Posted by Ol' Joe Sexton on:
It's strange. A couple weeks back, I was rummaging through a storage trunk in my art studio and I found a mixed CD I had made for a girl I liked back in 1999 named Lisa. Lisa, like this CD, was quickly forgotten when I met another young lady and shambled off in her direction. So the disc aged, like a fine wine, buried beneath a stuffed Smurf and a box of baseball cards.
I had been trying to figure out exactly why I might start this blog. What would be the point? What will drive me to get this up and going, and keep posting? This disc reminded me of why I want to be involved in the local indie music scene, and write this blog. If you click below, you can hear a few of the bands on the disc, the bands are the same, though in some cases I used newer songs...
Man. I was so excited in that era, when Jeff Capra, Kent McClard, John Lyons, Dylan Ostendorf, etc. showed me new bands, zines, etc, resources you needed in the pre-internet/blogs thick as flies on a cow pie, word of mouth days of DIY/Indie music. KJEE had just started out too, but had really become crap by 96-97, they were no help. After these fine folks had filled me in on the whole DIY scene I hardly ever listen to the radio in Santa Barbara.
It took a little work finding out about all those obscure bands and labels. But, if you were willing to put some time and research in, you found that the dollar bins at CD stores were like Sutters Mill. There was gold in them there hills, and if you spent a couple hours digging, you could usually get ten CDs for less than Joe Alternative was paying for his Candlebox CD. Some of those 10 discs sucked of course, it was a gamble, but some of them are still favorites of mine. The same was true of live shows at the Red Barn, Pickle Patch, Boys Club, Livingroom, and various house shows. Local bands like Agent 94, Phooey, Sparker, Jara, The Embassy, Stratego, Nation of Lepers, were really exciting, and what's more, locals came out and supported them.
Things are different now. If a night club signs a contract with a booking agent, we get a headliner. If enough blogs have gushed about the band, some people will come, if enough of our digital friends on facebook are attending, a whole lot of us come. Mostly they get as far away from the stage as possible while the opening bands play, then half the crowd gets a little excited as the headliner gets up. Half the time the entire crowd looks like they are watching a presentation on tax law at some seminar, not a concert. There is a 1 in 5 chance that a local band is even on this bill. If there is, no one shows up to see them, and the few confused people that straggle in while they are on stage usually hide far far away. And I can't say I blame them. I have been searching high and low for local bands to get excited about. I found about 3 and 1/2. The rest are pretty unoriginal and just plain bad.
But there is always reason to hope. There are what? 3 million college kids here? There's a lot of money, and a lot of potential venues in this town. Kids here can afford to start bands. People here can afford to see shows. The town just needs a cheerleader or two. Maybe a kick in the ass. Someone to highlight the more obscure bands that are comming into town, maybe share some MP3s from awsome albums, new and old. Wet the public appetite for the good stuff. I guess that's what we'll be trying here.
So if you, and anyone else you know, wants the scoop on what's going on in SB's underground music scene, we'll be pre-viewing upcoming shows, reviewing shows we go to, sharing MP3s, etc. Spread the word.
So let it be written, so let it be done.
I should have stuck with Lisa. She modeled for a while, now she's an executive at a cruise line.... stupid.