The proliferation of cheap guitars, cheap recording equipment and the spread of the internet give every basement musician the hope they can make it big.

 

Calgary’s Chad Vangaalen spent much of his time recording music and drawing pictures when the indie label Sub Pop discovered and signed him in 2005.  He hasn’t quite hit the big time yet, but he’s making music and performing it for a living.  Needless to say, he is living the basement musician’s dream.

 

He put out two cd’s, filled with backlogged lo-fi home recordings, and released a third, Soft Airplane, on September 9.

 

Vangaalen’s move is not unprecedented.  One of my favorites to make such a move is Daniel Johnston.  Johnston, a true pioneer of do it yourself music, recorded himself with a tape deck in his parent’s basement in West Virginia. 

 

He took his tapes to Austin, Tex., where he distributed them to anyone who would listen.  He snuck his way into an appearance on MTV in the early 1980’s and gained a legion of fans, among them famous musicians such as Kurt Cobain and Sonic Youth.

 

The Devil and Daniel Johnston chronicles his life, music and struggles with manic depression.  His music is achingly beautiful and focuses on his obsession with a girl who doesn’t return his love. Johnston wanted to be John Lennon, but he never made it that big.  Nevertheless, he has thousands of adoring fans and the respect of his musical peers.

 

So keep at it basement musicians.  If you make good music, someone will take notice.

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