NoFo Original Music Scene: Why Bands Do It and Can They Thrive?

Some towns in America would die for a a music scene Most small urban midwest town thrive on nothing more than front porch music jams for recreation.What about Southold Town?

Can original music thrive on the steps of the town? How do residents and visitors see the original music scene here on the East End? Whats your feelings on what you see? We'd like to know. Is it more cover songs you want to hear when out? Or do you have a special appreciation for those who live in the area who write music from the heart? I think a big thing people overlook about bands is what goes into being an original band that makes it more appreciative than just "playing"... What makes them so special anyway?

What Goes Into the Birth of "The Band"?

Rock, Funk, Blues, Jazz, Alternative, Country, etc. Southold Town has it all. There are artists by the scores out on the East End. Some have played for years out here. Others are being encouraged to dust off their guitar or keyboards and get something started and the reason: festivals, venues open to original artists, explosion of self-expression to share with others through song. The belief that others wish to hear their message maybe. Music is an ultimate form of expression. It's a bold step out. It's much time and practice to work with others to share ideas and thoughts produced in song.  The making of a band has its birth in a mutual goal shared by a few others. Then, some ideas come out in their unique language. It starts to take shape in the cohesive sharing of the musical language amongst each other until a song is born. Than it is tweaked and finessed. When done, it's added to a setlist. Then comes the self promotion on the Web, telling a few friends, etc. Then the first show. A truly bold step out before others to share what came from within you. Will they like it? Will we get asked back?

There's much that must go right in the birth of a new band and the work that goes into learning each other and sharing ideas with humility and mutual respect. There's so much done before the public ever hears the likes of this band. Time and effort. And if you think a show from 7-Eleven is that for the musician, think again.

What Happens on a Show Night?

If the show starts at 7 p.m. then the band probably got together at 5:30 p.m. or earlier. Even a local show with a short drive is a lot of work. Pack up at 5:30. Talk about plans for the setlist, etc. Get to destination at 6 p.m. or shortly thereafter. Unpack all the equipment. All goes smooth, sound-check by 6:45 p.m. Go through changes and plan of attack for the crowd that's expected. Relax for a few and get in the rock mentality and — SHOWTIME! By the time you pack, unpack and drive home it's 12 to 12:30 a.m. Unwind and asleep maybe by 1 to 1:30 a.m. And for some this after working! Many times my day or my bandmates day started at 6 a.m.and we didn't get to sleep til after 1 a.m. That's a long day. So WHY would anyone do all this to play and make a few bucks if lucky?

Why Do Bands Do It?

There's many reasons. For me personally I had wanted to write my own songs again after years of doing covers. I was in a cover band where we learned other artists songs based on what we believed a crowd at particular venues would want to hear. A much different approach than an original band. After years of covers it was time to write all those ideas I had bottled up. I wanted to share my thoughts, feelings and sometimes specific message I thought people could relate to.  It's one of the best things I ever did. There is nothing like the release for a musician that comes from sharing their works that came from inside them with other people and having them appreciate them! NOTHING! The artists who write for the love of it will last longer than those who just wanna rock and do it quick. The odds in this day and age of "making it" are minimal with the technology we have that gives almost anyone with a computer and a few pieces of hardware the ability to record and share their songs all over the world. So really what keeps original artists plugging along? Love! It's part of who we are; whether a sweet blues lick, some bluegrass, heavy metal, rock, funk, hip hop, etc. It is an expression that comes from us a group. A band's music is its combined personality. My band, Lesus Mor, started with a progressive personality. Then we added an extremely melodic bass player, an old school guitar player, a harp, etc. Wow how the songs I personally wrote years ago changed. It was refreshing to be honest. And to see the personality of a band come together is a magical thing. We LOVE what we write and play. We are all friends. We play for the love of music, peace and each other. Success is within our reach every time we write a song and record it. It is ours! Others can copy it, even "borrow it" and make their own but it will never be theres because it has the DNA of those whom wrote it. And this love and unique personality is what makes a band successful. And if enough people enjoy that vision, then who knows where it can go but what is known always is WHERE IT STARTED!

Does It/Can It Thrive Here?

Interesting question indeed. Noise ordinances, sporadic crowds, limited venues. I know some artists who play with bands that do better out here playing alone or a two-piece. Most of the vineyards want an acoustic act in the background and same for some local restaurants. There are a few venues that really encourage original music. Several vineyards host open mic nights for artists as well. That's a fun time where artists get to network and fans/consumers get to hear some great local talent for a glass of wine or two ... or three. And there are truly some wonderful local artists out here. They should be embraced! Encouraged! Be proud of local musicians I say. They are part of the future here and the landscape. Kind of like the many wines produced here.

Many people like to hear covers when they go out. Familiar songs from yesterday mostly. Danceable. What about original tunes? Or those tunes that aren't danceable but great songs? Well, some venues encourage all types of genres but there aren't many. Many bands here are forced to go west or to the south side. Some bands want to play here but never get the chance at the limited festivals we have which should have more of a draw. Maybe we could have more independent music festivals if the town would have a music committee for summer concerts, etc. There is one event that is changing it up; the Summer Showcase Series in Southold. The music style is going to change a little this year by introducing some original music and rock. My band will be playing there on July 6. The NoFo Rock and Folk Fest in its second year drew a nice crowd but nothing like we all expected or some of us hoped for. That takes place July 30 and 31.

Is Southold Town ready to be known not only for its wine but also its MUSIC? Well, we certainly hope so. It's holds a special place in many towns nationwide. Embracing their local talent and supporting them. Showing pride for their local folks. We have much talent here. The town is truly blessed. So many genres where most people can find something they like. Take a chance! Go out and here a band. If you like them, tell others. Buy a CD. Bands spend a lot of money on self promotion. Websites, CD's, subscriptions, etc. Anything to get their music out there to share. And as I've shown, they spend much time on their creating music and planning for shows.

In closing, go out and see a local original act. They are stepping out sharing their personalities and parts of themselves. If you like them tell them so. Take a card and check their website. More than anything, a simple kind word usually lifts the spirit more than anything. Letting people know something you wrote spoke to them in some way whether just making them dance or sending a message they can relate to. I think this town has the ability to support from outside and inside. To a degree there is a group of fans out there who love going to see these artists. Won't you join them. Lift up a musician. Embrace our East End heritage. And let ALL the artists be heard! If they have no place to play, put in a word. Let's hear them all and share in that beautiful gift called MUSIC!

Websites for a few NOFO Original Bands
Feel free to add your band as a link too. These are just a few of many original local bands.

Lesus Mor
The Black Petals
Gene Casey & the Lone Sharks
Nic Kerzner & Deep Rising
Breathing East
Big Suga
Corky Laing & the Memory Thieves
Thirteenth Hour

C.O.M.E.(Coalition of Musical Entertainers) on Facebook

LI Fans & Friends of Folk Music on Facebook

We Support LIve Music on Facebook

Eastern Long Island Musicians & Band Fans on Facebook

Check these sites for a few local bands and you can search Reverbnation for any bands in the area. Many have an account on there.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Liza Coppola May 24, 2011 at 05:47 PM
Thanks for the good vibrations Gregg. I have been playing guitar since I was a teen and remained consistently attached to it over the years. A few years ago I started performing at a few local open mics and any apprehension I had about performing slowly disappeared. I worked harder as a player and a singer and now perform locally on the weekends in small venues on the north fork. I have penned a few good original songs, however, my true passion for making music has always performing the songs I love. There are so many incredibly talented songwriters of yesterday and today (I still tear when I hear the voice of James Taylor). The music I love becomes a part of me and expressing that musically for an audience is my greatest pleasure. So keep on giving us all a shot restaurant owners, vineyard managers and open mic hosts! Music is magic for both players and listeners.
Gregg Charles May 24, 2011 at 07:12 PM
Well put Liza. A lot of work goes into writing and perfecting that which is a part of you. Its like loving someone, you want to give to them a part of you as much as you can. Same with music, we all want to share it with everyone and hope it inspires and moves people. Thats the true payoff with an artist. Those seeking glory and fame somehow I think miss out on the real blessing of what music brings to the artist and the listener. Keep writing and sharing and we look forward to catching up with you real soon sister! :D


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