I was privileged to be asked to be apart of this years LV City Life’s Local Music issue. This issue asked many great people working in our scene from bands, fans and promoters to get their take. See what made the issue HERE. As you can tell there wasnt alot of room, so here’s my full answers below. Enjoy… or disagree! I would love to hear your thoughts of our scene in Las Vegas or your scene where you are from. Comment below!
1. We’re heard private complaints that the local music scene is currently experiencing a lull, with regards to creativity, fan enthusiasm, or both. Do you agree, and why?
The scene is changing, no doubt about it, but I feel theres more talent in more genres then I have seen since I got into the scene in 2005. But talent doesnt equal creativity. Las Vegas has never really set the trend, we capitalize on it. Alot of creative bands are out there, but with so many trend chasers and hobby bands about, its hard to notice them, especially when you consider all the headlining strip talent performing every week in this town.
Fans are mirrors of the bands they support, if the fans arent enthusiastic, look at the bands they are supporting.
2. How much consideration do you feel Vegas acts genuinely put into the craft of songwriting? Where are our anthems, singalongs and potential singles?
Depends on the act. Serious, experienced bands will take the time needed to develop a song and can listen to constructive critisim. Anthem? Mines HOT’s War. Singalongs? How about Rule of Thumb’s Drink, Fuck, Fight, Die. Potential single? Days After Hail’s Cloverfield.
3.Do local acts defer too much to musical trends and/or their influences? If not, who are the truly creative artists in town?
Yes, I touched on this before, but it can also work out for the band. Acts like Otherwise and Adelita’s Way made it with the dude-bro rock trend that made VolBeat, Nickleback and Shinedown famous. Imagine Dragons are very creative, and worked very hard to get their sound dialed in to stand out, and now they are touring the world, on the radio, movies and tv shows. A few local bands that tickle my pickle creatively are Days After Hail, Ill Patientz, The Solid Suns, HOTS, TheCore, Cirka:Sik, 3D6, Cold Blooded Perpetrators, The People’s Whiskey, Hoka Hey!, Old Man Syndrome and more.
4. Bands and musicians constantly complain about non-casino venues paying them little to no money to perform. Are they being taken advantage of? And should they continue to play venues that don’t pay them?
Ive noticed over the years that the bands that complain the most, usually draw the least. Those bands usually feel that its everyone elses job to reach their limited ‘fan’ base and then pay them hundreds of dollars just to grace us with their set. Reality Check. Theres not alot of money to be had in local original music in the first place. Every venue pays out differently and has different costs. Most do not pay off the bar (if there is one) so all the added costs of doing the show have to come off the door. Really though, how much money is expected to be made off a $5 cover charge at a 250 cap room with usually less than 100 paid people inside? Most local shows make less than $500 off the door, then has to be split between the 3-6 bands, and what ever else the deal was. So if they want more money, they need to promote themselves better in other means so people will want to come see them, its simple.
Bands should really play for as many promoters and as many venues as possible to find out what works best for them and their friends and fans. Then playing only once or twice a month allows the band to properly promote themselves and practice to prepare and take advantage of the opportunity. Bands should be more positive and focus more on getting their music heard beyond social media, and creating a actual demand to see them live.
5. What do you think of the fan-funding phenomenon, a la Kickstarter? Does it empower bands or is it just virtual begging?
I love it. Gives the bands a picture of if they have a loyal enough fan base to expand beyond being a local band.
6. Is there an enthusiasm gap with regard to local music, and why?
Hell yes there is. There is so much quality entertainment every day in Las Vegas, and to get people geared up for a dive bar or small venue with mostly unproven talent is rough when they just got herpes from a concert on the beach or rooftop by someone well known.
7. What do you think Vegas’ music scene does better than other music scenes?
Adapt, survive, one day I hope it thrives.
8. Where does it need to improve in order to artistically grow and attract more participants?
More all ages, 18+ and mid sized venues. Id really like to see more venues like the Joint and Pearl and maybe one of the thousands of Station Casinos to open the doors to local openers and events more often like HOB and Hard Rock Cafe does.