2017-08-17 / Viewpoint

Flint's rich music tradition is alive, well

Editor’s note: We’re pleased to introduce a new voice to our readers this week – John “JD” Dombrowski will write regularly for the View Newspapers on the topics of local bands and the local music scene. We say “new voice” knowing that JD’s voice is familiar to many readers through his many connections with the Flint and Genesee community as a local business owner, Burton Chamber of Commerce Chairman, promoter and through his own bands. Welcome, JD. The mic is yours.

When I was a young man living in Flint in the 1980s, socializing looked much different. Things like the internet and cellular phones were largely unheard of, reserved for the likes of Al Gore and James Bond. For meaningful social interaction we were forced to actually go places and do things; it was horrible!

But as a music lover, one of the benefits of these comparatively limited entertainment options was that I could go out almost any night of the week and find a variety of music being performed, in most cases very well. Perhaps it’s the fond memories of those less distracted times when music flourished that causes the general public’s somewhat blasé attitude about area music today.

As both a musician and a music fan, I’m deeply disappointed when I hear the stock complaints A) there’s no good bands anymore!, and B) There’s no music scene in (insert your town)! It’s ironic; thanks to social media and digital distribution, it has never been this easy for bands to reach and cultivate a fan base. Conversely, it’s never been harder to coax people away from their homes and electronic devices into traditional public gathering places for fun and fellowship. There is a lot of great music happening, it’s just buried under the avalanche of other entertainment options that has accompanied the proliferation of the internet. For instance; the music world is all abuzz about the brash, Zep-inflected groove rock of Frankenmuth’s own Greta Van Fleet, and with good reason. But they didn’t just drop from the sky three months ago. It takes a lot of work to make something that cool, familiar and fresh at the same time, and they have been after it since they formed five years ago. How is it that the rest of the world caught onto them before most of the home crowd? The point being, there are excellent locally-based musicians waiting to be experienced, encouraged and patronized within a twenty minute drive for most people reading this. If you want a scene, be a part of it. The internet will still be there when you get home. And face it, no one was ever asked to dance while alone, watching cat videos…

VIDEO OF THE MONTH: Check out the aforementioned Greta Van Fleet’s “Highway Tune” on YouTube: https:// youtu.be/aJg4OJxp-co.

LOCAL ARTISTS – WHERE TO FIND THEM: Check out thelocalscream.com. Features nothing but made-in Michigan artists of all styles. On Facebook, Dustin Swerdan passionately promotes local original artists; @711EntertainmentFlint is his address.

Flint native John “JD” Dombrowski is a leader in the local business community and an entertainer. He is good looking, and knows more about rock music than you do.

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