A Musicians Guide To Craigslist or ‘Why I Took Up Painting.’

This article was created out of frustration and rage and…OK, there was coffee, perhaps a lot…about our hunt for a drummer for an original band in these United States. It is about art and commerce and dudes and dickheads. And genuine curses. And in that vein…if you’re a drummer…and wanna be in a kick ass rock and roll band…inquire within…

Craigslist is a microcosm of the World at large: Most people lie and the ones who don’t should.

Does that sound cynical? Is this a rant? Sure. I’m rant-y.

I didn’t start out this fragile shell of a dudeman. Craigslist made me my own monster…which is me. Ya dig? The closest thing I can equate it with is a cross between La Costra Nostra and Match.com: as soon as you think you’re out of it – done with it, watching it fade in the rearview– the next exit is where you began. It’s a Möbius strip.

Craigslist is Capitalism at its finest and most petty. There are jobs there that will cost you money. There are dates that…well, will cost you more money. It’s like a dream where you find the outlet store for all you desire but can’t find your wallet. And you see your picture hanging above the cashier station.

Focus…focus…(exhale)…OK. I will not speak to the various parts of Craigslist I’ve never clicked on; did you know they have discussion forums? I KNOW! I am speaking from the point-of-view of someone eternally seeking a drummer. I tread those boards, spread out my geographic search, rationalize how it’s okay to work with someone a six-hour drive away, get disgusted at myself for cheap rationalizin’ and start again to new cheap come-ons and people who don’t call back. And again, I consider what a lovely solitary pursuit painting is. And dream away…

So…this list is not a ‘To Do’ list. ’Cause I’m not sure what ‘to do.’ I consider this a cautionary tale for musicians. At the next practice, hug your drummer and bass player (guitar players hug themselves, so save it). Tell them how special they are and how much you love them. It’s OK if they steal a little, can’t work the bridge right, if their girlfriend is the most annoying creature who was ever spat onto the planet. Love them.

Or suffer….

5) Should Musicians be Paid?: Hmmmm….let me consider this….oh! Yes, you DICKS! Yes, artists should be paid for their work. Does every artist get paid every time? No. Look…even though ice cream is awesome, is it a breakfast food? No. There are fundamentals in this World, great thresholds that can’t be crossed. I think I’m fascinating…will Salma Hayek? Likely not. If I buy new sneakers, can I run faster? Of course, yes, I can. Not everyone on this free site is a world-class musician…and a case could be made that world-class musicians have no concept about what Craigslist is. (What Would Johnny Cash Post?) There are hobbyists about. Is that a problem for you? Are they cutting into those big cover band gigs? Not likely. Perhaps you can calm the f**k down? (Note: if you want to respond to a club seeking free music on Craigslist, go to town. You can even use the tried and true ‘Can I come and eat at your place for free?’ line.)

4) Re: Re: If you see this on a Craigslist musician ad, follow it. It’s good stuff. More than likely you have two wags barking at each other about something that happened on the scene 15 years ago (when there was a scene, harrumph!). And I’m sorry…but it is entertaining. My golden age of Rock Journalism was the Bangs/Reed wars in Creem. Those were also petty and posturing exchanges doing neither any favors…but there is something oddly compelling about watching music geeks fight. You will never understand the intricacies of the exchange, but that’s not why we slow down at car wrecks. It’s not in order to check the brake linings or consider the cause. We slow down ’cause were bored and life is fleeting.

3) Originals vs. Covers: I am in an original band. I don’t condescend to cover bands (though admittedly I don’t see many). And this is an argument that we need not have anymore. It’s over, Johnny. People want to go out and dance, drink, laugh. This is made easier by small comforts, like friends you can stand and a song you like. This isn’t a sin. It IS a drag for those of us who want to create new standards – new works that live beyond us – but really, nobody ever said artistic success is easy. People need familiar things. When you see a band having a good time, cover or original, you are having a good time. And if you can sing along to the chorus, have at it! Ultimately this is about entertaining. I find it interesting that bluegrass or blues bands don’t get dragged into this fray, ’cause ultimately, many are cover bands. But the songs they are covering are bigger than the band and the listeners. It’s a communal experience, a song everyone knows in a style everyone wants. So who’s to say that a few decades from now we won’t honor a band that does faithful recreations of “Who’s Making Love” in the 2000s style? Wanna know when you’ve made it? When cover bands play your originals.

2) CAPS: Okay, how long have we all been at this Internet stuff, huh? Can we all get together as a culture and say, ‘CAPS LOCK.’ Shouting (metaphorically) that you need a bass because you rock doesn’t convince. I’m all for clever language and good promo writing. I’m a fan of the language and do feel there is a place for capitalization. Like at the beginning of sentences. And names. Acronyms. But when I see anyone present anything in all caps, I always have the same reaction: ‘OMG, that is so cute! I remember my first beer too…’

1) Brian Methany: ‘The voice was just a hum in the head with talk and talk and talk over nothing and shallow lows at breakneck speed toward giant trees and very near to everything is the rambling in the head these days of nothing…A work of art withdrawing into the tenuous relationship between the lyrical phrase and its musical counterpart. Confronted with a disquieting self-familiarity, the songs portray modern dilemmas with hints of foreboding and finality; yet, a reassurance of life as being not such a disengaged and distinct experience.’

This reads to me like the journal of a 13-year-old, lovelorn Lex Luthor…but…I know Brian Methany’s name and he don’t know mine. Rock On, Brian Methany. Oh, and by the way, if you’re a drummer, get in touch. (sigh…)


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