2015 will mark 10 years of being apart of the Las Vegas local music scene. I cannot help but be reflective to all the highs and lows and everything inbetween.
As I sit down to write this, I have just updated my latest computer with all my music over the years. I have already heard the likes of One Pin Short with Shawn Garnett, Amarionette, Holding Onto Sound, and diM just to mention a few. They all have had a part in certain aspects of my experiences and show a taste of the range of genres I enjoy in my ear holes.
From managing bands and venues, promoting bands and concerts, booking bands and concerts and venue calendars, interviewing for tv pilots or internet radio, reviewing for local magazines, getting bands on the radio or on the road, Ive dabbled and worked through alot. I’d love to say ‘Through it all’ like the classic cliche goes, but every show, every band and every day, this business always seems to teach you something new or remind you harshly. It rewards you greatly, then takes it all away, sometimes in the same night.
Ive worked with so many personalities under so many circumstances that I can call some of them family. I can love, respect and hate them all the same. Some of those circumstances you never get over, and some are the butts of jokes for years to come. Regrets, woulda-couldas and wish-a-mother-fucker-woulds randomly dot the landscape, but the foundation and overall experiences have been humbling and nothing short of fan-Figgin-tastic.
One person that has been a huge part of it all and helping me get through a decade, is my sister Diane. From graphic design to street team and promotions, she is a big part of where we are at today. When we both lost our jobs in similar ways close together, we decided to take our shot at building up her graphic design company. I’d love to say we made money off shows back then through the FiggZilla shows we did, but every show that made any profit, was quickly taken away by a show that failed. Each show succeeded and failed for the various reasons and by various dollar amounts, but one things for sure, We’ve lost more in more shows than we have ever made in one. Those ones you loose your ass, it’s real. Sometimes you have hundreds of people, but you need hundreds more. Sometimes you have tens of people when you need hundreds. Sometimes you need just tens of people. Its a fucked up business.
You go through those ups and downs, sometimes very publicly. Nights you are doing well, you see musicians and other people involved in shows have life breakdowns and unfolds in front of your eyes. Sometimes it’s your turn. No matter what, you see the toll it takes on everyone, and then all the joy it brings. The sacrifice, not only on the musicians side, but their families. At times you feel like its all just a movie, its not real. Other times you use that spectacle to escape your own three ring circus. Addiction, abuse, depression and other sometimes shocking events and traits become events and experiences to never forget. Then theres nights where you are glad to be human and are positively touched in ways even a Catholic Priest couldnt reach. Every show 20+ musicians, pulling out their souls for 20-45 minute sets, escaping those demons, or embracing them. Positive or negitive, those emotions are real and raw and defining themselves for whatever the night brings out. From obnoxious teens just learning the craft, to seasoned veterans with everything inbetween. The local music scene has it all.
Having it all, means it also collides. Those teens and wiley vets all have a perception of the way it is and the way it should be and sometime its a problem, and other times its a blessing. The blessing is seeing musicians that have been through some shit, take the time to embrace the next wave of bands with support. Showing them some pointers on playing and even how the business is. That isnt that rare, but when its a culture clash and theres bickering, thats what seems to be remembers most.
Separating from the negative is the hardest part of the business, especially when you are human. We all have a way of putting things together in our minds through experiences, and when you are limited in your experience, you tend to assume, putting a greater emphasis on theory, rather than the way it usually is. Creating music is a far different process than getting it heard. I completely understand how hard it is for a band to create not only one original song, but 5-10 worthy of playing live in front of people. I understand the time each riff, lyric and intricate parts of a song need to come together, and the amount of time you need to put in, all the while dealing with work or school or children. Doing something original is always a path less chosen, but when you are on that road, take a second to see everything that went into getting though that route. Its never easy if its worth it, and it takes alot of people behind you to succeed.
Supporting people through all that, and when they get it all together, listening and learning from those along the way, is what makes everything worth it. Helping people get their musical soul heard is what its all about. Seeing most of them grow as people and artists, and achieving things with their art will never get old.
It was never my intentions to be a name to thank in the liner notes of local bands, but its the ultimate tribute when you do what I do. Here’s to everyone Ive worked with over the past ten years, and I’m excited to see where it leads me off too next!