A Local Band’s Golden Rule: Show Up

Jimi Hendrix gained attention by joining Eric Clapton onstage in London in 1966; The Stooges were signed when a record company went to scout out the headlining band MC5; Nirvana’s success helped catapult the Melvins. The Toadies got their start when fellow bands Decadent Dub Team (Cottonmouth TX), Last Rites, and the Buck Pets helped them land gigs in Dallas when in the past the task seemed impossible.

There are countless other examples of bands helping out their counterparts gain attention. And there is much to be learned from the path to national success of crucial bands throughout history, lessons applicable for local Madison Bands.

Recently I was watching Axiom, a local Madison alternative rock trio with a sense of humor; take the stage at their CD release party, when I took a glimpse at the crowd. The room was full of people, of course, but what really caught my eye were the other local bands in attendance. Local Madison bands not on the bill like Triibe and Lords of Discipline were in the house, and Kill Junior stuck around after their own high energy set.

It got me thinking of how important it is for local bands to be supportive of one another. Not only by coming out to the shows, but in all aspects of influence and cooperation. Sharing practice spaces and recording times, providing an opportunity for a fellow local band to play a show with you, and most importantly spreading the word about other local bands.

I got the chance to speak with Axiom after their stellar show, complete with lightsaber battle. When I brought up the subject of local band alliances, they were quick to point out “It’s important for musicians to treat their music scene as a community. If we don’t support each other, who will?” The support isn’t limited to hooking other bands up with shows, but also in musical influence. A band’s sound is in constant evolution. Axiom takes their influences from national acts such as Tool and Primus, but also credits local bands like Kill Junior, Ignorus, and Sunspot as an influential part of their sound. Evolving a unique sound to call your own is the essential appendage in the survival of the fittest in this unpredictable music industry.

lightsabers

lightsabers

In other words, succeeding in the music biz, even on a local level, involves cooperation. As Axiom stated in our interview, “The Madison scene is hit or miss… It would be nice to see the Madison scene revert back to the way it was 10-20 years ago, when everyone went out to their favorite bar to watch bands.”

Most working bands and musicians dream of making it big, gaining recognition regionally, nationally, somewhere other than their home town. And most want to see Madison become a national hot spot for music, a smaller version of Nashville or L.A. sans the cowboy boots and glitter.

What I’m suggesting is some kind of “golden rule” for local bands: If you want others to show up for your gig, you must to the same and show up for them. You never know where it could lead.

You can start out by checking out Meteorade opening for XYZ Affair and Roomate at High Noon on July 27 or the The Box Social opening up for the Toadies and the Whigs at the Annex on July 31. And don’t forget Kurt Cobain’s favorite band, the Melvins, at High Noon on August 3.

Katie Jo Crubaugh, True Endeavors Public Relations Intern

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One Response

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