By Rich Horton
First of all, let me start off by saying I can safely say that I am disheartened by the recent political climate. I won’t go into too much detail about my politics, but let me just say I feel we are going backward as a country if the powers that be continue on their awkward path.
How did we get there? I think it relates to the topic I wanted to bring up. Why an audience and support can be important. Sometimes we get complacent. I love that band, that restaurant that theater etc…
Then the things we love, but don’t necessarily support as much as we need to, start to disappear. Bands break up, Restaurants close and that little store that had that thing we would buy once every year or so is now empty. It’s why nostalgia can be such a powerful feeling.
Many times it doesn’t have anything to do with us, people retire, people die, people get sick of not making enough money. Bands get creative differences, companies get bought and sold.
In the local music scene, we have seen it a few times. While a few bands or musicians can sustain themselves for many years and many albums. The flash in the pans, the hot tickets, they all can fade away quickly. You see it happen all the time, band releases music, get some good local crowds, do a little touring and then bam onto the next one.
Why? Because it’s hard work keeping and sustaining an audience. It’s hard work going beyond a local presence and making a living between 3-5 people while going town to town and trying to attract and audience in a world of a multitude of entertainment and life choices.
I was in a band that was hardly popular, but we had a buzz. Some good local reviews, some well-packed shows. We just ended up playing with better bands, and then we would actually sell our merch and get some praise which would be enough to keep us going.
Compliments and pats on the back will only get you so far, you have to turn those audience members into disciples who pay for stuff. They have to spread the word and so on and so on. Also as you grow up, life gets more expensive.
What I am trying to say here is that it’s never easy and art and music become more important as the political spikes fall. We sometimes take for granted what really matters gets shaken up to remind us not to disregard the signs of major change.
I have quit doing this Rift magazine thing, many times only to be lured back into the guise of making a difference. Maybe it does and maybe it doesn’t and I may never know. Does it matter less with the other pressing issues coming down? It might matter now, more than ever. It takes my mind of things that I have less control over.
I envy the bands and musicians that will play their heart out, even when they are playing for five people. We all have our ups and downs but keeping that faith about what you are doing is key.
It also sometimes doesn’t fair, you see amazing musicians or artists who don’t necessarily get the attention they deserve, and then some kids who started playing yesterday come with a new sound everyone is getting into. You have to chalk that up to I guess that is the way it works sometimes.
Doing the work we do having people support it and seeing those numbers go up on the website, it really does help. Seeing people beyond your friends and family come out and be into what you are doing is awesome. But as some of you know, we are going to do it anyway.
I have to balance my fear, with the things I hold close to my heart. Just to make sure I get out of bed every day and do things. Let’s all fight the fight and create things. Support what you love, and protest what you hate. We’ll all be better for it. Peace!