Why do artists lose steam? Most musicians want to continually develop their skills and have their music appreciated, but how do they keep things going? It’s like the moment you cut a fresh apple and it starts to brown at the edges. If it’s not fresh, it’s just not that appealing.
Some of the most revered musicians are ones who had a short time to give their light to us. People like Morrison, Joplin and Cobain have songs that seem to transcend time, yet none of them were in the spotlight for long. We enjoyed the fruit of their creativity when it was ripely picked. Given more time, would they have spoiled like so many others? Did they dodge the proverbial career downfall bullet endless performers take in the chest? Often bands have a moment of peak interest that eventually gets lost. Why isn’t there more longevity overall? Even the one-hit-wonders don’t expect a solo hit to be the peak of their existence. They have to look back at some point and wonder, “Why couldn’t we keep people interested?” So the question becomes: How do you sustain and grow what you do? Downfalls mainly stem from two things — a loss of creativity to foster new and engaging material, or fans’ general disinterest over time.
Then there are those who know how to keep it going. Roz Raskin & The Rice Cakes have been doing it in the rock scene for a long time now. Her kickstarter this winter was fulfilled by the fans in a matter of days — a speed that doesn’t normally occur. When asked how she continues to have growth and steady support from her fan base Roz said, “Keeping things interesting for ourselves, I think, helps to keep our audience interested. Change is good and helps us to grow as people and musicians.” Her fans appreciate her unique take on music, and the strength and direction they deliver in a live performance. The Rice Cakes’ drive to keep it interesting for themselves and their fans allows for a catchy sound that has progressed over time.
Now we all like an energy that keeps it going. Any Creek Freaks out there? Max Creek has solidified themselves over four decades in an ever-changing music industry. I’m confident to say that if you’ve missed a Max Creek show, a part of your brain hasn’t been activated yet. They’ve proven you can keep it fresh, retain and grow fans, and find success without selling out. They also seem to really enjoy themselves, and their crowd deeply connects with that. Their feel-good music creates contagious dancing among the crowd, and was in full effect for their April 26 show at The Met. What’s their secret? The best analogy I can come up with is that they planted a tree. They kept it local and natural. Then with the right conditions, attention and care, they were able to give their fans continuous fruit. They sustained themselves, and they shared it, too. Want your band to endure? Keep your music and performance fresh, be committed to the details, and appreciate and connect with your fans. Most of all, play because you love it. Plant a music tree for the people; the fruit it bears will be enjoyed for years to come.