Glug, Glug, Glug
Yes, a corporation that regularly unleashes foaming tsunami waves of cheap, skunky, alcohol-poor, gut-mutating domestic beer upon the tasteless legions of Middle America seems a natural patron for all those waifish, unheard-of bands who champion mediocrity in both their music and their mug. At least that's what Budweiser In-Concert Entertainment Marketing Inc. thinks. They're coming to S.F., to find 15 new bands to join those proudly strumming and blowing under the aegis of the Budweiser banner.
Of course, given the authenticity politics of rock, pursuing corporate sponsorship is probably the stupidest thing you could do, if you have any delusions of making a career out of your music. Heard of the Funky Soul Symbols? How about Doublewide? Chances are you never will again, unless you look up Bud-sponsored bands at the Anheuser-Busch promotional Website.
Says the press release: "Sponsored bands receive promotional materials including posters, electric art signs, banners, and customized apparel." So far, sounds like the same sort of stuff you could rake in with a good hoard of Camel Cash. But wait: "Bands enjoy advertising, public relations, and financial support throughout the year." So, apparently there's actual money involved. All you have to do is swallow your pride and assume your new role as a human sandwich board. Glug, glug, glug -- is that the sound of an ice-cold brewski, or your career swirling down the toilet?
Watch Your Ass, BASS
Easy enough to bitch and moan about outrageous surcharges at BASS; quite another to come up with a viable alternative. Enter Rick Tyler, a former developer for a telecommunications company who was exasperated enough by the BASS stranglehold to quit his job and take action. His year-old on-line service, TicketWeb, now offers advance tickets to the Bay Area's hipper nightspots, including the Bottom of the Hill, the Trocadero, Kilowatt, and Slim's, as well as some out-of-town events -- all at a reasonable fee. While BASS charges $3 to $7 per ticket plus $2.75 for processing, TicketWeb only charges 5 percent of the ticket price -- never exceeding $1.75 -- plus 50 cents for processing. It may be hard to imagine the average tattooed, baggy-jeaned Bottom of the Hill fan logging on, credit card in hand, but TicketWeb sold $130,000 worth of tickets for Canada's Eden Music Fest over a three-week period. Take that, BASS!
Tickets can be purchased on-line at www.ticketweb.com; technophobes can call (510) 251-0397; those without credit will have to stand by until early next year, when TicketWeb will open cash-friendly outlets in indie record stores everywhere.