Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Behind the Scenes of Gump Night

Breaking Aim and the Rhythm at Gump Night;
Photo by Amber O'Shea

It’s no secret, especially to its residents, that Montgomery is not the best place for unsigned original bands to perform. According to Stacy Lewis, owner of Montgomery’s Organic Hippie and co-sponsor of Gump Night, there’s only “one other venue in Montgomery” (Head on the Door) that has a long, consistent history of, and is known for, hosting local original bands.

Rick Peters, owner of 104.9 The Gump, “talked to five or six venues since starting 104.9 The Gump,” as he searched for a place for Gump Night.

“The problem,” Peters continues, “is that ‘cover bands’ tend to deliver a broader appeal set – and that translates to more patrons and more revenues for the bar/club. No one was interested in taking the time and expense of developing this ‘original’ music approach.”

Breaking Aim and the Rhythm at
Gump Night; Photo by Amber O'Shea
Lewis adds that many of the other venues in town will “occasionally book original bands if no one else can be booked or it’s not a big night.” The difference, she says, is that those venues don’t promote the original bands, but “We do.” The It’ll Do Tavern doesn’t just “book original bands, it shows support for them.”

Gump Night, the night It’ll Do Tavern dedicates to playing only local original  bands, was born from the frustration over Montgomery’s music scene. The Organic Hippie, which is located next to Head on the Door, has a lot of customers who are local original musicians. One of Lewis’s employees is a drummer with local band Hail the Titans. Lewis spoke passionately about the talent of original musicians in the area. She approached 104.9 The Gump with hopes that they would broadcast these local bands. Lewis stated that the owner, “couldn’t air [the original bands] on the radio,” but suggested that they find a venue that would.

Peters and his wife had purchased the It’ll Do Tavern, “both as a separate business…and as a venue for my radio stations to do promotions. Couldn’t [sic] resist that temptation to ‘put my money where my mouth was’ and offer up a night dedicated to the concept.” The idea for Gump Night rose from his interest “in seeing new musical talent develop. I was also getting tired of just hearing Journey Cover Bands [sic]. I was hoping there was a disenfranchised community of musicians out there that would support the concept. The frustration was not having a venue willing to take a chance on original music.”

“It’s early in the project,” Peters continues, “but the attendance has been good, and there’s some ‘buzz’ on line [sic] and in the music community. The buy in from the bands is good. I believe the audience will develop.”
Breaking Aim and the Rhythm at Gump Night
Photo by Amber O'Shea

Lewis expresses great optimism for the event, saying that Gump Night “may foster musicians to write their own stuff,” and hopes that more bands and venues “may want to do it.”

Lewis adds that Peters told her that this would be “a consistent thing.” It “won’t always have good or bad” moments, but Peters was “in it for the long haul.”

No comments:

Post a Comment