Music Issue > Music Issue
Tales From the Front
A local musicianís guide to improving the SA music scene
I play drums for the band Kick It! and Iíve been involved in the San Antonio music community for more than 13 years.
Over the years, Iíve worked with Chapstik, IG-88, The Tonebenders, Dodge, The New Teen Titans, Speeder, and Kowalski, among others. And just as bands come and go, so do musicians and local venues. IĎve lived and traveled in other parts of the country and itís obvious to me that musicians everywhere have one thing in common: the desire to be appreciated by their own peers and the people in their own city. As I talk, listen, and work with local musicians, we all tend to agree on several changes that could benefit the San Antonio scene. Hereís a quick
With so many people starting music promotion/production companies locally, it is very difficult to distinguish between those who honestly want to help our local musicians and those who want to make money solely for themselves. To promote is to publicize, advertise, support, and encourage something. Those are all things that promoters should be practicing. The musicians should be there to help out in anything the promoters need assistance with, including promotion itself. Promoters should always use the local media to help and promote their events. Without musicians there are no promoters.
All grumbling aside, this city does not lack for music venues. Just like promoters, local venues should not only establish a relationship with local musicians, but with each other as well. A real source of frustration for local musicians is the fact that SA clubs do not allow bands to distribute fliers for gigs at other venues. This is a shortsighted policy that fails to acknowledge how a scene rises or falls together. If a band draws well at a competing venue in March, theyíre liable to do well at your club in April. If you stifle the growth of the scene, youíre ultimately stifling your own growth.
There are so many bands that want to play shows and donít really know where to start. These venues, by establishing relationships with each other, can work together to help the local musicians and make them feel welcome in their establishment.
The majority of the music scene consists of working-class musicians. We buy our own instruments, make our own T-shirts, pay for our own recordings, make our own CDs, schedule practices, load up our equipment and so much more. We depend on equitable pay from our shows to cover certain costs, and when there isnít enough we pay out of our own pockets. If you are a good promoter/club owner, you will always compensate the bands in a fair and just manner. That should be established at the time the show is booked. We deserve pay for our hard work. The Mix is a good example of a local venue where the management always thanks the band for its efforts and pays them a percentage as well as complimentary drinks.
Musicians who mobilize can also make a change. All over the country there are musician organizations and coalition groups who work together so that they can all succeed in their music scene and keep it alive. Educate yourself and use local media (print, radio, etc.) to get the word out about your band.
I am a member of the Texas Media Empowerment Project, a local media justice group. Texas MEP and local musicians have started a music coalition group and itís open to anyone and everyone who wants to join the effort to make the SA scene stronger. ē
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