Despite the intense heat, the rising Covid cases and the growing fear of mass shootings, Brave Combo’s residency at Red’s Yard went pretty well.
My personal goals were achieved, I think, but I’m not exactly sure what those were. My motivation was and is pretty heavy. Whether you feel it or not, the concept of live music is going through a radical metamorphosis. No one knows whether any template from the past will still work on its own anymore because the general public was already confused and unpredictable before the trauma of Covid even emerged. And now everywhere feels a bit like a war zone. Although I’m reluctant to make that comparison considering Ukraine is actually in a war zone and our problems can’t compare right now. On the other hand a lot of people are, indeed, being murdered in the USA, well, every minute. And random attacks by young zombie men are on the rise, so it’s normal to feel threatened and, in fact, wise to be alert. That sucks but I can only try to keep myself from devolving. The world, at large, seems determined to self destruct. I don’t know why. I don’t get it. The desire for power and control is an insidious and, frankly, inexplicable motivation, but the ego knows no bounds and some folks are just drunk with it. I mean, I am a control freak. I understand that, but I herd cats, which requires a lot of control. Cats tend to be a bit self-centered and hard-headed, especially our blind 21-year-old, JJ. Jeez, what a complainer!
Anyway, back to my original point. Weird Wednesday, for me, was more of an experiment, than an opportunity for Brave Combo to get together to play five gigs. I wanted to, mainly, avoid our current song list and either try something new or reinvent something old or just screw around and wander. I also wanted every minute of our “performance” reliably live-streamed. You know, easy to connect and starting on time. But this is not just about Brave Combo. It’s about predicting the future of live music.
And I have lots of questions. Like, why is anyone still doing this; trying to be a musician on a stage? And, although attendance at shows is way down, across the board, why are the die-hards still showing up, as if nothing has changed? No judgment here. Just trying to understand what the collective brain is telling us/communicating. Trends come and go. Brave Combo knows that well and it is, indeed, a challenge to stay relevant as the landscape shifts and, apparently we’ve done well enough, so far. We are strategists as much as musicians. But what’s going on now is different. This is a seismic cultural change. Before BC, I examined the phenomenons of Muzak AND background music (the opposite of Muzak). Background music is passive. Muzak is actually a subscription service designed to maximize worker productivity by utilizing strong musical elements throughout the day, piped throughout the workplace.
But both deal with manipulating the listener. One is subtle. The other, less subtle. I wanted BC, in the early days, to be the least subtle form of Muzak and Weird Wednesday was a return to that idea: Aggressive background music with covert attempts to control the brains of others, without the typical ego trappings which usually accompany people on stages. Yep, that sorta sums it up. And, as with most BC gigs (I hope), it’s important to us that someone watching or listening to our show is somewhat puzzled and challenged to wonder about the value of what we do. I really wish we could have perfect weather every time play outdoors. And I really wish Covid would actually go away and people did not have to think about the virus danger in a club full of fans. And I also really wish guns weren’t, literally, everywhere in our country, especially Texas. And Texas pride without compassion or common sense leaves only guns. I don’t get it, but I know there is a way around the myriad obstacles we’re facing.
So, to sum it all up, Brave Combo may become a more bizarre, yet more beautiful thing. My goals are lofty and they involve more than just notes and chords and exotic rhythms. And I apologize if this only makes sense to me, BUT you should definitely stay tuned!