Let me start with a big fuck you to Tom Bunch and his ilk. In John Lomax’s recent article on Houston bands [Band Suicide], it’s suggested that Houston bands are either too lazy, too disorganized, and dream too small. None more forcefully than Tom Bunch:
Bunch says that from 1976 to 1997 he saw "hundreds and hundreds" of local bands, all but a couple of which were mediocre. "The Houston A-bands were all C- and D-bands in other cities."
This seems to ignore great Houston bands like Really Red, The Party Owls, The Mike Gunn, Dry Nod, et al.. Where the fuck were you Tom?
Bands frequently whine that Houston lacks business infrastructure and that they wish they could find an experienced, well-connected manager to take them to that proverbial next level. Bunch would seem to be that guy -- after all, among other things, he did help shepherd the Butthole Surfers and the Toadies to gold and platinum success, each with their artistic credibility still intact. Why wouldn't these struggling but talented locals want to have a guy like that working for them?
Bunch sighs. "Fear of success. Fear of failure. Fear of the unknown. Fear of turning over what little business they have to someone else. How many of the music business stories that go around are about a record label or a manager screwing a band? So with the outside chance of that happening, they would rather not do anything and be the guy who never got the shot as opposed to the guy who got screwed or the guy who got the shot and blew it."
Wow you’re the guy who managed the Butthole Surfers in the 90s, when their biggest artistic feat was Gibby scoring heroin on Lexington. Wow man awesome! Sorry, John but most of the Surfers’ fans abandoned them by this time because they had run out of ideas.
But Bunch cater to people like the Two guys in "Decline of Western Civilization: Part II the Metal Years" who are convinced they are going to make it.
"Oh We're going to make it!""But what if you don't?"(Pause) "Oh, I Know we're going to make it!"
It's pathetic. I remember when I heard some school kid say "I want to be famous". Not I want to be make great music or art or anything - just fame. Fucking pathetic. That's why I love "Burden of Dreams", Herzog doesn't even seem to be able to explain why he does what he does; it's just something he is compelled to do - something done for its own sake. Success is finishing the project so as to move onto the next. Not acclaim, not money, just making something. Bunch instead is straight out of Faust "work with me and I will get you the fame you crave". To me that would be the test. Do you want fame or do you want to make great music? Any musician worth a shit will say the latter and add that if the former comes as a result then that's just gravy.
Mind you, if someone like Super-Unison were to conceive of Bunch's all-encompassing local music scene hub it might have a chance of takers because they have built some level of trust and respect locally. But Tom stinks of LA big business sleaze; everyone blows him off because his idea of success is bullshit all geared around the mythical “shot at the big time” which goes against every DIY punk-ethos that most scenes are built around. I can think of no better example than our show this Saturday…
The show we had this Saturday was a huge success. Over 100 people at Rudz, we promoted it to the best of our ability, and everyone had a good time. Oh, but by Tom Bunch's a-priori definition this isn't enough - if we're not shooting for Platinum Success why the fuck even try to get off our lazy asses.
Instead of thinking "big", what we did was put together a bill that was a wall of non-stop great music. John Cramer laid down one of the most impressive solo performances I've seen since Tom Carter - a transcendent performance full of fire and confidence like I've never seen in a Powers of Light and Darkness performance. The Red and White followed with an anthemic rock show whose raucous performance was matched by the sharp playing and writing. Not to be outdone, the Jonx, ruled the night with a take no prisoners performance that was a blur of notes, energy and wit. The quintessential moment of the evening came during the end of the Jonx's set when Will, armed with his smokes and beer, volunteered to sit on Danny's drum kit to keep it from sliding during their last song. That was just the kind of night it was - everyone working together and having fun.
I can only speak for the LP4's set from where I was standing but I felt we pulled off a set that was as good as you will ever see us pull off. The Projectors worked flawlessly (thanks for the help Austin), we hit our cues on the songs, and most importantly we played like it was the last show we'd ever play and enjoyed every minute of it. Nothing was hacky or uninspired. We, at the very least, held our own against three great bands, and felt that all the work we'd put into this one evening was worth it. We had succeeded in having fun, entertaining people, playing with bands we love and admire, and felt that anyone who paid their hard earned $6 to walk into Rudyard's got their money's worth in spades. Yeah, that's right I said it was a success; not platinum success, not the big break success, not Tom Bunch's success but our own idea of success.
Thanks Rosa, Rudz, POLAD, The Red and White, The Jonx, Austin, Justin, and everyone who came.