Yesterday, I was in the car with my husband when Faster Pussycat, "Poison Ivy" came on Hair Nation. The husband gave me one of those sideways glances that meant "ridiculous."
"They would never make it today," said the husband. "To me, Faster has always seemed like your average bar band."
After I explained the whole time/place/luck/connections scenario that got Faster to a major label in the 80s, I stopped and thought for a moment about what the husband had said.
It dawned on me that I have no idea what an "average bar band" even sounds like. Does that mean a cover band? There are some pretty decent ones where I live. At least, anytime I've been in a bar for a show, the bands haven't been too terrible. Because that is what we're talking about, right? Terrible...or just slightly above average?
I feel like if you get to the point as a musician where you are good enough to play live and earn money for your show, you must not suck too bad. All the cover bands around Dayton I've seen get paid. Sure, said cover bands don't sound like Van Halen...then again, they don't really claim to - or at least most of them don't.
I suspect the husband forgets that just about every band that has ever made it came up through the bar/cover circuit. So while I might not be hearing the next Aerosmith on a random Wednesday at the corner bar, that doesn't mean you're not in your city, right?
That said, I'm still plagued by the question..."what is an average bar band?" I think it has to do with more than music. Surely no one thought David Lee Roth was necessarily average when Van Halen was getting started. He might not be the best singer in the world, but he is a show man. Even some of the finalists on American Idol over the years haven't been the best singers ever but they've survived elimination rounds because of stage presence. It's a whole package after all.
So while I disagree with the husband on where Faster Pussycat is concerned, I suppose he does have a valid point in arguing that, if FP was a new band today, they probably wouldn't be huge. That's just a sign of the times and the current music industry. Talent seems secondary anymore. That said, I hope all the up and coming "average" bar bands keep playing...otherwise we won't ever have any new music to enjoy...and some act has to become the next AC/DC, right?