-There are many cities that are automatically known for hosting some of the biggest names and largest shows in music. I think it's fair to say that these same cities make it easier for musicians who truly have a passion for music, make a name for themselves. Places like New York, Nashville and Seattle are just a few that have spawned many decades of defining music.
But what about small cities? Cities that not many people have heard of. 20 years ago Columbus, Georgia for example was not a place you'd add to the list of cities doing big things for the music world. And why is that? Columbus has been home to so many amazing musicians since the birth of its time. From the musical prodigy Blind Tom Wiggins born in 1849, to the "Mother of the Blues" Ma Rainey born 1886...all the way to artists like Curley Money, Robert Cray, Keni Thomas and even 2002's American Idol runner up Justin Guarini. Columbus has birthed many amazing and talented musicians, but why is there a lack of support for musicians and their success?
It wasn't until the early 2000's that a small group of people created a music scene here...one in my opinion, if nothing else...set a foundation for what we are trying to maintain. It is argued that we don't have a music scene here in Columbus, Georgia. My goal is to make you ask yourself...why? Is there enough support for your fellow musician here? And, if not...what do we have to do to make it happen? This week we follow a man who played a major role in bringing music of all types into a city that was never really ready for it, and the lasting effect it has had on our nightlife and quite possibly...our subculture.-
"Hey my name is Lance, I am 33 years old. I'm from Columbus, Georgia. I've lived here pretty much all my life. I lived here and there for a little while. I've seen many things. I spent 8 years of my life touring the country with my band. It was your typical 'Sleep on a couch or live in your van kind of life. I am back here in my home town for good now. Lot's of amazing memories and experiences."
-Tell me about your band Thrill Of A Gunfight. Was that your first official band?-
"Thrill Of A Gunfight was kind of my baby. We started that band in 2005. I was in a lot of bands before that, but I would say Thrill was the first band I truly put all of my heart into. We had the right people and the right 'know-how' to actually get out and not only write music, but play it well and go tour. That was my life at the time.
After high school, one of the bands that got me playing out a lot was a band called Non Coherent. Back then, there wasn't an all-ages venue where you could play music. You either played in a downtown bar or not at all. My friends at the time were 18-19 years old...and we couldn't get into the bars. We rented a warehouse off of 10th Street as a practice spot. After a while, we were in a "F***, we have rent to pay," situation and decided to start throwing shows for all ages. (Chuckles)
-Did you give the place a name? How did it all start?-
"Yeah, it was called the Warehouse. We had all the local bands come out and bring their friends. It didn't matter what music you played. It was music. It was different. It was crazy how many people came out. Back then, it was nothing to have 250-300 people at a show. Sooner or later we started getting out-of-town bands to come and play. We had Chad DarkWait come and bring bands from out-of-town as well. So, it started as local bands and friends...to local and outside bands...both drawing huge crowds. That lasted about a solid year. They found out we were doing local shows to the pay the rent without a business license, so we moved to another warehouse off of Flat Rock Road. We started doing the same thing but it just got bigger and bigger. We were looking at a 400-500 person turnout easy. You can say we started this music scene by accident. (Humbly chuckles) All we wanted to do was pay our rent.
Back then, there was no Facebook or even MySpace, so we had to get our asses out there with flyers and pass them out to everyone we could. It's a lot harder to get a large crowd out for bands these days. The internet has been a wonderful and detrimental tool for the musician. The idea of... 'Why go out and pay 5 dollars to see a couple of bands when you can listen to them for free on the internet' exists today. It's such a sad concept. Honestly, if you want to experience music...go see it LIVE."