Saturday, February 25, 2012

Should I Stay Or Should I go?

Recently Tommy, my brother from other parents, sent me an email asking me to keep a date open because his band (Alloy) is finally going to be playing a show after a long hiatus. They've been spending their time practicing and recording, when they could get together, but they also knew that they needed to start playing live again. Not only do they have a gig lined up on April 7th but it in fact will be their highest profile appearance ever. In the past they had played mainly at a small bar for no money, solely with the intent of gaining experience and getting their name out to be recognized. Now they get the chance to potentially have more people listen to them at this one show than all their other ones combined.

Then comes the drawback to the scenario, where they will be playing and who it's for. They are to play outside the Tea Party Convention that will be held in Tulsa. My question to him when we next talked was if it was in support of the Tea Party or in protest of them. If it were the latter then that would be great, something that I could wholeheartedly get behind. If it were the former, well, I have reservations about being there even if it is only to help the band set up and break down.

You see, I feel that the Tea Party cloaks itself in patriotism yet hidden underneath there lurks an ugly side consisting of old school prejudice and racism. They say a lot of things that sound right, less government and so forth but then it seems that all too frequently a local leader or spokesperson gets far too comfortable with themselves and ends up sounding off with some bizarre comments about race or immigration. Maybe it's just me and my perception but that's how I feel about it.

So now I was perplexed about what I should do. If I came to the show I felt like I would be endorsing the Tea Party even though I don't like them or agree with what they stand for. At the same time I really want to be there for my friends, not just as a roadie, but to see them playing and hopefully gaining new fans. I may not be a member of the band but I'm probably as close to it as anyone can be without actually playing an instrument. After all, I write lyrics for them, roadie their gigs when I can, try to find gigs for them and am designing and will run their website. With this dilemma what's a poor guy to do?

Luckily Tommy and I talked it over and used each other as sounding boards to see what each other thought. Tommy completely understood my viewpoint and told me that if I felt that strongly about the Tea Party then I should follow my convictions and not think twice about it. One thing he did say was that by playing outside the convention it is not as if the band is endorsing the Tea Party. If they were playing inside and were part of the itinerary then that would be a different story altogether.

Let me be clear here, the band itself does not endorse the Tea Party. Tommy is on record as saying that while there are things he does like about them there are also things that he doesn't like. If you take the time to listen to the lyrics of the band you'll find that the way I feel about groups like the Tea Party is evidenced fairly well. This is merely a chance to get some badly needed visibility for them as well as a chance to play a big show. There will be two other bands playing and I believe that Alloy will play last. Hopefully people will stop and listen and not just walk in or out.

The question for me now is what am I comfortable with? After I really thought about it I feel that since the band is not endorsing the Tea Party I need to be there with them. If anyone asks me my opinion I will readily provide it with enthusiasm, pulling no punches. Besides, I really don't think that a reporter will see me there and say "Hey, Why is Don Leach here? He says he doesn't support the Tea Party. He's a two faced lying jerk!" Once I climbed down from my high horse I decided that I'll use the opportunity to educate myself about the Tea Party and the way they operate. The old saying goes "Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer" or words to that effect so I'll take that to heart.

If you decide to show up and see me there please do not think badly of me. I'll just be there to rock out and support my friends. If you want to hear what the band sounds like you can look them up on ReverbNation. Just search for Alloy and select the one from Claremore, Ok. There are two songs (Silencer and The Blacksmith's Testament) and although they are far from finished at least you can have an idea of what the group sounds like. I'll also be putting more information on this blog when I get their website up and running. Maybe I'll even get a t-shirt made with my thoughts about the Tea Party that I can wear that day. Don't put it past me. Stranger things have been known to happen when I'm involved.

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

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