An Open Letter to Local Bands

I have read quite a few comments on Social Media about a certain show that happened in Rockford recently and I see that quite a few members of the “local scene” were upset by what happened. Understandably so. You thought you were going to play on a “bigger show” and it didn’t happen. I understand that you would be upset. The radio station has gotten blamed, the venue has gotten blamed, It really wasn’t anyones fault. Truth be told, I had no idea there were local bands ever scheduled on the bill. In reality, that is part of the music business. That’s right, I said BUSINESS.

I know to some people BUSINESS may be a bad word, but this is what we are all thrust into together, whether we like it or not. Whether we want to get along or not. At the end of the day, business is part of it.

Which brings me to my point. For the radio station, it is a business. We NEED to make money to keep the doors open and for our employees to get paid. For national touring bands, it is a BUSINESS, they to a great big chance and hit the road with only the money they make and merch sales to support themselves. For Venues, it is a BUSINESS, they have people they need to pay as well.

As a local band, is it a business? Do you treat it as a business. If your band doesn’t make it, do you have a regular job to fall back on? For us, this is our regular job. I understand you are very passionate about your hobby, but at the end of the day that is what it is.

Don’t blame the radio station or the venues for your lack of success. Look in the mirror. Make your band the best it can possibly be. Be great! Be so great that people can’t stop talking about how great your last show was. If you are GREAT, word will get around that you have to be seen and heard.

So if sometime, we are not as eager to support your band, in a manner in which you would like, take a moment to think about the fact that this is how we support our families. Why should we take a chance on you, if you are not willing to take a chance on yourself, by giving up your 9-5 to do what you are so passionate about.

“Support the scene”, that is the claim of several people when it comes to the radio station and local music. Would someone please define the “scene” for me? Because it seems like it is a very small, clique that sees only their style of music is all there is. Do singer/songwriters count as part of “the scene”? Do cover bands count as “the scene” Or only the music that “the scene” approves is part of “the scene”?

Don’t play for the scene. Don’t play for venue approval. Don’t play for Radio Station support. Play because you love to play. Sing because you love to sing. Make it the most fun you have ever had. Don’t look to someone else for your happiness If you are great, fans will follow you in droves. Venues will love you and radio stations won ignore you.