Monday, March 11, 2013


Incredulous Dreyfuss.

 To be completely honest, when we decided to go through with putting on Dreyfest, we were prepared to take on quite a bit of apathy. We know how Billings people can be, especially those supposedly in the "art" realm. We were also prepared to take on some skepticism, that sort of, "... You're trying to do what? .... Psh... Good luck." attitude. We were even quite prepared to deal with some cynicism, even amongst ourselves and the bands involved.

      But .... anger? To quote the great Deven Sharma, head of Standard and Poor's, in talking about the financially crisis of 2008, "Virtually no one anticipated what was coming." Except this time, really,  no one anticipated this coming. Earlier this week we received a very angry e-mail from a very angry man. Or woman. Or chimpanzee. It's kind of hard to tell (it's been said that if you get a room full of monkeys banging away on typewriters, eventually one of them will write out a complete hate letter to the Richard Dreyfest e-mail, so, you know.). Normally, it's probably best to not respond, have a laugh and move on, but this was, in our estimation, just too good not to share.

      For his or her sake, we'll leave out any details about him/her, and we'll replace personal information with characters and plotlines from Close Encounters, so instead of the actual author's name, we'll call him/her Steven Spielburg, and the band Steven's in is called "SS Cotopaxi" and they are a "tonal" band. We do this in hopes that someday he/she will look back and say, "I said what? Wow, what an entitled little knob I was! Do you guys have any bananas?" And then he/she will start throwing poo and we'll have to put him/her back in the cage until it's walk time, which is a little after supper.

     So here it is. I'm going to make snarky little comments in blue after every little while, like a Vin Scully Dreyfest play-by-play. Vin Scully, really? Psh! Yeah, nice Dodgers reference, Koufax!

     Hey there, I represent the Billings band SS Cotopaxi. We are honestly by far the most active group in the Billings Tonal Scene and would be a necessary asset to any event that purports to be a cross-section of Billings Music
      Tell me about yourself, and your plans, so that I might decide whether to help you or not with all of this business of creating a legitimate festival. I have a very good network of connections throughout the U.S. and Canada, and personally book and run about 25% of the underground concerts in Billings, and probably 90% of the underground (DIY) tonal concerts that happen year round. I honestly just do WAY too many favors for anyone who at least takes themselves seriously.

     Out of the races and onto the tracks, eh? This guy means business. And with the numbers! It's one thing to use your made-up history to intimidate people, but to put percentages to your made-up history to intimidate people? Genius! Ok, back to the field.

     It's very tiring, but to date I have been heavily involved in 3 other "festivals" that expected to do exactly what you are talking about, with in depth planning committees and faces that I knew and were known throughout Montana, that were horrible shits on everyone involved minus those to drunk to remember what actually happened, events that had to be salvaged by me last minute when it was not and should never have been my problem. (see EPIC Fest, BEARPAWLOOZA, PERKAPALOOZA.)
      I'm honestly concerned that this is a joke, or something that is going to be a half-assed, drunken basement idea that I would be best off ignoring or de-railing, because honestly, the only reason Billings Music is as bad as everyone says it is, is because bullshit like that takes away from the few real artists who try to get themselves out there, put out albums, tour, invest in merch lines, and do the hard stuff that takes time, effort, marketing, and money. If you are intending on genuinely making a serious effort to help these artists, then I will help you in any way that I can, which would be considerable, I think. But, if you don't take this extremely seriously, it will backfire and have the opposite effect, especially because early August is a very poor time to do something like this in Billings, unless it is fucking awesome, because apathy runs very high in the Summer in MT. 
And I mean serious like you plan to make a career out of this shit because otherwise it will undoubtedly fail.   
     First, when trying to describe an event that had in-depth planning committees and faces that you knew, it might be a bad idea to mention PERKAPALOOZA. I'm also pretty sure that BEARPAWLOOZA is made up. And if not, it should be. Also, " I would be best off ignoring or de-railing" Derailing? Is that a threat? And that last sentence, what conviction! What confidence! It WILL fail! We need to take this dude to Vegas, stat! Bottom of the 2nd.
     You will need at least a dozen respectable sponsors, (half of which I could provide through my company LaCombe Entertainment), at least 20 acts from the genres of hip-hop, electronic, metal, and neo-punk (farmcore, ska, hardcore punk, punk rock, etc.)
You will need a leader and spokesperson who is not directly affiliated with a band, because an anonymous conglomerate like what is going on will not attract good business from anyone, especially the national DIY acts that you will need to actually make this worthwhile and the sponsors you will need for virtually everything, unless you plan to get about 10k deep in this yourselves. Yes, you will need that much $$ at least to even get this thing off the ground, because relying on your buddies for things like artwork, venues, guarantees for out-of-town bands, adverts both radio and online, sound, lights, and travel will never get the job done.
Where do you want to hold this event? The Dollar Theater costs $500 for one theater, for one day. The Shrine Basement is about the same. Anywhere else will require you to have a proven business relationship to secure a Fri and Sat combo. The Terminal would just be flat-out stupid. It seems like you plan to hold this outdoors. Pioneer park is a common choice, but noise permits are expensive and limited. I know of other places, but they are exclusive to me so I won't tell you about them without knowing who I'm actually talking to, which I think is only reasonable.
      Kind of bossy and boring here, up until the last sentence. Absolute gold. He/she's right, there's too much money at stake to just give away all this information! I mean, what if we happen to book a show at the same venue in the same year? That's terrible for business! And also, what the fuck is neo-punk? I've never heard that term in my fucking life. But then again, I'm not as well versed in the biz as this dude is. Top of the fifth.
      I know that I am coming off as hostile, and I intend to be somewhat until I know what's up with this. I mean seriously, you're talking about bringing Van Halen for Christ's sake. That doesn't make me take you seriously, it makes me angry because there are people here who will take that glimmer of hope because it is the easy way out over planning intelligently for their futures, for touring, for releasing. I can tell by the tone of your blog that you don't believe in Billings as a legitimate place for artists to play and develop, well I know why that is. Because of "unless you live in an actual city." Because it's ok to be a lazy shit around here, because "it doesn't matter anyway, so fuck it let's get drunk." It honestly pisses me off immensely as I'm sure you have gathered at this point.

We want more Van Halen! Less cloth, more Van Halen!
        That said, I would love for you to prove me wrong. I would love to help you prove me wrong, actually, but not unless you realize that cute shit just won't cut it just because it's mildly entertaining to you and realize what the actual repercussions of concerts are. One shitty, half-assed concert makes it much harder to book, promote, and fund a serious event for EVERYONE except those at the very top. Garage bands don't help the scene by inspiring people to not give a fuck about their music and to not try hard for fear of looking uncool. I'm an asshole, and I know it, but I really care more than anybody I've ever met about this stuff. The Billings Music Scene. The PURPOSE of the Billings Music Scene.
       So here, I'm not exactly sure what "glimmer of hope" means, but ostensibly, it has something to do with Van Halen coming to town and running Billings out of their coke supply for a few weeks. Or something. I'm not really sure. And for the record, the Van Halen reference is not a joke, we are in serious talks with their press agents and managers about having them headline. Heck, with my student loan refund check and plasma donations, we're even thinking about getting RATT up to play!
And another thing, " I would love for you to prove me wrong" is code for, "...but, I might be completely talking out my ass, so you can't really be mad at me if I'm wrong about everything I'm talking about" and we see through that, just so you know. Oy. Bottom of the 7th.
     So if it's a joke, just tell me, I'll lay off because then I can just not care. If its sort of serious, either get serious and I'll do anything I can to help, or half-ass it and I'll fuck the shit up, because I can, because I spend and make money for everyone that holds assets in this town, and because I would feel morally obligated to do so for the sake of a music scene that I invest way too much time into, trying to get kids to grow up just enough to make business decisions that could allow them to pursue their dreams and ambitions, so that we could actually put this city on the map. 2 or 3 HUGE bands drive through Billings everyday. I guarantee that your favorite band has driven straight through this city more than once on the way to Spokane or Fargo. It would be easy to turn this city into a Spokane or a Fargo, it only requires that every band, including mine and yours, steps up musically, and more importantly, business-wise to show venue owners that we can make them money, and this town would EXPLODE.
Think about what I've said very sincerely because I don't normally take time to write a goddamn novel like this to anyone, for any reason, let alone someone I've never met who probably cannot benefit me in any way.

This guy's assuredly on his way to the big show tonight.
Again, with the threats! "and I'll fuck the shit up, because I can"? What is wrong with this person? This is absolute insanity. And also, FARGO? Fucking FARGO? Ok, maybe Billings can become like Casper, or maybe even Great Falls, but FARGO? This dude is dreaming waaaaay too big. Bottom of the ninth now.
  If you want to see a bit about what I'm talking about, come out to Devil's Tower on this Blporsday, Juaugustember 45th and see The Roy Nearys. They are a signed Muncie band that was going to pass through, but I booked them to play Billings to help their itinerary, and to help them get across this giant state. It is solely out of the kindness of my heart and the possibility that they may someday help me in Indiana that I am helping them, it took a good bit of effort on my part, I will lose money, and I will pay them well, probably from my own pocket. If you do decide to show, you will see many things that are right and wrong with this scene, and you will meet business connections that you will need in order to hold your event. If you tell the door person that you read this, I will see that you can get in free, provided you are over 18.
I can assure you that I'm not remotely this abrasive in person and you would enjoy speaking to me face to face, and it would be very helpful to you, because unless your talking to Barry Guiler (Close Encounter Presents) or Jillian Guiler (Third Kind Presents) I'm the most influential promoter of live music in this town.
     I hope to see you on Blporsday to discuss this further,
Steven Spielburg (SS Cotopaxi, LaCombe Entertainment)
     A few things here. The "kindness of my heart" and "the possibility that they may someday help me in Indiana" are two completely different things. The latter is to use someone else for personal gain, which is only natural. But it's far from the "kindness of your heart". And the end here, it's really quite revealing. It seems Mr./Mrs. Spielburg has let his/her guard down and revealed their true intentions. Why would you compare yourself to the two people further up the totem pole than you if you've stated that you're only doing this for "the kids" and the "kindness of (your) heart". Again, thanks for the attempt, but we see through this. Boy, am I tempted to drop a Mark Grudzielanek reference here.

"Those groundballs! They hurt!"


      So that's about it. Take what you will from it. Our goal wasn't to villanize anyone (hence the omission of personal details), it was more to alert you to the psyche of the promoter. Maybe even a warning of the people that you might run into in a town that doesn't make a whole lot of art. These people don't care about music, or art, or community, they just want their nitch they've carved out for themselves, and the destruction of all who attempt to call bullshit to their empire (How dare you think you can do something musical with involving me! Do you know who I am? I'm the third biggest promoter in this town!).
        Or maybe we're blowing this way out of proportion. Either way, hopefully you at least found it entertaining. We laughed, we cried, we learned some new terms. We'd like to thank the sender of this message for giving us a very long, hearty laugh, something to do during spring break (I was going to go to Fargo but there's just way more than only a weeks worth of stuff to do there), and all the great criticism and advice. We'll be sure to take it into account. I was just going to set this 10,000 dollars on fire, but I guess we'll use it to throw a show or something. Who would've thunk it!
Thanks for reading. Be sure to befriend Richard Dreyfest on Facebook if you haven't already, and....see you at Dreyfest!


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