04/25/2012 - Tuesday's Gone and Kickstarter My Heart

Well, it’s already Wednesday evening, and Saturday night’s show with Filter seems like a bit of a dream.  It was, so far, one of the best experiences of my life!!  So many family members and friends came out to see us rock out and open for one of the coolest rock/industrial outfits of the mid- to late-nineties.  I remember when Gabe got the call from State Theatre to see if we wanted to open.  He had already said yes – it was a no-brainer.  For us, for some reason, ticket sales are slow, until the last couple of days before the show, and thenon show day.  This concert was no exception, and to be perfectly honest, this was the slowest they’ve gone.
                We do try to get out there as much as possible – but it’s tough to promote when you’re getting a bit older (a bit??!?) and paying for other things.
                But anyway, who cares about all that “life” stuff anyway???  Filter was awesome – an experience we wish we could repeat night in, night out, but then came Monday morning – UGH!  Back to reality, back to “business,” as it were, as the cold, hard mechanics of corporate America continues to march like clockworks.  Marching where – who knows – into oblivion?  I’m sure Gabe would get into quite the spirited discussion with you about politics, but this isn’t the purpose of my incessant rambling.  (Later “musings” might contain rants, who knows…)
                Obviously, all of us in FTF wish we were doing FTF and only FTF for our jobs.  I’ve been playing out in bands since 2001, and with Gabe since 2005.  Derek’s been gigging longer, and the newkid, Ben also – believe it or not – has some extensive touring under his belt pre-FTF.  But at this stage in the game, half of us own our own houses, there are enough “band children” to form another FTF – with another one ready to drop any minute now, and another due in August!
                We all have normal, regular bills – insurance, car payments, house payments, blah blah blah… so before you resort yourself to thinking a band like us has any sort of glamorous life – think again, haha!  But what is the disconnect?  Geographic location?  Abundance or lack of shows?  Scarcity of new material?
                I remember getting home from school and going right to my room and practicing guitar – even when guitar – or rather guitar “solos” weren’t in vogue.  Should I have practiced more?  Maybe less?  We’re dying to do a new album, but have to be patient for the funds to materialize.
                But out of all this – something deep inside tells me we’re right where we’re supposed to be.
Which brings me to my next query (or “quandary,” rather).  The bane of my ideals, the negative echelon that I almost despise – the thing I squint my eyes at and give the evil eye – the THING that should not BE!!!
                Yes.  There.  I said it!
                With the state of the music industry – if the fans want to hear from their favorite bands – sure;  it seems like an excellent tool to get things done and get new music out there.  Thanks to Napster, bit torrent, and other illegal downloading sites in the late nineties and early two-thousands, the zombie apocalypse has befallen the music industry.  And at this point, I’m sureKickstarter has done so much for projects that aren’t even necessarily music-related.
                It’s just that – I never wanted From This Fire – the thing that I view not only as a “band” but also a “ministry” to seem like we needed to give the appearance of being out “begging for bread,” as it were.  The more time passes by, the more something like Kickstarter seems like a great idea, haha!  Our friends in Seven Year’s Past have a chance to work with a pretty big name on their next album, and would need to amass funds to get to New York to do it.
                I gave in and perused Kickstarter and searched for them.  Now here’s the “kicker,” (pun intended): Kickstarter is a symbiotic relationship.  You give an amount, the band has to make their goal in a certain amount of time (forgive the explanation – I’m fairly new to how it all works) or none of the money is given.  Also – to “sweeten” the deal – if you give certain amounts, you are rewarded with different things – maybe some sort of memorabilia, maybe you get to hang out with the band, maybe something else.  In looking at the way Kickstarter works – the “action has to have a reaction” principle – I’m not sure if FTF would have anything to give.
                We could say everyone who contributes gets a free CD signed by the band.  After all it would be mostly YOU, the fans, who would be paying for it.  Something about that never really settled with me, but I might be warming up to it, the more this thing called “life” keeps getting in the way of our ever-so-elusive second FTF album.  It’s nothing as exciting as taking an FTF skydiving trip, but maybe peeps would actually be into it.
                Case in point:  a typical FTF budget would go something like this:  $6,000 to $7,000 on engineering and mixing a 12-14-song CD.  $100 per song for mastering.  Then we have to hire someone to do the artwork; at least another $2,000.00.  Then replication.  Depending on how many CDs we want at our live shows determines how much the batch will cost.
                Then touring… Ben and I tour with our main guitars and backup guitars.  We need the essentials: guitar picks and strings.  We need backup tubes for our amp heads (each set of tubes for one head is around $300).  We buy all our own cables (a decent cable can be anywhere from $29.99 to $49.99).  Thankfully, Gabe is endorsed now, so he gets a decent price on his drums – BUT – he STILL has to pay for them!  He needs sticks and normally takes out warranties on his cymbals ‘cause they tend to break.  Let’s face it: we’re not playing Barry Manilow songs here…
                Then we need money for fuel, especially if we’re going out of town.  My truck is already a gas-guzzler – and add our band trailer to that and it just compounds exponentially.  We need money for food, and a little for any emergencies we may have along the way.  So if you don’t necessarily see us at your show or out promoting our band like crazy – it’s probably because we’re working.  Or maybe we have promoted/played/recorded so much that we need a break from it all.
                Don’t get me wrong – From This Fire is my baby, and I want nothing more for us to succeed – but in this day and age it gets really really expensive – and takes a toll.
                Which is why I *did* decide to check out Kickstarter.

Fan question #1:  How many of you guys want to hear new FTF music?  (We’ve been absolutely dying to get it out there!)

Fan question #2:  Secondly – how many of you guys would be willing to put your hard-earned cash into our band just to make it happen?  Answer honestly – no answer is beyond the bounds of what is “real:” I’m not sure I would either ;-)

Drew Bell