Way back in May I was invited to join a Facebook Group called Theme Music. It was started by Matt Brown, who some of you might know as a member of legendary Atlanta band Uncle Green. The plan was that every week he would pick a theme and then the members of the group would record themselves playing songs that fit the theme. It was addictive and fun, and for me it was a great excuse to finally stop talking about being interested in doing music again and actually get off my ass.
Maybe the most surprising thing was how supportive the group was, everyone was excited to see what everyone else had done, conversations rambled n the comments, and we were all hooked. The group jumped in size suddenly with the invitation of a few west coast friends, who invited their friends, and suddenly the group was spreading nationwide. Anyone who spends much time on the internet will tell you, the larger an online community gets the more fragile the peace becomes, but somehow, the tone remained the same. A group of people on the internet, with playing abilities ranging from complete novices to full-time musicians, all encouraging and supportive, not a troll or self-promoter to be found.
Then something really amazing happened.
People started to collaborate. Most of them across the country, sending files back and forth over the web, piecing together music and video through the ether. The results were just incredible. They were stunning to watch grow in complexity and creativity. Someone suggested off-handedly that maybe we should try to do a show and the idea took off. And suddenly, people were headed to Atlanta.
For three days in October, thirty or so musicians from all over the US converged on Atlanta. Most of us only knew each other online. A theme had been chosen for the show and the performers had pieced together bands beforehand made up of various members. We gathered together that weekend and practiced for the first time, most songs getting just a couple of run-throughs before the room was cleared for the next practice. It was a complicated process and it flowed seamlessly. At night we hung out, drank, sang, talked. Most of these people I’d never met in person, and I can’t begin to tell you how many of them I felt strongly connected to. And then on that Sunday we put on a show, a process even more complicated than the preparation, and yet again it went off without a hitch. More than that, it was magical to be part of.
We called it Themestock. And for the next 50 days or so, I’m going to share it with you on YouTube >>