Monday, July 21, 2008

dangerfield syndrome

casa nourallah is wiped out today
my voice is gone
my hands are sore from playing guitar last night
i feel like crap
jayme is much worse
for 6 months she's been living with a pain in her stomach
that keeps getting more intense
today it's so bad she can't get out of bed
next week the doctors decide when the operation
is going to be
she's been in pain for so long i don't think
she remembers how it feels to wake up
and feel normal

yesterday's multiple fiasco's have left me with a bad taste in my mouth
d.o. nominees were told to PROMPTLY show up for photos
yesterday at noon
anyone arriving past 12:30 would be excluded - with !!!!
when i pulled up about 30 rockers
were standing on main street
sweating their asses off in the boiling sun
most of them wearing black
the backsliders wearing black suits!
so everyone stood around for half an hour
no photographer in sight
no one from the observer either
j. bonner cracked "right now i bet they're somewhere else
taking the winners photos - they're just gonna speed
past us and snap a pic outta the window shouting - LOSERS!!"
mind you
this is already a beleaguered group
anyone who's tried to play music in this town for more
than 5 years has been beaten down to a certain extent
by the general apathy
so we might be a bit more sensitive to insults
than - let's say - our seattle equivalents
at 12:40 here comes the photographer shuffling up the street
i wish i had a photo of all the dirty looks he got
when we got inside to ahhh - air-conditioning!!
it became clear this was gonna be a long afternoon
he scurried around trying to get his lights set up right
then explained the plan
he wanted to shoot each musician individually
then do a couple of different group shots
i predicted this would take between 3 to 4 hours
i unfortunately had to split
so he graciously snapped my pic and i left
later on i heard they were asked to pose with clown
noses on and then take a group shot in front of an american flag
i thought both of those ideas sounded inane
i'm glad i wasn't there to decline both invitations

when i got to stout around 10
it was even worse than i had imagined
a dirty pub with no stage
the slack was set up on the floor
trying to make due
the volume of the p.a. was earsplitting
if i was there to see a show
i would have lasted .3 seconds
and left
how could i expect anyone to actually enjoy our set
under these circumstances?
dallas musicians are already stuck in a town where things are difficult enough
non-existent support from local radio
and a music press that has reluctantly handed out kudos
and ignored scores of deserving and talented musicians
it's no wonder that so many dallas musicians suffer from a bit of
dangerfield syndrome
feeling like we get no repect
i couldn't help but think to myself
"so this is the reward for dallas musicians?"
a half-assed "showcase" spread out between 5 dive bars
on lower greenville?
sponsored by hooters?
3 of the 5 clubs are not even actual music venues
the other 2 dubious at best
instead of it being a triumphant celebration
it was just a sad reflection on the current state of dallas music
10 years ago we would've been in deep ellum
standing in real music venues with real p.a.'s and stages
lights even
can you imagine that?
but it's all over now baby blue
deep ellum went from thriving in '98
to almost dead in 2008
and no one seems that interested in trying to save it
i don't understand why the observer couldn't have
taken a chance and done something in deep ellum
tried to inject a much needed shot in the arm
to that area
would that have scared off the hooters girls?
between dada, curtain club and liquid lounge
they'd still have 3 clubs within walking distance that would've been
better than sugar shack, stout and the billiard bar
was it too radical to consider this?
or did the dollars and sense just not work out
to their benefit?
i'd like to know...

our set at stout was only saved by the rabid enthusiasm
we were greeted with
a line of girls right up in front
singing along and smiling at us
their happiness was inspiring
so i pressed on with a good attitude for them
i ignored the meatheads requesting freebird
and repeatedly calling out for lynard skynard
i just made fun of them instead
i ignored the worst sound i've experienced in 20 years of performing
(i actually stopped playing guitar because it was pointless)
i ignored the fact that i couldn't even hear the sound of my own voice
or anything other than the boom-crack of drums
no fault of the soundguy either
that's what you get when you try to do live music in a venue not designed
for it
our fans made it bearable
that was the only reason
i just wished they could've been treated to a better sounding show
in a better setting
they deserve at least that much

so there you have it
my thoughts on the dallas observer showcase '08
whether you wanted them or not
i'm not trying to be a critical jerk
or bitchy bastard
i just think it's important to speak out about these things
if we ever hope to make it better
i think if the d.o. polled the other musicians involved
in this showcase
most of them would agree
it was a bummer


Anonymous Anonymous said...

No clown-nose picture? I'm disappointed. I had a spot all picked out on my wall for it.

6:24 AM  

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