David Everett Fisher

Absurd.

October 4, 2014 introspection

Losing Slabtown & My Town

For those of you that don’t know, before I was diagnosed with cancer, I was working as a bartender at Slabtown, a rock venue in the Slabtown neighborhood in NW Portland. My plan was to continue to work there after I was healthy enough for light duty, but today, Slabtown has announced that it would be closing after the 31st of October. My future just got even more interesting – scary.

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Why is Slabtown closing? The short answer is finances. I’d not be comfortable pretending to know all the details, but all the employees will be paid and taken care of the best way possible.

Slabtown closing just saddens me because I believed in it. It isn’t just a job that I went to, I believed in what was happening there. I believed in it having all ages shows, small DIY shows and trying to bring in the less than represented music scenes. I believed that what was happening was the very soul of what Portland is all about.

It isn’t.

I have all kinds of reasons I think that, but they are all mean and coming from a very jaded point of view.

I’m saddened that the vision never got to full fruition. You should stop and think about that. You never saw Slabtown come to full fruition, and what would that have meant for Portland’s music scene.

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I’m sadden that a man’s vision was cut short and now has to find a new vision after only seeing one vision for three years. We can only hope that it goes towards something positive and creative and not back to just working for a paycheck.

I’m sad that I had to leave it early because of disease. I’m sad that I couldn’t have come up with some crazy idea to save the place. I’m sad that Portland isn’t as DIY as it thinks it is.

I’ll miss the pinball.

When I started working for Slabtown I knew that it was the right decision. I never once thought I was wasting my time or I should be working somewhere else. I always thought that I was being apart of something big and wonderful and that what my small part was doing something for someone else.

I thought that Slabtown was helping young people take control of their music scene and making it their own instead of waiting for the rock saints of yesterday to make the play and maybe it would be played somewhere where the kids could hear it.

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I don’t think rock and roll is for people my age.  Rock and roll is for kids. Rock and roll should scare people like me. Rock and roll should be where kids escape old people. Slabtown was becoming that. Portland is full of old people pretending to be nineteen for the twentieth year in a row.

I’m not sure what the future holds for me right now, it’s too soon to make any decisions. I’ll be tightening up my resume and hitting the streets just about the same time all the holiday jobs start opening up.

I know that I won’t have a job anywhere as special as the job I had at Slabtown.

Here is to the unknown and the never was.

2 to “Losing Slabtown & My Town”

  1. Delmo Jaggins says...

    I heard ya. Felt the same when Blue Monk sold.

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  2. Tony Zielinski says...

    Slabtown lives again? I dearly hope they can pull in enough contributions to their gofundme campaign to scrape some rent and paychecks together again. Slabtown is the last remaining relic of Portland’s forgotten DIY music scene. I didn’t realize it until I stood in the foyer a few months ago looking at the 1:18 scale diorama replicas of Portland’s dead punk clubs, but Slabtown is the only club doing anything remotely similar to what X-Ray, EJ’s or Satyricon was doing in the 80s and 90s. The scene is not dead, it’s just evolving, but I don’t like it. I haven’t been the best musical patron, isolating to the privacy of my room and sating my musical cravings mainly with my own personal record collection and downloads. I don’t like what the internet and its netizens did to local music and I am just as much to blame as anyone. My problem is that I’ve never been a scenester (term cringe) despite always promising myself that I would get more involved. I have always felt like there was a burgeoning scene here that I wasn’t a part of. The only times I’ve participated is when a friend reached out to me and personally invited me to an event. I have always felt like an outside, which has always kept me from going out of my way to go to an event that I wasn’t somehow personally connected to. If they can revive Slabtown, I promise to be one of those guys that leads instead of follows, attending shows at all costs, even if no one will join me. It’s perfectly normal to go a concert alone, have a beer and enjoy some very loud music and go home, right? If that’s perfectly normal, then I feel slightly ashamed to admit that I’ve only done it once at a sorta big name event and even though I enjoyed myself, there’s some sort of barrier that prevents me from engaging in an intimate, small setting full of strangers. I feel like my circumstance can’t be unique and that I must be some part of some untapped market of fence sitting potential Slabtown frequenters that would make the switch the moment they hear the beck and call, but that it can’t be that easy. There’s a stern responsibility that must be instilled within the patrons, the same responsibility to support public broadcasting and community radio.

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