As our poor, sad world continues to slide into even deeper despair and its inhabitants look to an uncertain future with growing trepidation, I have to wonder what’s really going on. You know, the big picture. Everything feels like it’s either broken or breaking. Almost nothing is guaranteed, as it once was. Even just grocery shopping requires a lot of strategy. And concerning something of which I am very familiar, the live music scene is a mess, as is everything it involves, especially the enormous hassle touring has become. And, personally, I’m now uncomfortably aware of how much damage touring bands do to the environment. Traveling, in general, just ain’t easy anymore, physically or psychologically. We can’t even predict how long it will take to go from Denton to Dallas or Fort Worth (about 40 miles each). Simply too much traffic AND construction AND too many pissed-off drivers with guns! I don’t like it, but it’s reality and it’s better to see it as it is, rather than try to recreate the past. The past is gone, condemned to nostalgia. If denial is your bag, have a beer and watch METV. Plenty of “the good ol’ days” happening there. However, if you want to be in the game, you gotta stay plugged into something and try to think like humans think, which is not in my nature, but I’m getting better at it. We certainly want to reach as many people as possible and, although it’s both easier and harder than ever, one might as well see how much attention one can get and experiment with the tactics. In some ways, Brave Combo is actually very lucky. We’ve been in existence for sooo damn long, we have a multi-generational fan base of folks who seem to enjoy, and will sorta seek out, our music and skewed view of life. Plus, we can play lots of festivals, which are somewhat more resilient than clubs right now.
Many things contribute to the way the scene has evolved. Social media, streaming services, fear of crowds, worn-out templates, an overabundance of entertainment options and dwindling interest in the old-school idea of what live music even is. The kids, who are responsible for keeping the scene active and moving, might not dig what we dug. In fact, I’m sure they don’t. And there is simply so much of whatever, it’s hard to even know where to look to find anything and when you do, there’s another forest of content to waddle through. As always, there are only 24 hours in a day. But here we are. This is the way it is in the year 2022. And those who choose to call themselves musicians or artists will either figure it out or give up and move on to something more stable or just disappear in defeat.
It sounds bleak, huh? And you’re not surprised, I’m sure. But maybe it’s actually not all bad, if you can shift your perspective. We’re all desperate to return to normal, but that comfortable idea of normal is fading away. Plus, our psyches are too damaged to trust going backward. Now it’s all about accepting, adapting and changing. And, historically speaking, for musicians/artists this weird, challenging new environment should be stimulating, maybe even exhilarating; something to react against. Some of the greatest pieces of art are created during heart-breaking strife, social unrest, and change. Extreme inspiration, yes, but often effective. I like to think of Brave Combo as a mindset or an attitude and that makes it possible for us to find a place to exist, wherever. Besides, life is suffering and there must be a reason for that, right? So, cheer up! And despite the obvious doom and gloom, I hope Brave Combo always chooses optimism over pessimism. Because, why not? Every day is supposed to be a weird, new frontier, right? With exotic food and strangely-colored clouds in the sky, right? A place where everyone is a doctor, but no one needs a doctor.
And speaking of life being weird, Dallas radio station, KXT, contacted us recently and said, “Congratulations! Tuesday, October 18th is Brave Combo Day on KXT!” I thought, “Really? Why?” It turns out the station has been somewhat highlighting a particular popular local act every Tuesday for a few weeks and the 18th would be our “Queen For A Day” day. Hmmm, I do listen to that station fairly regularly, in the car, and haven’t heard us mentioned much, plus it’s rather pop-oriented, so I found this interesting, considering they only showcased about 8-10 bands during this period. But, contrary to my usual curious self, I’ve learned to not question certain things too much and this definitely falls into that category.
Denton resident and local cable television personality, Mike Miller, has interviewed hundreds of area musicians, artists and personalities over the years, for his show, THE OTHER SIDE. I was recently honored to finally be on his program and here it is. https://youtu.be/Oz0eVdeXWjc Check it out. It’s sorta long but pretty entertaining, I think. Mike has a unique, and consistent, interviewing and editing style and is, himself, an interesting character. AND, he won a case on THE JUDGE JUDY SHOW a couple of years ago, involving a ruckus at a live music club right here in Denton, of course. Rock and Roll is dangerous!
Speaking of dangerous, it’s usually unwise to give someone too much reason to cultivate an overblown ego, but I want to thank Rusty Taco and Denton mural-painting legend, Warren Lunt, for immortalizing me and my hat and accordion. Total surprise and shock! I don’t know what else to say other than if you’re in town, go to Rusty Taco and have a taco and a look. People are way too nice to me.
Although music is struggling in myriad ways, as I mentioned, certain pockets have been weathering the storm better than others. And, thankfully, we have played so many Oktoberfests and regular fests since August, everything is a blur. Even tomorrow is already a blur! And we still have three great festivals to go before November arrives! The awesome Autumnfest in Hillsboro, the magnificent Magnoliafest in Blanco and the polka-rific Polkapocalypse in Austin. So, come out and join our blur! A couple of weeks ago, Brave Combo performed in my hometown, at Texarkana’s very first Oktoberfest. It was right downtown. Right on the state line, literally. In fact, half of the band was in Texas and the other half was in Arkansas. We performed directly in front of the grand old post office, which famously straddles both states. When I was a kid and we had family visit from out of town, we would usually go the post office. It has a designated spot where one can have a picture taken, enjoying standing in two states at one time. Anyway, before the gig, I was interviewed on the Texarkana-based podcast, ON THE LINE. So, if you wanna know even more about me, here’s another opportunity. On The Line Podcast Link Knock yourself out. I’m pretty sick of me.
Therefore, enough is enough! Besides, the trash and recycled bins need to go to the street. Get ready to vote! Happy Halloween! Here’s “The Vampire Twist!”