There was a time, not that long ago, when I thought KEXP’s new home was a frivolous idea. Writing that sentence is pretty much blasphemy in this town, I know.
Not that long ago, my thinking was that KEXP’s home on Dexter wasn’t good enough, but a state-of-the-art facility costing at least $15 million (!) was a swing way too far the other way.
The issue is not that I don’t like KEXP or support it. It has it’s flaws (we all do) but there is nothing else like it in this world. The role is does and can have in music and the future of music is beyond tremendous. I do support KEXP. I love it. KEXP is the reason I got into local Hip-Hop (Street Sounds, specifically).
At the same time, musicians are struggling to sell records and get people out to shows. Those same supporters should help chip in $15 million so KEXP can have a fancy-ass new home? What about the artists?
My reasoning was damn simple: Do you guys need all that square footage, a shower room, a sleeping room and all the other bells and whistles? All this shit is great for those mid to big name touring acts that already have your favor, but how will all of this shine and perks and spending help local other up and coming bands? Will you guys remember the community when you’re sitting in your shiny new palace?
But that was then. Recently, I’ve changed my opinion.
Last week when the KEXP family marched to the new facility I realized that they are the community. KEXP has gotten big and elements of it are suffering from the size and prestige, but these people are as much a part of this city’s musical community as anyone else. And they flippin’ love KEXP. They are falling out of their chairs they are so excited for the new home. They can barely speak they’re so excited.
And it’s not just that, it’s also this: For all of it’s other worts, no one else is doing anything close to what KEXP does for emergent artists. They care. They want musicians to succeed. The support and love they’re poured into local, regional, national and global music communities cannot be questioned. KEXP gives a damn about music, and know they have the home to match their heart and vision.
KEXP’s role in music goes beyond entertainment. It even goes beyond art. To me, the most important thing they stand for is community and Seattle’s is better off now that they have a physical space worthy of their ambition.
So, here’s to KEXP, music, art, community and all of the people who have helped create this beautiful anomaly and keep it running. I love that my son will know KEXP not as a radio station but as a crusader for art, music and community.
Thank you KEXP and here’s to a magnificent 2016 and beyond [clinking beer mugs emoji].