"You'll Have to Leave Miami to Make It" and More Wisdom From Florida Music Get Together

Categories: Local Music
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Photo by teajayphoto
Churchill's Pub owner and local music legend Dave Daniels.
It's not easy being a musician in Vice City. The geographical challenge alone is enough to make any band go crazy.

Miami may never be called a musical epicenter. But when Radioboxer's Jota Dazza put out the call for fellow musicians to take part in the Florida Music Get Together, the local music community responded enthusiastically.

The event took place this past Tuesday at The Annex in Hialeah. Miami musicians, venue owners, promoters, and label bosses crammed into the small space to discuss ideas and solutions to help Miami's local live music scene grow and thrive.

The night started off casually, as a lot of familiar faces caught up while sipping Yuenglings and PBRs, or reading strangers' nametags. Around 9 p.m., Jota called the meeting to order.

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Photo by teajayphoto

Notable figures in attendance were Churchill's Pub owner Dave Daniels, local Miami legend Rat Bastard, and Forward Motion Records' Fernando Perdomo as well as The Annex and Humbert's Ferni Copiel and Tony Landa.

When the group finally came to attention, Jota hopped on stage to an explosion of applause and cat calls. He didn't speak long. But this was his main point: "There are people interested in seeing things come together."

The fact that the turnout was so large and so full of enthusiasm to improve "the scene" is a very positive sign that people are ready to pull themselves together to achieve a higher goal.

After Jota, Michael Mut of Electric Piquete grabbed the microphone.

"Newsrooms are shrinking."
Even though there were some shouts from the audience proclaiming that different news sources "suck," Michael provided some perspective, pointing out that there isn't the manpower in the news industry to cover any- and everything anymore. While there is a lot of alternative media, particularly blogs, it's unrealistic to expect journalists to be able to saturate the scene.

Following Mut, one of the meeting's most anticipated participants, Fernando Perdomo, got up on stage.

"We're not getting out there."
Perdomo, who tours nationally, finds that people in the rest of the country have no idea what's going on in Miami. He suggested watching the movie Hype, which shows how the Seattle music scene grew by bringing down out-of-town media people to cover local bands.

"Why are there no marquees? ... We should stop being treated like second-class citizens."
Drawing from his experiences working and traveling around the rest of the country, Perdomo has noticed that clubs in other cities put the names of bands on big signs outside their venue. Of course, most people pointed out that Miami laws and ordinances are the main reason that venues are unable to promote in those ways.

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Photo by teajayphoto
Radioboxer's Jota Dazz and Forward Motion Records exec Fernando Perdomo addressing the issues.

Of all the speakers at the Florida Music Get Together, none held more weight than Dave Daniels. He has not only made a massive impact on Miami's music industry. His experiences go all the way back to his days in England where he worked with music icons like Eric Clapton, Black Sabbath, and Chuck Berry.

"Play as much as possible."
Dave spent a lot of time talking about the attitude bands have towards playing shows in the old days versus now. Nowadays, bands are hard-pressed to play more than two or three times per month. Whereas before, in England, a semi-professional band would play 20 dates per month, and professional bands would play over 30 dates per month, including an evening show and a late-night show. A lot of bands in Miami turn down gigs, even opening spots for national acts, if they have another gig the week before or after.

"It will cost money to do what you do."
He spoke about paying Eric Clapton 50 pounds to play or Black Sabbath between thirty and forty pounds. Playing music will mean bands have to take the chance of losing a lot of money chasing their passions.

"You'll probably have to leave Miami to make it."
After Daniels got off stage, several other people spoke, covering a lot of the topics and reinforcing what the previous speakers brought up. Steve Malagodi, formerly of WLRN, spoke on the fall of media's community responsibility, and Rat Bastard made sure the entire room understood that "you gotta be good" and told everyone in the room to stop self-promoting.

Other speakers included Meagan Tarantelli of White Wings, John of Jolt Radio, Ferni, and Kyle Pineda of FIU's Radiate FM.

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Photo by teajayphoto

Overall, the speakers were on their best behavior, not resorting to the usual negativity or complaints, except for a brief moment when someone in the crowd called out to "fuck" a certain promoter.

It was disappointing that none of Miami's bigger local acts like Rachel Goodrich, Awesome New Republic, Surfer Blood, Jacuzzi Boys, or !Mayday! made it out to the event. Maybe it was the informal nature of the gathering. Or maybe it was because they didn't even find out about the event. Either way, it would have made an impact to hear their perspective on making it in Miami.

Of course, the Florida Music Get Together won't be judged by the meeting itself. But rather, if it had any long term impact, it's still a promising sign that Miami's local music scene continues to fight to be become bigger and better, especially in the face of nearly impossible odds.

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Location Info

Venue

Map

The Annex

9911 Northwest 80th Ave., Hialeah, FL

Category: Music

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19 comments
John
John

How can you possibly think this can ever develop into a big venue, when possible patrons are people living on a part-time jobs in homes where they are probably the only ones employed, on top of that can anyone at the meeting tell me where can anyone hear or learn who is in town playing, or can anyone tell me of a nice place to visit where you are not going to get mugged when you leave the place not to mention the cost to attend and to include one more of the millions of problems who really knows or better who has a handle on this market, most people moving into Miami are people from third world countries that pay little care to who is playing anywhere, much less the kind of playing you all are talking about,PLEASE GET OFF THE SUBJECT AND LEAVE THIS THE WAY IT IS BECAUSE IS NOT GOING TO CHANGE, SIMPLY BECAUSE THERE ARE NO PATRONS!!!!!

Eddy E R Villafuerte
Eddy E R Villafuerte

This seems like an interesting thing to attend, just to get the opinion of talent buyers and venue promoters and hear what they have to say. Anyone who has a hand in setting this up, shoot me an e-mail at info@vagabondsmusicgroup.com, we'd love to make an appearance. Be sure to check out our website: http://www.vagabondsmusicgroup...

sunuu
sunuu

i agree with Pepe.

Pepe
Pepe

This whole meeting business is laughable. It's soo cheesy. Only in Miami.

It's simple...

Step 1) Book your own show with bands you like. Your friends, and their friends will show up.

Step 2) Repeat Step 1. If you're good, more people will show up.

Step 3) Repeat Step 1 again. if you're good, even more people will show up.

There's no secret.

Also, have merchandise. Oh, and it doesn't hurt to play a show or two outside of the city (duh).

There you go... No need for another meeting.

Love,Pepe 

Jordan
Jordan

I'd also like to know about the next meeting. Is there a mailing list? If so, add me: jordan [at] beachedmiami [dot] com.

William Molineux
William Molineux

Thanks for covering the event, Ric. I just wish the headline wasn't so negative. I know the intent isn't, but it comes across as the whole effort being hopeless, when it is far from it! 

Michael Mut
Michael Mut

Ric - thank you for taking the time to make it to the event and more importantly, cover it. We appreciate your efforts! I hope that you can make it out to an Electric Piquete show soon and that we have more opportunities to talk music...thanks again!

Gabriel Reyes
Gabriel Reyes

I sense a real fear of negativity here, and yeah, it's easy for a bunch of musicians to steep into a wallowing ditch of negative bashing, but without talking about a few of the harder to discuss topics we won't get very far. As musicians we can't fashion a Marquee out of spare lightbulbs, but we can start playing better shows to more people for better pay.

...and we do have to start getting paid for our effort like everyone else does. Promoters who scheme free shows out of bands to put door money in their pockets while bands go home on their own gas money is a crippling disease. Putting more money in the bands won't mean the members start banking. It will mean better recordings (because producers and engineers sure do make taxable income) and longer and further tours which will gain national attention for our local scene. Sabath's 50 pounds is what, $75 today? With inflation (50 years of it) It's say $150? We sure as hell aren't sabath, but we sure as hell have $200 guaranteed from every promoter, and go home with a $50 consolation prize if we're lucky. Meanwhile you'll make and design flyers, promote your show, and bring your fans out, while some dude or chick just booked a few bands and showed up after 11 while forgetting to book someone to do sound? We have GREAT promoters in Miami. Ian from churchills does a wonderful job. No one's saying we should air out problems at every opportunity, but within a tight group of indie music makers horror stories and black lists will protect us from making the same mistakes, and keep new musicians from falling for the same traps. All in all, this meeting was about making music independently. Rachel, Surfer Blood, and Jacuzzi Boys are signed acts, to their credit and hard work. While we all aspire to get this kind of support for our music, we're meeting to discuss ways to "make it" on our own in the meantime. I would love to hear what the aforementioned acts did to get where they are, but I would like to see us help each other as a group, protect each other, and stop undermining our efforts. 

Uncle SCotchy
Uncle SCotchy

i'd like to be invited to the next one...as both talent buyer and musician, i think i can offer some good perspective... lemme know, jota.

the305.com
the305.com

Even The305.com is mostly hip-hop that we cover, we show love to all genres. And we would have loved to attend and cover the event and talk about how we could contribute to South Florida music scene in any way we can. We just didn't know about the event, otherwise, we would've been there. Please keep us in the loop for the next one, our contact information is on the site. - the305

Jota
Jota

Thank you for covering this guys. I think the first meeting was great for being an informal gathering. Now we are getting together and planning another meeting that would have a panel and will center around booking at venues and promotions. We will be giving all the details when we finalize them. We did our best to promote the meeting to all the bands and people interested in the local SCENE. Next meeting will be at the end of FEB and hopefully more music makers and journalist will come. I believe it's a great first step and I'm glad so many of us still believe creating a great music scene is possible and are willing to put an effort to make it happen. there is a lot of cynicism out there but I think our scene can grow and prosper if we help each other a bit.

Again Thank you for covering this,

J Dazza from Radioboxer

Pepe
Pepe

You're a fucking moron.

Love, Pepe

Jota
Jota

Feb 29. Venue TBA. Next meeting we want to have venue's owners and booking mng too so the networking is more effective for bands. Thanks jordan. 

Jota
Jota

Hey Gabriel, You are right in many points. Radioboxer have played (and sometimes still does) a hell of a lot free shows. and it helped us out until certain point. Right now we usually demand some money at least to cover expenses and we usually get it because we have shown we can bring some people or at least put up a great show. I agree it's important to have communications between bands to see what did the promoters say to each of us and see if we are all in the same boat but In terms of blacklist people and all that i don't think is a good idea. Those kind of things happen organically, there are promoters out there that i rather not deal with and i know many of my peers feel the same. I really want to focus on communication between ourselves and learn for each other experiences and networking rather than creating a group that can pressure our will (even if the intention is good) because at the end of the day we will all do what it is best for our own bands and projects and that is the way it should be. But I'm confident that by knowing each other and talk about it most bands will think twice about doing something that will damage other band and will feel more confident about demanding payment and stuff. Now the other side of the coin is that if you are demanding payment you better promote your ass off because then you are also playing with the livelihood of the venues and if they try it and don't work you will not only close that door for your band or project but for many more.

J

Michael Mut
Michael Mut

As I mentioned to you earlier, I think you would offer lots of great insight on bookings and promotions. Thanks for wanting to engage and take part!

Jota
Jota

For sure man. I was gonna reach out to you and carlos soon.

Gabriel Reyes
Gabriel Reyes

I think you're right Jota. I guess I didn't actually picture a list with names and how out of hand that could get. I mean for us to get organized, and have a practice of discussing these things, like you're talking about. Information like experiences both negative and positive should be shared amongst our community, and made readily available to newcomers, but left out of the media and file cabinet. I'd much rather talk about this in a less public forum. You know where to reach me.

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