Wednesday, June 4, 2014

We met a couple interesting dudes at the bar last night...

Location: Patio in front of Manhattan around 9 p.m.

James aka Mr. New York: Broad shoulders and husky, with biceps bulging out of a tight black t-shirt, the sleeves of which barely hide a tribal tattoo arm band. His demeanor is calm, friendly and thoughtful.  He’s of Italian heritage, born and raised in the Bronx. He’s an oil painter by trade and new to town.

Methalhead: New York’s Athens roommate. A scrawny shrimp of a man; wily and agitated. His movements are jerky and unpredictable. He’s a chain smoker with a creeper mustache and a Southern drawl. He’s probably on meth.

James: Let me ask you something, you live here? I was at Barcode the other night, and I had to wait 40 minutes to get a drink. It was packed with all these young girls. I was literally waving a $100 bill in the air just trying to get the bartender's attention. My roommate tells me this side of town is like, no wait, a little older.

Michelle: Oh yeah, don’t go to bars on that side of Lumpkin. I literally don’t think I’ve been inside Barcode since I was 22.

Meth: Ha! That’s funny, last girl I pulled from Barcode was 22! (jumps out of chair, takes a drag of his cigarette, immediately sits back down).

James: Hey, I’m sorry about my friend here.

Meth: You telling me to calm down? I’ll calm down.

James: So, (turning to Shane) you do music?

Shane: Yeah. Not so much now but I used to.

James: Ok, listen. My roommate here, one of the best musicians I know. He can play a guitar like no other. But, and you’re gonna hate me for this, but I hear that in Athens you don’t make money playing music. Like, I know people who are really good, but nobody knows about them.

Shane: Yeah. . . there’s a lot of talented people who aren’t discovered.

James: Yeah, but, respectfully, in New York, when people like a band, you know, they come out to see them. Does that not happen here?

Michelle: Sure, people come out to see bands. Obviously it’s a much different market than a huge city like New York…but there’s a lot of venues here that will give new artists a chance. 

Meth: They don’t know what new is!! New to who? They won’t book me at the Caledonia because my show will pull in a thousand White Cross members. I could pack it out, they don't want all those motorcycles here. (stands up) I like METAL. I like MOTORHEAD!! (sticks out tongue, presents devil hand sign)

Michelle: Well.. that’s..there’s… a market.. for that.. maybe not here…

Meth: Hoo! I’m 45, I haven’t taken home a girl older than 23! I gotta piss.

James: Respectfully, though. Listen. What if you get someone to film a band, right? Film it. Put it on YouTube. They can get discovered that way, people will come out. Do people do that?

Michelle: Yes… people in Athens have put their music on Youtube. But they are competing with literally millions of other videos.

James: Ok, but I’m saying. Athens. Respectfully, I thought people are born and raised here, and they support each other.

Shane: Well, most of the artists aren’t really from here originally.

Meth: (walking back outside) The Truckers ain’t from here! They are from Gwinnett! Hey, does this place not have a bathroom?

Shane: It’s to the left of the bar. (literally, the only door inside the bar)

Michelle: People do support each other, but I guess it's hard to be discovered in Athens. On the other hand, we have a lot of friends who have moved to New York to try to make it, and they come back poor and..

James: Whoa, see, listen. I’m Italian. Born and raised in New York. It’s my home. When a band plays in New York, and like, a lot of people know about it and like them, they come out to a show. 

Michelle: Sure… if lots of people know and like a band they will come out to a show here, too… There’s just a lot less people here.

James: Ok, but, what decade was it that that thing happened.. the ‘60s? The, uh, tournament? With Jimi Hendrix?

Michelle:… Woodstock?

James: Yeah. Why don’t people do that. I’m talking like, art, music, all together. Make it like an annual thing, you know?

Michelle: .. That’s… a festival. That is a thing that happens.

James: But make it an annual thing!

Michelle: Yeah, festivals tend to be annual. There will literally be one right here on this block in just two weeks.

Meth: Oh hell yeah, we’re going to AthFest. I’m gonna get my friend Dave down here. Dave… MUSTAINE!!

Michelle: Yeah, AthFest has a lot of visual art…

Meth: DAVE MUSTAINE! He won’t move here for shit! I used to work on guitars for Dimebag Darrell!

James:  Sorry. He gets excited. What I want to see is this; I want to see: Muse, Franz Ferdinand and Deathcab for Cutie. Together.

Michelle: I am almost sure all three of those bands have played Coachella.

James: What’s that?

Michelle: Coachella?? A festival. A really huge festival.

James: Never heard of it. But like, I posted something online, this Muse song I really like. And my friends were like, "no way. That sucks." 

Michelle: There are definitely other fans of that band, and lots of festivals have indie music. What about Lollapalooza? Bonnaroo? Glastonbury? Primavera? SXSW?

Shane: SXSW has over 3,000 bands!

James: Never heard of them. Wait, 3,000 bands? And what, do industry people come out and listen?

Shane: That’s kind of the point.

James: Ok, you’re going to hate me for this but, respectfully, if you play SXSW, and a guy offers you a record deal, do you take it? Or do you ask, like, if they will make you change your sound for the radio?

Shane: People don’t really get signed like that but, I mean, I would… I would ask questions, obviously. I have been signed to a few labels. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to be successful.

James: But listen, see, what if I paint an oil painting of a band, right? And they like it. And it captures that moment in time, a moment that will never happen again…. ?

Michelle: Yes… that’s… nice. Lots of moments tend to be digitized now with Insta..

James: Yes, but like, that’s a moment. That’s what I’m all about. And then, you know, you put that moment on YouTube or whatever. Someone can discover you that way. But like, the most I ever got paid for a piece of art is $500.

Shane: Well, as an artist you have to ask yourself if you're doing it just for the money or because it's a creative outlet.

Meth: I don’t need the music industry! I’m in the film industry now! I’m about to go UNION.

James: He’s an extra. He’s about to join SAG

Meth: You’re going to go home and watch Hunger Games 3! Or 2! Or is it 3? I’m in Hunger Games! AND THE NEW STAR WARS

James: He’s got some bit parts in the new films…

Michelle: Well… we will look out for him.

James: But, respectfully, let me ask you this. Do you have this problem? Do you ever got lost in your work and like lose track of time?

Shane: Sometimes...

James: But I mean, because my girlfriend, she got mad. She said I was paying too much attention to my art and not her.

Shane: I guess you need to find someone who respects what you do and is patient...


Michelle: Time for us to go...