Rumors were circulating that Johnny Dilks was Austin-bound, but J.D. confirmed that he is in Louisiana on a long-term work-related stint. He hasn’t made a decision about what’s after Louisiana, but he sees Austin as higher than the Bay Area on his priority list. Johnny lost a big part of what he was trying to accomplish musically when Dave Gleason of D.G.’s Wasted Days, who was also JD’s guitarist, moved from the Bay Area to Ventura.
Mike Therieau, who played with Gleason in DGWG, got more involved with his own band and East Bay Grease but those bands also came up against the Bay Area “wall” and now he’s moved to Austin. Nik Edwards of the California country roots band The Robber Barons is planning an immediate move to Austin; so immediate that he might be there as you read this.
Two of the Bay Area’s best twanger-songwriters had to give up on the Bay Area. There’ve been welconed all over the world including other parts of the US, but Audrey Auld Mazzera moved to Nashville in 2007 and shitkicker poet A.J. Roach moved to New York this year; both to further their music careers.
Johnny Dilks sees money as a driving force. Seasoned bands want $100/member for playing a club, but it’s a struggle to get half that in the Bay Area. Teal Collins of the Mother Truckers sees audience appreciation as another factor. She found that the Trucker’s Austin audiences show more appreciation and fan loyalty than the Truckers experienced here. Bay Area bands that tour Europe echo this sentiment.
The general reaction in Europe and most of the US is, “Wow, you’re in a band,” where here audiences come to a show, have a good time, then seem to forget about the band as soon as their heads hit their pillows. This is a concern expressed my musicians across the spectrum of Bay Area music, not just the roots bands. Sadly, it comes down to the Bay Area being saturated with music. Pick up a Bay Area weekly and there will be page after page of music. Go to larger California urban areas like Sacramento, San Jose or San Diego and there will be barely a third of the music that’s available here. Bay Area audiences are fortunate to have so much to choose from, but the careers of Bay Area musicians are paying a price for it. It’s hard to be a hero in your own home town.