Unknown ("Arrow Through My Heart"?) - The Rescues (mp3)
One of my favorite bands*, The Rescues, have begun a project via PledgeMusic.com. They're recording a new album, releasing it on their own, and raising money through this site. In 24 hours, they had already raised more than 2/3 of what they need to fund it.
The world is full of needy people and serious causes. I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of little musician people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.
But music matters. Music matters to me. Music matters a lot. Like, a lot a lot.
Music is what moves me from living to being alive. I wouldn't put it on the same level of vitality as food or sex -- well, my head tells me that food and sex are more vital than music, but my heart hurts when I write this. My heart is disappointed in me. Because in my heart, music is every bit as vital to our lives as food and sex. Music is the sunlight for our photosynthesizing humanity, and all the rainwater and healthy soil on the planet won't keep a plant alive without that precious priceless sunlight.
When I'm sad, or when my day has gone to hell, or when I'm seething about my job or my family or my own pathetic fallacies, music is that piece of timber floating on the rocking waves, and I can fling my soul onto it and hold on until I see land or a ship that can save me. When I'm soaking in a moment of joy or import, music timestamps everything for me, and decades later, when it would seem that moment is long lost, the song can take me back, and I'm right there in that moment, with a drumbeat kickin' in the background.
Intrigued but don't like The Rescues? Ben Folds Five raised enough money for their album in 13 hours. They've raised 3x what they needed just off pre-orders and special extras! Just take a look at the long list of bands who have had their projects funded and be amazed at the power of the people.
At the same time I'm kicking in and backing the good guys, I get the distinct pleasure of helping lift both my middle fingers to The Music Industry.
Music right now is at a Star Wars crossroads. The Music Empire's Death Star of record deals and A&R plotting has already blown up, but they're trying to rebuild another one. All their stormtrooper lawyers and suits are working to keep music under their thumb. PledgeMusic.com is behind the red planet Yavin. It's where a large chunk of the Rebel Alliance is hanging out.
The Rescues are, like, Wedge. They're not Luke, but they're definitely a kick-ass part of the X-Wing squadron, and they're gonna be in more movies fighting The Music Empire.
And me? I'm a music Ewok. I'm basically useless in this fight, but I can throw rocks and sing shitty Nub Nub songs, and I can swipe my primitive plastic card and contribute my part to the overthrow of The Emperor.
On PledgeMusic, most Bands make a "pitch" video (the song above is from it and quite friggin' awesome), where they tell their story and sell their "cause." The Rescues tell theirs in a clever way, and every time I get to the 2:00 mark, where they explain that working with the record label almost killed their band, I have to fight back tears.
How many bands have record companies killed, not from ignoring them, but by signing them? How many bands have been signed, only to be picked and preened like prize steer or 4H sows and then sold off in parts as beef? How many bands and artists have drunk the record label Kool Aid only to discover too late that it's poison?
But not The Rescues. They will survive it. They'll live to see another day, another concert, another album. This is reason to pitch in a little money. This is reason to weep a few tears of joy.
Power to the people, yo.
* -- Don't ask me where they rank. I don't do rankings. Top 20-ish.