With the arrival of aPop Records and several venues already opening or in the process of opening, Cherokee Street just might be the newest hotspot destination for music in St. Louis. Today we chat with Melissa Debus, the proprietor of the Cavern, an under-the-radar venue for tunes.
Name of establishment: The Cavern
Who are you, and what is your title within the venue? I'm Melissa Debus, a 23-year-old native Houstonian who is active in the underground and DIY music scene. My loose title would be manager, but I'm a jill-of-all-trades. I also do booking, publicity, organizing and social networking. Basically, I do whatever needs to be done.What is the Cavern exactly? An aural performance space.
What did you like about Cherokee Street as a location? Cherokee symbolizes opportunity, do-it-yourself work ethic and community importance. It's a wonderful hotbed of free-thinkers and creative activists. I personally live on Cherokee, and I consider myself lucky to live amongst really awesome neighbors and friends.
What kind of music are you looking to have at the venue? So far it has been mostly punk and indie rock, although we're open to many styles -- preferably stuff of a non-commercial nature.
What do you hope to bring to the St. Louis music scene? I used to think that St. Louisans just had low self esteem about their music scene, but I also see a lot of ignorance: people who don't know about the bands, the shows or even what a music venue is. Having lived in and visited larger cities, I appreciate that St. Louis' underground and alternative scene is truly that -- underground. But it's so small and underfed that there isn't enough community involvement to keep it thriving at a level where people enjoy being a part of it or want to stay in town.
I've heard and read kids say that local music sucks, but I've never seen any of them at a show. How can you judge something you know nothing about? The residents of St. Louis need to become less apathetic and passive-aggressive to their own music scene. If you aren't happy with what you're hearing, start up your own band or musical outlet. If you know your favorite out-of-town band is going on tour and skipping St. Louis, send them a message that you'd like them to come here and give them the names and emails of a few local places where they can play. MySpace makes it very easy to do this! I hope to stimulate and encourage more people to take part in the St. Louis music scene. And c'mon guys, it's not a big or cool enough place for people to be snobby to each other.
Anything else you want to add? Go to shows! It won't kill you to spend a few bucks here and there to support something you care about, and you get a lot in return.
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