This Little Underground 


Though they have no requirements for credibility, accountability or even readability, I'm all for the open expression afforded by OW's online comment boards. However, judging from some of the unchecked blather on them this past year, it seems some fundamental things need to be set straight. And since we're on the threshold of a brand-new year and decade, there's no better time for an air clearing and general attitude recalibration before we embark into the exciting unknown. Much of my soapboxing is aimed at Orlando audiences, but this one's for the musicians.

The focus of this column is the Orlando music scene. Local music is a significant part of that, but — news flash — the national and international talent brought in by local clubs and promoters is also a defining part of this scene. And thank god for that, because it allows you locals to make some connections and, more importantly, measure your work against the bigger, more accomplished acts. We're fortunate that, despite historically challenging geography in terms of tour routing, there are promoters here with educated palates, determination and booking muscle that try to bring in interesting, relevant acts. It's what prevents this or any other aspiring city from being an uncultured, inbred backwater. Only a small-minded, provincial bumpkin would discount this scene component. Without it, "local" could quickly equal "yokel" around here. We are a part of the bigger world, and it's a part of us. So pop that little bubble you live in and benefit from broader influences.

As for the homegrown talent, my contention all along has been that our scene has what it takes to be a player — but thus far, our potential remains unfulfilled. There are many factors involved in why, but the key one is our attitude. Where did you ever get the entitled notion that you were owed attention, press or anything for that matter? You gotta work for that shit. I'm out five or six nights every week and even I can't get to it all. Until I do, an important thing to keep in mind is that you're not the only one out there. This world, this city even, is bigger than you.

On the flip, just because you bust ass doesn't mean you're any good, either. Credit for one does not translate into credit for the other. Everyone believes what they're doing is valuable, and they should. But in the greater reality, that's not really true. The day you think you're incapable of producing bullshit is when you've lost perspective and become bullshit yourself. Your time is your own to waste, but when you put something out there for the consuming public at large, that's when the door is open for people like me to come in.

Moreover, you do not operate in an opinion-free zone. It's a critical culture out there, and that's a healthy thing. Every notable scene has one. It's how you get good. I may be the one who says it in black and white, but your peers are all judging your work, too. Believe that, because they all talk to me about it. Like most people, I very much prefer to experience good music, but whichever way it goes, I call it like I see it. Life is too short to fuck around with crap. There is such a thing as natural law, so sprout a pair. This is a scene, not a nursery. If you can't handle the rules, you shouldn't be in the game.

The idea is to create something special here, so get good or get out of the way. If you don't think someone laying down that sort of rigorously idealistic imperative is a constructive thing, then what you're looking for is a wet nurse, not a critical music column. This space is for commentary, context and opinion, not an unconditional pep rally. If you can handle the truth behind the adage that your best friends are the ones who will shoot straight with you, then there's little that you'll ever misunderstand in here. The sooner we can get our heads screwed on straight about this, the sooner we can get to work and make it happen. Ya dig?

As for all you Jesus & Mary Chain fans, I will see your sexy asses at Will's Pub on Saturday night.

music@orlandoweekly.com

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