October is usually my favorite month. Halloween. Flannel. Fall TV. Between my hair and my complexion, I’m practically a walking, talking pumpkin spice latte. It’s always been a month that makes sense.
This October does not make sense. The month began in the worst possible way as a shooter opened fire on a country music concert in Las Vegas, murdering over 50 people and injuring hundreds more. And if a national tragedy wasn’t enough to process in one day, music icon Tom Petty was rushed to the hospital with cardiac arrest. False reporting pronounced him dead, so we all started the grief process early. Then we found out he was actually still alive and hope briefly returned. Sadly, of course, he eventually passed.
And then there’s the Harvey Weinstein saga, the fires in California, Puerto Rico relief, a nonsensical gun control debate, the continued demobilization of the EPA, the lack of the Mets in the postseason, and so on. The bad news never seems to end these days. In a month like this, it’s tempting to get back into bed and hibernate until Thanksgiving.
But Behind the Setlist is not going to hibernate. October, as tough as it’s been, is not lost.
I believe the work we are doing is more important than ever, especially as the bandwidth of our social consciousness shrinks. Forget what’s trending on Facebook and Twitter. We are trying to make something that lasts. Behind the Setlist is here to promote the arts, report with nuance and integrity, and tell new stories that deserve to be told and will hopefully be retold for many years to come.
This call-to-arms does not mean we lack reverence for the lives that were lost or appreciation for the fine reporting on whatever today’s bad news will be. For the victims of Las Vegas, especially, we move forward in a humble attempt to honor their lives.
We’re working on some incredible articles for October, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention some of our recent stories. Craig Manning examines Taylor Swift Tix, a new partnership between Taylor Swift and Ticketmaster. J.T. Dawson interviews the National Parks and RIVVRS, who toured together but left two very different impressions. James Battaglia discovers virtuoso guitar player Al Joseph and digs deep into his history. I talk with John T. Frazier of Spartan Records about his days at Tooth & Nail and Drive-Thru Records. The Glorious Sons talk to us about what makes a great setlist (and share a few fun tour stories along the way). Finally, if you’re still processing Tom Petty’s passing—Lord knows I am—I recommend stopping by our staff round table.
As Tom Petty said in one of my favorite songs of all time, “It’s time to move on.” Bittersweet as that sounds, I’ll rely on Petty’s strength to help me do just that.
Here’s to processing grief, honoring the fallen and moving forward. October isn’t finished yet.