Monday, November 28, 2005


Greetings and salutations.

“The music scene in Roanoke just…sucks.”

Among my friends and fellow musicians, that has to be one of the most frequently uttered statements I hear. Their frustrations mounting, they think about launching into some rant, but their voice just…trails off. Overcome by the futility of even discussing the state of live music in the valley, their anger turns to tired desperation. I’m supposing “sucks” is probably the best adjective most of them can come up with at that point – at least that I can repeat here. I have rules to follow, you know.

But to set the record straight, I don’t believe the scene around here to be that bad. Which leads to me to the whole reason I’ve started this blog in the first place. That little derogatory statement needed to be aired out so we could get on with it. Pay close attention, because it is the first and last time I intend to say it in these writings. It’s not true, and regardless of how much complaining I may do in this or future articles, that is not the theme.

What is true – and what needs special attention – is that there are people in this town who believe it to be true, and that sentiment doesn’t help anyone. I find it unfortunate that expressing discontent automatically means someone doesn’t love their city. And while I probably wouldn’t make the best candidate for a Roanoke spokesman, I enjoy where I am and what I do enough to want to see it flourish, and that means giving equal attention to the good and the bad.

But someone will resent that. Someone always does. I'm bound to step on someone's toes, and I'm going to draw criticism for my criticism. Ironic, isn't it? For that reason, I created the Phantom. From behind my blanket of anonymity, though, I will shine a light into the corners of this city so that you may discover many truths…

  • …that there are more than 2 or 3 good bands of a given genre in the area.
  • …that there are more than 2 or 3 good venues to find excellent music.
  • …talented musicians in their 20’s not only exist, but we've many here in town...
  • ...that every show in town isn’t just “21 and up”...

The days of assuming that musicians in Roanoke can’t possibly be as good as those acts you see on television or hear on the radio are over. So rather you are a fan of live music, or a hard-working musician – this is for you. And here’s how it is going to work:

If you’re a musician who is out playing live, or working on a record, or just trying to get your act together, consider yourself warned: I’m going to find you. I’m going to talk about what you’re doing, toss in my own two cents, and I may even give you an opportunity to talk about yourself. I’ll be at shows. Rock shows. Metal shows. Blues. Rap. Jazz. I might even take an issue with the Roanoke Symphony now and then. I’m not going to tell you where I’ll be, but I’ll write about it the following week, so keep your eyes peeled. If you’re the motivated sort, you can use my trendy MySpace account ( to keep me up to date on what you’re doing, and maybe I’ll write about it.

And you music lovers aren't left out either. Even if you're not a musician, there's nothing wrong with passing a little praise this way. I want to know who has impressed you, what you're listening to right now, and who you think might deserve a little bit of the spotlight.

No, I’m not going to be negative for the sake of being negative. Nor am I the peppy sort who thinks that everyone who can put on a guitar is “so gifted”. I’m out there in the trenches, so expect this to be real – positive or otherwise.

So we’re all square, right? Good. This is going to be fun.

- The Phantom