My apartment smells like a rotten, molten, fucked twice and then stabbed to death brick of cheese. A half gallon of milk was poured into the sink, the sink that does not drain because it's clogged with our filth, and has been festering there for nearly 48 hours. The smell... the smell is most overwhelming. It's almost 90 degrees in the apartment and probably 65 outside. What hell is this? WHAT HELL IS THIS?
(Sweat drops from hero's brow)
I'm sure things are not all well and good in Cleveland but I would trade this cockroach infested pit for a stray cat infested dive in Tremont right now, with a cool lake breeze knocking down the leaves onto the dirt yard. No matter where I live it's a shit hole. I've had people actually tell me this to my face. Amazing luck or poor hygiene and life skills? I don’t know.
I read a couple of internet posts about the continuing saga of the Jigsaw monopoly. Man, I have to say it's nice to be away from this story because I don't have to really give it much thought. Yeah, one group owning so many venues can not be good for the business (wrestling term. I'm talking 'bout Cleveland though). I think contracts are bad as is and when I heard about the new ones that tie bands to a strict policy of not playing for a defined period of time before and after a gig at a 'Saw affiliated club is worse than the milk turning to cheese in the sink five feet away from me. It's too bad the Jigsaw is such a great BAR because it makes this hard for me to decide who is right and who is wrong. I mean, they have a tall of Blue Moon just waiting for me to return some distant Monday night. I'll meet you there at 7.
Honestly, I don't know the whole long and short of it but, from what I read on message boards (the only reliable link to the Cleveland scene from such a distance), certain promoters are taking to fucking bands with a dominate barbed wire taped fist by not letting them gig around their contracted responsibilities.
I used the term responsibilities because, ultimately, that is what each show is to any given band. Once you agree to show up, it's your responsibility to do so and, when all is said and done, draw people. Some clubs are in the business of making money and other are in it for music(or whatever the fuck) but you still need to make the money to pay the bills, to keep doors open, and the heat on. One problem with Cleveland music is the over saturation of shows. Bands in Cle tend to play whenever and wherever. In front of the Rock Hall? In a basement or at a shitty east bank club? Fuck it! Beer equals a band showing up and playing. I know from experience. Both of my old bands played all of the time regardless of what was around the bend. In the end it's the reason both Amps II Eleven and, the often overlooked, Southern Trespass ate it so early. How many times could you put up with seeing us in a given week? After a year or two the answer was zero... unless it was free or there was a keg involved.
Flipping the coin, I love the fact that I can look in the papers and see that This Moment or Nunslaughter (or the two together!) are playing on any given Wednesday. It's one of the stronger legs of the scene that bands can play anywhere and with anyone because it's all in the family. Some places 'get it': the Happy Dog probably doesn’t care if you played at Now That's Class two days before a show there, they just want your friends to buy four more rounds of High Life and Black Velvet. But someone is always looking at a picture beyond beer sales. Like it or not and, I know, it's real hard to like.
I don't know what I would do in this climate if I were so lucky to be in a band in Cleveland. I'd probably sign the contract and then play shows in Akron or under the radar in Cleveland. But maybe I'd be smart and avoid the Jigsaws cartel all together. What started as a fresh breath of air seems to be growing into another gnarly infection on what was becoming such a nicely tamed STD (I'm pretty sure I am talking about the music scene). Too much power and too much apathy turned into a little mess.
I know this is no ones fault, really. I'm not trying to be democratic but it's not like this type of stuff comes with EVERY show. It's only here and there. Still, it's something to think about if your in a band. Do you deal with it and sit out for a few weeks and bank on your gig being really killer because everyone in Cleveland has been sitting around with their dicks in their hands waiting for the show or do you look to bands past and do it your fucking self by booking a show at the local dive where your happy with the free beer and the local turn out? Man, don't ask me... I live in California.
What a weird situation y'all have gotten yourself into. Thank the dudes and babes at Now That's Class for saving things for now. Imagine what would happened if they made you sign a contract saying you wouldn’t have casual sex for 40 days after a black out hook up in their bar. Most of you could not handle that and then you would have to be prosecuted like so many bands and tramps before you.