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  The Ishmael Community: Questions and Answers

The Question (ID Number 573)...

    I'm surprised by your answer to question #561 in the Q&A (Jamband Culture). Not even a nod to potential, huh? Yes, you are correct that the vast majority of the concert goers do not make a living tribally, but it doesn't mean that many aren't striving for it. Out of the jamband culture has sprouted numerous tribal bands who have undermined the major record labels by starting up their own labels. (These young bands were all merely fans at one point) Tribal bands have undermined "ticket bastard" (as it is often refereed to as) by selling their own tickets on-line. (Something Pearl Jam could never quite do) Numerous tribal production companies have started up around the country. Even the corporate amphitheaters are starting to be ignored as hundreds of independent and band sponsored festivals are springing up around the country. More and more longtime fans are starting to find ways of making a living through production, promotion, and even writing with tribal like websites, magazines, and newsletters. And as you move further away from the bands, you can find numerous fans finding other tribal ways to live and make a living while following their favorite bands. Over the years, I've met "tribes" on the road who supplemented income by vending food and clothing. Once I met a group who made their living customizing VW busses in between tours. I think the point I am trying to make is that like you have said before, we have to get our feet wet. I doubt you believe that "tribal businesses", like you defined in Beyond Civilization are the only way to go. I'm beginning to look at the jamband culture (and others) as hierarchies in which all levels buy into. Those at the bottom of the hierarchy give the least support to the community and in return, get the least back (the excitement of a few shows). Those at the top of the hierarchies (the bands) give the most, and receive the most support in return. In between are various groups offering various levels of support, and receiving various levels of support in return. It is a hierarchy, but a hierarchy without a disgruntled and rebellious underclass.

    ...and the response:

    If the Jamband Culture is leading people (or at least some people) to a tribal (or more tribal) lifestyle, then I'm all applause. The point I have to make is simply that getting together to have a good time is wonderful, but this IN ITSELF doesn't make people a tribe. I have to make it clear that FEELING TRIBAL isn't what I'm talking about, the same way that joining a commune isn't what I'm talking about. I'm constantly having to do this--having to articulate what I'm NOT saying--I'm NOT saying people should become vegans, I'm NOT saying that starvation is the cure for overpopulation, I'm NOT saying we should go back to living in caves, I'm NOT saying that Leavers are Good and Takers are Evil, and so on.


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