Social Circle: Is Milwaukee a good city for musicians?
The "Social Circle" is a group effort between readers, social networkers and the OnMilwaukee.com editors. Every Monday, we ask a question via Facebook and Twitter and then post the responses from our Facebook "likers" and Twitter followers in this column. Well-known Milwaukee movers and shakers will contribute, too.
This week OnMilwaukee.com asked the Social Circle its thoughts on the local music scene and, specifically, if Milwaukee was a good city for musicians.
As always, opinions ranged. Feel free to weigh in with yours via the Talkback feature.
Now go and out and listen to some live music this week.
William Arthur: "No, because barely any bands support each other."
Debra J. Ayers-Haight: "As a spectator I definitely enjoy the music scene and all our hard-working musicians. Thanks to all who make it happen."
Chris Baldoni: "It depends on the type of music. It's tough being an original band here as well. No built-in crowds either."
Jason Bohn: "It's by no means Nashville or Austin, but I think Milwaukee has a fairly good amount of venues on all levels for musicians to play. And very few places have an event like Summerfest. So my vote is yes."
Jamie Breiwick: "Yes and No. Per capita, the talent ratio is very high, I believe, across genres. The 'scenes,' however, are very segregated."
Jim Carney: "I would say, good but not the best. I know so many Milwaukee bands that get larger crowds out of town. It might be due to our population or that people are afraid of a cover charge."
Patrick Davies: "I'm a weekend musician who is lucky enough to recoup gas and some other expenses. So, yes, it's a doable city."
Deone Jahnke: "Not compared to the early-mid '80s, when folks like The Squares actually moved to Milwaukee for the music scene. When the drinking age was raised from 18 to 21 it decimated opportunities for musicians. But, the really bad news is the trend of musicians having to pay for a soundman and P.A. and play without any guarantee or play for no pay as a national band's opening act to gain 'exposure' ... that's caca."
Kent Knapp: "While I find a little cross-genre support, I think there are many great bands and musicians here as well as many clubs and fans to carry them. That being said, after feeling I hit a brick wall in growth, I moved to New Orleans in my early twenties to further my education in the groove."
Matt Liban: "Yes. There is great talent here. We have a certain musical style, empathy and feel that musician's from the coast's do not. The only downside is that you have to leave Milwaukee to get 'noticed.' The other side of the coin is that it's difficult to make a living as a musician in Milwaukee. In my opinion, it's getting more difficult."
Brandon Miller: "Let me get back to you after I play this unpaid gig."
Laurie Siskiewitz: "Milwaukeeans love great music and we have so many wonderful musicians here in our area performing in a variety of musical styles. There is room for all of us. I have been performing solo for many years in and around Milwaukee and love all the kind people I've met through music."
Jeanne Marie Spicuzza: "A very successful musician from Milwaukee once told me, and I've always remembered it, 'Right dream, wrong city.' I've always felt that Milwaukee was a great place to grow up, but lacks industry in the arts."
Jeff Stehr: "The cost of living here is so much lower than many other urban areas plus tons of local talent and venues to play. Milwaukee is a great place for musicians to live and work."
Nic Waldron: "I think Milwaukee's a decent place to start a career as a musician, but until the club owners here stop being such penny-pinching sh*theads looking for any reason to not pay artists, it will remain a decent place to start a career."
Trevor Williams: "Milwaukee is a great place to be a musician. You can play in your hometown and you're a short drive from Chicago."
Jonathan Ziegler: "Hmmm, being a musician is a grind in any city. Milwaukee does seem to be losing at least a couple of venues every year without replacement. Could just be me aging out."
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