Zippidy Doo Da

I'm not stupid, I'm from Texas!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

We Send E-mails, Too

Our open mic experience has ended badly. I have come to find out that despite it being profitable for the tavern, they didn't approve of our earthiness. We ran a rather blue collar show, and they didn't want that type, no matter how much money they had. Fine. This decision certainly, in the short run anyway, hurt their business.

What started as a flame war on Craig's List between Hank Floyd and Matthew, the manager, has exploded into a general discussion about the current problems facing musicians, which I view as healthy. I have come to realize that seemingly harmless open mic's exploit musicians just as much as regular gigs for no money or even pay-for-play.

Here in SA, first the Red Room, and now GIG' On The Strip, have attempted an alternative venue where no drinks are sold, no profit is sought after, and the acts can take a portion of the cover charge over a specified amount of patrons. This concept of "listening rooms" seems to me a possible answer to the problem of club owners who cynically calculate that if anyone asks for money, the next guy will do it for less, and the next guy will do it for free.

What club owners seem to have forgotten is that if they hire good performers and earn a reputation for putting on good shows, then people will come with the expectation that their leisure-time dollars will be well-spent. This notion that artists have to bring in crowds sucks. One must be ready to do their own promotion, but constantly supplying clubs with business that doesn't result in any renumeration is a practice that must stop.

I feel I must repair to the dome of contemplation to sort things out. But I wanted to share the following just for kicks:


I regret I was not able to satisfy you in our effort to host an open mic on Tuesdays (that was moved to Sunday).
However, I do wish to express my gratitude that you felt confident enough at the time to give me the opportunity. I was able to accomplish some things I wanted to do. In terms of success, the universally positive feed-back from performers and patrons in addition to the wonderful support we received from the SA musical community at-large made the experience gratifying. We went from 1 or 2 patrons/performers to 25 - 30 after four weeks with a few times as much as 50 - 60 folks. Obviously, you have other business concerns beyond making money and making your place a legitimate musical venue that have a greater priority, which is fine, but since nobody told me what these priorties were it is hard for me to know.

The depreciation on our equipment was significant as far as blown speakers and what have you; we also had some significant expenses as well - one of our members drove from Seguin; plus, I paid for drinks for everybody until about 3 weeks ago. This inexplicable lack of support from Bharmacy management was making our commitment very strained, to the point where after last Sunday, only two of us were still interested in participating.

Although Matthew has been unforgivably rude and unprofessional and has demonstrated aspects of having a rather low character, I do feel sorry for him. If folks routinely went on-line to remind me what a miserable piece of filth I was, by about the tenth time I might start to worry about my soul.

The problem that Matthew has evidently is that he didn't just fire me an hour before the show after assuring me the week before that I need not worry about such things as being unceremoniously treated like yesterday's garbage, he fired four other decent, college-educated, hard-working people with families, including an engineer, a teacher and a lawyer. And those people are taking it hard. They have contacted every performer on our accumulated e-mail list, plus other club owners, open mic hosts, friends, associates, etc., in an effort to get the word out about your noxious business practices.

Apparently, this action was unnecessary because Bharmacy already has terrible reputation city-wide for treating artists like scum.

I would ordinarily predict bad things for Bharmacy, but people like you tend to endure in this business. So do people like me.



p.s. Please let that thigh-rubbing, panty-sniffing, parsimonious, puritanical friend of yours know that for a faux-feminist she makes a great bar fly.


At 6:21 AM , Blogger Lulu Maude said...

A true jerk, to be sure.

Nice zinger of a letter, though. Well done, LD.

At 9:47 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went to the open mike and was disappointed. I posted as such on CL and Olmos Bharmacy interrogatingly wrote the following response to which I'm not responding:

Olmos Bharmacy to comm-87nvh-162.
show details 9:52 AM

Who was playing when you were there?
How many people where present?
Who where you and who did you come with?

LOL he's desperate - wasn't much of a crowd anyway. Music was subgrade.

Another person emailed me and said they were disappointed too - asked if there are any other open mics/ jams on Sunday.

Do you know of any?

At 12:03 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should delete the link from your blog webpage too. Why give free promotion to jerks?

At 10:03 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

A veteran band of 17 years writes on their website:

Those of you who are wondering why we're not playing much anymore should know that it's because of basic economics. People don't have as much money, they are afraid to spend what they do have, and the first thing they cut is going out to the bar. (especially our fan-base, which is mostly blue-collar).

Even if people do go out these days, they don't spend as much as they used to, so the bar-owner can't pay us as much as we're used to getting. We're not willing to play for less than what I consider a reasonable price, so we are playing way fewer gigs than we have since we started the band in 1993.

Here's where ya'll come in. . . When we do play somewhere, you need to go! There's a few bar-owners out there who don't want to see live music die! And will still stick their neck out and guarantee us fair pay because they don't want to see veteran musicians play for less than what they are worth. Do we want to live in a world with just DJs? Does yet another profession need to be replaced by technology? Especially one that relies on human expression?

Do you want your hard-earned bar-dollars to go towards more TVs and arcade games, or to us musicians? Think of our spouses who were already bearing the brunt of the bills! There's all this talk about "Save the planet, Go Green" that's fine, it's a good idea, but how about "Save the People, Go Human!"

Go see a live band
Go to the cashier's line at the grocery store
Go to the teller at the bank
Avoid chain/franchises that are laying people off and doubling their existing employee's workload
Hire a shade-tree mechanic, odd-jobber, or anyone who's lost their job and is looking for ways to make extra money
Buy used! Broke people are selling their stuff, stuff they don't really need, stuff you might need! Why buy new stuff when you can save money buying used stuff, and help people at the same time.

At 6:05 AM , Blogger liquiddaddy said...

Oh, yeah?! I'm having an open mic in my pants. Step right up, bitches. ;-)


p.s. among my friends, they say, "you suck," if they like you because they don't want you to get the big-head because basically, you suck.


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