By: Frank Arena

This weeks weekly rant is about something simple. It is something that is totally missing from the Independent music scene, and even less in the media when it comes to reporting on the music scene. It is simple, one word, and yet nobody seems to show it. Ethics. Now this may seem a little long, or not make a whole bunch of sense with the flow of how it is written, but it is what pisses me off this week, and my general rant.

Ethics are something that is missing in the Independent arena. Some of the up and coming bands think being “cut throat” or “pushy” that it will help them get where they want to be faster. This is also true with smaller online magazines or even videographers and photographers. In the market where I reside, it is a small market, ranked #29 in size in the Nation, but yet, everyone thinks they are in the #1 market of New York and doing whatever they like is going to advance them. Problems run rampid when things like this happen, even moreso when you are in a small market like Kansas City.

If you look at the National scale, bands, photographers, media, all of them; they may hate each other with a passion, but they unite as one to get the story, or the shot. They will in their own circles trash each other, but never in the public light. When they are given access to an event, and given the guidelines of their access, they stay within that provisioned to them to be able to do.

I have been to numerous events where Independent bands get on stage and start trashing every other band in their market thinking it makes them look better. I have been where photographers will have no class and walk up to performing members of National acts and request “stage access” when nobody else in the house has it. It is rediculous what some people will do to try and better themselves, and not worry about the good of a community especially trying to promote entertainment in this economy. These artists are lucky to have people at their performances, and you want to run all over their stage to get pictures you probably will not even give to the performers? Seriously? How is this going to better the industry as a whole?

Indies need to look at the National scene and think about what they are doing. I hear every week how the local music scene is nothing but other bands supporting other bands, and that is the only people that get out to the shows. Maybe because people outside the circle of friends you have hate the drama, do not want to deal with the bashing of another band they might like, or just simply have a preconcieved notion that going to these shows will not be benificial to them. Until some things stop happening, you are not going to find new fans without going outside your market which in reality, is completely unneccessary if you just wake up and worry about what YOU are doing, not everyone else.

There are some amazing bands, photographers, videographers, and even sound engineers that will never get their due because of the drama they bring to the events with them. They will never get the stage they deserve until they play by the written and unwritten rules and have just a little bit of one thing, ethics. Just because you may not be happy having pit access, there are usually 14,000+ other people that would love to have that access that you are complaining about at that venue alone. I have personally had pit access where other photographers think they own the pit because they are there. I have heard them whine the stage is too tall. I have had stage access during a show, and watched the 20 or so people in the pit bitch and whine because 3 people had stage access and they didn’t. Be happy with what you got and make the most of it. You already were given a ton more access than everyone else in the venue that paid to get in, when you didn’t.

In closing, follow the rules, stop the freaking drama, and most importantly support your towns Independent scene. The whole persona of “they look rough, I don’t wanna be there” is so far from the truth it is not even funny. Some of the nicest people you will ever meet will look like a rock thug, but it is just for the show. If you are “working” an event, don’t push past your limits. Dont ask an entertainer for access you were not given, it is wrong and outright rude. If you are in invited guest, remember everyone else around you paid to be where you are so respect that. Don’t act like you own the place just because you got in free. Most of all, don’t trash others in your industry. This is ludicrous and unnecessary. You need to build your industry you are in (music, photography, video, etc) not hurt it by acting like you are the best, when quite honestly, there are probably 10 more that are more than twice as good as you in each market across this great Nation. Get over yourselves and enjoy the moment, report on it, and ALWAYS give the band/entertainer or whoever you are there for a copy of your work when it is done. No exceptions. If we all did this in our respective places, you would see a much stronger community overall.

Frank Arena

Be sure to visit Project Backstage soon!  It’s one of our great friends in the industry, and if you want to have a review or interview done, contact Frank Arena today.  More great exposure, for the support of our growing industry in music!

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