Canadian Musician - March / April 2018 - Page 9

FIRST TAKE Let's Get It Together By Mark "The Drifter" Desloges Ed.’s note: I’ve been wrestling with how to tackle this timely and important sub- ject for weeks, and when I was close to throwing my hands in the air, my good friend Mark reached out ask ing if I’d be interesting in publishing something like what you’re about to read. Mark has spent his entire adult life either touring or working with touring productions as an audio, lighting, and rigging techni- cian. Mark now owns Drifter Rigging and has toured with a who’s who of Canadian and international stars. He’s currently out as a lighting technician with Christie Lites on Imagine Dragons’ Evolve World Tour and I’m proud to call him a friend. – Andrew T he other shoe had to drop… Over the past year, there have been some shock ing revelations about sexual miscon- duct, abuse, and much worse in the film industry – crushing tales of people abusing their power in various capacities and asserting themselves over others. W W W. C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N . CO M I have been sitting on the sidelines waiting for the moment that our industry would be forced to face its own demons. I would love to think that, as an industry, we were better than our Hollywood coun- terparts. I would love to be able to tell you that musicians, road crew, and managers were better than this. But we’re not. A shadow has been hanging over our heads, and I have been waiting to see when we’d collectively look up. Last week, it finally happened. In a perhaps not-so-shocking series of events, music fans across Canada have been sharing their stories of sexual mis- conduct and abuse – tales of band rooms, tour busses, after parties, and underage or unconsenting people being put in situa- tions they shouldn’t be. Again, I want to tell you that as an industry we are above this; however, it’s clearer than ever that we are not. But we can be. The time has come for us in the music industry to face our demons. It’s time to abandon the clichéd crutch of “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” and trade it for some- thing with more meaning – something that isn’t potentially degrading and hurt- ful to us or those who have supported our entire existence: our fans. When these scandals broke in the film industry, there was a swift backlash. Pro- ducers were sued, actors were fired, and projects were cancelled. While I firmly be- lieve that those who cause harm should be held accountable for their actions, I am not advocating for an open witchhunt. That is not why I am taking a break from my cur- rent tour to write this from my hotel room. I am writing with the hope that we, united as an industry, can get our shit to- gether. We need to atone for our actions and our blind eyes, and we need to build an environment in which we and our fans can engage with each other free of fear. We are complicit. Collectively, we have not done enough to weed out this behaviour. We have not spoken loud enough about what we’ve seen. We have not properly educated ourselves, or the people coming up behind us. This doesn’t necessarily need anger or shame, though they may be appropriate in some cases. Largely, this requires love, compassion, and understanding – for those suffering now, and to prevent others from having to suffer in the future. 2018 will be a year in which those who have grabbed asses, made lewd comments, or flat-out abused others will be called out, but it should also be a year in which art- ists, the professionals surrounding them, and their patrons educate themselves and each other on what it truly means to love and respect one another as human beings. If I can leave you with one last thing to think about, let it be this: as humans, we live in moments, and it’s vital to remem- ber that while moments pass quickly, they have the power to change and shape lives. Something said or done in a moment can affect a life forever. So I want all of us to reflect. Our choices may seem to pass in an instant to us, but because of the status and perception that comes with working in this highly- visible and sometimes enviable industry, our words and actions, even in a fleeting moment, can wield a lot of power and in- fluence. I know that as a father of a one-year- old daughter, my promise to her, to myself, and to you, is that I will do my part in ad- vocating a shift in attitudes. I will spread love and understanding, and I will do my best to educate as a means to a safer and universally enjoyable end. CANADIAN MUSICIAN • 9