“There can be only one”
If you are a fan, you will recognize that signature phrase from the cult classic, Highlander.
As big of a nerd as I am, I actually got into the Highlander TV show well before I saw the movie. It happened to be on cable when I got done with class most days my junior year in college. The perfect time to max out in front of the TV and pile through a whole bag of sour cream and cheddar potato chips because in college you have a hyper-metabolism and can get away with that sort of thing…
If you are unfamiliar, the show (and movie) are about immortals. How you become immortal is unclear, typically you wake up after an accident when you should have died, and you are hence forth immortal. Sort of. You can be killed, but only by another immortal in a battle to the death with a sword at the end of which the loser is decapitated and the winning immortal absorbs their power and becomes stronger. For some unexplained reason, all immortals are working their way to The Gathering where they will battle it out. The last one remaining gets The Prize. There can be only one.
There can be ONLY ONE.
That show has been at the front of mind the last few weeks. Particularly that signature phrase…
Back from our month off, Sit Kitty Sit has gone into full “Go Kitty Go” mode for 2013 – from sun up to sun down we are calling, writing, contacting, booking, budgeting, and planning. We are doing our damnedest to stay on top of all the social media updates on Facebook and Twitter. Keep our website up to date and interesting. Making To-Do lists that never. ever. ever. end. ever.
Here’s where it gets Highlander-y.
Other bands. We love other bands. And most other bands are rad as hell. They are like us. They are our Tribe. They are nerds and geeks, they have dedicated their weird lives to making noise and being obnoxious and spreading their message. But when you get to our level, they also get competitive. Which is what I am going to address today. The difference between “Good-Other-Bands” and “Other-Other-Bands”.
Dear Good-Other-Bands: Thank you! Thank you for being prompt in your responses, and getting back to us when you say you will so we can grab the popular night at the popular club. Thank you for also mentioning us in your press releases the way we mention you in ours. Thank you for returning the favor and later on asking us to join you on one of your bills after we did all the legwork to book that first show. Thank you for giving us a shout out on Facebook every once in a while like we do for you, and thank you for referring us to yet ANOTHER Good-Other-Band if you yourselves are not available to play a certain night. Thank you for showing up to gigs and acting professional and putting on AMAZING SHOWS!!! Thank you for inspiring us every time we work with you! THIS is a community that is making rad art. If we took this whole thing 3 steps further we would own the breaking music scene in the United States. I am wicked proud of all of us for being trashed on whiskey and still returning our emails promptly and getting sh*t done. Amen to all of you folks. We are all going to tear it up this year. BOO YAH!
Dear Other-Other-Bands: This is NOT Highlander. There WILL NOT BE only one. Have you ever heard of a music fan who only liked ONE band? Do you yourself only like one band? Have you only in your lifetime purchased the albums of Mr. Bruce Springsteen and damn every other artist in the history of the world? Or do you have a whole collection of a bunch of different artists, possibly even spanning several different genres of music? Yeah, that’s what I thought. So you know what? GOOD-OTHER-BANDS ARE NOT A THREAT TO YOU. You do not need to keep the booking guys info from Such-In-Such club a secret. If we happen to play the same club you do, even on the same day, that does not mean that one of us will never work again. You do not need to refuse to do show swapping, or never take your turn booking a gig. We all know it’s a lot of GDamn work. We are all exhausted and over worked and trying to make art. Let’s throw each other a bone, shall we? It is NOT a contest. There IS NOT only one. There are a lot of us. And there is enough ART for everyone. And there are enough FANS for everyone. I know that is a terrifying concept, but get over it! Both you AND your neighbor can be successful! Let’s just freaking work together and make sure our music scene is the most kick ass in the country, okay?
I know what they’ll say. It IS a contest. “There are 9 million bands out there, man. How do I make myself stand out?”
There are tons of ways to make yourself stand out. But you know what won’t work? Being a jerk. I don’t care what flipping business you’re in. If you’re a jerk people don’t want to work with you. And then typically those same people start complaining about how the music scene sucks, and no one comes to their shows, and they can’t book with certain people… blah blah blah.
Gee… I WONDER WHY
GOOD-OTHER-BANDS UNITE!! As a very hard working artist I’m jazzed that lately I’ve found a few organizations to get involved with that preach a similar message to this one I’ve been spouting for years now – it’s a team effort. There’s enough art for everyone. If we all join together, we are unstoppable… blah blah blah 🙂
I’m not immune, you know. (or immortal) When I hear that a band I know personally landed a rad ass spot at a festival, or got one of their songs on a national commercial, or something like that I get a twinge of jealousy. Of course i do – because I’m human, and that’s what I want too. But do I send them bad thoughts or energy? Hell no! If one of us does well that turns the eyes of the whole world to San Francisco. That’s a GOOD thing. That means even more of us will get seen. So support that band who just got the great opportunity! Give them high fives and ask how you can help! If you’re the successful one, reach out to the community and share the love! Spread the word about other amazing artists that are doing rad stuff. Use your powers for good!
I’m probably just screaming up to the heavens at this point, but it’s how I feel. So there you go.
And in the off chance that I am wrong, and there really only can be one…
Let it be Duncan MacLeod. 🙂