Show #34 and #35: Chicago, Ill.
As a youth, I marveled at my mother's battered vinyl collection. "Mother," I said, "Regard these culturally significant sounds that you have collected in vinyl format! Here—the music of Black Sabbath! And this one—Led Zeppelin IV! How can you leave these precious commodities to mold in our basement?"
"You will not always fetishize these commodities so," my mother predicted.
"And why not?" I responded.
"You will move on from this trite commodity fetishization and enter an 'anti-document' phase," my mother warned. "Do not doubt that your aesthetics will evolve!"
Though the age of digital downloading offers a commodity-free alternative to Edison's wax cylinder, I do not necessarily endorse digital downloading. However, music-related commodities take up too much room in my house and mind. My mother was right—I have entered an "anti-document" phase.
"Here is the documentation of our music on CD or vinyl," a friendly representative of a band I have performed with might say after a show.
"Thanks," I will say, and accept the document. My true reaction is harder to articulate in a loud nightclub environment. "I like your band," I want to say. "However, you must not hold it against me if I leave this document of your music in a gas station. I support and respect your music, but don't need any more music-related commodities in my house and mind. I encourage you to visit Washington, D.C. and perform live. I would attend your performance and house you and feed you. However, I am in an 'anti-document' phase, as my mother predicted. As a result, I spurn your document."
I write about music-related commodities because I played the WLUW Record Fair in Chicago this week. This fair benefits the community-minded Chicago station WLUW 88.7 FM, a noble broadcast endeavor. The show was a fine one, held in a beautiful fieldhouse on a sunny Sunday afternoon. My other Chicago show at the Empty Bottle was 21+, and I was happy to play an alcohol-free, all-ages alternative for any youth who might have heard about my band on MySpace or YouTube. I hear that youth often visit these URLs.
However, as I performed, I noticed that some shoppers were paying more attention to music-related commodities offered for sale than to my band. Their indifference did not offend me. Perhaps these shoppers are jazz enthusiasts, I thought. I do not play jazz. Then, I identified the cause of the shoppers' distracton: they were fawning over music-related commodities!
The hypnotizing power of these commodities is incredible, I thought. Yet, these commodities are only simulacra—they are not the music itself. Still, these shoppers prefer their precious simulacra to the real thing! I finished the show in a state of wonder. Then, afterwards, I sold a few of my own commodities to waiting customers.
"This EP has six songs," I said to one. "This 10-inch record is very old, but very good," I said to another. Before loading out of the fieldhouse, I calculated my profits, grinning madly like Scrooge McDuck swimming in a pool of golden coins.