Lisa McDaniel Balances Deep Ellum's Books

Welcome to Local Music 'Mericans, where we get to know the people behind the scenes in Dallas/Fort Worth music.

Lisa McDaniel's interests are an unlikely duo: metal and math. In all fairness, she likes local music of all different kinds. But when it comes to her faves, she's as down with House Harkonnen and Slow Roosevelt as she is with a calculator.

McDaniel crunches the numbers for Curtain Club and Liquid Lounge as a bookkeeper. Some say the secret to keeping a good club alive is someone who can stay level-headed enough to keep the books straight. And Curtain Club did just celebrate their 14th anniversary. Up until around 2010, she also helped run the door at the Curtain Club, where she (in between stamping hands and eying IDs) voluntarily served as witty local music critic, posting amusing comments about the variety of bands coming through the club's doors on Facebook.

What started you off getting involved behind the scenes? Were you watching live music when you decided to start doing this? I started at Curtain about seven years ago when my life had fallen apart. A friend of a friend at the time said they were hiring door staff and I already knew this one guy who worked there, Sean Leseman. I was hired and for the next five years, I was a door girl at Curtain and Clearview. Then, from working at Curtain Club and volunteering at the New Music Festival, I got a job with Crystal Clear Disc and Tape. Sam sold Crystal Clear, the new owners laid me off and I've been with Bandwear since. I think I've been here five or six years now, I'm not really sure.

You're still a very pivotal part of the Curtain Club/Liquid crew, right? Although you're not seen as much anymore? I was a door girl for five years and now I just do the bookkeeping. I've been doing only the books for the last two years, but I was doing both for a while. I like it. It gets me out of the house, the taxes get paid, and the club stays open. I love it there, it's like another family. We've been open for 14 years now. Is that a record for a venue in Deep Ellum?

Possibly! Who are some favorite local artists and why? I have two all-time favorites: Slow Roosevelt and House Harkonnen. I love their whole show experience, that's the thing that keeps me coming back. Other bands I really like are Razorblade Dolls, Loyal Sally, Paco Estrada, White Elephant, Fair to Midland, Transistor Tramps, The Commotion, Air Review, The Hot Hello/ Goodness, there are a ton more. I even have a few favorite cover/tribute bands: [Hall & Oates tribute] Rich Girls and [Bowie tribute] Thin White Dukes. For me, I love the whole show experience: the band on stage, seeing the fans get into the music, and seeing the musicians really get into their music.

What needs to be done to make this whole local DFW music affair even more unified and successful? I think people need to take a chance and see bands they've never heard of and I think bands need to get out and make more personal connections. Easier said than done, I know, but the music business isn't easy to begin with.

For example? For example, I don't know how many times people have walked up to the door, asked who is playing, said, "I don't know who any of these bands are," and then walked away. But there were always people who, when asked who they were there to see, would tell me that they knew the drummer or they worked with the guitar player or their coworker's boyfriend or girlfriend was in the band. They may not remember your bands name and I may not know who exactly you're talking about, but that's a start! That personal connection is getting these people out of the house and into a venue that they probably wouldn't normally go to. We just need to get out of our comfort zones because Dallas has some amazingly gifted musicians.

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Alan Ayo