Friday, August 17, 2007

In A Thomas Kinkade World, Memphis Music Is Vincent Van Gogh

We got this comment from someone in the local music scene, Matt Timberlake, and because we liked it so much, we're posting it here too:

Just read your blog about Live From Memphis.

You touched on what I've always found so damned dissappointing about the consumers of music in Memphis; they don't want our richly talented hidden gems, they want something amazing that amazes the world. It seems like a self-esteem thing, like we as a city are pissed off and sad that we aren't London, or New York or the Seattle of ten years ago.

But it's just us, here, with this attitude.

Read It And Weep

Open any Mojo Magazine (UK's Rolling Stone) and it's packed with Memphis. One tiny example: a recent issue, discussing Jack White of the 'Stripes, tossed Jeff Evans' name into the article as a buddy and adviser. This is the same Jeff who fronts our great '68 Comeback and bought books from me at a yard sale. You've seen him around. Jack O's recent fire-hot disc was reviewed in the same issue. It had at least two stars on the new one from Paul McCartney.

My buddy Chip Galloway, who owns and runs In Tha Vault Entertainment, produces DVD's documenting the local hip-hop scene, on stage and in the hazy rooms behind it. Groups and rappers none of us have ever heard of, but who you've waited in line for one of those strange blue margaritas with at Music Fest. These films, Memphis Underground: Raw and Uncut, are distributed at, among other retailers, Best Buy. They fly off the shelves in the Mid-West.

Go figure.

Promising Signs

A drift in the right direction can be seen in local radio, one element of our city's music community that actually impresses me.

WEVL has always been a wonderful way for people to hear their freinds and neighbors on the radio, but their audience is a knowledgeable group finding what they are seeking. Recently though, Rock 103 and 93x have hugely expanded their local programming, not just with segments of air time devoted to Memphis Music, like 93x's Locals Only, but actually integrating our music into their daily playlists. Big thanks to Dennis, Ric and Luca at Rock 103 and Syd and Crate at 93x.

This is major. Damn right a Rind Stars' song deserves as much attention as Nickelback. Damn right Chess Club can hold their own with the Cars. Damn right Vending Machine is as ecstatically weird as Ween.

It's Not Local Music

We just have to begin to take our music (and all art) seriously.

We don't make local music, we make music. And it's great.

Or maybe we just take comfort in this: Thomas Kinkade is a rich, rich man, while one-eared Vincent Van Gogh never moved out of his brother's basement until he shot himself in the stomach and died poor.

But it sure would be nice to see you all at the show, having a good time. I'm sure you would, if you came.


Jon said...
has been consistently playing Memphis & Memphis area musicicans. We love them. We are global. Send us your material.
For our address-e-mail us at

NICK A. DAVIS said...

More on Live From Memphis going away...

I hope that rumor is false - Live From Memphis is a great service and the only "web database" of artists, music folks, etc, around!!! This thread from the Goner Message Board goes off on some crazy thoughts but overall some good points are made.

Rachel Hurley made some good points is hard having a "creative services" website or service here in Memphis due to sooo many negative people.

Memphis folks need to stop being negative. Support each other. It hurts me to hear someone shoot down something so fast. We need to work together - come on Memphis.

It is also awful when someone sends out something negative just to get some shit started - this really is not cool.

Check out the thread...the negative shit needs to stop!!!

zacives said...

The negative reaction to most of this is really pretty justified. Everyone's tired of watching the memphis music commission and foundation fail. Most of the people I know in the music community don't expect any kind of support from them because it has never been there before. so now that we see Live From Memphis, a company that has basically done the job the music commission was supposed to do (bring musicians, along w/ artists and filmmakers, together into one network and help sell their services), in trouble after 7 years of trying to secure funding... it makes everyone that cares about the community mad.

On the other hand, I am hopeful that the emergence of a new music commission that says they are interested in supporting local music will make a difference. I'm encouraged by new Music Foundation head Dean Deyo reaching out to the memphis community with a new plan that is exciting and builds from the bottom up rather than the top down. And I'm cautiously optimistic about Fast Forward talk of the music industry being a key economic source for the city (even though I don't quite understand that one yet).

All of these things seem positive. But don't think the most in the local music community, who have built what they've built completely on their own, are going to immediately embrace this new talk.

It seems to me the Live from Memphis situation will be a key test for the new Commission and Foundation. If they can find a solution that works for everyone involved, it may help thaw relations with the local music community. If not, it will prove to most that this regime is no different than past ones, despite what they say.

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