Music, Covid, La Dezz

What does it mean to be a fan of Tejano Music right now? Hell what does it mean to be a fan of any music, artist or event right now? I think it means truly trying to comprehend what your favorite Artist, Venue or Genre is enduring, in the time of Covid 19.  

Let me preface what I'm about to write, with this is my opinion, and my opinion only. It is however one based in fact, from personal experience and expertise. Also for those of you that won't or don't recognize the name accompanying this, I will not spend any time establishing who I am but for those that know me, they also know my character and reputation and that alone should be enough to be allowed to participate here but suffice to say I speak with knowledge and experience when it comes to the business of both the music and venue industry.  

Back to my opinion: I watched MarQell’s video the other day and I want you all to know that everything he expressed on the recording process and cost for every song produced is accurate for Tejano music in general but also mainstream just even more of a fiscal undertaking. He also educated all to the struggle of musicians that perform and tour as a main source of income to a high degree of accuracy. I would expand upon that, by telling you that it’s worse. There is an old adage of what’s the difference between a musician and a large pizza? A large pizza can feed a family of four. Funny but also sadly accurate to an extent unless you are eating one of the $5 dollar ones and any that is truly hungry, well then you know one of the four, will still be hungry after. 

He also talked about the plight and struggles of songwriters with the advent of the internet and cloud based services for listening to music. I promise that is also true and even worse for those so talented and devoted to their craft, that they burn their heart and soul into the music that becomes the songs we call our favorites, the hits, the music we share our lives through, the soundtracks of our memories.  

Yes its important you understand that’s what we are talking about, the music that motivates us, that brings back memories of loved ones gone, husbands and wives, good relationships and ones that failed and so much more.  

I believe that MarQell and myself are simply trying to make the case for, if you're going to call yourself a fan, if you are going to play your favorite artist's music or in any way shape or form say you support them, well here is your chance to truly demonstrate that commitment. In the Anglo world, there is such a thing as being a patron of the arts, that is someone who has or is willing to sacrifice a great deal of financial resources in order to produce, subsidize or aid in an Artist endeavors for a good cause.  Helping the world of Tejano Musicians and Songwriters maintain their journey seems like a genuine reason to be a patron, and not just a fan if it can be afforded.  

Right now at this very moment you have an opportunity to be more than a fan, you can also be an advocate of change, and if you truly believe in helping these individuals through what the world is currently throwing at our music and our culture, then you can also become an employer, a true patron right now. 

Yes, for less than the price of your favorite latte or espresso you can help musicians and songwriters by simply paying for the song and not stealing it by searching it on YouTube or any other service that gives them a 30th of a penny for the joy they bring to your hearts or the music to your ears, as the old saying states. Our Hispanic, Mexican or Tejano culture has many things to be proud of but being truly supportive without the trash talking or back stabbing isn't one of them, and while you might think I am speaking about the musicians, I am not. I am talking about the fans that say "I got charged x amount of dollars for cover to see such and such band" or "I paid 10 dollars for a drink" at this club or that club.... that is the person that won’t buy these songs based on the platform MarQell has set up. That is someone who can’t see their way to being a reciprocal fan.  

That person that doesn't understand for anyone to hire the band to come play, has to pay rent, employees, sales tax, cover inventory cost, and most importantly liability insurance for all the crybabies that get loud, want to fight, or worse won't spend money on a rideshare but want to file a lawsuit over the fact that they somehow believe that the band, the venue and whoever should have stopped them from being an idiot and not let them act a fool because they made a mistake. My apologies, I digress. 

My point to all that, is don’t talk about it, be about it. This pandemic isn't leaving anytime soon and the effect it will have on the economy of live music and to those responsible for creating it will be devastating or worse it could end an aspiring musician or songwriter’s career before it even gets started.  

For those that want to make things great again or for those that hate that statement, do your part and make things great for someone that created the song you made your three kids too, that you love so much and now every time you play it either makes you cry or brings tears of joy to your face. Or worse, it reminds you of the ex and the smile it provides leaves the current spouse looking at you while you read this with suspicious eyes. 

Don't act, we play music when someone leaves us, we play songs at our weddings and divorce parties. We play music at our baptisms, Quince's and Funerals. We play music while we are eating tamales and then riding the stationary bike to forget the tamales or breaking our ankles on a treadmill.  Music supports our everyday lives, so…. Support it, support the artist and musicians now. 

So let me ask it again, will you support and buy the song for the price being asked for? With the way MarQell is going to offer it, the musicians will make a little bit of money and the songwriters will get paid better than even what they did in the 90's for an air play.  

Agree with me or not, no one can say that our music isn't tied to our culture, that our souls aren't alive when we hear the words un grito raza, an accordion riff coming from our favorite tune or Jay Perez 164th rendition of Me and Mrs Jones, right after the murder mix just ended (I love that f!@#ing song and Jay Perez) or one of the many artist that have mimicked everyone from David Lee to Ram or Emilo, that hits hard. Don't tell me you don't remember your first road trip into San Antonio and you finally could receive the KXTN signal and you wanted someone to turn that s!@# up. That’s the memory I know anyone that has loved Tejano can relate to. That’s the memory that I need you to associate with this and every purchase you make on this platform because these, our beloved Tejano musicians need right now.  

In the end do what’s right, if you can afford a coffee that costs $6.00 at Dutch bros, Starbucks or cochino Dunking Doughnuts, then you can afford to pay for the music. And then don't give it away for free to your cheap brother, who doesn't even buy his own cigarettes at age 45 because he smokes yours or the brother in law, that says he loves Tejano but every time he shows up for the BBQ he won't even bring a 30 pack of Budlight but only brings a 6 of white claw for his sister, yeagh f that guy, make him buy his own music, but not because he won't go in on some Budlight but because he brought white claw, that's sad in and of itself... 

Buy the song, pay the fee and celebrate that moment you became an employer, a patron of the arts, do it for the bands you love for less than a bottle of good tequila, or a dozen of tamales from the lady in the mall parking lot or the price HEB charges for anything with just the colors of Fiesta on it. 


Mark Grado