Ventura Musicians Rock

How serious about music do you have to be to have a band?
How good do you have to be to have a band?
What are your intentions for being in a band?

I have found out that there are a number of music snobs in this community, which is a little embarrassing, and it’s not because this isn’t L.A.,  or New York, or Austin or Seattle, it’s embarrassing because that’s an elitist mentality.   As far as the whole county goes, we have some pretty cool musicians calling this their home. We have Grammy winners, we have dozens of artists who have actually “been to the show” and have toured with national acts and have had hits on the radio, members from  Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Todd the Wet Sprocket, Social Distortion, the Foo Fighters, even Chris Cornell lived here for a while.  We have some terrific session musicians and producers who have worked on world-renowned projects and consistently work on scores for movies and television.   So we do have some real talent here.  But that isn’t the point.

We also happen to have some mediocre artists who dream of making the big time, and we have some mediocre artists who are content for playing gigs from time to time.  And we have some artists who if we’re being completely honest, aren’t so good, but have a dream of playing music – and if there is an audience who appreciates them, then why tear them down?

And as far as one’s intentions go, if you’re in a band to get laid, or to receive gratification or validation, or if you honestly want to make an impact on others’ lives, it really doesn’t matter as long as you have an audience who supports you.

I understand there will always be a pecking order of musicians here based on their demand, for all genres of music from punk to jazz. And that demand may be based on their talent, or how much other musicians like playing with them, or how much an audience loves them, but to tear down, or belittle another artist, is just elitist, and pitiful.

And of course if you are a talented musician and know your shit like no one else, it would be expected that you surround yourself with other musicians of your caliber.  I’ve seen the best of and the worst of bands here in town.  As the saying goes, “There’s no accounting for taste” and the proof always comes out in the pudding. Do you have an audience, or don’t you?

And please, we know some of you are more educated about music.  Congratulations. That doesn’t make you a better person.  Contributing and making a difference makes you a better person.

So if you’re in a band or playing as a solo artist and you make someone smile and make their day just a little better, then that my friend is the bottom line and to you I say you freakin’ rock.

Artists Photos

I’ve been humbled yet again by the people in this town.

We work hard, but we’re seeing results and Ventura really does Rock more and more every day.

A lot of effort is put into Ventura Rocks. We have a website we update every day. We generate a lot of two-way communication via Facebook hoping to get people out to support the shows. We also work on projects like Ventura Music Week attending meetings several times a week and meeting with the venues and artists to make sure they are included. There are the emails and messages coming in to “tweek” or fix a listing on our site, or to add an Artist, or to ask my thoughts about a certain artist and whether they’re a fit for a certain show. I love it.

I also work three paying jobs, I’ve been going to school four nights a week working on a degree, plus there are the basketball playoffs on top of having a teenage daughter I actually enjoy spending time with.

But more than that, I enjoy the fruits of our labor and I go out and support our music scene. I attempt to do this at least two-three times a week. And when I do, I make it a point to “check in” on Facebook with a photo of the band in hopes of getting others out to do the same.

The point is, I’m really freakin’ busy!!! So I was sidelined recently when a local musician, someone I admired, sent me an email requesting we get permission from Artists before posting their photos anywhere on the internet.

I’m positive this was a direct hit at me personally because I can not imagine how a local artist in a town the size of Ventura would be opposed to receiving free publicity.

I’ll be honest. It hurt. And perhaps I should have suppressed my feelings but I did two things.

1. I responded with a nice lengthy explanation and then I promised I would never take their photo again without their permission.

2. I went on Facebook and posted the following message along with a photo of my dog Sammy expressing how I was feeling:

“It’s been requested from a local musician that we get permission from Artists before posting their photos anywhere on the internet.
It hadn’t occurred to us that some musicians/artists would prefer not to have free publicity and help promoting them.
If we have posted your image in the past and you were not OKAY with it, please let us know and we will immediately take it down.
Seriously, we’re just trying to help”

The response was overwhelming. I will never doubt again that we’re making a difference in this town. And the support and thanks for what we do was just inspiring. I honestly cried more over these comments than how disappointing that email was. And no, not one Artist has sent me a Private Message to request we not post their photos. I did get one Private Message, but no, I’m not going to divulge who it was who made the request!

But I do want to be clear that we will endeavor to ensure Artists are fine with us posting their photos. I just don’t want them to feel beholden to us, or think we’re just looking for “thanks.”

And just so you know, I try to be careful with the photos I post ensuring the Artist(s) look good, avoiding glowing eyes, or unflattering expressions. If when I scroll the photos and I don’t see a good one, I’ll go back up and take some more until I do. If the lighting sucks so much that I can’t get the shot, I’ll just not post anything.

So if for any reason (you don’t have to give me an explanation if you don’t want to), you prefer not to have your photo on our website or Facebook page, just let me know, send me a private message. Of if there is a particular photo you don’t feel comfortable with, I’ll be happy to take that down for you. Again, we’re here to help.

All that being said, we’ve been doing this for four years now, and we’ve been talking for two years about how has not made a dime since going live. We continue to pay for all costs out of pocket including our personal time to do updates daily and how we would like to change this eventually.

That’s going to happen soon. And it feels really f***ing weird that our purely goodwill effort is now going to be a commercial venture. But know this, we will never ever charge the venues, or the Artists be listed just like we’ve always done. But we are going to start offering banner ads (taxi services, out-of-town venues, hair salons, etc…), and we’re working on creating an online store for t-shirts and other items.

Ventura is such a great place to live, we have these incredible musicians and Artists who deserve support. We have a community and network of resources that encourage the music scene and we’re privileged to be a part of it all because like I always say, Ventura really does Rock!