Are there less bands right now?

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potatoes
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Are there less bands right now?

Post by potatoes » Mon Jan 12, 2015 5:43 pm

this is something I've observed over probably the last year in a big way - I just think there are less bands around lately!

How do you measure something like that? Well there's just anecdotal evidence, but one thing is for probably the last four or five years I've kept half an eye on the rockshop classified "bass player wanted" section, just to get an idea of what's going on. It would be more common than not for there to be one or two new bands looking for members, or at least a bass player, every week. It shows you how many active ads there are in total and it was normal between 40 and 50, and now there are 17 and the most recent ad was from mid November.

So I ask, what's the deal? I guess I can only speak for what I've seen in Auckland, but is being in a band just not cool anymore? What's the deal? Perhaps it is a reflection of the somewhat depressing state of auckland's venues? Have people given up? Or have I got it backwards and the music scene is so connected that people aren't using online ads any more, relying on word of mouth?

Is it also a reflection of the global state of the music industry, people don't care so much about going to check out local acts?

So am I full of crap or have things changed in the last year or two?

manofthematch
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Re: Are there less bands right now?

Post by manofthematch » Sat Jan 17, 2015 9:26 am

Plight of the local musicians and the local scene perhaps?
That's an interesting take on things, in terms of measuring the scene by bass ads. I'm sure there could be a myriad of ways to measure and observe how much people are/aren't getting into music, either by partaking/playing or being a supporter of.

I've got six reflections, which drift on and off topic:
1/ I'd love to see enrolment numbers for NZ music courses (jazz schools, MAINZ) and see how they trend. Not that they're the sole barometer of NZ music but it would be still interesting to see.
2/ live venue status - are there more closed venues (which support live music) now days in your town or city in comparison to say 2-3 years ago? My case in point would have been a sweet bar in Wgtn called Sandwiches where you could catch good, frequent, live music - was gutted when that bar shut. The same could be said for Mighty Mighty (also in Wgtn).
3/ I think this is a more Auckland centric point but the demographics and make up of what and who the people of Auckland are, makes me think you've got to be imaginative in terms of drawing an audience, getting exposure, and for bands or venues to be relevant and draw punters.
4/ maybe it is more word of mouth in terms of band recruitment? I can honestly say that was the case with me and how I came to be in Tahuna... it really was by virtue of having jammed with a couple of the boys and then the opening came up.
5/ I personally hope that kiwis don't ever give up supporting local acts. I know I'm a bit of a useless supporter because I don't often intentionally go out and listen to any, mainly because I get to see / hear the kiwi bands at festivals Tahuna are playing at. Having said that, in Auckland they've got the free Music in Parks on at the moment which I went to last weekend. In Wgtn they have good summer gigs at the Soundshell in the botanic gardens.
There's some real good NZ music out there... I'm enjoying listening to an alternative folk band called Great North. I also enjoy finding out about different places where you can check out live music. In Wgtn I remember going to a sweet bluegrass folk music festival during Labour weekend in 2013 (near Wainuiomata, Wgtn) and more folk music at the Bunker in Devonport (I'd highly recommend this).
6/ I wonder if bands need to find different ways to appeal to people? It might be making a catchy/unusual video that goes with their music. Something that goes viral (I have no idea how). Seems like some people need to first be reached on their smartphone before they get off their a$$ and go to a gig.

Personally I enjoy playing music and I've had many a fun gig irrespective of where we've been and who has or hasn't been there.

I'd be interested in other people's reflections of the music scene in their area.
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manofthematch
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Re: Are there less bands right now?

Post by manofthematch » Sat Jan 17, 2015 9:33 am

I would also add a 7th point to the above... specifically my being interested in how music retailers - both CD / vinyl stores and instrument shops - are doing in NZ towns and cities. Are there less or more, or just the same? I was in Taupo recently and couldn't find an instrument store near the CBD. Maybe there is no shop in Taupo these days or maybe I was looking in the wrong place? I didn't actually need to buy anything but I thought to myself, if there's no instrument store that's a tough pill to swallow. Sure you can just drive up to Hamilton, Tauranga, or over to Napier
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martyforrer
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Re: Are there less bands right now?

Post by martyforrer » Mon Jan 19, 2015 7:41 am

There is a music instrument store in Taupo, however it's pretty basic and budget. Music shops have never gone well in Taupo. I am an instrument wholesaler/importer/distributer for some well-known brands, and so I see things on a national scale. I can tell you that things are grim in the retail industry. Several shops closed last year, and I know of three more that will be gone by mid-year. The independent shops are dying off very quickly. Very soon there will only be the three chains, Rock Shop, Musicworks and Music Planet, plus maybe seven or eight independent shops.
All this is a result of a combination of factors, some being the shift to online purchasing, the rise of TradeMe instrument sales, and as someone said, it's not so cool to be in a band anymore. Young kids cant be arsed with the regimen and disciple required to learn an instrument when they can get instant gratification from technology.
One reason it's not so cool anymore is that there are no guitar heroes now, at least not like in the past. We had Chet Atkins and Les Paul, Charlie Christian and Django Rheindhardt, then rock n roll happened. Every kid wanted to be Elvis (even though he was not strictly a guitar hero). Hank Marvin was the hero of the early 60s, and many guitarists cite him as the reason they play guitar today. The Beatles also inspired many to start learning. The likes of Jimmy Page and Mark Knofler, and of course Jimi Hendrix kept the flame alive, then Vai and Satriani and of course EVH were maybe the last of them. There are no guitar heroes as such for todays kids, and music today has become very generic.
Venues have suffered badly from several factors. One was the move from brewery owned pubs to private ownership. Thousands of gigs disappeared when that happened. Drink driving has hit hard in recent times, but perhaps most telling is the rise of technology. Young people are jaded today. They are totally exposed to music videos, electronic music, and can have hundreds or thousands of songs in their phones. Lack of exposure to music in the days of vinyl and cassettes meant it was always fresh and exciting, now it's ho-hum. Venues haven't helped themselves either. The price of drinks in many venues is ridiculous. No wonder kids preload.
Overall a miserable picture. There are many fine musicians around today, but apathy, technology, pathetic programming from radio and TV stations, and lack of govt support for arts and culture all contribute to today's situation.

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potatoes
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Re: Are there less bands right now?

Post by potatoes » Tue Jan 20, 2015 9:36 pm

manofthematch wrote:Plight of the local musicians and the local scene perhaps?
That's an interesting take on things, in terms of measuring the scene by bass ads. I'm sure there could be a myriad of ways to measure and observe how much people are/aren't getting into music, either by partaking/playing or being a supporter of.

I've got six reflections, which drift on and off topic:
1/ I'd love to see enrolment numbers for NZ music courses (jazz schools, MAINZ) and see how they trend. Not that they're the sole barometer of NZ music but it would be still interesting to see.
....

I'd be interested in other people's reflections of the music scene in their area.
Well I can comment on the first one, if I ruffle any feathers I'd like to say I'm just passing on what I've picked up through word of mouth from knowing a lot of music students, no classified information here. massey jazz school numbers are so low it is closing down (last year was the final intake). Auckland uni takes about 20 students a year. MAINZ in the last two years has grown hugely and has like... Hundreds of students now, but it seems to be by means of lowering standards and increasing profits, not the same institution it once was.

As for the second point, not a huge reduction in the amount of venues but it seems the ones that do, with few exceptions, are placing far less emphasise on smaller acts. Ding dong lounge is the only venue I can think of with a really active scene for rock bands and it really is doing a good job.

I think you're right about people just not being as interested in going out and supporting this sort of thing these days.

As for the state of music retail, you only need eyes to see the shrinking state of bass sections in stores! Even the mighty rockshop k rd bass shop has fallen and is now but a side room in the guitar store. Don't get me started on trying to find a good gig bag...

martyforrer
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Re: Are there less bands right now?

Post by martyforrer » Wed Jan 21, 2015 9:56 am

Potatoes.... I use a CnB BB1600 gig bag for my P bass. it's not top of the line but is pretty good, and does a great job for me. Price is $69 rrp. Any Musicworks or independent can get them overnight if they don't have them in stock.

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potatoes
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Re: Are there less bands right now?

Post by potatoes » Wed Jan 21, 2015 5:41 pm

Ahh unfortunately I was looking for top of the line as I'm on the bus every day with it and don't like bringing hard cases to gigs as I've often not got much space... Went with the mono vertigo but had to import it from the states myself. But that's all in the thread I made about it a while ago.

Actually it was about a year ago exactly I bought it - it is still in 100% good as new condition after daily use, and I'm pretty rough with it as well.

Maybe if such totally sweet gig bags were available to the public more readily, more people would want to pick up and instrument and start a band to justify owning the awesome bag?

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Re: Are there less bands right now?

Post by manofthematch » Wed Jan 21, 2015 10:40 pm

You raise some real good points that I'd not thought of Marty...
Stuff like bars / venue ownership and even just the price of a drink. Alcohol limits, generic music, the way we buy / listen to music, and technology. That's just it, the options for entertainment are more than say 20 years ago.

I like the point on there being musical heroes and influences. I've been lucky enough through church (St Pauls, Auckland) and even just my own networks that I've managed to mix, meet, watch and follow friends who are doing some great stuff. For instance:
* the drummer for Lorde used to go to St Pauls. One of the best I've played alongside.
* a friend of a friend (Ben Shepherd) plays bass for Lee Ritenour (Grammy award winning jazz guitarist)
* an acoustic guitarist and friend of mine plays bluegrass in the US and has played several times with Tommy Emmanuel.

Sad to think that music shops are less frequent but I can understand why this is the case. As for tertiary institutions cranking out less graduates, I remember back when I was seriously thinking of giving bass and music a full time crack, I thought against it as I didn't see it as a realistic career option. But despite being a civil engineer by day, there was something alluring about being a rockstar by night. :D

Maybe these things go in phases and one day (in our lifetime or our kin) there will be a reverse / surge / increase in the interest and support of music.
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martyforrer
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Bands / Groups: Borderline.... country rock
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Location: Napier.

Re: Are there less bands right now?

Post by martyforrer » Thu Jan 22, 2015 7:13 am

I spent 5 1/2 years from 1990 onwards as a fulltime professional, simply because I had so much work that doing a day job was killing me. 5, 6, even 8 gigs a week was commonplace (this was in Auckland). One Friday I did breakfast gig at Hammerheads, lunch at Oak and Whale, after workies at Oak and Whale, early evening at Empire Tavern, 12:30am at Club Parnell, and Musos Club at Galatos at 4:30 am. Six gigs in one day!
I had a drummer friend who put his drums into a hotel (I think it was the South Pacific or something, downtown near the Ferry) in 1977, worked six nights a week, and finished the gig in 1988. The Nairobi Trio often did 8-10 gigs a week.
Heady days, sadly long gone.

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Re: Are there less bands right now?

Post by timi » Sun Jan 25, 2015 2:39 pm

Look at the charts currently (and for the last few years), it's not very "band" orientated. There's always a few but it's just not really in trend currently, and the ones that are there are often legacy acts who've already built a fanbase. Things go in phases and you'll probably see bands getting more popular again at some point which translates into more people locally getting into it. No surprises that there's heaps of electronic music being produced by local artists here in NZ.

In terms of cover bands it's cheaper and easier to get a DJ, and honestly I think many people prefer a DJ over a cover band, I know I do.

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