Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Landscapes open and the World is Mine

The Top Ten of 'Thanks To...' List

DC ROCK LIVE comes to a close after eight fun filled years of covering the DC Live scene and music from around the world. It has been a blast and I will miss it terribly. But I am getting a bit too old for this and I think my run is complete, so it is time to move into some other activities. It all started as a simple communication device for my friends, an experiment in new media, and a vehicle to get me back in to the music scene full time after my early retirement. The results are all there to be read and are there forever as just a small part of the history of some of the things that were going on in DC for the past eight years. And you can continue to write me at dcrocklive@yahoo.com

Before I go, it is time for the thanks section, which include some of my influences as well as the people that were a big help to keeping me going for so long.
Raymond Chandler - One of my favorite writers is also an inspiration for laying out a career path that I have come close to following. He had a varied career that included bookkeeping before he sold his first story at age 44. His first novel came out at age 50. While my writing can’t hold a candle to his, I probably had a better accounting career than he did. He was a big influence as I was nearing retirement, showing the way to reinventing yourself with a complete change of course. Now, on to yet another change.
John Peel - During the punk years, those of us in the USA kept hearing of this great BBC DJ who played all the great music we could never get on our radio stations. He also recorded bands in a studio, which ended up on air and then as future releases that either supplemented or even surpassed other recordings by the many, many bands who passed through. He also had a knack of finding brilliant bands from the 1960s like the Misunderstood to bands well beyond punk. I was fortunate enough to listen to him via the internet for some of his last shows. Even after age 60, he was still traveling hours away to attend small club shows, and bringing back demos and 7” records from all kinds of unknown bands to play on the air. So along with his taste, his continued dogged searching out for new and exciting music was quite the inspiration.
Lester Bangs - Lester was pretty much always my favorite music critic growing up as he had a zany in your face style that set a unique tone in rock criticism. Many other critics of old seem really dated and overly pompous, but Lester is still fun to read. He was crazy, not always right, but always fun and so devoted to some really great bands. I will never try to write like he did as it would be so pale and phony. But hopefully his spirit has been around as I pounded on the keyboard.
Michael Musto - The Village Voice was a great place to pick up on a lot of what was happening in the arts. I subscribed to it from 1977 through some time in the 1990s. While I was able to read Lester Bangs, Robert Christgau, Andrew Sarris, and many more, Michael Musto gave me additional inspiration for my work here. Musto was the man about town, covering all the parties and happenings in NYC. He once said he had between 10 and 20 daily invites for events to attend and generally hit about seven of them each and every day and night. My schedule once had me covering over 200 shows in one year, along with about 500 album reviews. I tried to think of Musto when I was feeling beleaguered and worn.
James Burke - There were two television series on science that were hugely influential for me. ‘“The Day the Universe Changed’ and ‘Connections’ were both conceived and hosted by James Burke, an Irishman who had an interesting take on science. His thesis was connecting seemingly unrelated thoughts and changes over centuries that took on odd patterns and journeys before connecting with other innovations to create further invention. He stretched things well beyond the obvious linear connections and offered great stories that opened up my mind in new ways. At times I could sense these connections in music and tried to connect the music I was hearing with the broader history of rock music. Sure, some of the bands weren’t born when one key band I knew of operated, and the band may never have even heard them, but the connection was there.

Old Music Friends - When I started getting active again in the live scene a few years before the blog, I was struggling to remember all the bands to talk about when I talked to a handful of old music friends. Well the blog was one way for us to keep track. And it worked with mixed results, but also reconnected me with older friends that I had lost touch with. My friends were a big help in keeping things going. My friend since high school, Dave in Chicago, read every article and helped me clear up typos in my interviews. My friends in the Dayton music scene enjoyed reconnecting with me as we relived some of the great musical memories of the scene. Music was important growing up and we are all still growing.

Music Writers - I am very thankful to Kyle Schmitt and John Miller who helped cover shows and review records allowing me to keep the website’s content high and smart, while allowing me to take some needed nights off. Thanks guys, you kept it all going. Also, I reconnected with Jeff Wilson, a friend from my college years (1981 grad-Miami University). We did a fanzine together in 1980 and 1981, when that was a great vehicle for keeping the punk scene vibrant, as well as any artistic scene that didn’t get main stream coverage. Jeff and I had lost touch for a few decades and were delighted to get back together and find that we were both still writing about music 35 years on, as he is music editor for ‘The Absolute Sound’ as well as a blogger. So hopefully Kyle and John will be writing decades from now.

PR Reps - Aside from leaving a few business cards around town, I never really did any advertising or self promotion (as I probably should of). Fortunately hundreds of PR reps found me and provided lots of great opportunities to cover their clients from the smallest clubs to the largest pavilions. They provided interview opportunities with all kinds of great artists, including ridiculously large artists that I have been a fan of for 40 years. The Reps are too numerous to name and I’m trying to write the many that i have personally gotten to know through the blog. It is taking some time. I will miss being a part of all the action and going through the 70-100 daily emails.

Clubs - The clubs are a mixed bag. They are not the most comfortable places for me, both with my back issues and the fact that I haven’t had alcohol since June, 1983. But there are many great clubs around town that showcase outstanding local talent and touring musicians. Some of the staff and sound crews were very helpful over the years in helping me with my coverage. Specifically, the DC9, Rock’n’Roll Hotel, Velvet Lounge, the Hamilton, and Tree House Lounge have been especially helpful and supportive of my efforts. But there are some great people at the other clubs, too, and I will miss all of them.

Bands - And of course, where would I be without all the great bands. The one thing that I feel particularly stupid about, was how important my blog could be for the smaller local bands on the scene. They aren’t exactly going to get the big media out for their Velvet Lounge show in front of 25 people, so they were quite happy there was someone like me to do so. I should have known this would happen after having been so active in the late 70s early 80s punk scene. I hope I helped, even if I felt that there is only so much those of us in the smaller media can do. Fortunately, there are many music fans that know what bands go through and are happy to attend their show, visit their merch tables, and support them through word of mouth. And now as a fan, I hope I can go back to the simple pleasures of going to shows and continuing to support bands as best I can in new or very old ways.


Anonymous said...

Cheers, David! Congrats on building and maintaining the site for so many years, and keeping the spirit alive. Kyle

Andras Fekete / BOAT BURNING said...

Thanks David for your in-depth writing about DC's vibrant music scene over the years. It's people like you who make the scene go, and you'll be sorely missed. Good luck out west, and whatever the next chapter brings. -Andras Fekete / BOAT BURNING: MUSIC FOR MASSED GUITARS

Matt Confusion said...

Hi David
thanks for all the reviews (especially the one you wrote about my "Satori" album)!
good luck for everything, ciao!

Matt Confusion ~ Monza, Italy