aren ’ t wired for patience , but do we have to keep proving we are wired for self destruction ?