by Ben Shine
Local Mix Masters is a series where, occasionally, I'll introduce people who are mixing it up, making stuff happen and holding down the decks in music around Indy - and, in a nod to one of my favorite posts, I'll invite them to share their top three life-changing albums. Next up, Dave Lindquist, music/arts journalist for the Indianapolis Star, champion of the Indianapolis music community, and "Making pop culture a guilt-free pleasure" all over the social media world.
Dave Lindquist is the standard bearer of local music journalism. For 15 years, he's been covering important local music happenings for the Indianapolis Star, from documenting local upstarts like Lilly and Madeline to covering major touring acts, such as Jason Aldean. He's a tirelessly devoted concert-goer, music enthusiast, and an engaged and valuable member of the local music community.
just write about the local music scene, he chooses to be in it --from the now-defunct
IndianapolisMusic.net community to the emerging network he's building
with his own group on Google+, Indianapolis
Music. Lately his job has been expanding his coverage, and now Dave writes
regularly about local visual arts too.
Dave's seen a lot in his time covering music in Indy and, because of his up close and personal relationship with it over the past 15 years, I thought he'd have some unique perspectives on who we are, where we've been and where we're going as a creative community.
You've been covering music in this town for 15 years. You've seen the ebb and flow of a local music scene pretty up close. Can you talk about the biggest changes you've seen over the years and where you think we are now?
Dave: Across 15 years, I've learned that high-quality music finds an audience -- regardless of how much we fret about "the state of the scene." But there's something to be said for artists waking up to each other before expecting the public to pay attention.
When I came to Indianapolis, I noticed great music in a variety of styles but with a significant disconnect between the acts. Thanks to IndianapolisMusic.net (2001-2011), musicians and fans had an online clearinghouse for news and views. No worthwhile project fell through the cracks. But the rise of Facebook and Twitter brought back an every-act-for-itself mentality. When musicians promote via these sites and Bandcamp, I see information silos rather than connectivity.
Geographically, the live-music migration from Broad Ripple to Fountain Square has been a big deal. I love both cultural districts. Fountain Square deserves its buzz, but I also think it's possible for Broad Ripple to bounce back.
What are a few words you would use to describe the state of Indianapolis music today?
Dave: "Increasingly bold," "refreshingly unjaded" and "unfortunately isolated."
What's missing do you think? Or, what do you think Indy needs to make that next step?
Dave: I go back to the old "bar-entry age" issue. If 18-, 19- and 20-year-old college students were allowed to check out shows in bars (with wristbands designating who can purchase alcohol and who can't), more people would be introduced to the city's music community and more touring bands would visit. Apart from an argument that's based solely on music, this is a brain-drain issue. College students who are shut out of shows for most of their time in Indianapolis may think, why stay?
What is your role as a journalist to the local community or scene?
Dave: Until Indianapolis rivals Nashville as a city where live music pours out of every window and door, I believe it's my role to point out the good of what's out there.
Once an artist achieves a certain level of success, I'm comfortable in making a harsh critique. I've ripped albums by Marmoset and the Why Store, and I've given mixed reviews to the Slurs and Mysteries of Life. But I'm not sure that improved the health of the music community.
It would be great if more Indianapolis musicians requested coverage in The Star.
What are a few particular favorite shows or moments in Indy that you got to cover over the years?
Dave: (1) The Slurs blowing the roof off the Patio during the 2002 Battle of the Bands series. (2) The Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band playing the "Indy MP3 Project" release party at Birdy's in 2004 (3) The Avett Brothers playing the porch at the Monkey's Tale to kick off the Midwest Music Summit in 2005. (4) Margot & the Nuclear So and So's promoting the national release of "The Dust of Retreat" at the Vogue in 2006.
Dave's top three life-changing albums:
Fugazi - 13 Songs
"This compilation of early EPs "Fugazi" and "Margin Walker" showed that music could be inventive, incendiary and connect with a large audience without being part of the "industry.""
Wilco - Being There
"As an examination of Jeff Tweedy's torrid lifelong affair with rock 'n' roll, "Being There" is a user's manual for musicians and fans alike."
Outkast - Stankonia
"When hip-hop's decade dawned, Andre Benjamin and Antwan Patton delivered a masterpiece centered on sexuality and social conscience. "B.O.B." and "Ms. Jackson" are twin-tower singles."