SFR: OK, I don’t want to be a dick, but I’ve been to several of your shows that were poorly attended. Where was everybody?
TF: For the most part, people only want to hear what they’re familiar with, and that can really hurt you if you’ve got a smaller-name band. Luckily, Santa Fe has somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 die-hard listeners…people that go out of their way to find new things. To an extent, I count on these people to spread the word among their friends and make a point to be there. Thank God for Facebook, too, y’know? That’s been hugely helpful. I hate when people say they’re going to come out and then don’t. However, I do understand that I’ve had to build an infrastructure so people know my name. I was such a new promoter that I can understand people not being in the know. It’s taken some time to make people aware of what’s happening.
What changes do you think need to be made to make Santa Fe a more viable destination for bigger bands?
For one thing, Santa Fe needs a new venue…a place that can fit 500 people and have kids, but still sell liquor. Kind of like when The Paramount would do all-ages shows, but more permanent. That’d be a great step to getting more bands here. The real problem is that nobody is interested in taking on the financial responsibility. If I thought I could pay myself a modest salary, pay the bills and keep the bands coming, I’d do it. Being persistent with agents and letting them know that Santa Fe is a great destination—even better than Albuquerque—is key. It’s slowly but surely getting better, but it’s still a work in progress. I’ve noticed a somewhat competitive aspect to local show promotion. Is this helpful or counterproductive? Do I think the competition is helpful? Hell yes. Between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, it’s just such a small market and getting bands here takes a lot of effort; you can’t just sit around waiting for your phone to ring. There are no guarantees that bands I want to bring will sign on with me or even come here at all. It’s frustrating when I really want a band and it doesn’t work out, but I think I’m a listener when a lot of promoters aren’t. It’s like they want to sell tickets and not bands. I want to sell bands. If the rumors are true and Paolo Soleri Amphitheater is demolished, will this be a major blow to the scene? I don’t think it’s going to be a nail in the coffin of the scene or anything. It’ll take its toll, but if it was operated better or even just available more than three times a year, it could become a mainstay for the bigger touring acts. What’s the biggest problem with the Santa Fe music scene? I’ve had enough of roadhouse blues and bar bands. We need to get progressive here. We need to be persistent. It takes time to build a scene, and it’s not like we can bring a few mid-level bands and expect it to change overnight. We need to stop settling for the run-of-the-mill. Follow SFR music news on Twitter: @SFRsA_Sharp