Musicians give impressions of the Cape Girardeau music scene

Friday, August 10, 2012
Monstars performs July 7 at the Buckner Brewing Co. (ADAM VOGLER)

Every now and again, local musicians, club owners and show attendees start discussing the "state of the entertainment scene" one by one.

And now, with social media websites like Facebook becoming the main source of communication for some, having these discussions with everyone at the same time is easier.

Recently, SE Live was able to catch local music movers and shakers Timexx Seabaugh (lead singer of successful local rock band Drivin' Rain and promoter at Cape Girardeau club Pitter's), Wes Ables (bassist, songwriter, music mixing technician and budding DJ) and Darren Burgfeld (musician in cover bands Tone Def All-Stars and Shades of Soul, and entertainment aficionado) on Facebook for an honest discussion about local music.

SE Live: How healthy is the Cape Girardeau/Southeast Missouri music scene?

Seabaugh: The Cape music scene is a seasonal thing. You'll find more bands and shows in the fall and winter. This has a little to do with Southeast Missouri State and more to do with other outside activities. But when all the clubs are booking bands, people are going to see shows. You'll find a healthier scene with its strength coming from everyone working to build overall, like in L.A. We have a strip of clubs working together to bring crowds.

Mike Renick, right, Jamed Harris, Bryan West and Zach Priester play June 22 during a performance by the Mike Renick Band at the Rude Dog Pub. (ADAM VOGLER)

Ables: We need more of everything. We need more promotion, more bands, variety, 18+ shows and free shows. We need something to get people out and about in creative ways. Downtown is kind of dead. I was once told while playing in Fill that we needed to play some Grateful Dead. This is a good example of how we are stuck in an extreme comfort zone. A surprise every now and again wouldn't hurt anyone.

Burgfeld: I agree, Wes. It's in a comfort zone that isn't really healthy.

Original music has never sailed here, frankly. People subscribe to what is on the radio a majority of the time, and bands like mine profit on that because they are cover bands. We have a few originals, but we expect no real interest in those other than the faithful that are open and do like original music. I would love to see a venue that promoted, sponsored and implemented an original songwriters' night, or something along that line. It needs to be a place that is accessible to the general public, too, not just another bar looking to draw in drinkers. We are good on watering holes, but we're starving on venues.

SE Live: What can local venues do to help the music community?

Seabaugh: Several things would help. The bars close far too early. If they could stay open till 3 a.m., it would be so much better. Parking is a big pain, too. Both Broadway and the downtown area need more parking. It can sometimes take 15 minutes or more to find a spot, and it could be blocks from where you want to go.

Shades of Soul performs May 12 at the Pink Galleon in Cape Girardeau. (ADAM VOGLER)

Ables: Contact local press about upcoming shows. Contact booked bands and ask them to help promote. Offer sites to visit to preview bands that have music online.

Have photographers at every show and document the happenings online with a quick turnaround. Be open to having different bands play often, have variety everywhere; maybe even multigenre shows. Get metal bands, cover bands, folk bands, jam bands all at once, and bring people together while opening some minds.

Burgfeld: Marketing is key, but no one has the budget for it, and no one bothers to create said budget. They either expect the bands to handle all of that, or they just enjoy the comfort zone of a regular crowd. I have to honestly ask myself how the entire dynamic will change once we have the casino live. I know it's not direct competition, but I feel like the downtown entertainment venues will have to spark some new ideas to attract people who will quickly become enamored with our shiny new casino. And if they don't, and rest on their laurels expecting the same old crowd every weekend, they might find themselves suddenly dusted.

They can also become actively involved in the scene itself. I can't count how many times I've had a bar owner ask me about a band they just booked because they have no idea if they suck. That's just scary, hiring entertainment blindly.

SE Live: So, what are the strengths of our local music scene?

Seabaugh: Cape is in a nice spot to get some good bands. Halfway between St. Louis and Memphis, Cape is in a great spot for many road acts to stop. The biggest strength is the university and the influx of new students each year from all over the world. That's brand new faces you get each season. I've played shows in Texas and met former Southeast students who have seen me perform here. And I like that all the clubs have their own feel and style. I can't say any two bars in Cape are alike.

Ables: Basically, one genre is dominating the entire scene. I say strength because it is and people show up. Again, it falls into the lack of variety, but at least it's something vamping a once silent and dead scene. And online presence of said scene is coming back because of SE Live. Hopefully, this leads to a variety of genres coming up. When Cape Girardeau bar The Camp died several years ago, so did a scene. It's now coming back slowly but surely thanks to bars like Pitter's and the Bloom Heavy folks.


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