Cole skinner's closing statement

I've had a great time being a part of the local music scene. We seem to have more than our fair share of reasonable people playing in bands in this town. They realize art and commerce are two different things, and pay depends on draw. And while draw is sometimes a reflection on quality, usually good bands just have to wait a long time until the public catches on. Generally, I've been fortunate to work with folks whose small egos are inversely proportionate to their large talent.

The most frustrating change I've seen in the last few years is how people only go to shows that fit their haircut. This has always been the case to some degree, but it's becoming especially true of musicians. At one time, any given crowd would have a high percentage of local musicians in it, but now they're only showing up at specific, usually national, shows. Not only does this deplete the crowd for locals, it eliminates the important aspect of information sharing and comraderie that makes a local scene strong.

Also I think songwriting in Atlanta is particularly strong, but the cynical jag going on for the last five or six years has to end. There aren't many bands that write plain old stupid fun rock 'n' roll songs anymore — and all this emoting and self-indulgent anthem-writing is getting tiresome.

I'm probably crazy to leave this job, I think I've just reached the point where I'm not as creative putting together bills, and between booking, managing and bartending, I'm worn out. But the Echo Lounge will benefit from a booking agent that's a little more familiar with college rock, and Liz Morris' stint at Album 88 provides her with an excellent background. I've got 100 percent faith that her tenure at the Echo is going to be the club's most musically diverse and profitable in its history.

?-- COLE SKINNER, local musician and outgoing booker for ?the Echo Lounge