The Little Rock and Roll Band That Almost Was
Lee Ann Leach
Once upon a time, in the land of long hairs, sweet guitars, and sunshine, there was an awesome rock and roll band. In this little world was a music writer that noticed a story in her local newspaper on a showcase involving major record labels for this band. To her surprise and astonishment, the drummer was a good friend of hers, and she leapt with joy and excitement in seeing her friend doing so well in his music career. She was even more overjoyed to see that this band was under the same management as some other dear friends of hers. Joy of all joys, two great rock and roll bands under one management’s roof. This was one showcase that she was not going to miss for the world!
The night of the big showcase arrived and the little writer got to the venue early, she was so excited. It was a fabulous show, her friend’s band was incredible, and all she wanted was to do a feature story on this band that was about to skyrocket out of her little domain into the universe of legendary rock and roll. She set a time to interview the band and planned on a beautiful feature with glowing words for this bunch of local boys about to make it big. Good stuff for a regional magazine to be reporting, if you ask me! During the interview with the band she discovered that not only were they impeccable musicians, but that they were nice guys and deserved the recognition for all the hard work and hassles they had experienced in music.
Then, she took the feature story she had written to her editor with high hopes of him being pleased with her discovery. The little writer was shocked and angry when her editor told her that he would not run a story on this band because of a past business transaction gone sour with the band. She could not believe this editor would not publish an extremely newsworthy story because of a personal business problem. She was overwhelmed that politics would stand in the way of local music support. Her town was about to give the music industry a great new rock and roll talent, and her editor would not run a story on the news of this new band simply because of his own problems? It infuriated the little writer, so she quit writing for the magazine and turned her efforts into helping this band on their way to stardom.
The band made their trips to Shiny Big City With Record Labels and Men In Suits and dealt with contracts and more label showcases. They won awards for being this such and such rock and roll band for that rag magazine and the most whatever rock and roll band in the land of riffs and drumrolls.
Suddenly, there was trouble brewing with management and as quickly as the major offerings of fame and wealth were placed before this lovely group of minstrels, they were snatched away. They were pushed aside like redheaded stepchildren, not because of lack of talent or because they didn’t write good songs, but because of business failings within management.
This little rendition is only the very tiptop of the real story involving the little rock band that almost was. A lot of other heartbreak and heinous acts of greed took place throughout the course of history with them, but I won’t go into detail, as the whole story may well incriminate me and many other loved ones, but I’m hoping you’re getting my point here.
The moral of this story is this, (sit down children, because it’s a scary one), the music we are force fed today from the record labels are bands that are making it because their business dealings didn’t fail, not because they are the best thing to be heard in original music these days. The bands you are hearing about and are reading about and the bands being played on the radio are better businessmen than musicians, in all reality! Is this really, truly the “music industry” then, or is the real music industry in the musicians and bands that are playing local clubs and venues because they put so much time and energy into the music and NOT into the business of the industry? The “art” of the music industry is not actually in the music industry anymore, because it’s all about the most slick business dealings rather than the actual music anymore! The real horror story is the music industry itself, because it’s not the best of the best playing what we hear in mass marketing anymore. The best of the best are still going unnoticed or getting screwed from slimy managers and producers that back out of contracts for no reason at all.
Support your local musicians, get out and go and see these unknown treasures in your own backyard, make a stink at the radio stations to play more independent artists and more local music. Use the brain God gave you and your own personal tastes (yes, you do have a personal taste, despite what the radio tells you!) and find something that isn’t hyped on the radio or MTV that you like. Buy and listen to your local bands’ CDs, they’re usually cheaper, anyway, without the added on costs of mass marketing and distribution! The record labels and their control over the music industry will continue to abuse the art of music and the artists that make it until the general public decides they are tired of being led around by the rings in their noses in what is considered “good music,” and they quit buying their overpriced, over hyped, under-talented sign-ons’ CDs.
As for the little rock and roll band that almost made it, they are now three rock and roll bands, all equally as awesome in their craft, and they are still plugging away at it waiting to give the world their rock and roll of the finest nature. And as for the little writer, she’s still writing about rock and roll and still waving the banner of the artistry of real rock and roll. She’s still complaining about the suits at the major labels and she’s still going to see the three rock bands that came from the little rock and roll band that was almost famous.