MY RANT TO: SF Weekly & The Bay

Photo Apr 02, 11 20 53 AMDrawing and Rant by: Stefan Aronsen

There were tons of people in attendance at The Chapel. I saw fans, bloggers, techies, industry folk and musicians. There were more people in attendance than could fit in the chairs they set up.

On the Panel:
Moderated by Ian S. Port , music editor, SF Weekly.
Adam Theis, founder, Jazz Mafia
Jeremy Pollock, Legislative Aide, Supervisor John Avalos
Jocelyn Kane, executive director, San Francisco Entertainment Commission
Guy Carson, former owner, Cafe Du Nord
John Vanderslice, musician and owner, Tiny Telephone Studios

Ian S. Port opened the conversation with, So, I talked to 24 people about why the SF Music scene is dying. Instantly I felt my skin cringe! Suddenly 24 people’s opinions have deemed the scene dying. I looked around at the 200+ people in attendance and thought, “dying … really?!”

Adam Theis, founder of Jazz Mafia, continued the conversation by saying, Yeah, I was forced to move to Oakland.  I thought to myself … that’s not that far away! And wait a second … isn’t Oakland still part of the “SF” music scene?

The talk continued with a lot more mentions of THEM & US; Oakland vs. SF, Classical vs. Indie Rock, Musicians vs. Techies. I was starting to get really upset!!! Why are so many people creating riffs in the music scene? I felt like lines were being drawn in the sand, you’re either with me or against me.

At one point somebody even said, we need to take some of the money from the classical musicians, why does the SF Orchestra need so much money? My heart cracked a little. We need to take money from other musicians so that the ones not making money can survive? LUDICROUS!

Jocelyn Kane, executive director of the San Francisco Entertainment Commission, continued by asking, who here is a techie? Don’t worry, you can raise your hands, we’re not going to stone you! To which somebody else heckled … TAKE THEIR MONEY! THEY’RE RICH! Wow … forgot that I’m rich! Later somebody said … we just need the techies to leave. They’re wrecking the culture.

Techies leave … that’s interesting … so the techies leave and there goes Facebook, perhaps the app you use to access 90% of your fans. Oops … there goes the SF Spotify office, that’s too bad … they’re pretty cool! Oh yeah and Pandora is here too … that really sucks that they have to leave, I like what they’re doing. While we’re at it … Bandpage would have to leave, which is lame cus they did just raise 9.25 million to aid musicians. The SF office of Soundcloud would be gone … and bye-bye Eventbrite … and Indiegogo. Weird that we’d kick Indiegogo out of SF, they did just help a few hundred bands raise a few thousand dollars, but they gotta go!!! WOW … are you thinking what I’m thinking? Suddenly these techie people you hate … aren’t so bad. Well maybe we could just Google some new people to help us … oh … that’s right “WE HATE THE GOOGLE BUS!!!”

Ok … maybe it’s not the techies … maybe if we lowered rent it would make musicians better at making music. Maybe if we didn’t remodel run down houses musicians could afford crappy places to live. If it were cheaper to live in SF musicians wouldn’t have to move to Oakland … thus wrecking our music scene. And again I couldn’t help but think, “is that really the problem?”

Finally Ian opened up the mics to the audience. People jumped at the opportunity to voice their opinions. AND … people were not pulling punches! A girl grabs the mic, “I write for the Deli Mag SF, I’m glad you’re here Ian, I’ve been writing you letters for months, why are you ignoring me?” Somebody on the panel actually said, “oh snap!” (Or that’s what I heard!) A guy stands up and say’s, “we’re not dead!” Quickly he was interrupted by Ian, ok … if there are no questions … we’re closing the open mic. The 10 people in line to talk were all like, “WTF!” I even yelled from the audience, “LET THEM TALK!” Then suddenly … right when it was getting good … Ian ended it. Ok, thanks for coming … that’s it.

So my feedback: “LET THE PEOPLE TALK!” I want to hear what they have to say. Also, let’s look at the scene as a WE and not as US & THEM. Let’s team up and do stuff that is Oakland & SF, not their scene or our scene. Perhaps instead of hating techies we could embrace them, work together … creative and logical … imagine the possibilities. And perhaps the best piece of advice from the panel … the only thing applicable, “Get off your ass and go to a show!”

AND … maybe next time Ian S. Port want’s to write about our dead scene he can talk to more than just 24 people?!


Thanks to the “DEAD SCENE” in attendance, including: Patti SilvermanTodd TatePiper PayneChris McGrew,Devin NelsonAlexander Paige SeglerEmily Yates,Dave WalshDenise Demise DunneJordan Feinstein,Stefan AronsenRobin Schuyler ApplewoodMichael WingerKC TurnerTrick StephensSara MertzMark E. RennieDeRock TuckerJ SiderShuggah RevampedMichael RomanowskiErik YatesIan Port,Kendra McKinleyBrian ZiskGarrick DavisGregory Hill, Paige Clem and most of all The Root, who put this event together and The Chapel for hosting it.


Please comment with your thoughts! The mic is open:

Stefan Aronsen

Stefan Aronsen

Band Aid, Art Director & CEO at SF INTERCOM see his design portfolio at Stefan Aronsen

Stefan Aronsen is a graphic designer that specializes in helping bands & brands become more viable utilizing his 5 P’s – Plan, Personify, Promote, Plug-in, Play.

Stefan Aronsen

Stefan Aronsen

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