SANTA CRUZ, May 12, 2014— Peruse the walls of any backstage room in any rock club in America, and you will invariably see countless amateur drawings of male genitalia, scribbled attempts at crude poetry, a litany of idiotic inside band jokes, and layers upon layers of stickers of bands you have never, and probably will never, hear of. Usually an afterthought, these stickers are, in fact, a sign of the apocalypse, signifying just how lousy the world has become with useless groups.
To be fair, everybody ought to have the right to assemble some friends and attempt to create art, but the fact remains that there are simply too many bands who are doing absolutely naught, adding nothing substantive to the musical milieu they have chosen to muddy up by their mere existence. Bands who work, who tour, who have labored to build a following, seldom bother to sticker up a backstage room.
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What if there was an application process an aspiring band was required to go through? Sort of like a business loan application, where those seeking to have their venture approved would be required to present a business plan. Prospective bands would have to play shows, prove that they write their own material, supply copies of booking inquiries outside of their hometowns, as well as copies of letters or emails they have sent to labels in an attempt to get signed.
If the only thing a band can produce is a My Space profile from 2005 with three “fans,”there is a good chance that band would not be approved or allowed to continue. This process could be coupled with a relegation system, similar to English soccer, where bands who were inactive for a predetermined length of time would be forced to give up their band rights or identity, punishment for taking up space in the world for no musical purpose. Bands ought to be urged to be active and creative. Nobody has time for a band who never plays or releases anything, especially when that band possesses a cool name that a proper, working band could be using. Groups who have been relegated would have an opportunity, after some time, to reapply for legit band status, and bands whose initial applications were rejected would likewise be allowed the chance to regroup and try again with (hopefully) a better plan.
The recent advances in technology have been a mixed blessing for music. Bands are able to record more cheaply due to the recording software now available, but this also allows awful bands the ability to sound like they can play properly, simply by typing on some computer keys. The ease of creating a website or artist profile allows groups instant credibility and access to thousands of potential fans, but they are not required to play any shows or do any work in order to keep this useless bookmark in cyberspace.
The glut of questionable groups affects us all, and summer is the best time for elitist rants against them, with tongue firmly in cheek.
Russ Rankin writes about hockey, music & politics. You can find him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter. He also sings for Good Riddance and Only Crime. Find out what he’s up to by checking out his website.