Reflections on the Rochester Music Scene, or lack there of…

Editor’s Note:? Please welcome John Sachelli to the blog, everybody!? John’s a local singer-songwriter who plays in The Spirit of Ontario.? I’ve been bugging him for a while to post something to the blog, well, here it is!
I sent this out to people on our mailing list, but I thought it might make for a good blog on here as well…
Hey Friends. If you usually just skim over these, I hope you’ll take a second and read this one. At the risk of pissing people off, I thought it was something that needed to be said. If you really know anything about this band, you know that beyond just playing music, we like to talk about things we feel are important too.
The part below by Devall Music was a blog on myspace the morning after our show at Milestones which drew an amazingly large turnout of 25 rock and roll fans… WTF Rochester?
I’ve read it over a bunch of times and together with actually being one of the bands in the show he’s talking about, it has really has made some impact for me.
I realize we’re nobody… the other bands are about the same or maybe even more as far as buzz about them goes. Aaron (Devall) used to front Pompous Pilate, which to my recollection was sort of a name around these parts. This is not about, “oh, but we’re all so good,” or anything like that… it’s just a sadness about the lack of a scene around here, and I’m as much to blame for it as you all are.
For as much as I claim to be a huge music fan, I admit I’m a little hesitant to rush out on any given night and pay $5.00 to see a band that I’ve never heard of before – believe me if that’s the biggest reason you’re not at the shows then I can sympathize… but honestly, it’s also painfully pathetic and really has more to do with venues not screening their bands carefully enough.
If you knew that any band playing at Milestones, or wherever would at the very least be decent, you could feel safer about going out. But chances are you might end up at the bar and the band that night just plain old sucks… and if they’ve got a lot of friends and managed to get a good take at the door, bet your ass that same shitty band will be back again. It has nothing to do with the quality of writing or the music, or anything that’s actually important.
So take it for what it’s worth fellow Rochestarians, this blog may be a little harsh… a little painful, but on the whole, I have to stand up and agree.
We’re not a cover band. We aren’t into Metal. We’re not a Hardcore Band. We’re not this lame version of Punk that’s out there now, or Emo, or anything else that’s trendy. We’ve really only got about 2 songs that I can see anyone really being able to “dance” to… Maybe it’s the reintroduction of electric guitar, but we seem to have even alienated the cliquey Rochester folk scene as well – a group that was full of encouragement less than a year ago.
Lenny Kravitz had a song back in the 90’s called Rock and Roll is dead. At least around Rochester, it’s not hard to feel that way.
But this music has been down and out before… from plane crashes to drug overdoses… almost being washed away by the tidal wave of disco… savagely raped by the bells and whistles of MTV… tripping over itself trying to replace Nirvana and Alice in Chains in the second half of the 90’s…
…Down, but never out.
The real fans of this music know what I’m getting at.
“Hey, Hey, My, My,
Rock and Roll can never die
There’s more to the picture
than meets the eye
Hey, Hey, My, My…”
~Neil Young~
See Ya in ’07
Date: Dec 8, 2006 9:33 AM
Subject You have something to learn.
I feel so proud to have been a part of an amazing lineup of musical acts last night in Rochester. There were three band that played full sets at Milestones and every band had something original to offer. I am sorry for a few things.
1) The venue. I remember playing at Milestones when it was the elite Musical venue in western New York. I can remember standing in front of 150 strangers on a Weeknight. Now it is like a ghost town. I was told by good friends that the club was recently sold and it’s future is uncertain.
2) You people pretend to be music fans. You dress in black and act bi-sexual to make people think you have deep artistic roots. You spend hundreds of bills on shitty bands that suck lamb ass and waste the evenings chatting on cell phones, glued to the tv.
Do you realize that the ROCHESTER MUSIC SCENE IS DEAD and Rochester is to blame?! And it is not only the youth… They are the big problem, but hey 30 somethings, you would have a lot more energy if you would spend an evening relaxing in a music club instead of drinking like a 19 year old in a dance club.
Seriously… I have now joined the sickly large group of people who are happy to have said, “goodbye.”
To few dedicated people who came out and felt as amazing as I did- THANKS. For The musicians who inspired me last night- Thank you. To you lame, lame people who dare say that you support Rochester local music, no matter what groups you have been affiliated with and what they have done for this scene – It is dead.
Thank you for killing something I grew up with. Have fun at the Penny arcade!

By Tommy Belknap

Owner, developer, editor of DragonFlyEye.Net, Tom Belknap is also a freelance journalist for The 585 lifestyle magazine. He lives in the Rochester area with his wife and son.

2 replies on “Reflections on the Rochester Music Scene, or lack there of…”

Hey, John, thanks for posting!

Well, someone woke up on the wrong side of the music scene, didn’t they? LOL, yours a pretty typical lament in Rochester, unfortunately. The question always occurs to me: why is it we all seem to come into the Rochester music scene just as something cool is going away? You’d think that, over the years that people in their thirties and fourties have lamented their losses to younger adventurers, there would be nothing left. Instruments would have by now been made illegal.

But that has not happened, and Rochester remains poised to collapse in cultural exhaustion, or so it appears. The fact is that Rochester has always been a fairly small market and what we lack primarily is a community in the music scene, which is actually tough to come up with. These days especially, community has become a smaller and smaller thing. Those spending all their time on their cell phones are in fact as involved in a community as anyone, hard though that may be to believe.

I’ve often said that one of the primary missing components of a good music scene was a good underground, and central to a good underground has always been alternative media. If people are expected to go see shows outside their normal comfort zone, they need to have a reason to believe that the $5.00 is going to be worth it. As you say, that’s entirely fair. Media largely provides that reason for the national market, it needs to provide it in the city market.

So, to some extent, creating this webpage was a vain little way to try to make something like that happen for Rochester. Make it happen, that is, in an entirely new media where Rochester has otherwise had a very minimal impact: the Internet.

Anyway, that was the idea. . .

I suppose it is fair to say that I quickly become angry when dealing with my country and my music. Today is all smiles! John- thanks for a great show, Dragonfly-thanks for an outlet to vent. peace-aaron devall deruyter

Comments are closed.