I’ve got the downtown Fullerton Tuesday night blues. First off, I’m broke, so going out isn’t really an option. Second, I live above Back Alley bar, where this terrible cover band is playing. By “terrible” I don’t mean that they are terrible musicians. They are playing their songs just fine. What I mean by “terrible” is their lack of imagination. They are playing top 40 songs. Radio hits. Music that communicates to the lowest common denominator. Mindless radio drivel. Corporate music.
I don’t necessarily hate cover bands. I wouldn’t mind seeing a Kraftwerk cover band, or a Daniel Johnston cover band, or even a Kinks cover band. But 99 percent of the cover bands I hear at Back Alley, and other bars in downtown Fullerton play top 40 music. I suppose that’s what drunk college kids in Fullerton want to hear. They don’t want anything too experimental or creative or independent. They want the same shit they listen to in their cars. And so that’s what they get.
I consider going out, just to escape the noise of this fucking cover band, buying drinks on credit, maybe breaking my piggy bank. But where can I go? The one bar left in Fullerton that plays interesting music, The Continental Room, has been taken over by this knucklehead who is really into dubstep and, like, house music. And people flock to hear this bullshit. Again, it’s music that communicates to the creatively lazy. If you are looking to get drunk and grind on someone, there you go. But if you are looking to have a conversation, to hear something interesting or moving or creative, you are shit outta luck on Tuesday nights in downtown Fullerton.
So I sit alone in my apartment and drink a couple beers and write. I take consolation in the fact that tomorrow I will help install an art show, and then my band (not a cover band) will play a show in Long Beach, with other non-cover bands. We may not be terrific musicians, but at least we are creative. We make our own sounds. And then on Thursday, there’s Nerdy Thursday, which I started because there was nowhere else to go in Fullerton on Thursday to hear something other than corporate music. And then on Friday we have the Art Walk.
Sometimes I feel like there is a war going on, a war for the soul of downtown Fullerton. On the one side, you have the bar owners and promoters who are making bank selling people the same comfortable shit. And on the other side there’s me and my friends and all those who are poor but resolved to prop up creative music, art, reading, thought, conversation. It’s a war I will keep on fighting. No retreat! No surrender!