Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Not enough like Dirk

Yes, it's true. Cassavettes didn't ever make it to New York City last Friday, as were sidelined by a bent rim, courtesy of a huge pothole. We could have been like Dirk Nowitzki and played through a bad wheel, but alas, he's tougher (German) and he's metaphorically carrying a team of 12 people while we were literally carrying a team of seven people (meaning a ton of weight on that donut). All in all, we couldn't make it so it amounted to a $400 fix out of my pocket, which is tremendous. That's the bad news, though. Missing the show wasn't AWFUL, comparatively speaking. If it had happened en route to Philadelphia, our show with Superdrag, I would be livid. But among the shows we've got this month, this might have been the most expendable, as cruel as that sounds. We wanted to do it -- quite badly -- but just couldn't. It was literally impossible, by time and other considerations.

So, I got the van fixed yesterday and it's running fine now. It was actually cheaper than expected, so that's a plus. It should be ready to go for the big show this weekend (and then, of course, the long trip to Delaware the weekend after -- I just booked a hotel today for a great rate!).

Now, as non-sequitors go, I've got one for you: Here's a little news article in Tastemakers magazine that features some thoughts from me on "making it" and making money in a band. This e-mail interview was conducted long ago, so I can't remember what I said exactly, but it sounds pretty good to me. It actually sounds like what I blog about a lot (or recently, less but still some).

Cassavettes, who have been voted Boston’s “Best Local Band” in a Phoenix poll, expressed similar sentiments. When asked via email if the band makes money, musician Glenn Yoder replied, “Yes, but not a whole lot. What we make is usually pumped directly back into the band.”


So does getting signed constitute “making it?” Both Yoder and Easton believe that joining a label is not so much about the money as the partnership. Yoder said that Cassavettes has had the opportunity to get signed, but so far nothing has felt right. While they are not opposed to joining a label, Yoder told us “it just has to be the right offer where someone says ‘I can do [“blank”] for you’ and it’s something we can’t do ourselves already.”


So for most of these musicians, working with the band full-time is their next ambition. Everyone in Mayola, including Easton, works other jobs, as do Cassavettes and Medicated Kisses. Even though these acts are garnering much attention, the members continue to subsidize their bands with their own funds. When asked if Cassavettes have considered becoming full-time musicians Yoder replied, “That’s a big issue that we’ve discussed. Is quitting your job and going music full-time how you define ‘making it?’ We haven’t figured it out, but I think we’d all certainly like to give it a try. All the money the band makes goes back into the band. As for spending our own money, I spent a substantial amount self-financing our last record. We still aren’t out of the trenches.”


Yoder knows that marketing Cassavettes requires tactical planning. He said of his group, “We’ve always made money. There are a myriad of ways to get it, it’s just a matter of attack. We get paid for every show (that is, unless it’s a benefit); we get paid for album sales—online and at Newbury Comics and at shows. We’re licensed through ASCAP, and if you’re really courageous, you get licensing opportunities. That’s the best way to make money in this day and age.”


Do you feel that your local music scene has allowed the band to perform at its full potential? A lot of bands opt to move out to LA. Do you see any benefit in this?

Cas. (Boston): Yes and no. Boston’s been great, it’s an excellent city to bring up a band in because you have to work hard to distinguish yourself. There are tons of musicians and more bands than almost every other American city (I think NYC may be the only one with more). So, we’ve been cutting our teeth the hard way. It’s arduous and it can get you down. But we’re here to stay, it seems, and we’re proud of how far we’ve come. No LA for us. Maybe if we were speed metal, but even then, I’m not sure there’s much of a market for that in LA anymore. We’d probably move to NYC before LA, as far as scenes go, but even that is a stretch. We’re staying put. There’s no reason to uproot a band and start from scratch, especially when a city has been as good to you as Boston has to us.

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