By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Local-music black hole: I must admit--for once in my life, Zac--I agree with you. Your article "Mechanic Needed" (October 24) about the state of the Dallas music scene was right on the money. In my opinion, there are two things majorly wrong with the Dallas music "scene"...and I use that term lightly. First of all, the club owners, booking agents, label owners and even band members are one big incestuous group all united with one common thread: Not one of them has an ear for decent music! What casual fan could listen to the likes of Doosu, Slow Roosevelt, Valve or any of the other mainstays of our "scene" and decide anything other than they are just not very good? I understand that music--nay, art (sic)--is subjective, but give me a break! If the same club owners keep the same booking agents who are friends with the same bands, we will always have this vicious circle of crap permeating our clubs.
The second thing wrong with local music is the fact that the average listener or "fan" out there is not very educated. They are force-fed the Creeds, Linkin Parks and Staineds and bands of that ilk day in and day out via our limited local radio stations, so who can blame them for only wanting to experience that type of stuff? That's all they know! If it's not Pantera or the Dixie Chicks or the bland country rock of Denton, Dallasites don't want to know about it and won't support anything that falls outside of that circle.
So, if you have an audience that is only receptive to bad music and a group of club owners, indie labels, etc. that are only interested in selling bad music because that's all Dallas will buy, then where does that leave us? In a local-music black hole, that's where.
My suggestion is that it is going to take a completely new entity focused on making good music cool in Dallas to change the hearts and minds of the people in our "scene." The Door is probably doing the most commendable job of that, as well as the great folks at Good Records, and the Gypsy is booking some decent acts, but unfortunately, unless you go out to the clubs every night, a casual fan never gets to experience anything new and/or different. Plus, most of these indie bands have no promotion vehicle whatsoever, so you just never find out about them unless you are an indie mag or online junkie...or hang out at CD World on Mockingbird a lot.
Anyway, kudos to you for trying to light a fire under the asses of some of our local music dignitaries in the hopes that the word "Pimpadelic" gets stricken from the local music vocabulary.
Stale and homogenous: Some of the blame for the current state of Deep Ellum (Scene, Heard, November 7) should be shouldered by those willing to keep booking the same acts week after week. The scene here is stale and homogenous as a result. The lineup for this year's North Texas New Music Festival looks a whole lot like last year's, because it's a risky investment for club owners to give artists who are actually new a legitimate chance. It's hard to blame the powers that be for protecting their bottom line, but don't be surprised in a short time when there is no one left in Dallas to take the spots vacated by the current Deep Ellum regulars.
Deep Ellum's decline: The recent comments concerning Deep Ellum's demise have been very interesting. I have watched the evolution of the scene for well over 10 years. In the beginning, I was an underage kid who wanted to see all the bands my big sister was telling me about (Three on a Hill, The Spin, 4 Reasons Unknown). These days I wonder what the hell happened to the Deep Ellum I used to know.
In the grand scheme, I think there is a major trickle-down factor we have to consider, and it starts from the very top. It is no secret that commercial rock radio has been in a slump, and life has been imitating art. And let's face it: The rock is bad. Sure, there will always be poor music, but when bad music is being imitated by poorer musicians, people are not gonna stick around. Besides, there's enough bad news around (poor economy, an upcoming war, possible terrorism). Who the hell wants to see some hack with facial piercings sing about not fitting in?
Lately there have been signs of radio turning things around and playing better bands. I just wish they were a bit more aggressive about it.
The music industry can blame poor rock sales on MP3s or whatever else they want, but personally, I think they are putting money behind the wrong bands, isolating a large part of an audience. Now every bedroom guitarist with a penchant for metal wants to make it big as the next Bizkit or Creed. Now they are flooding the country's rock venues. I am in no way implying that a ragtag band such as mine is the answer, but there are better bands out there that go overlooked.