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is it luck?

by mg at 12:03 AM on October 18, 2000

Or, Why do some bands make it and others donít?

So? Why? It sure ainít talent. At least, it ainít just talent. It canít possibly be. You canít look at the current pop music scene and seriously think that all these acts got there by their own graces. It just doesnít work that way. Talent comes in with about, letís say, 15% of the reason for their success. So whatís the rest? Luck comes in huge, but also huge is marketing. Business, man.

Why does Blink-182-- to pick a band at random-- make it multiplatinum and Skeleton Key-- to pick another band at random-- make it nowhere and break up after a year or four?

Letís talk about Skeleton Key. Have you heard of them? Of course you havenít. They were a band that if you had to file them in a category would go in the punk / rock section of the store. They were smart, they were hip (-looking), they had a gimmick (two drummers: one on the regular stuff, and one on found metal objects a propane tank, a little red wagon, a sheet of aluminum, and so forth), and they were talented. I first saw them open for They Might Be Giants in 1995 in Prospect Park, where they were pretty good for an eight-month old band. I remembered them after a few months and hunted down an EP they had out. I saw them again, opening for Jawbox in 1996. In 03/or so of 1997 their first album ("Fantastic Spikes Through Balloon;" okay, rather a stupid title, but at least it lacks the bring-down-the-frathouse hilarity of "Enema of the State") came out.

Then what happened? Nothing. Not a single damn thing. Skeleton Key toured a lot, playing with other hip indie bands no oneís heard of, and then disappeared. Just kind of faded away. Whose fault is it? Theirs? Their labelís (Capitol, if you must know), for not providing the publicity? The music industry as a whole? You people out there, for not searching them out? I happen to think the label was the problem, but maybe it was also the public, preferring to be told what to listen to rather than finding it for themselves (for some related irony, see below).

I posed a question above, and I didnít really answer it, and Iím not going to, because there isnít one simple answer and because there isnít even one complicated answer; you can try to sum it up by saying "itís marketing" or "itís about bandwagoning," but that will leave out relevant facets of the situation. And I just donít feel like arguing with you.

On that note, the following is a list (in no particular order) of lesser-known artists that you should search out and listen to, to make yourself a better person:

(*not particularly lesser-known, but still deserve to be heard.)

Iíd include a list of well-known bands to avoid, except it would be far too long.

comments (1)

blink 182 is a good band that deserved to make it. Just listen to their demos. Yeah, they actually decreased in talent over the past four years but still, they were a good band that tried hard and did deserve to make it.

by rutiger at October 28, 2003 11:46 AM

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