When I was offered my own column here at The Aquarian, I jumped at the chance. It was especially exciting for me, after having started at the very bottom and slowly working myself up from intern to freelance and then to columnist, after having had a big chance taken on me from the start. Rock ‘n’ roll was ever-present in my household, and accordingly, so was this publication. I wanted to get this right.
And so it’s taken me about a year from when this opportunity was first offered to now, as I am writing this, because it is one of my biggest fears to be given a platform (see also: very tiny soapbox) from which to do some good, and then fall short. I had no idea what to do with this, which direction to ultimately take it in. I’ve been too disgusted by the news lately to even begin to write about politics or the state of things. There’s not much, musically, to really report on from where I live in bumblefuck South Jersey; definitely not enough to base an entire column on.
I thought on it for a really long time. I decided that, maybe, it would be cool to do an advice column but, even then, I had no idea where to start. I wanted to keep it as “local” as I possibly could, so I began to look outwardly for inspiration and ideas and I started to realize that I was surrounded by talented, hardworking people in this industry. People with experience. People with ideas. People who learned the hard way.
I thought about how Those Mockingbirds put so much effort into cultivating their fanbase by actively street teaming, how they always make sure everyone feels included and important and appreciated at a live show. I thought about Todd over at Baldy Longhair Records, and all the time he spends pouring his heart into an analog label in this digital world, and handpicking bands that go above and beyond to deliver a rockin’ record. I thought about The Disconnects, striving for authenticity and sticking to their roots, as opposed to conforming or playing it safe to attract attention.
What I am trying to do here is produce a fun, satirical column that also delivers legitimate, honest advice from musicians, artists, labels, and industry insiders who have started with mud and rocks and have managed to build for themselves a solid foundation for their art through dedication and hard work. Because this shit is important.
I want to write a column for the 60-somethings who are still squeezing their asses into tight red leather pants and rocking out, as well as for the kiddies in their garages who don’t really know what they’re doing yet in a scene that is pretty much on life support as it is. I want to open a forum for dialogue, for fresh ideas, and for ways to make doing what you love a little easier for the people who love making music.
I have a huge list of topics I want to cover, including how to get yourself booked (and booked again), designing and marketing your merch, how to book a tour that lasts longer than a three-day weekend, and how to survive some worst-case scenarios…but I’ll be needing help.
I have set up a Facebook page for this column in the hopes that not only will readers post and submit their own questions and topics and start some of their own discussions about the things that matter to them, but to allow bands and musicians to connect and lend their advice. If you submit a question and would rather remain anonymous, that’s totally fine by me. But all bands/artists who pitch in will receive full credit and a good plug for their band(s) in print as well as online.