Sex, Drugs, And Bubblegum Pop (Week 46)

Sex, Drugs, And Bubblegum Pop is the most outlandish column on UTG. Written by Mr. Jayce, vocalist for Secret Secret Dino Club and all-round funny guy, this column isn’t as much about the music as it is the experiences people in the music industry have.

WARNING: This column does and will continue to contain content some readers may find offensive. If you don’t have a sense of humor, this column is probably not for you.

When i was in college, my band was really starting to take off. I was selling enough CDs and iTunes to pay for being at school and playing big shows on the weekends (although on weekday sometimes you could catch me asleep in my car in the morning from driving to play a show and driving back to make it in time for 8am class). I was getting a lot of press online, was starting to get contacted by labels I only dreamed of talking to when i was younger, and the best part was I was doing everything by myself.

I colored penciled all my own cds, after I stole some copies from the school printer because my quota was up after about 3 days from printing flyers and other various things. I handmade all my merch, mainly with recycled supplies. I was spending next to nothing on all this stuff, that i would sell out of my backpack at school, and via an online webstore. Twice a week I would take the bus down to the post office between classes where i would ship out usually two large boxes of items that i had sold. Because I was recording all my own music, I used all the money i made from merch and music sales to buy new equipment as I could to keep improving the quality of everything i was recording. I also invested in a screen printing machine and learned how to use that, so my mercy was looking and feeling more professional. As the quality went going up, the cost of production went up, so prices raised naturally. I was always worried that fans would think I sold out because my shirts went from $8 to $10. It seems ridiculous now that I think about it, but I was that serious back then.

Whenever I wasn’t recording music or making merch, I was talking to fans online. I spent more time on this than anything. Through myspace and AIM, i would consistently be talking to people. Not really asking them to listen to my band. Most of the time I’d sit through girls complaining about how bad their days were, but it wasn’t so tough. There were so many chat windows open that it was like a fun little game of answering everybody. But soon enough it got really overwhelming and my computer kept crashing from being overloaded with instant messages. So after that I kinda scaled back on that stuff. But it was a great tool. Every time i had a new song (which we be at least once a month, sometimes 4 times a month) i would instant message the thousands of kids on my buddy list and go on myspace and respond to comments.

When all of this felt like a full time job, i started really not caring about college and began figuring out how i could make it on my own without college. I decided to leave so I could go on tour, and take the time to really seriously record an album. I had 4 tours lined up that I would do by myself and then I was going to record an album with JP, my new friend at the time. I told the college i was leaving, got my things packed and hit the road.

I’m not trying to boast about this stuff, i’ve just been really appalled by how bands and kids try to get off their feet these days. Because it’s somehow cool to be in a band now, kids who have parents with a lot of money are trying to buy their way into being a popular band in every aspect. I get so many e-mails of people wanting to “buy songs” from me. It’s so preposterous. I really hope this trend dies out soon when all these parents realize they are wasting their money on something their children aren’t passionate enough about to learn how to write their own songs. It’s so disrespectful to music and real kids who learn how to play their instruments and express how they actually feel. It’s turning shows into school dances with I <3 boobies bracelets. There are some genuine kids and bands out there right now. Find them and support them so it inspires other bands to act the same!

Jacob Tender
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