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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Food For Thought...What Do you do with a Drunken Stuntman?

This is the latest ditty which went out on Drunkstuntmen.com last week.

Food For Thought

It is hard to compare the music business to a war, especially when there are Americans all over the world laying their lives on the line to preserve a quality of life and love of freedom that we hold near and dear. We are truly blessed to not have fought a battle on the soils of the lower 48 since the Civil War was fought to enact the greatest of freedoms. Freedom from physical and mental slavery. The Freedom from being bound to one person by a bill of sale, a binding contract without the consent or regard for another sentient, less educated but equally proud and empowered brother of ours.

One major component which is a grave result of war is the threat to our way of life. Fifteen years is a long time people. It is a long time to hold on to hope. It is a long time to throw caution to the wind to engage in a struggle to persevere...no matter what. It is a long time to be building connections and contacts only to have them wither away. It is nearly impossible to let the information soak in that something that was so precious and important just to weeks ago, has no future and will come to be a fond but distant memory in the near future. Fifteen years is a long time to keep throwing the dice; to keep letting it ride; to keep hoping to make point before crapping out. That is the music business. That is the Drunk Stuntmen.

The Drunk Stuntmen are in a unique position right now. They are poised. They are teetering on the edge of a precipice with all of the hopes and insecurities of the future staring them squarely in the face. It is like peering into a mirror which will tell you the truth no matter what...

"Okay boys, you have 5 records under your belts. You are going to go on tour. You have some great connections within the industry. You are riding on the coat tails of your Success with the Young At Heart Chorus. There is a Peter Pan Tour that could go international. Record deals could be made based on the performance of the next Album. Can You Do It? What happens if you don't? Do you have the balls to try again?

Exciting times lay ahead of the band. There is the connection with the Young At Heart Chorus. Freddy and Steve are featured at length in the movie, which is being critically acclaimed and due to be released by Fox Searchlight in April. The Album State Fair is mastered and being duplicated. The artwork is done. The band is working with a publicist who lists his first client as Andy Partridge of XTC fame. And of course there is the upcoming tour. The Stuntmen are going to persevere in the face of adversity. In the face of adversity? What does this mean? We need to sell albums, we need to sell tickets we need to focus on capitalizing on the support of the people who have been our allies all along. But sadly, some of these allies are disappearing. Two examples which come to mind are No Depression magazine and the Middle Earth Music Hall in Bradford, VT. In the close knit symbiosis of the live music business this is a grave hit to the morale of both bands and fans who have been associated with these two fine examples of allies who must succumb to the realities of life in music.

Steven Sanderson said, "No Depression is my favorite magazine. It gives me good information about the bands I want to read about. They don't have articles in there about who's dating who, or who got whom pregnant, or who didn't wear their panties getting out of a limo at an awards show...It was always about music. To lose a magazine like No Depression is a real blow to the music industry. Personally, it is like a punch in the face." Sanderson continued. "It is like a symbiosis. A magazine like No Depression who has a growing readership has to close, because they can't compete with the perks awarded to larger publications. Places like the Middle Earth Closing? With out magazines and with out clubs there will be no music."

In a world where the instant star, the instant "Idol" and the manufactured Pop Tart franchise dominate the music industry, losing magazines like No Depression and venues like the Middle Earth Music Hall are a real blow to everything which is right with the music industry. I know I can't tolerate a world where pre-set drum tracks dominate the recording industry landscape. Where soulless, but sexy and beautiful automatons pump out the latest dance remixes. That seems to be what most people want. I choose to preserve the lifestyle to which I have become accustomed. If you feel the same way this is what you need to do.

First of all - Go out and buy a copy of No Depression. The magazine may be disappearing but let's let them know that there are people who love music and appreciate what they have done. Peter Blackstock is a good friend to the Drunk Stuntmen and more or less discovered the band, bringing them to the front burner in the Alt. Country genre. Go to the Middle Earth. There are a number of excellent shows coming up on their schedule including the Drunk Stuntmen on May 17th. Tell your friends about upcoming shows, bring them to shows, support the band you love, create a new fan. It is that simple. It is easy to take things for granted, even become complacent about something as simple as seeing your favorite live band - live.

A good correlation would be in the instance of Sheehan's. Sheehans was a bar which we took for granted. You could always see Free Press there, or the Dog Act, or any other of the local heroes on any given night where there was an open mic. But then there was the day that Freddy was going downtown to Sheehan's for a drink and it was closed. Then a women's clothing store opened and prospered in it's wake. It didn't matter that magic had happened in that basement for years. It didn't matter that musical heights were achieved. Unfortunately, sometimes you just don't know when you are going to serve your last drink or play your last gig.

Thinking about the current state of things in these confusing times. Stuntman Steve does have a positive outlook, "We are losing time. We are losing allies. But does that mean I'm going to stop doing what I want to do? No, You can strum your guitar by yourself in your living room only so long before you have to either make a record or let somebody else hear you. I just don't know what that next record is going to be like, or if I have the energy to do it."

So, grab and ax handle or a pitchfork, Hang a few lanterns in the steeple of the Church and help us not only fight, but to win this war.

There are a lot of good things happening in Stuntland. Steve ironed out a deal with Selecto Hits, an independent music distribution company based out of Nashville, TN, to distribute State Fair. Selecto Hits, is an off shoot of the rock and roll music empire started by Sun Records' Sam Phillips. The company is currently run by his nephew Sam W. Phillips.

There are Tour dates on Drunkstuntmen.com. The first gig of the State Fair Tour will be on St. Patrick's Day Monday March 17th, at the Dutch Treat in Franconia, NH. The show is going to be taped live on 24 track tape for later rebroadcast. We would like to plan some special stunts, but need to get the approval of the NH state Fire Marshall beforehand. Regardless, we need your input. The choices are A) You can play the part of St. Patrick by participating in a snake chasing contest. B) Although thought to be almost as degrading as dodgeball, the second choice is Leprechaun Tossing. or C) Corned Beef and Cabbage Wrestling. Please post your votes on the message board. (you must provide your own snakes, leprechauns and corned beef and cabbage. The Surgeon General reports that certain snakes may be venomous, Leprechauns DO inhabit leprechaun colonies and corned beef and cabbage wrestling has been proven to raise your LDL. But, Guinness is Good For You.

Thanks and Do your Own Stunts!

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