On Durham and identity
grady at ibiblio.org
Thu Apr 5 17:00:03 EDT 2007
It's no accident that most-all the top-rated high-end restaurants in the
Triangle are in Durham . . . there are a LOT of doctors & lawyers in
Durham. More generally, I think I read recently that the single biggest
employer in Durham is Duke Med Center.
w/r/t all the stuff you're talking about RE: putting the Cradle on yr
one-sheet or whatever . . . do people really take that stuff seriously?
Especially nowadays in the age of MySpace, do any venue bookers really
rely on much more than music on MySpace, plus legitimate press clips or
whatever? Any fool & his brother's dog can get a gig at the Cradle
during their periodic Sunday showcase things.
I'm pretty sure that most bands in Chapel Hill just wanna play shows
with their friends as well . . . it may just be that they perceive the
necessary hoops that require jumping through to be harder to deal with,
certainly when talking about the Cradle & 506.
But go talk to the Reservoir peeps . . . that seems like a community of
folks throwing shows for themselves & their friends, some of whom are in
Or read Aaron's thesis on Nightlight . . .
I don't have a problem with the notion of Raleigh & Durham & Chapel
Hill/Carrboro being perceived as distinct from one another, but I think
that mostly just underlines the fact that in all three towns, we're
talking about communities of people who hang out together at the bar &
play in each others' bands, so they tend to hang together locally &
close-to-home. Sometimes I hear from folks wanting to find out how to
book shows in the other towns, and I try to point them to like-minded
bands to team up with, and it usually seems to work out OK. Plus Durham
is full of people like Jim, who used to live in the other two towns. Or
Sara Bell . . . have you talked to her?
Certainly one could make arguments, surrounding Kings, that Raleigh
continues to be the home of ROCK, but I haven't ever done the math to
count up how many bands of each sub-sub-subgenre call each city home.
That'd be an amusing exercise, I think. Beyond that, I dunno, I don't
really see the three cities as having distinctive musical sub-styles
unique to them. People used to talk shit about the Chapel Hill
detuned-guitars thing vs. three-chord rock in Raleigh in the 90s, but I
was skeptical of it at the time, even. Moreso now.
betsyshane at gmail.com wrote:
> Hey all
> I am getting a lot of really great information (I did some work a few
> years ago on women in Durham and have some pretty good numbers
> comparing to the rest of the country-- women make more on avg here,
> more women owned businesses etc but that also may have something to do
> with RTP which is technically in Durham Co)
> But that census info really threw me...the median income in Durham is
> higher than elsewhere, so does the money thing still hold up? I guess
> that's a whole other investigation; why is Durham real estate so
> damned cheap?
>>From some of the research, I've heard that things may have sort of
> been like they are in Durham in Chapel Hill a while back-- a bunch of
> people who play shows with their friends and want to "make
> something." And Trekky Records has actually been cited as a good
> example of people sort of taking a different route to help promote
> themselves/friends in the area (so Will if you have anything to say
> about community or forming an identity, that'd be swell).
> I generally ask bands to "map out" the scene or identify the cliques
> that are present in their view, and to situate themselves in
> relationship to other bands and venues. Sound is often a factor in
> considering "favorite" venues or as one band called them "real" venues
> (they meant it in the context of places who hire out soundpeople and
> have professional shows as the main event), whereas others cite the
> crowd. Some venues just kind of have a built in sell, I think.
> Obviously it's a chicken or the egg thing-- if you're playing the
> Cradle frank's not going to book you unless he's sure it'll be full,
> but at the same time, if you just get lucky and tucked on the bill
> under another band who would've filled the house, you've still "played
> the cradle" and have that respect. To the same token, I had a friend
> recently write me and say he used to go out but going to "unventilated
> clubs with awful sound probably means the bands I like have let
> themselves go." It could be the same with building bills-- I know
> that when you make a one-sheet you're going to put on every big dog
> band you've played with, or who you perceive to be on a tier further
> up than you, and I wonder if "playing down" means anything around
> here. I'd be interested in knowing what you guys think too as far as
> that goes, although in a public forum I'm sure nobody wants to say
> anything too incindiary.
> I became interested in this project because in my mind, indie rock in
> the triangle was sort of a constellation of three gravitational forces
> of towns, around which smaller cliques, ideas and groups revolved.
> Despite the number of people who rally for togetherness of the
> triangle as a whole, I'm not sure I've been swayed. My research has
> probably been indicative of this-- I am situated in a particular
> place, I know particular people and those are the people I've been
> able to speak to. James Hepler (thanks!) clued me in about this
> list-- I didn't even know it existed, because nobody I'd spoken to
> before him (and that's about 20 interviews) mentioned it. It's weird
> how that works out.
> On a note unrelated to the paper but marginally related to our
> discussion, I think that a lot of the new venue types are wisening up
> in the face of a changing culture-- people still will pay a $10 cover
> and then $4 a beer at a "venue" but they'd rather go somewhere that
> they can either BYOB, or drink with their friends, that will be open
> afterwards and offers other options for the evening. Our culture is
> slowly but surely fragmentalized and eaten up by huge conglomerates.
> Almost any chain store I can think of that's been popular and stayed
> that way recently has expanded into more than one type of thing, from
> target adding the "supers" to get that grocery store/pharmacy business
> to places like the gap expanding into undergarments and body lotion
> crap to keep an edge on the game. We love the one-stop-shopping. In
> a way, I think that's the greatest promise of 305 south-- the fact
> that you can go there and there's the possibility of lots of shit to
> do, even if all of it is spending money.
> On Apr 5, 3:51 pm, jim.brant... at gmail.com wrote:
>> Let me also say that this is already among my all time favorite AMCH
>> threads (and as a longtime lurker I've read quite a few). Betsy-Shane,
>> I hope that you share whatever paper you make out of this conversation
>> with the group.
>> On Apr 4, 10:42 am, "betsysh... at gmail.com" <betsysh... at gmail.com>
>>> Hey Alt.music.CH
>>> I'm a student at Duke and am writing a paper about the indie rock
>>> scene in the Triangle, with a particular focus on Durham identity. I
>>> was hoping I could maybe spark a little conversation or a little
>>> interest to email back and forth about what it means to be a member of
>>> the community, either as a fan, a band member, an info center,
>>> whatever the case may be.
>>> I'm interested in exploring what exactly it means to be a "Durham
>>> band" since the proliferation of so many groups claiming this lately,
>>> as well as what it means to be part of the Durham scene, and how (or
>>> if) this differs from say, being part of the Raleigh scene or the
>>> Chapel Hill scene (and being a Raleigh band or CH band). I wonder
>>> what *you* think of when you think of Durham (and be completely
>>> honest) or if you ever think of it at all. Why does Durham have tee
>>> shirts and no other town does? What's the pride all about?
>>> I'll keep an eye out and hope I get some replies.
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