Note from the road

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

Greetings from Portland, Oregon!

We take journalism ethics very seriously at the RN&R. We work hard to keep a firm separation between our advertising and editorial divisions. And we’re diligent about disclosing conflicts of interest. For that reason, I usually try to avoid writing in the paper about my secondary career as a musician. My band’s name might pop up in the nightclub grid from time to time, but we’ve often not covered big arts events around town just because my group was on the bill.

Rest assured, my band is not a huge money-making machine, so I’m sure I wouldn’t see much financial benefit from any shameless self-promotion in the paper, but nevertheless it’s important to me that I not use my megaphone just to hype my own stuff.

(Some readers might remember that I wrote a cover story about my current band’s first-ever tour back in 2010. Even then I focused on sad and unglamorous aspects of tour life, and also used it as an opportunity to write about former Renoites who were thriving in other cities.)

But that’s a filter through which I often see the world. When I travel to other cities, I see those cities through the eyes of a touring musician and can’t help but compare those other cities to my hometown, Reno.

We’ve had some great shows on this tour. But here’s what I’ve noticed: At each of those shows, we’ve played with great bands from each of those cities, and had good crowds, but they’ve mostly been bands that have sounded like us, crowds are already into the things we’re into.

I’ve written about this before, but it’s a wonderful thing about Reno, plainly visible from a distance, that our music bills tend to be diverse and eclectic. Folks from one corner of the scene are likely to show up for events for other kinds of music. You’ll see the punks at a country show, the rappers at a metal gig, the jazz guys at a songwriters’ showcase.

Reno is big enough to sustain a thriving music scene but small enough that the scene is not compartmentalized. We mingle.