No, you don’t. You’re playing the same set you did the very first day I saw you five years ago. Oh sure, there are a few new covers and you totally worked out some feelings with your new commitment to lyricism but, (and I get that I listen to/dissect music on a more comprehensive level than the average human because it’s my job) growth is not your strong suit. Playing to a handful of drunken, middle-aged weirdos is your strong suit.
Yeah, don’t bother to burn me some tracks or drop your CD at the office or even just straight email me some MP3s. If there’s one thing I love, it’s when a band basically tells me they’re far too busy assuming the position of neo-John Lennon to put in the same effort as, y’know, successful bands.
To dispel a common misconception about myself, I love covers. They can be awesome and fun and creative and hell, this column itself is a cover of sorts.
But whereas tribute bands like Moby Dick or passion projects like Chango clearly take themselves with a grain of salt and are clear about their intent, it’s really weird to stock your set with a ton of note-for-note covers and then act like you’ve somehow achieved something. I’m not going to trace the “Mona Lisa” and say I’m a great artist.
Recently both Caitlin Brothers and David Badstubner of the band Bedlambs wrote me to tell me they appreciated my criticism of their self-titled debut. Obviously nobody loves to hear these things about their music, but Brothers and Badstubner were still very adult and accepting and open about the situation, and it was so refreshing I almost died. In other cases I’ve been told everything from I don’t know what I’m talking about to I actively desire the failure of the local scene. This is preposterous as I live here, too, and obviously I’d like it if all the local bands got better. That’s a joke (of sorts), so don’t freak out or anything.
We’ve come to this a lot over my tenure, Santa Fe, and it would be great if there could be some sort of definitive understanding between the two of us. So let me be perfectly clear when I tell you the following: It is not now, nor has it ever been my job to make sure you get shows or good press clippings or new followers or any of the other things that fall squarely in your camp. Your shows, your fans, your pay, your album sales are just that—YOURS! Believe me, I love getting feedback from the community. Y’all have never been shy about telling me exactly where I stand. And whereas I have made a conscious effort to open my ears a little more and to look at music in perhaps a less negative light, I still get the same Thumper from Bambi comments about saying nice things or, my least favorite statement, about how if I don’t love the scene I should just move away again. First of all, I tried that and clearly I suck too hard to make it outside of Santa Fe. Secondly, that’s a pretty oppressive statement that seems to be the battle cry of those too scared to receive honest, well-thought-out criticism.
Anyway, love you guys!