This is one of those themes that I circle back to time and time again largely because I simply don’t understand what’s going on with it. It drives me totally insane but it’s also something that we all need to come to terms with. Not only can you not make anyone care but also you can’t make any of the other people in your band or the bands you’re touring with care, and that’s where things get terrifying. I know already that it’s hard for ‘main dudes’ to understand why people aren’t interested, but I think what’s almost more mind boggling is the band members who seem to have no real interest in making things better for their bands. This is a widespread phenomenon and one that I want to pick apart because the apathy among musicians is the sort of thing that I think is going to haunt a lot of people who are super invested in their music for a long as time. I know it sucks, but let’s rip off the goddamn bandaid together kids.
The simple fact of the matter is that countless bands out there don’t really give a shit and are just going to leech off of whoever they can find who they think can help them. This comes in many different shapes and sizes. It cane be the band who beg to be taken out on tour to only be whiny bitches the entire time, fail to sell any merch and don’t even draw in their home markets. It can also be the band members who don’t do anything to help the band grow but who constantly complain about how the band is not on tour. The flip side of the coin is also an option – the band member who simply doesn’t want to tour but also is a crucial part of the bands sound, or even one who isn’t a key part of the bands sound but somehow manages to railroad everyone into doing everything that they want to do at all times. I know this sounds bitter and a little bit crazed, but it’s stuff we all see time and time again working in this business.
This issue arises for a few reasons, most of which can be boiled down to there being an extremely limited pool of dedicated musicians who want to tour and are willing to eat shit for a while. Obviously most musicians feel like they should be able to just hop on a major tour because all of these small bands they haven’t heard of seem to be getting on these bills. Of course people in the scene generally know the bands that these disinterested musicians haven’t heard of, it’s just another symptom of the industry, entitled people who don’t seem to be able to fully grasp all that is going on with this. The issue being that it’s often a catch 22 since it’s hard to find people who can play at a professional level, and of course to get to a professional level you will have had to have spent so much of your life working on your instrument that starting to feel a little bit entitled doesn’t necessarily have to be construed as a bad thing, but it does mean you might be a little out of touch.
Of course, none of this helps main dudes who are constantly out there hustling for opportunities only to find out that when they coordinate with another band the other band simply doesn’t give two shits, or is literally being driven around by their parents. That’s sort of the fuck of it. Even though you might finally have everything together with your band and have a powerful unit ready to risk it on the road and start to build up a name you’re still relying on other people. It’s not just bands you might tour with who suck. It’s the locals too, as we discussed in a previous article on why bands need to promote. And just as much as it’s the locals it’s also the promoters who insist on door deals. I get why they do it – they are sick of being fucked over, but they also oftentimes don’t do any of the work and get out of the whole thing consequence free. These are the issues that fall into our laps time and time again, proving that this entire thing can be terrifying and meaningless.
What can you do to fix this though? It’s a hard truth that you have to deal with here, that so much can so rapidly fall apart and give you the sort of stress and gray hairs that make so many people turn away. This happens on multiple levels, first and foremost, no matter how much you might try and background check or get a vibe on a band there are still weird things that happen out there and the band could end up fucking you over in a big bad way. On top of that there are countless times when a lineup change means that a band who were once cool are now losers. This is totally ignoring the even greater problem that we all run up against, which is that beggars can’t be choosers. There’s not a ton of bands out there who want to hop on a DIY tour, even if everything is put together for them. This is because most bands don’t really want to do what’s best for them, they want to do what’s easy. That’s fine, but it certainly means the bands sticking their necks out often get the short end of the stick.
This is what the world of underground music is, it’s getting fucked over time and time again because other bands and other people reuse to get their shit together, even the people who are supposed to have their shit together and who are supposed to care. That’s the shocking and amazing thing, that somehow as much as people might claim to be all about the scene they will consistently prove that they are in fact not and are really greater burdens on this whole thing than anything else. This is something that we’re going to all need to work together to move past, but it’s a truly demented world and one that I doubt we are gong to properly understand anytime soon. So cheers to gray hairs, they are the proof we are moving forward.