WHAT IF WE NEVER HAD LIVE MUSIC AGAIN?

Don’t even think it! That would never happen, right? Musicians are nothing if not resilient. And we have a vaccine now, things will eventually get back to some kind of near “normal.” Sure, but…

If all musicians have are backyards and train stations and such, if they have to create and work for only what you throw in the hat, the best will die on the vine. I’m not going to go into the whole network of playing live and recording, give it a thought and you can figure it out, and you will realize that even if YOU no longer go out to hear live music (yeah, it’s a hassle, a beautiful life-affirming hassle), without it there is no sifting of talent, no ascension of the best, no widespread recognition and the recordings that result, for the pleasure of you stay-at-home music fans, and you will have to work really hard to glaze through a million youtubes and a billion instagrams to find that which is worth listening to, that which will rock your gypsy soul and let your spirit fly, into the mystic.

WE NEED MUSIC IN THE SCHOOLS

Art in the parks, great films and we certainly need live music in clubs, concert halls and festivals. Mankind does not live on bread alone, you must feed the soul as well as the body.

The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) formed in March 2020 as an organization of independent music venues, promoters and festivals, to push for federal support in the wake of COVID-19’s devastating effect on live entertainment. I agree, that is the best bet, it should happen but, politicians love corporations and billionaire donors. But what they love most is getting re-elected, and this group offers a way to bring that voter pressure to bear. We the People. NIVA manages the website SaveOurStages.com and advocates for federal relief on social media using the hashtag #SaveOurStages.

One encouraging thing that has happened is a landmark book, just out, about cherished venues around the country, their histories and the passionate people trying desperately to keep them alive, and Nicole is going to tell you about it.

They have received good write-ups from Billboard (https://www.billboard.com/articles/business/9487040/new-book-200-music-venues-shuttered-pandemic-exclusive) and Forbes (https://www.forbes.com/sites/laurayoungkin/2020/12/10/meet-the-women-out-to-save-live-music-in-america/?sh=46290164108c), among others.

Do I have to say it? This is the perfect gift for anyone who loves music. It’s not cheap but it’s nearly 400 pages (9 lbs!) on high-quality stock with hundreds of exclusive photos, posters and artist interviews. Buy two — save live music.

NICOLE RECOMMENDS:

BRING MUSIC HOME — In the before times, as I like to call them, going to shows was one of my most frequent and favorite pastimes. It has been so long since I have experienced it, that when I stumbled upon a jazz trio practicing in a school parking lot this summer I was taken aback by how emotional it made me; smiling big underneath my mask without even realizing it, I was in my happy place.

In the before times, my favorite shows to go to were generally the smaller ones, at independently-run venues. Sadly, these businesses have been among the hardest hit during the Covid-19 pandemic. They were the first to shut down, and will be among the last to re-open… if they even make it.

A survey conducted earlier in the year by the newly-created National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) estimated that a staggering 90 percent of independent venue owners, promoters and bookers could be permanently out of business within the year if they did not receive government relief.

This shocking possibility is in part what inspired BRING MUSIC HOME co-founders Amber Mundinger, Tamara Deike and Kevin W. Condon to initially launch a poster campaign, enlisting graphic designers around the country to create city-specific posters, with proceeds benefiting NIVA. But that was hardly the end of it.

Since then, they, along with more than 60 other photographers, producers, writers, designers and creatives, have come together these past eight months to document more than 200 venues in more than 30 cities across the U.S. Some of them have been around for half a century (LA’s Troubadour and The Mint) and have hosted countless legendary acts, others are relatively new and were just finding their footing before they were forced to shutter.

As a performer, avid concert goer and live music appreciator, this project hits close to home for me, which is why I was deeply honored to be brought onto the team as a contributing writer. My involvement was but one cog in a vast machine of creative contributors, but as someone who saw firsthand the inner workings, I can confirm how much love, effort, expertise, time and passion was put into bringing it to life.

Sadly, not all the venues covered will survive the pandemic fallout. Even in the process of researching for the book I saw more than one venue announce their permanent closure. From here the project takes on a new meaning: for some places, this book may be the last — or only— documentation of their story in existence. From an ethnographic perspective, this is invaluable.

BRING MUSIC HOME is a lightning in a bottle book, capturing a moment in time that will never come again. Beyond this publication, a podcast, documentary, and global editions of the book are also in the works.

The 400-page hardback book can be ordered today, with shipping scheduled for January. A portion of the proceeds will directly benefit NIVA, as well as contribute to the 60+ creatives who helped make this project a reality, many of whom were directly impacted by the pandemic.

Link to pre-order: https://bringmusichome.com/store/p/bring-music-home-book

Charles Andrews has lived in Santa Monica for 33 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at therealmrmusic@gmail.com