Nine Musical New Year’s Resolutions for San Francisco in ‘09

san-fran Let me be clear: I love our fair city. Let me be equally clear: musically we’ve been in the doldrums for, oh, a decade or two. While there is the occasional starburst of a good new band here and there, the last time there was a large scale viable and distinct music scene was in the late eighties. This is a sad state of affairs for a city whose scene galvanized the whole world in the sixties, and was one of the centers of punk in the U.S. in the seventies. I think we have it within us to be great again! Here are nine musical New Year’s resolutions for San Francisco that will help us get there in 2009: 1. No Tribute Cover Bands On any given weekend, half the live music venues in the city seem to be occupied by bands whose sole purpose in life is to pay tribute to some other band or era by performing cover songs. We must declare a one-year moratorium on this, and allow new music to emerge from new people. The only exception to this is AC/Dshe. Cause damn, I dig them! 2. Ban the Gypsy Kings For the next twelve months, no one may play the Gypsy Kings in any public place in San Francisco for any reason. Yes, it was stirring and soulful and different. In 1989. That was two decades ago, and yet you still can’t hang out in any café in the city for more than an hour without hearing them. You can do whatever you want in the privacy of your own home, but please let’s take a public breather. 3. Live Music Instead of DJs We can have DJs in clubs, of course. DJs belong in clubs. But any venue that is actually a live music venue and instead insists on booking DJs must cease and desist for the remainder of the year. Bands need venues. What if all those clubs in Hamburg and Liverpool had said, “Sorry John, Paul, George and Ringo, we’ve got a house DJ tonight.”? 4. No Jam Bands In 2009, no jam band will be allowed to play anywhere in city limits. They can have Shoreline, as long as they don’t cross our border. Jam Bands are to music what getting stoned and watching TV all night is to doing anything productive- pleasant, numbing death. 5. 50% of Lounge and Jazz Hipsters Must Convert For a one-year period, half of all the hip young cats who listen exclusively to lounge and jazz must convert to some musical idiom that post-dates 1960. I don’t even care which one, although if they convert to jam bands they won’t be able to see them in San Francisco. As you can see, I’m not denying this group all its members, and those who do switch can convert back in 2010, but for now please join us. We need you in the modern era! 6. 50% of Electronica/Trip-hop/Trance/International Bahnghra-Beat-whatever Aficionados Must Convert Oh great blissed-out Raving masses yearning to breathe free, please send us half of your huddled body politic in 2009. For one year, they will become fans of some musical genre that features instruments. Without violating #5 above! I promise they will not be harmed, we just need an expanded fan base to get some local music off the ground. 7. Double or Halve All Songs Lengths All bands whose average song length is over two minutes must halve the length of their songs in 2009, and all the bands whose average song length is under two minutes must double theirs. Creative growth will ensue. 8. Moratorium on Eighties Music Nostalgia for Everyone Under 34 If you weren’t born before 1975, you weren’t there culturally. If you weren’t there, don’t do it. No eighties records, no eighties clubbing, nothing. Trust me, it’s bad for you. That decade almost killed music! Even if you were there, it’s bad for you, but at least you’re making an adult decision about it. 9. Learn to Play an Instrument in 2009 Whoever you are, young or old, whatever else you do, learn to play an instrument in 2009. I myself am going to be picking up the guitar. The more of us who start fiddling around, the more new bands that will eventually form to show the way out. There you have it. If we can follow these New Year’s resolutions for the next twelve months, we have a decent shot at finding our way out of our collective malaise and starting to hear the future here in San Francisco in 2009. Who’s with me!?!

About the Author

Chris West is an independent lifestyle advocate!