It’s been a rough year for a lot of my favorite local bands. Plenty of break ups, bad deals, unfulfilled promises, writers block, etc. Of course, it’s been a rough year for a lot of my pals on the business side of music too. So this one’s about negativity.
I’m not the type to drag someone’s record through the mud. That’s not what I or this website do. I believe in fair, useful critiquing. None of that “Ooo, aren’t I so clever and good at making these pansy bands cry?” writing that you see scattered throughout music mags and blogs. It helps no one. You’re great with an insult. Yay for you. I’ve had good friends tell me time and again that the paid writing gigs usually come from those kinds of places. Just go negative and get paid. No thanks.
Yes, I can be a bit more of a “cheerleader” than straight up critic sometimes. I totally cop to that. What’s wrong with being a shameless fan? I try to always make sure you guys know where I’m coming from. I’m clear about my biases. At least I hope I am.
But lately I’ve been getting a lot of emails and talking to a lot of folk who are understandably unsure and down about the way their (insert band, record company, music festival here) has been doing. I just really wanted to say, never stop doing something because you think no one cares. You know what? There are people who care about what you’re doing. Sometimes there’s just the one person. Sometimes there are quite a few. But just dropping what you love because you think no one cares is a rather awful way of going about it.
There are valid reasons to move on. Perhaps you need a change of scenery. Maybe you’ve fallen in love with some other form of expression. Your drummer left you in a bind. Your festival needs to be re-imagined or retooled. I get that. “No one cares” is not a good reason. You cared once. Probably still do.
I feel like it is becoming too easy to be negative here. Athens is not the easiest town to break through in. You’ve got a mountain of bands, venues, bloggers *cough, cough*, students, and industry people to get past. But there are people who genuinely want to help.
I guess what I’m trying to say in this incredibly rambling post is that being negative doesn’t really help anyone. I feel like now, more than ever, we are on the verge of losing Athens’ greatest creative minds and spirits to the negative funk. And yes, I get grumpy too. I’ve been burned and cursed at and had more than a few things flung at my head. I’m not saying go all shiny happy people on us. I’m just saying that if you are consumed by overwhelmingly negative thoughts, try to find what inspired you to try in the first place. People care about what you do.
I have such great admiration for Athens musicians. You do something I can’t. I fiddle around on my bass but you, you created the songs I love. And, admittedly, some of the songs I don’t like. But you CREATE! What an amazing thing, creation. To pull something out of the ether, to cobble together out of disjointed pieces, to rework and redo, to rip your heart out on stage again and again… That’s creation. You’ve made something. Something that didn’t exist before. And that, my friends, is something worth caring about.