Friday, May 28, 2010

Shocked at Aftershock?

It was a classic Tale of the Tape, and helped me avoid another meltdown. Another one of those pay-per-play Battle of the Band events that I knew wasn't going to get us anywhere. I did it for the video, and thankfully so.

Local Phenomenon Productions set up this farce at the Aftershock in Shawnee KS. I knew this wasn't going to work well when I drove out last week and found no spots in town to put out flyers. When I got to the show, the screamo bands were mustering up and cornball picker Dave Wendler was setting up alongside me bragging that he was the only one on the bill getting paid. I got set up, did my sound check, and waited for the sound man to arrive a half hour late.

Johnny Mac canceled out, which left me alone with Mr. (Drum) Machine. Those things are great for practice but will twist your shorts onstage, largely because they're so hard to hear under combat conditions unless you've got them on a separate amp (mea culpa). I plowed through the metal set with difficulty but hit my stride with the thrash songs. Unfortunately the locals didn't seem to care for "Obamanation" and were set to cut me loose. I asked for the final five minutes of my half-hour set...big mistake. "Back From Iraq" fell apart like a house of cards.

The screamo bands were real supportive and even came by the truck as I was packing it in. I wasn't too good with the outcome so I decided to review the video when I got home. Surprise, surprise. My mic work was on the money and (for a change) I was delighted by the vox. The guitar was a tad fuzzy but Mr. Machine took a licking too. It was basically a shoot between me and Machine, and it cost me on "Iraq". The rest of the show, though...well, I ended up with a pretty good demo.

Unfortunately these 'battles' are about a half-step up from the open mics around town. The only real advantage is that it's a semi-legit gig which lets you use the club's name for your promos, plus you have more say as to volume control and set length. Other than that, if the owner or booker's not on site, you're a snowball in hell.

Funny thing, the whole experience kinda got me back on track. I'm wanting to get back out there and show people what we REALLY got. Our next one's set for the Buffalo Bar on 6/10.

Let the audience beware!!!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Line Jumped Again?

Well, I really didn't feel like going out today.

Johnny Mac canceled out, which should've sufficed, but I wasn't good with the fact we haven't been out all month. After all, this may be our last season. I decided to go anyway, even though my wrist is still messed up after the hockey game two weeks ago. I've got 345 back up on the squat rack but only 200 on the bench because of it. Well, damn the torpedoes, I decided to check out Howell's Bar and Grill on 5/16/10. Randy Patton gave us a fair shake last time and I had new songs to try out.

Forty-five minutes after signup time, the Pattons finally let the jammers step up. Only their guitarist, a Rufus T. Firefly (from the Devil's Rejects) lookalike, penalized me for having to get my guitar from the truck. Wait 'til next set...well, let's try hell freezing over.

I'm not that much of a prima donna, but, geez, it's not like people get paid for these things. You're putting out gas and beer money, putting your name on the line, have no idea what kind of crowd you're up against, and don't even know if the house band is going to work with you. Plus it's been raining all day and traffic in Gladstone's congested on Sunday, to say the least. You'd think you could at least do your three-and-out. Zero-and-out really bites.

Why bother. Well, like I said, maybe this is our last season, and we need to go out with our heads held high. Cream rises to the top, and *if* we are as phenomenal as we think we are, someone somewhere will take notice. It's what I told Terri and CJ, and even though they lost faith and left...if I go...

No one's left.

Monday, May 3, 2010

No Showz?

For the first time since I started my random acts of Spoilermania, I bailed out of an open mic spot...not one, but two.

Problem was, both the Czar Bar and Crosstown Station in KCMO advertised open mics at 6 PM tonight (Monday night), and only Czar Bar was open. Unfortunately the emcee showed up a half hour late and bumped it down to 7:30. Upon finding out Crosstown hadn't even opened, I decided to call it a day (especially since I forgot to bring my tape, no benefit).

It's just symptomatic of the plague that's destroying the music scene here in KC: complacency and defeatism. The club owners are so worried about making rent that they sink their hopes on friends, family and relatives who only book amongst themselves and won't let ambitious new acts get a shot. As a result, the bookers embarrass themselves week after week and ultimately begin arriving late or no-showing until the owners pull the plug on the entire operation. Either that or they endure the cancer of hangers-on and barflies showing at their dead man walking shows until, again, they opt for the lethal injection.

I know I'm swimming against the tide but I, like the clubs, have no choice but to fight or die. If only they realize we're both in a desperate spot. Give me the chance to save you, fool, what do you have to lose that you're not going to lose anyway?

I've got Aftershock in Shawnee KS on 5/27. I may have First Friday at Crossroads on 5/7. I may have every chance I need in the next few weeks...but without the backup I need I'll ultimately have nothing. Musicians, bookers, club owners...are you out there?

The SPOILER is the need you want, the want you need. Catch it while you can...ain't no one gonna miss you when you're gone.

I know that better than anyone.