Musical Chairs

Bands are overbooked. Fans are staying home. As the music scene splinters, who's left standing?

In fact, McClellan seems apologetic that he hasn't figured it out already. He's seen it coming for years, he says. "When the Edge went on the air, that was the exclamation point behind the first flares that went up and said, 'This is mainstream. We are a downtown club, we've got to get out of the punk market.' Or at least the punk suburban market," he deadpans. "And we continued to go to the Offsprings, bands like that, without getting off the wagon. We needed change at that time and we didn't change enough.

"And I don't know, change to what?" he asks, not so rhetorically. "The only way you're going to find out what you change to is get involved with the audiences where you're going. And when you've worked for months and months with that audience--dance audiences or band audiences or whatever--then you start finding the solutions: 'You know, people really do like this, and the really smart ones understand when it's shallow and when it's deep, so we oughta be booking this more.' And it doesn't come by picking up industry trade magazines; it's really counting the numbers, watching the bands, talking to people... it's work! It's called work."

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