Arcata Eye Scene

A-town art, music, theatre. Mostly music. Updated Wednesdays.

Jennifer Savage: Savage Eye – Arcata rock, R.I.P.

APRIL 1, 2009

An unpredicted consequence of Arcata failing to provide a place for teens to safely and legally gather for loud, “rock”-style music shows revealed itself recently: the utter and complete demise of rock music within City limits.

“I can’t do it any more. I don’t want to do it any more,” Alibi talent booker Ian Hiler complained. “For years, I’ve been waiting for someone to pass the torch to, but kids today, they’d rather play bluegrass at Muddy’s or plink-a-dink folk nonsense at Mosgo’s.” Hiler blamed the lack of all-age venues. “We tried to make it happen, but even the Placebo members couldn’t sustain interest without support.”

Pete Ciotti, owner of Big Pete’s Pizzeria, acknowledged the City’s unwelcoming attitude toward all-age rock events, but insisted those under 21-years-old share responsibility. “Kids today are so lazy,” Ciotti said. “When I was 19, I was in a dozen, maybe 14 different bands. Heck, I’m in my 30s now and still in at least six!”

Without a new generation of rock fans to take up the mantle, attendance at area rock shows has fallen. “Even the ones who are ‘of age’ don’t come out,” griped Andy Ardel of Humbrews. “We have a reggae show, no problem. We have a jam band, they pack the place. Bluegrass, old-timey, whatever, fine. But no one under 35 wants to hear that rock music.” No more 11 p.m. shows? With remaining rock fans aging rapidly, the late-night nature of the rock scene is itself a problem.

“Sure, I love loud music and long-haired rocking bands,” Michael Donohoe said. “But I have a job these days. When I’ve been working all day and it comes down to it, I’d rather kick it on the couch with some Lost DVDs from Video Experience, not your average video store – Monday nights feature half-off new releases.”

Mayor Mark Wheetley shrugged in response to the news that rock music in Arcata had withered away. “I told them to do something for the kids,” he said. “I told them.” Pass the Metamucil – and the Botox Of the rock musicians themselves, many have reached a point in their lives where age and hard living has taken a toll that can no longer be ignored, facing surgery or fading good looks.

“Yeah, like, sometimes I think it would be, like, cool to hear some rock music,” said one teen, who spoke only on condition of anonymity. “But they’re all so old! It’s like liking your parents music. Gross.” She excused herself saying, “G-T-G, think my new mandolin strings are in at the double W!” (Wildwood Music carries a full line of strings, books, and accessories and is happy to special order an instrument, electronics, or sheet music for you, and to ship your order anywhere in the world.)

For his part, Hiler remained somewhat philosophical. “Yeah, it hurts,” he said. “But no one ever said loving rock and roll was easy.”

“I just want the damn kids to stay off my lawn,” Donohoe finished.


  Robert Tripp wrote @

The Fire Demons just played an all ages show in eureka last month at the Teen Center and the kids loved us. I even have bumped into some of their parents who’ve told me how much their kid(s) dug us. Some kids (the cool ones) appreciate 20th century rock music. I might rather play to kids that are dying to see a loud show than some jaded bar patrons who’ve “seen it all before”. I live here in Arcata, but there’s very little support for heavy bands in the area and so we’re playing out of town as much as possible. The other older guy rock bands should consider doing the same. There’s no reward for us here other than maybe getting on the bill with a cool touring band and making some connections in the world.

  Terrence McNally wrote @

April Fools, Robert

  Robert Tripp wrote @

I am a fool, but it’s still true that big petes isn’t doing shows right?

  Robert Tripp wrote @

hey when are we gonna play a show with Magnum?

  Terrence McNally wrote @

When the Fire Demons come to Magnum and prostate themselves. It’s a rather invasive procedure.

  Robert Tripp wrote @

Sounds painful. Maybe my other band would be more appropriate

  Jason Robo wrote @

Perhaps the headstone will rest next to the Eye’s…

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