We’re all adults here, true enough. But sometimes we don’t all act as such. And if there’s one concept in the local music scene that gets under my skin more than any other, it’s this mentality that is commonly referred to as “crabs in a bucket”. You see, our delicious crustaceans are all piled into a bucket, much like musicians in a parish. And sometimes one of those crabs gets close to toppling over the edge and escaping (a.k.a. “making it big”). And for some reason, a crab beneath him will reach up and pull that crab down. Now this crab beneath him doesn’t stand to gain any ground by doing this. In fact, if crabs had morals, one could probably hear the others sneering at this bizarre activity. But they just gargle and bubble, and keep on pulling each other down. I come to work here at NOM because I believe in the cause. I believe that if we all unite under one flagship, we could each become greater than the sum of our own individual parts. In other words, if your band joins and several hundred other bands join, we pool our resources and become this collective. And why not? We share the common goal of improving our skill set, broadening our reach, increasing our opportunities. Yet there are some knuckleheads out there that operate under the notion that “you’re either with me or against me”.
I’ll never forget the moment I fell in love. It was when I noticed there was such a thing as a comfortable silence that could be shared between two people. There was no need to engage or provoke. I opened her door when her hands were full. She popped open a beer and brought it to me. We shared the same space and contributed to one another’s existence. There was no competition. There was no pulling one another down or trying to get ahead of each other. Ah, to coexist.
This mentality needs to be spread amongst the local music community. And I’m not just saying that for the betterment of Neworleansmusicians.com. I’m saying it because IF this community is going to flourish, we are all going to have to come together. Some of us are alphas and we butt heads. Some of us have a competitive streak and are quick to react out of spite. But ultimately, we are all brothers and sisters of the groove. And if y’all want to keep this train running, we’ve all got to push in the same direction.
I recently spoke with a bassist that relayed a story to me about how he was kicked out of one band for behavior that was later embraced by another. I talked to a singer that pointed out how people began to question her new band’s talent simply because they were able to open up for somebody big their first show. I spoke to a guitarist that recalled when a guy from another band came to his show just to mess up his merch table. Mess up somebody’s merch table?? Come on man! Swallow your pride and revert back to the comfortable silence. With the same femme fatale by whom I once discovered love, I noticed this sort of super power I possessed. There were times when she would lash out. And everything in me wanted to push her away for it. One time, for a reason I can’t recall, I instead extended an olive branch. And it wasn’t in the context of a direct response to her lashing. It was just a, hey I’m still here. I’m still the same person regardless of your acting out. We’re still cool and I hold no malice. In fact, you seem like you’re in a bad place and please, let me know if I can help.
This was all an unspoken understanding or gesture between her and I. But if you were to get this dialogue rolling after some crabby situation took place, I think you’d be surprised at the outcome. Looking back, I can tell you my gesture toward that alleged femme fatale was disarming, and things de-escalated quickly. One last story before I call it a day. Years ago, two guys from the neighborhood got into it over who knows what. But they were both heated and it culminated in a fight right in the middle of the street. In the end, as with any fight, there was a winner and there was a loser. But in this particular situation, the winner extended his hand. He helped the loser up. The beef was squashed with that one simple gesture. It’s been well over a decade since that fight. And the two are friends to this day. In that one moment, when this disastrous apogee clearly became out of control, a helping hand was extended. And just like that, the bucket had vanished.
Author: Lingo Starr
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