Wednesday, July 27, 2011

School of Hard Rocks Lesson 6: If you don't support your SCENE don't expect it to SUPPORT YOU!.

So far I've covered
-the necessity of a good recording.
-the downfall of playing too many shows (in your hometown)
-the value of merch. 
-the value of flyers.
-the sad truth that not everyone will like you, and you can't make them.

In this lesson I wanted to stress the point that if you don't support your own scene then you can't expect it to support you.

It seems like an easy thing to get with with like-minded musicians in other bands who are all working for the same goal; to make music. But after ten years and two scenes I've learned that it's not easy at all and at times is much worse than high school.

Pop the genre bubble.
Just like high school, musicians can be cliquey. Metal bands tend to stick with metal bands, hip-hop groups tend to stick with hip-hop groups, and so forth. It's a sad occurrence of genres closing in on themselves.
Most musicians are influenced by a number of different genres, so it's ironic that they would limit themselves to their own genre when supporting local bands.
Getting out and discovering new bands in different genres not only shows other musicians that you're supporting them but it can also help educate you on your scene. You can find new venues, new promotional tools, and see what works and doesn't work. Who knows what kind of awesomely talented bands are right under your nose.

Don't be a dick.
Being an unjustified jerk to people whether they are a fan, a fellow musician, a sound guy, a promoter, or whatever doesn't make you seem like a professional , it just makes you seem like a dick. No one likes the asshole singer who thinks he's too good to hang out with the other bands or the guitar player who talks shit in the bathroom about a fan "being on his nuts" about his guitar tone. That's not going to build a fan base or make people want to support your band. If you're at a show to check out a new band or whatever don't stand in the back with your arms crossed the whole time. Go talk to them, introduce yourself. Whether you liked their music or not just showing that you were there to check them out is a great gesture.

It's not a competition.
Bands shouldn't act like they are competing in a race. Networking and supporting each other is the best approach to making the scene work. No one wins if you're treating other bands like they're a rival sports team. There's no trophy or Superbowl ring for having the most fans or playing the most awesome shows.

Cohesive show trading, utilizing each others resources, and supporting every positive aspect is how the scene can thrive.

You can't sit around complaining about the scene if you're not participating in it.

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