There are a couple good bets in Grand Forks tonight if you’re looking for some live music:
- An evening of live music at TJ’s Sports Bar, located at 1210 S. Washington St. The lineup is packed with local artists: Mike Mulligan & the Steam Shovels, Jamie Mulligan, Nathan Cariveau and Kelsey Sargent. It’s a 21+ show with a $4 cover charge – that’s only $1 per band! Hard to beat a price like that. The music starts at 9 p.m. and goes until 1 a.m.
- Nevermind, a Nirvana tribute band based in Chicago, is performing at the Long Haul Saloon tonight with music starting around 10 p.m. That is also a 21+ only show, with a $10 cover charge.
I wrote a preview of Nevermind for Friday’s Herald, which you can check out online here. I spoke to guitarist and lead singer J. Veldman, a 34-year-old who became a Nirvana fan as soon as he heard "Nevermind" and who played original music in a band since the early 1990s. He said his band always would play the occasional Nirvana cover, usually when their original material wasn’t doing much for the crowd. But after playing a full set of Nirvana tunes at a 2005 Halloween show, the crowd reaction was pretty good and a manager talked them into just switching to a full-time tribute band. It has worked out well for the musicians financially – the switch lets them tour all over the country, as well as Canada and Mexico, and keeps them busy. But Veldman also talked a lot about how it is kind of sad to have to be a tribute band in order to make a career of it, and he seemed to miss playing his own material.
Here’s a portion of my story where I talked about this:
It can seem like Halloween every night to dress up as other people, he said, which “for two hours is great, but for the rest of it, it’s just misery.” “That can be fun, but at the same time, I’m a little bit bitter that I had to resort to do this to be a working musician,” he said.
The job, especially being on the road for so much of the year, has taken its toll on Veldman’s personal life. He had to break off his engagement because he was on the road so much and it just wasn’t going to work out, he said. Veldman said the realities of being in a tribute band have left him somewhat jaded about the music industry, and the constant touring has worn him down. “I could keep doing this for another five years if I wanted to, but it just feels like I’m not going anywhere,” he said. “It just really breaks my heart to see all this time kind of slip by.”
I am always glad when a person I’m interviewing is honest and upfront, but it was sad to hear him describe how it felt to be in this situation. There are some good things about being in his band – the three-piece Nevermind is now made up of Veldman and his two younger brothers, and they all seem to get along pretty well. "At the same time, we see a lot of great things along the road," he said. "I really enjoyed (the Pacific Northwest) part of the tour. It was just such a great thing to see the rest of the planet in a van." The future of Nevermind is kind of up in the air – Veldman said he wanted to spend some time on his personal life after this tour, but they already have offers to do bigger tours in Canada and Mexico that could happen in 2010. I hope everything works out well for him, and maybe he could even get back to playing his own material at some point soon.
You can view a video of Nevermind performing "All Apologies" below: