Former cheerleaders squeal while reuniting with their disbanded squad. Aging jocks nurse their expanding beer guts by the bar. Suddenly, the record scratches, a gasp cuts through the otherwise silent room, and everyone turns to see the former biggest dork pull up in a sports car more expensive than an Ivy League education. The sci-fi-esque car door swings open and he saunters through the front door with two supermodels on his arm. The idea being he’s used his computer skills or science smarts or some other insanely lucrative talent to score a fancy bank account and the “babes” to match. And every has-been varsity basketball player turned grocery store bag (man?) wishes they had been nicer to Herbert McDweebpants, the now rich and wildly successful multi-gazillionaire.
Some will assume Herbert’s ability to hack the supermodel code tells us we should be nicer to geeks now – as they’re the ones destined for future success and its spoils. However, all I can think is that band “nerds” (note the quotes) must feel horribly left out. It’s always assumed our geek turned chic has made his fortune thanks to his fervent study of traditional academia. But, certainly the years of ridicule band “geeks” endure entitles them to some recognition. Well, today, my musical friends, you get your due.
But I’m not here to lecture some “if you’re not nice to band geeks you’ll be sorry when they’re famous” sermon. Frankly that self-serving argument doesn’t even deserve discussion. But I do wonder – and hope you’ll ponder right along with me – how the face of music today would be different if past generations of students glorified the band like they did their cheerleaders and dance teams. Why is it even considered (albeit, generally) cooler to pick up a tube of lip-gloss than a tuba? Is it the actual music? The polyester plagued outfits? (I’m asking myself this, right along with you) why aren’t we friends with the band?
Band music is music. Music is music. Sure, not everyone has “When the Saints Go Marching In” looping on their MP3 player, but I’ll say it again, music is music. Punk uses the same musical notes as pop, which uses the same notes as rock, hip-hop, electro, country, dance, you get my drift. No genre is mutually exclusive of the other, just as I bet any scroll through our music libraries will show a sonic rainbow of tastes. Maybe people aren’t lining up outside the band room to bootleg the music that leaks out during practice. But our Tuba Chick is just one instrument away from picking up an electric bass. And by that I mean, today’s band “geek” could be tomorrow’s rocker goddess strolling into our high school reunion with two gorgeous admirers on her arm.
But, as I stated earlier, that’s not the point. I’m mostly interested in the time between tuba and bass. It’s during those weeks, months, years, when our heroine will either choose to keep playing, or let the snickers of some popular snob drown out her musical ambitions. You may argue something like “if she really loves music, she won’t listen to what anyone says.” But I say, if we really love music, we’ll support the hell out of her ambitions. The more musicians who play, the more music they’ll create. The more music conceived, the more likely we’ll all benefit – strolling through the future with MP3 players bursting with ten million of our favorite tunes.
We’ll never know what might have been. But who’s to say the future of music can’t start with us? Right now, today, with our bands. If we can make the band feel as good about themselves as we feel about the stuff in our headphones, I’m willing to wager that our generation could be the one that goes down as the greatest in musical history yet. Far fetched? Perhaps. But who knows. What goes around might come back around on your MP3 player. It’s good karma with a sweet bass line. And it’s worth a shot.
Maybe we can start by being nicer to our band geeks.
That, and give them better outfits.