I recently celebrated my one year anniversary of getting my digital camera and starting to shoot bands, and I just want to say that in the last year, I have not only rediscovered my love of photography, but my love of music. Real rock and roll, not the corporate packaged crap on top 40 radio or MTV.The music industry is crying about the drop in sales and blaming illegal downloading. Yes, that has hurt sales, but what they blindly disregard is the two most important factors in why the music industry is struggling.
1) The music the labels are putting out sucks.
2) The artists are divas more worried about looking cool and getting the right haircuts and wearing the right artificially distressed black t-shirt than making good music. It’s all about bodyguards and backstage passes and partying with idiot millionaire heiresses and doing a stint in rehab for the sympathy factor…I mean, what is that?
Forget the divas and go out to local dive bars if you want to experience real music again. See for yourself how hard these people work. They haul all their own equipment, setting it up and tearing it down themselves between sets, often for nothing more than a handful of people (sometimes just a few friends and family) and a few dollars. Not even enough for their gas in some cases, and after spending a day working some crappy corporate 9-5 job to scrape by on the rent and buy their equipment. The ones from out of state don’t travel in luxury tour buses or stay in five star hotels. They get out there in a car with a trailer for their gear, or some cramped van, sleeping on peoples’ floors and or even on the ground somewhere to come out to these shows. Sometimes for months at a time.
These bands put themselves through this for the love of the music. And sacrifice a lot to get up on stage for all the rest of us. So love them, support them, buy their cds and merchandise.
Whoever spread the idea that rock and roll is a glamorous lifestyle was a brilliant PR person. And completely, utterly, full of shit. I am going to slap the next millionaire "rock star" who cries about how hard life is on the road with their room service and high tech tour buses and the fans that just won’t leave them alone.
That’s the sad excuse that passes for music these days. Real rock and roll is in some hole in the wall, with sweat pouring down everyone, and people slamming into each other and screaming and jumping up on the stage with the bands and everyone — bands and fans alike — hanging out as equals. Like a sort of big, happy, family.
(Okay, a big, crazy, drunken family, but we’ll take what we can get.)
Turn off MTV and get out there and see it up close. Get sweat on, spit on and knocked around the pit. Because rock and roll is NOT dead. It’s in some dingy dive bar down the street. Where’s it’s always been.