Across the Bar
Since just more than a year has passed since we took over the reins of Street Beat, we feel it's time for a bit of reflection. Keep in mind that what follows was written under the duress of excruciating pain in our back and lower extremities, to the point where our nervous system has begun to shrug off our twice-daily (at least) regimen of self-medication. At the moment, our intake of pain medication (prescribed by a reputable physician, thankyouverymuch) resembles--in effectiveness, at least--throwing a glass of tepid tap water on a five-alarm fire. (Or, if you prefer a more obscure metaphor, bringing a copy of Chess for Dummies to a duel with Gary Kasparov. Or, perhaps, wearing a simple gold band to a jewelry pose-down with an in-his-prime Mr. T. Whatever.)
Our current physical state, however, is only a temporary affliction. And the fact of the matter is, there hasn't been much to complain about during our tenure. Well, except for this: We have developed an unadulterated and almost obscene hatred for the majority of the bands that play in and around the Golden Triangle, also known as Dallas, Denton, and Fort Worth. Not all of them, mind you, but quite a few. Enough to keep our e-mail inbox full, definitely. In many cases, they either want us to be cheerleaders, or they want us to get off the sidelines.
No, not all of the bands fit into these generalizations. In fact, there are many that don't: Legendary Crystal Chandelier, Chomsky, The Paper Chase, The Adventures of Jet, Pleasant Grove, The Deathray Davies, The Toadies, The Rocket Summer, Centro-matic, Captain Audio, Baboon, Sub Oslo, [DARYL], Red Animal War, Mandarin, Lift to Experience, Corn Mo, The Baptist Generals, Stumptone, Budapest One, Slobberbone, Little Grizzly, Union Camp, When Babies Eat Pennies, The Riverboat Gamblers, The Hundred Inevitables, Todd Deatherage, Darlington, every band John Freeman is in, Fury III, and The Lucky Pierres. And we could probably name a few more if we thought about it.
The trouble is, that is only a fraction of the bands in the area. In truth, the problem is mostly our fault, though we've had more than enough help. Yes, it was our decision to turn Street Beat into more of a news-and-notes column, a return to the form it once had many years ago. There seemed to be enough interest, we figured, and certainly enough items to fill up a healthy amount of inches each week. Gradually, the "Scene, heard" tidbits that were once exiled to the last few paragraphs of Street Beat became the dominating presence, the reason for the column's existence.
The honeymoon was all too short, lasting about, hmmm, two weeks or so. We soon realized there was a shortage of good (or at the very least, interesting) bands in the D-D-FW area, yet strangely, also a lack of truly bad local groups as well. The rest was a sea of mediocrity with far too many boats on the water. Meaning: Street Beat began to revolve around lavish praise for the bands we liked, and repetitive ridicule for those we didn't much care for, and both categories only had a few members on the roll. Everyone else either wanted in on the gravy train (leading to tons of unreadable e-mails) or wanted to see us slip and fall in it (leading to even more atrocious spelling in e-mails).
What's the point of all this rambling? Not much, really, except that after a few weeks of thinking about all of the above and trying to come up with a workable solution that would please everyone involved, we finally hit upon the answer: Nothing. For about a month, we thought we were burning ourselves out, and then we looked down and realized we were standing in a pool of gasoline with far too many people holding matches and laptops.
Not any longer. This may be just the heavy amount of Flexeril talking, but we figure as long as we're happy, that's all that matters. Of course we would like for the music scene to be better (consider everything we've written in the past year tough love) and, sure, we wouldn't mind if we could help that happen. Then again, that's not our job and never has been. Some people are just naturally narrow-minded and mean-spirited, and D-D-FW has a pretty high per-capita rate on that front. Begin typing your rebuttals...now.
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