From the "This American Life" show, "When You Talk About Music"...
Some people do not find it touching or inspiring to see people who love music. In fact, there are people who believe that loving music is a crisis of global proportions.
And the document I hold in my hands is an advertisement, a call to arms really, from Motorbooty, a zine, a pretty great zine. And it's an advertisement for the First Annual Conference on World Band Population, on stopping the crisis of world band overpopulation, specifically.
Says this ad, "According to recent studies, by the year 2001 there will be more people in bands than the global economy can ever hope to support. The US Census Bureau puts the current number of audience members to band members at a ratio of 2:1. The present trends threatened to reverse this relationship, disrupting the delicate balance between performers and normal people. Soon, not only will virtually everyone be in a band, but everyone in a band will be involved in several side projects, creating a glut of virtually indistinguishable groups of guitar-wielding miscreants who, when not performing their so-called music, will be endlessly talking about it to anyone unable to flee."
And then the ad explains what's going to happen at the conference. The seminars dealing with the imminent dangers of band overpopulation, Legal Strategies for Achieving Zero Band Population Growth, Private Sector Initiatives for Ending Band Growth, Strategies for Ending Multiple Band Membership.
Here's some of the things that they suggest can be done to combat this global crisis, let's see, three-strikes-and-you're-out rules; creating stiff criminal penalties for artists who release more than three full-length albums per career; waiting periods for instrument purchasers to allow for mandatory background checks for prior infractions, and a cooling-off period to discourage thoughtless and impulsive band formation; stiff fines for bands that imitate other bands; civil infractions for air bands, and an all-out ban on cover bands.
They also suggest-- let's see-- boycotting labels that refuse to stop signing additional bands as well as cracking down on pointless, local, so-called, indie labels; finally, supporting random band testing by employers, especially in high-risk businesses like coffee shops, copy shops, cafes, bars, and record stores.
Well, given the crisis of global band population explosion, perhaps the only honorable course for all of us is to forget about performing and just put that energy into being members of the audience.