Make the scene hot and the milk bath cold.
Kill rock stars When it comes to live music in Chico, Arts DEVO’s favorite scene-makers—Uncle Dad’s Art Collective, Fera, Chico Area Punks, Scott Barwick (Maltese), Jake Sprecher (Duffy’s), Sesar Sanchez (hot young talent)—are already filling up your night with life. But the rest of you rock stars, those content to beg your way onto local bills then just show up and play, you are not really a part of your local music scene. Chico is at its best when its bands are actively engaged in all facets of making things happen. And how do you do that? Follow these three steps that I’ve shared on these pages before, and repeat here now for all the new, and the lazy, bands:
First, take control of your own destiny. Seek out touring bands that you think are rad, make friends with them and put together a tight show and pitch it to your friendly neighborhood booker. The booker will wipe the drool from his chin, shake your hand and thank you. If the show goes well, she’ll even remember your name.
Second, promote. Do not depend on any venue, booker, fellow band or rock ’n’ roll pixies to magically conjure up an audience for you. You may believe it’s the venue’s “job” to promote (and it most definitely is), but there is no way its managers should be more excited about the show than you. And excitement is contagious. Spread it around, and before you know it you’ve created anticipation. This will work out well for you and your dreams of playing music in front of others. And of course, exploit Facebook. It’s easy and fast. But despite all appearances, life is not lived on social media. We breathe and move and meet up in the analog world. Print and hang a few fliers. Be real. Advocate in person. And, for the love of all things that are boneheadedly simple, set aside 30 seconds and send an email to your local print-media outlets about your cool show. You may assume that we editors and reporters sit at our computers monitoring your every rock ’n’ roll move, but that, my delusional friends, is not the case. We depend on you to help make us look hip. (If you think all venues are sending us show info in a timely manner, I have a magical guitar pick to sell you.)
Third, book three bands per show, no more. Trust me, I know from experience how hard it is to make it happen, but discipline with this one issue is crucial to the overall health of the music scene. The five-band bill is unsustainable. Be sustainable. Have a tight bill that moves smoothly and ends in less than three hours. It is as important as performing a kick-ass set for consistently attracting show-goers outside of the usual suspects.
If you rockers are up to the task, the scene will become yours. And Chico will be better for it.
• “Bless me, my Treif King”: Mint Shekels is back, and under the watchful eye of the Treif High Council, and with the help of his Goy-Boys, the Treif-Stars, has placed the sermons of dub-reggae harmonic-ritualist Tarn-Man in the music-video, “Ritual Milkbath”: Open the curtain so that the air may moist the rag. When the rag is soaked in wine, and the wine has been powdered, and the powder is blessed, and the bless is loud, then the bless is pest. Catch the pest with a trap. Open the trap with a string. String the child to the pond, and wet the boy’s chest. Search “Ritual Milkbath Mint Shekels” at www.youtube.com and be blessed.
• Stop the presses! A last-minute show added after our music-calendar deadline: Yonatan Gat (guitarist of Tel Aviv monster-riff rockers, Monotonix) plays Sunday, Sept. 14, 9 p.m., at the Maltese with The Chrome and Donald Beaman & The Spirit Molecules.