The Politics of Dancing

As some of you have noticed in the forum, it has been awhile since we’ve posted to the blog, and there are rumours a-flying, so let me take a moment to try and put things into perspective.

Things were moving along very well – maybe a little too well. As noted below, we were accepted for a SxSW slot, and we made progress with both UK and US agents, secured digital distribution for the back catalog (the part we owned, anyway), and a few other things. Once things got to this point, we had to make sure we could meet all the committments, since it was getting close to the time when we’d have to start signing bits of paper.

As it turns out, we couldn’t.

Putting a band (back) together in your 40s is quite a bit different than it is in your 20s. There are jobs, marriages, kids, and hundreds of other things to consider. The matrix gets even more complex when you try to align these elements across all the band members. When one person can get time off, the other has a deadline at work. Where one person needs X to pay the bills, another needs Y. Suffice it to say that it’s a far cry from “Get in the van! We’re going to France!”

So where does that leave us?

The folks at SxSW were very understanding, and invited us back whenever we’re ready. The agents understand that this is going to be tricky. Ditto for distribution, publicity, etc. Hell, we never officially announced that this site was up and running. A handful of you true believers have found it, and that’s heartening in itself. So fret not – we’re not going to be on the road this spring as originally thought. The fall is a possibility, as is spring 2009. It’s still too early to tell.

But definitely stay tuned. It takes a little longer for old guys like us to get a full head of steam going, but we’re definitely headed in the right direction.

The Ball Starts Rolling.

Friday was a great, great day.

On Thursday, out of the blue, I got a message from Martin Tibbetts, our old agent. The timing was impeccable, since I’d been trying to track him down. How’d he find me? MySpace, of course. This inter-web thing sure is handy.

Anyhow, I filled him in on the rough plan, and he said he knew just the man we needed to be talking to. (Martin’s not in the booking biz anymore.) Brilliant. Hook us up, Martin!

Friday morning, I wake up to find an email waiting for me from the South by Southwest conference – they’ve accepted our application and have offered us a slot! B R I L L I A N T ! ! ! 1 1 1 ONE ONE ONE !!! For those of you who haven’t been to SxSW, imagine over a thousand bands playing in a small town over the course of four days. Almost every local club is involved, and thousands of people invade the town for the week. They close down some of the streets after dark, so it turns into one huge party. And all your musician friends are there!

Needless to say, I immediately do a jig with my fiancee, then swap partners and do a jig with my dog. The cat hides under a chair, otherwise I’d try to dance with her as well. Ah well, her loss.

I go to work, and about an hour later, the phone rings. It’s Neil O’Brien, a blast from the past, who used to work for the Mean Fiddler back in the day, and he wants to put together the UK/Europe dates together. We talk for about forty minutes, and it’s absolutely clear that he’s the man for us. He knows the band, remembers the gigs, and he just put together the Only Ones reunion tour. Hell, he put together a reunion tour for the Long Ryders! He’s *totally* psyched about the SxSW gig, and not only that, but he’s just about to send out his summer festival list, so the timing couldn’t be any better.

There’s no one to do a jig with, so I just stomp around the room awhile, acting the loon.

Damn it feels good.

It’s on.

Watch Out World, Here We Come.

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It’s taken awhile, but we here at Petrols central are finally serious about dusting off the rock tools and treading the boards once again. Why? Well why the hell not is what I say. There have been a number of things over the past few years in particular that have spurred this on.

1) Gang of Four reunion – these guys changed my life back in the day. No, seriously. I listened to the records incessantly, and they were without a doubt the best live band I ever saw. Twenty-odd years later, they came back, and they slayed. They were astounding. They were monumental.

2) Killing Joke reunion – (Raven – RIP). Similar to Go4, in that they came, they saw, they totally destroyed. Interestingly enough this was a week after a much-touted up and coming band (the Rapture, cough-cough) came to town and just blew. I mean totally blew. I’m so sick to death of the post-modern, ironic, “I’m in a band but not really” stance so many bands seem to adopt these days. Seeing the ‘Joke a week after these turds was the perfect antidote. It made me realize why I got into music in the first place.

3) The death of the old music industry – Seriously folks, wave goodbye to the record biz of lore. What’s going to replace it we don’t quite know, but I derive an enormous amount of pleasure watching the death rattle of the current mess. I’ve been evangelizing and expostulating about this for years now, and voila. It’s not like it was a big secret.

4) The rise of social networking and a new musical landscape – Without wanting to sound too pollyanna about this, I’m incredibly excited about the potential of the Internet as a distribution and social/community platform. Even though things are very confusing right now, I think it’s probably the best time ever to be a musician. Well, perhaps with the exception of the 60s, but that’s only because the drugs were far better. I’ve been talking about this for years now – it’s time to put up or shut up.

So here we go – TPE are going to rise from the ashes, and rock your sweet tootsies off. We will crush. We will destroy. We will have a very good time doing so. And with any luck, we’ll be in a town near you soon.