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Published on March 7th, 2013 | by Robert Franklin


TCHS DECCS Club: Carpentry Rock Shop – 2.28.13

Written, Shot, and Chopped by Robert Franklin

When you hear “Tuba City” what pops into your head? probably not Music.
And let’s be honest, depending on your interaction with TC you’ll probably think of Indians, reservation, desert, brown people, McDonalds, and a whole lotta red dirt.
But you should also keep in mind that Tuba is so much more than that, that most people will think of TC hill, the Navajo Reservation, the flea market, Pizza Edge, Tuba City High School, Greyhills Academy High School, the Western Agency Fair, dinosaur tracks, and for about 8,600 people they will think of “home”
…and a whole lotta red dirt.

However, on 2.28.13, “Tuba City” added Music to those lists.

Now don’t get me wrong, Tuba City has played host to several shows in the past, and I always wondered why nobody put a spotlight on them.
You see, these shows are entirely organized by the music community and it’s a very cool thing to see happen from start to finish.
Because in Tuba there are no ‘easy to book’ venues. Sure you got Legacy Inn but you gotta pay for everything up front and hope to generate enough funds to pay bands and people…
Most of the time bands and shows head south to Flagstaff, but even then… many of the venues are 21+ only, and for the kids in Tuba, that means missing out on a show they want to see.

So, people have to get ‘creative’, meaning Tuba City has seen it’s share of generator powered ‘Tent Shows’ out in the desert.
Bands performing on a milk carton stage only to have the show shut down by the police an hour or so in.

But over the past few years, the kids have found a way to make shows happen by going through school sponsored clubs.
The track team, the Spanish club, carpentry club…, heck, even the 3rd/4th graders have thrown together a show.

But these school sponsored shows come with positives and negatives.

The good:
– Use of a school gym.
– Usually top notch sound equipment.
– Faculty chaperones; provide a safe environment.
– Crowds will usually consist of faculty and students.
– Shows won’t get shut down by the law.
– Concessions!
– Clubs do all the organizing.

The club shows are always for a good cause and kids just want something to do on a boring night.
Also seeing the camaraderie between teachers and students clad in black is pretty cool.

I caught up with one of the DECCS organizers, Benji Singer and asked him a few quick questions about it all:

Where did the idea for this show come from?
The idea of the show came to us one day last semester when we were cleaning up the shop to go on winter break. I guess it gave us something to do for fun and for the DECCS club

Whose idea was it to host it in the carpentry shop? (awesome idea by the way)
It was mostly Mr. Windmiller’s idea. He had platforms built and thought to put them together for a stage, and the shop has great acoustics, and it was a big enough space

Why do you think it’s so hard to put on a show in Tuba City?
For me, the hard part to put on shows here in Tuba City, is finding an area where bands and musicians can perform. Also money issues, its not cheap to do this, we had a lot of help from students and faculty.

How DO you get a show in Tuba City?
To get a show in Tuba you just gotta have your own equipment, area to host a show, and the will and help of others to put on one.
I am currently working on putting together another show on March 16th at the Chapter House.

Hours before the show, your band No Cash Value, had to back out.
Care to explain?

What do you think it would take to get bands to come to Tuba City?
It would take take a lot of courage to ask bands out there, and finding good bands you know the community will enjoy.
You just gotta know what people are into that will drive the people to go out to the shows, dances, or even just gatherings.

I lived in Tuba City through my high school years and it was tough then.
Tuba doesn’t have all the things that a larger city has.
I remember many of my friends getting into drugs and alcohol.
It was also pretty somber to go to class some days and find out someone died… suicide, car accident due to intoxication…

Aside from going through a club sponsored event, putting on a show is difficult and frustrating and for the kids it makes getting away from those bad choices that much more challenging.

But there is a flip side to these school sponsored shows and they bring some not so ‘venue-esque’ elements into play.

The Bad:
– Clubs do all the organizing; this’ll mean either a teacher or a student will be running things… and may not know what they’re doing.
– Crowds will usually consist of faculty and students.
– Faculty chaperones will stop moshing.
– Usually a poorly lit stage using prom lights or no lights.
– Bands are part of a fundraiser and usually don’t get paid (unless you’re 2/3’s of Blackfire)
– Promotion for the event is usually minimal and confined to the school.

Alex Begay, lead guitar/vocals for Tuba band Downplay weighs in:

Is Tuba’s lack of venue frustrating?
Tuba is lacking a lot of things musically. A venue is very frustrating. The lack of variety in music is frustrating and most of it comes from the lack of a decent venue.

It seems I always catch your Tuba shows at a school function, is that the only way to get a show in Tuba City?
Yeah, the school functions seems to be the easiest way to get a big place for a venue and a show. I believe some other places here in town are expensive and throwing a show there is a gamble if you are trying to make some cash out of a show to pay bands (traveling bands).

How are the crowds at these school shows? the general overall vibe?
I hate these school functions. Makes it seem like the show is only for students and staff.
Performing at these schools makes us seem like we are playing an assembly or something, so weird and awkward vibes all around.

I remember seeing a metal cover band at Window Rock High School. It was an assembly and seeing how these rockers were giving their all at the show (power stance, power head bobs) and the students just watching, and a couple bobbing their heads up and down, I thought, “this ain’t what shows are like are they?”
I was young and never been to a concert before.
I was thinking these dudes are acting like they the shit and they look dumb up there; that is how I see myself on stage at the school shows, haha.

As a person wanting to see a show, I want to see a variety of bands from different genres and I want to be able to come out of the show like, “that was a good show; they a good band.”
I also want to come out of a show and say, “that was weird, that band is weird.”
With a venue and a promoter bringing different bands would be nice.

Maybe I am just getting old and tired of seeing or hearing bands that are the fastest, brutalest, heaviest, darnedest, whatever, lol.

Now Tuba has begun to see shows hosted at the Tuba City Chapter House and it will be interesting to see how Tuba City will utilize this space for future shows. Hopefully the kids and community members in Tuba City can make shows happen much more easier and much more accessible to wider crowds and bands.

But you can be sure that with folks like Benji and Alex, it seems like music in TC will continue to happen one way or another.

Photos from the show:

Alex Begay of Downplay tries out some acoustic versions of songs as two TCHS faculty watch.

Ashlan Curley of Downplay.
Tuba City’s premier drummer.
He’ll fill in on drums for any number of bands in and around the Tuba scene.

Ashlan Curley of Downplay.

These guys played some pretty cool Stone Temple Pilots / Pink Floyd covers.

Didn’t catch the name of this guy but he was jammin’ mon.
Slappin’ da bass.

Teachers are cool too.

Video from the show (thrown together super quick but peep that HD button):


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About the Author

Robert Franklin serves as a photographer, writer, website editor, and content creator for 1121South. He enjoys video games, comics, movies, concerts, outdoor stuff, and sitting hunched over at a computer... and World of Warcraft.

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