Online organizing: Music Scene and Be Seen launches a new website in an effort to unify supporters of original live music

Published February 17, 2010

If you turn your FM dial to WSLR 96.5 from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday afternoons you will hear a pair of radio personalities that have become Sarasota’s biggest voices against unfair noise regulations. Terry “T-Bone” Rhodes and his sidekick, Chris “Quazi” Young, invite guests onto their community radio show, Music Scene and Be Seen, each week to listen to some local original music and hammer on the area noise ordinances, even more so recently with guests from the upcoming Noise Ordinance CD. “Quaz and I are the rebels of the radio station,” says Rhodes. “They say, ‘You’re talking about the noise ordinance again?’ And we say, ‘Yeah, it’s our pet peeve.’”

While the radio show has been running for nine months, Rhodes says the idea came much sooner. He had developed a business plan in 2006 that included both radio and TV shows along with a website, all focusing on the Suncoast original music scene and the venues that support it. “Way back then I was talking about the noise ordinance,” he says. “When I got here I was so disappointed that people accepted the same cover crap. I was expecting this vibrant original scene.”

To help in this effort, Rhodes recently launched the second leg of his business plan: sarasotamusicandbars.com. The site allows local bands and bars to create user pages, making it easier to connect. Rhodes wants this website to be the hive of Suncoast music activity. “It’s really designed to be a central hub for all things music,” he says, “and we’re addressing the issue that is most important to the people that are on there. It’s more of a local MySpace. I want all the artists around town to sign up and put their bios and everything on there and we’ll help promote them. It should be busy with news. If we want this to be a music city we have to be excited about it. … The Noise Ordinance CD already has that happening. That momentum has to be kept up.”

Rhodes, a musician and filmmaker, has been involved with a number of city projects since moving to Sarasota nine years ago. As a volunteer for Creative Clusters, a series of groups that brainstorm potential businesses, he realized that noise restrictions affect more than just music. “I was with the film group because they wanted Sarasota to become a film destination,” he says, “but my biggest point back then was the noise ordinance. How do you expect to bring in a production company from New York or L.A. and have nothing for them to do at night? So it’s tied into everything as far as being a progressive town and increasing our tourism.”

Rhodes says ultimately the goal is for musicians, venues and residents to come to an understanding, but the local music scene must first unite. “I’m a collaborator,” he says. “We want to get together, just to corral this thing. Otherwise we’re just a bunch of sheep running around out there. A music scene is exactly that — you have to create a scene. … If we get together we can be more powerful. We’re talking about Sarasota, but there’s a big world out there. It’s like WSLR’s slogan: Act locally, think globally.”

As a lifelong musician who has always fought for original music, Rhodes feels the current local original scene is impressive, and the movement brewing against noise regulations is just what Sarasota needs. “I love to sing but my passion is helping out these kids so we can open up the door a little bit,” he says. “I’m switching from the guy on the mic to being more of a mentor for all these guys that have all this talent. … It would be so great to see some bands go national out of this scene right now. It’s gonna happen. No doubt about it. I’m trying to guide them.”

Photo courtesy Terry “T-Bone” Rhodes

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