Inside Look

A member of the Dallas music scene shares his thoughts on Deep Ellum's diminishing business

Week in, week out, we talk about what we think is right and wrong with local music, what needs to happen, what's happening too often. That kind of thing. This week, we thought it would be a good idea to give someone else a chance to speak, especially in light of our column last week outlining the problems facing Deep Ellum at the moment. (To get everyone up to speed, business is down, and our theory is it has something to do with a diminishing pool of talent to choose from. Which, if we'd put it that simply before, we could have used the other 800 words to write about something else. But, oh well.)

We mentioned some up-and-coming bands near the end of that column, and a member of one of them, 41 Gorgeous Blocks singer-guitarist Matt Riggle, has his own thoughts on the subject. Matt, the floor is yours:

"I completely agree with everything you said. But to add on a bit, from the perspective of a sick-of-being-frustrated member of the local music scene, I think that it's just a matter of time before Deep Ellum turns into something very special again. For some reason, I have something I've never had much of when it comes to the future of music: hope.

"Like you said, there are a lot of good 'up-and-comers' in these parts, but I think the first thing that needs to change is the attitude of them and the other bands here. Of course I'm generalizing here; not all bands are this way...

"It seems that the reason most bands even play in Deep Ellum is so they can use it as a stepping stone to improve their career. I'm all for bettering yourself (hell, I still have vivid dreams of becoming a rock star myself), just not at the expense of other people/bands. It's just so damn competitive. Bands are ready to slash each other's throat over who's gonna open for who, or who's gonna 'headline' tonight, or who's gonna get to sell their merch at the 'big' table. What ever happened to, yeah, having a dream that one day you can make a living doing what you love, but also maintaining integrity and, oh I don't know, friends, along the way? And the ironic thing is, one of the most common ways bands 'make it' is by coming from a close-knit scene that was special to everyone involved.

"We need to create a place where the common person (those in need of some happiness in their life since work, if they're lucky enough to have it, consumes most of their week) can come have a drink, listen to some good music and enjoy themselves once in a while. That is what it's all about, isn't it?

"Now, it would be nice if we could get some of the clubs to work with us a bit more (lower door prices, better drink deals and here's the kicker: NOT JUST HAVING THE SAME OL' BANDS HEADLINE WEEKEND SHOWS...), but like I said, I'm tired of bitching about things like that.

"At any rate, I believe that soon people will be completely fed up with the state of our music scene and begin looking--no, demanding--for a fun place to go hang out at and hear some good music. That's when talent will be worth much more than trends.

"Again, I'm hopeful."

Well said, Matt.


Given the current situation, the North Texas New Music Festival could not come at a better time. The shindig will happen all over Deep Ellum (Club Clearview, Club Dada, Curtain Club, Galaxy Club, Gypsy Tea Room, Indigo, Liquid Lounge, Red Blood Club, Tex's Tap House and Trees), with about 150 bands taking the stages on November 15 and 16. If you haven't been down to Deep Ellum to see what's going on, now's as good a time as any. And though the usual suspects are always enticing, you've more than likely seen them plenty of times. Give a new group a chance. If you don't like 'em, there's another one down the block. Head to www.newmusicfestival.com for a full schedule, and don't forget: The clubs and bands down there need you on other weekends, too. So don't be a stranger.

 
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