As I am sure nobody around here had anything better to do in my absence than discuss at great length what I may have been up to, y’all were surely already aware of my return. And I bet I know exactly what you’re thinking: “Wow, Alex must have really failed in California to be back so soon!” Well, y’know what? You’d be totally right. Things did not work out for me in the City of Angels, and while I’m not exactly thrilled about my shortcomings, I’m glad I pushed myself to do something that was difficult, no matter how much I might miss someone.
So now, I’m back with a semi-adjusted attitude, a lust for new and varied musical awesomeness, and—since I am still me at the end of the day—a little list of things the Santa Fe scene can learn from the musical madness found within the smog-laden metropolis that is Los Angeles.
You should see how excited people get for shows in Los Angeles. And I’m not just talking about the night The Rolling Stones quietly and mysteriously showed up to play a small club in Echo Park. One night, I went out to see some goofy punk-meets-country band, and even though it wasn’t the greatest show I’ve ever seen, everyone was totally psyched. Even while I was standing in line beforehand, everyone was sayin’ stuff like, “I saw them open for [insert band name here] last month and I’ve been waiting for this!” and “We’re gonna have fun tonight!” I have heard statements like this in Santa Fe approximately twice: once before that killer Pixies show, and once before the first Starfucker show. Otherwise, it’s mostly grumblings of, “What the hell else would I do?” This isn’t necessarily anyone’s fault, but fans and promoters around here do often seem at odds in terms of want and vision…maybe a dialogue is in order?
…Because bands don’t overplay
Oh, there are resident DJs and bands and everything, and I can’t honestly say that every last act in Los Angeles spaces out all of their shows to whatever arbitrary appropriate measure of time, but the majority of music-scene people and bands I met all told a similar tale: If you play too much, people will simply stop caring. Musicianship is totally a career as far as I’m concerned, and I don’t wish lack of money on anyone, but if there is any good to come out of the competitive nature of the LA music scene, it’s that bands ditch complacency and overexposure for hard work and touring, or they run the risk of becoming irrelevant.
More all-ages = more variety
While there is no comparison between Santa Fe and LA when it comes to sheer size, there were like 10 music venues in my neighborhood alone, each catering to different tastes. Many of these even made it possible for all-ages events by roping off a certain section of the club or relegating booze sales to the patio alone, etc. Whereas musical trends in Santa Fe seem to be dictated by the bands themselves and/or tourists (read: older people), this welcoming youth vibe gives clubs the leeway to bring in more kinds of acts. In other words, all y’all kids need to speak up, and all y’all bands need to stop telling us what we’re supposed to like; we’ll be there if we want.
There’s no such thing as bad press
I was drinking, umm, a lot, while I was out there, and whenever I’d talk to a musician whilst inebriated, I’d inevitably ask whether or not they’d ever been reviewed and, if so, if it had ever been bad. Answers varied from person to person, but the overwhelming consensus was that even bad press was OK in that they at least had some exposure. This made me feel good. However, with that said, why don’t we all try to start with a clean slate, local musicians? I’ll take it a little easier and work a little harder this time around, and you’ll all try to understand that self-satisfaction and hard work are their own rewards.