So, after waiting until the right time, I’m gonna throw my two cents in, now that it seems the news has officially broken about Radio. I read Richard Bouchard‘s detailed perspective and have nothing new to offer – I think he was every bit as accurate as he was fair. I was in one of the bands that Ashley turned away because we weren’t her style. Aimee learned of this and went out of her way to make the room accessible to me and the bands I was a part of – something I always appreciated.
When I started The Interrobang, Aimee immediately offered her support, giving us the last Saturday of every month to work with and grow our presence in a safe and friendly environment. During that time, I got to know the regulars and the staff pretty well – I saw people I liked (Kyle, Jobian, Richard) come and go with varying levels of bitterness. I also saw a show I had put months of work into get double-booked – but when I came in to ask what had happened, I got met with tears of confusion and contrition. Aimee, to Richard’s point, entered this endeavor with a perspective of wanting to please everyone. And while that may have made business a challenge, it’s a perspective that I wish more of our so-called “pillars” of this community had.
In a town populated with shitty fucking asshole promoters who obsess over checkmarks, Aimee was the one who would (again, to Richard’s point) waive the fee to get bands paid. In a town where certain people get off on the “It’s MY club and YOU aren’t in it” attitude, Aimee took the opposite approach (firing Ashley was an early, but powerful example of that). I had more than a few happy nights catching/playing shows there, staying till after 2am when the ashtrays came out from under the bar where the drinks were free and the conversation even freer. It was in these conversations where I’d come to realize that she loved the idea of her club being not a manipulator of what the scene could be – but a true meritocracy – a place where everyone got a chance and those that played well (not necessarily drew well) would come back. What a novel concept.
I can’t (and won’t) defend the errors in execution against these concepts. However, I will say that that I have fairly detailed knowledge of Aimee’s business partners and am resolutely confident that, had she had even one hold their own, the club would be open today. The employees I saw come and go have their gripes, and they are more than entitled to them. I just know that some of what made those gripes exist was her refusal to make the IMMENSE behind-the-scenes problems become visible. Ultimately, this strategy failed as, today, the world learned what a a few of us already knew – Radio won’t open again.
Today Aimee struggles to speak, the stress of this caused her to suffer a stroke and ruined her business and credit. No matter what you feel about how she ran her business, the ideal on which she entered it in the first place was irrefutably solid. To see the consequences of such a beautiful idea and beautiful ideals be so dire is so incredibly sad.
I think that the closing of Radio is an opportunity for all of us to reflect on what we can do to Save our Scene.
Artists – STOP working with parasite promoters. I’m so fucking tempted to name names, but I don’t have to – you know who they are. WORK WITH EACH OTHER. And, for fuck’s sake – BE HONEST. You don’t have to draw…just don’t lie if you can’t. There’s room on every bill for a band that needs to grow if you’re doing it right.
Tastemakers/Journalists – STOP being so fucking cynical and self-righteous and let the scene shape itself. Your job isn’t to MAKE it, your job is to FACILITATE it. You can do so much good but you can suffocate growth more easily than I think you realize.
I don’t mean to steal my boss, Steve Katsos‘, schtick – but you CAN begin again, Boston. Let’s be better. Let’s work together. Let’s stop trying to make Boston INTO something and start maximizing what it is.
We CAN be better. So let’s fucking be better.
– Mick Greenwood