Mar 26, 2018

What Do New Coke, KENNA and My Old Band Fingertight Have In Common?

I was bopping around on Youtube last night and my feed suggested video of a guy doing a drum cover of my favorite Kenna song.  You probably dont know who Kenna is and this post is sort of the whole explanation of why that is.  In the related videos was a lecture by Malcolm Gladwell titled "The KENNA problem" and since I'm a fan of Malcolm's podcast Revisionist History and it was about Kenna, of course I clicked it.  It's  kind of a long video of a guy with a weird afro giving a lecture in 2003 but if you take a few minutes to watch it explains why my band Fingertight and I'm sure countless other cool bands and artists never went any further than they did.   Furthermore, if you didn't know me or my blog you would probably have never heard of my old band either... and for the same reasons you've never heard of Kenna.   This video talks about what happened.  What Gladwell describes happening to Kenna happened to my band. 



I remember seeing the Kenna video he mentions on MTV2 while we were recording the demo that got us our record deal. We all fell in love with it and kept trying to find out more about this mysterious artist known only as Kenna. We didnt know if it was a guy or a band. The video was a very cool animated short film that seemed to fit the song perfectly.  Even with some of the industry connections we had at the time, we couldn't  find anything because he never got a deal or never made a record.  After we were signed to Sony music/Columbia Records we did a showcase with the other artists on Sony at the time they were getting ready to release. as it turns out Fingertight and Kenna just so happened to be on the same label at the same time and to our surprise one of the other artists performing that night was Kenna.  It was insane to us that this guy with such an awesome song and a video on MTV2 was essentially at the same level as us a whole year and a half later.  As history would show, both our record and the amazing Kenna record never made it commercially.  We never got the mainstream push we'd expected after all the praise from within the industry. One story I've told before was how we literally had the DJ's and staff of several radio stations loving us. They wore our t-shirts. They would all go to our shows in their respective cities only to find out that we they cant play us on their stations because we did not pass the stupid blind taste test, the market testing Malcolm talks about in this Youtube video. That is why we never got the official push to national radio playlists. It was very frustrating. I never really understood fully why our song seemed to fizzle out after such admiration from people who's job it is to judge what music is good or not but this pretty much explains it.  Just like Coka cola, people were only give a sip of Kenna and my old band.  What Kenna and Fingertight had is common was that we were both hard to classify in a nice little box.   We wanted to be diverse and unique. We saw that as a strength but in a plastic instant gratification world, it ended up being our's and Kenna's downfall.  With just a quick sip no one was ever allowed to appreciate the full complexities of our music.  
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