I’ve written two columns directly dealing the “only in the AV” perspective — the timeless notion that everything is somehow greener on the other side.
Just as it’s easy to glance at someone else’s life and think they reside on easy street, it’s even easier to do so, where we reside. Recently, I’ve been discussing our local culture with various folks. In my own realm, it’s always been about creating more opportunities for local music and its musicians. However, it’s not just about me satisfying my own endeavors or pleasing just my peers. The true course for change will happen through the young people that inhabit this valley.
When I was a teenager, I wasn’t much for partying — partially from shyness, but mainly the lack of it in my social circle. We were the geeky guitar kids obsessed with the newest metal songs we could find. My week revolved around band practice (and still does) like most kids look forward to the Friday night party. It wasn’t until my college years, that I started to attend more parties.
One night, with a couple cocktails coursing through me, it hit me in a flash ... If I didn’t have the same circle, it would be so easy to end up on the wrong path. Not an after-school special, but enough to mask who I really was, to keep me from getting serious about my goals until it was too late.
When I wasn’t practicing on personal time or with the band, many nights were spent in the passenger seat of my best friend’s suped-up Mitsubishi, making trips to various fast food restaurants, friend’s houses or to wander aimlessly around the mall. Once in a while, we’d treat ourselves to the occasional burnout on an empty road, in the dead of night.
If it wasn’t for music, I would have left the Antelope Valley a long time ago. End of story. Without music, I wouldn’t have attended Antelope Valley College. I wouldn’t have made the friends I currently have. I wouldn’t have cut my teeth here. No deep roots. There would be no attachment to this place other than by accident of birth.
It is precisely because of my passion for local music and art that I love this place. If you treat music like a craft, you are constantly expanding and exploring on how to improve what you do, constantly looking for music you haven’t heard and new ideas. Complacency in the modern musician does not bode well for keeping food on the table.
This mindset eventually crosses over into ordinary life, with constant exploration and examination. Eventually, you begin to look at your environment in the same way. What I have always loved and seen in the Antelope Valley is the potential for change. Imagine if our collective conscious was as open as our Valley was. No, I don’t just mean for business and commerce. I mean a community where we cultivate young talent instead of pretending we know what they want.
In my observation, the first step to eliminating the cynicism in young people, from teenagers to people in their late 20s, is truly understand why it’s taking place.
The forces for change in this Valley, for our Valley’s self preservation, can’t fix what is wrong until we go to the source. It will not be easy. It will take a generation to completely fix it.
Change is coming whether we like it or not. People will eventually get tired of paying two grand a month to live in a shoebox and will be looking for alternative options close to LA.
We can either be prepared for it or watch the tail lights of the bus pull away as we chase after it.
Stop the bus. Let the young folk on.