The Sights and (Awful) Sounds of the Rock 'N' Roll Marathon

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I've had a bone to pick with the Rock 'N' Roll Marathon, and not because it blocks off streets in my neighborhood or benefits Susan G. Komen. It's because, unlike other marathons that happen throughout the year, there are awful cover bands playing at full volume on a fucking Sunday morning in my neighborhood.

On Saturday, when I received a flier in my mailbox about Sunday's race, I prepared for the worst, based on the past two years. As a musician, I know I should reap what I sow, but there's a reason why I pound the shit out of my drums at a rehearsal space in a warehouse district and play paradiddles on a practice pad at home. Lucky me, I live within earshot of a stage on the course. Previously, I had the displeasure of waking up to the sounds of a funk band covering Britney Spears and Weezer songs. My whole house rattled, especially the floor boards, all morning long. Earplugs were quite handy.

So, somebody in the neighborhood had to have complained over these past two years, right? Maybe not enough to get the stage's location moved, or table the marathon altogether.

This year, a few minutes before 8 a.m., I got out of bed to the strains of a lightweight country band. I didn't need earplugs, thankfully. And this was way more tolerable than a 10-minute rendition of "Play That Funky Music." But I still wondered where the other bands were on the course. What were some of the other neighborhoods that had to put up with this crap? And, most importantly, did any of the live music make any kind of impact on the runners? Even though I was stiff and dehydrated from dancing my ass off at a wedding the night before, I had to investigate.

Walking down Swiss Avenue between Fitzhugh and Skillman, I saw plenty of well-wishers and spectators, but no music whatsoever, not even in the gazebo where many Mother's Day and Fourth of July celebrations are held. A number of runners had iPod earbuds in, charging ahead, and there were a few people on the side of the street handing out beer. Finally, a real-life version of those Michelob Ultra commercials!

Turning down Skillman, I heard the familiar sounds of "Born to Be Wild." Bammo. A four-piece rock band that would have fit in perfectly at an office-turned-sports-bar in Highland Village. Playing to a soundman and a steady stream of runners, they moved onto other classic rock staples like "Sympathy for the Devil" and "Voodoo Chile."

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A friend of mine who's a regular marathon runner passed me and I asked if the live music made a difference. "It helps," she said. I figured the bands inspired runners to pass by more quickly.

Going back down Swiss, even more people cheered, waved and showed off signs. I heard a pissed-off man approach police officers stationed at the road block on Munger. Dropping f-bombs left and right, he said he lived on the street for many years and had to go to work. Usually, cops are good with letting residents come and go. I imagine he eventually got out.

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I passed by the group giving out free beer. They were out and repeatedly told this to passing runners. Returning home, my house still wasn't shaking, and I was treated to "Respect," "Hold On, I'm Coming" and "That'll Be the Day," along with a few barking dogs. I looked forward to taking a nap in silence. That would eventually come by early afternoon. Before that, I got to hear a medley of "Shotgun" and "Play That Funky Music." At least it didn't go on for 10 minutes.

Marathons are fine, but do they really need live bands to be encourage participants to the finish line? And what benefit does it really have on the M Streets, Lakewood and Fair Park, aside from traffic headaches and thumping bass frequencies?

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21 comments
Slappy
Slappy

quit your bitchin, maybe if your lard ass could run around the block you'd appreciate people living healthy

HH
HH

Eric, Although I acknowledge and respect your opinions, I think that you should show some discretion for the half marathon, this is one day of the year that caused you and your neighbors an inconvenience. The participants trained their asses off for months to have the endurance to run this event. This is not a measly 5K run that happened to take place in your neighborhood, this was 13.1 miles through Dallas. Yes, the cover bands were not great, and Yes, it was early in the morning, but it is part of the fun that the Rock N' Roll series provides for not only runners, but spectators. I apologize that not enough notice was given to you about the event, and maybe the Rock N' Roll series should correct this in the future. But all in all, I didn't see you rear-end sweating out on the course, maybe you should try to join the fun, and attempt to run an event- maybe you would have a little more appreciation and compassion for the people and the marathon. Who knows, maybe we will see you next year.From Yours Truly

wallie
wallie

Folks look at the big picture here. The downtown Hotels were booked with out of towners, my wife works at the Hyatt, in for the 'event'. The west village, west end, and many resturants had great week end business. They spend $$! I Dont know if there is any way to find out what the $$ inpact was for the local business community, but it sure wernt zilch, nadda, none. The city of New York said that the NY Marathon this yr brought upwards of $350 MILLION, yes MILLION, into the local economy over a 4 days span.Yes we too ran the race, and did notice a lot of very sorry street conditions along the route. But what the heck are a few pot holes on the wear & tear of my car. If 3-5 mornings a year are going to cause someone to need therapy, or want to move, due to the stress of reajusting a few hours of their morning, to let out of towners, or us local runners for that matter, chunk $$ into the economy, I dont get it.Oh, by the way, the streets will be blocked off again April 15th for the Big D Marathon & Half, get your popcorn ready!

runnergirl
runnergirl

I ran the half marathon this past weekend & I found the bands actually quite delightful~!  I run with earbuds however when I would come up on the bands I would take them out to listen to the bands while running.  I truly enjoyed running through your neighborhoods~!!  It was a very beautiful place I only wish more people would embrace the race and come out to cheer us runners on instead of being angry that we are there "blocking their streets" for a few hours!!!  I saw several homeowners out in their yards cheering on the runners and it really says alot for them to take time to encourage others that may be struggling~!!!! 

Jim Suhler
Jim Suhler

Lighten up, Eric. Your hipster credentials are not in question.

Shawnfritsche
Shawnfritsche

The people who don't understand why residents of the area have a problem with this are the same people who don't have a problem pissing in somebody's front yard during the Greenville St Patricks day parade.

MattL1
MattL1

That sounds like a traumatic experience for all involved. I don't often feel sorry for people, but man...

Evan
Evan

I can only imagine that the inspiration these terrible bands provide is to run as fast as possible to get out of earshot.

Seriously, there is no thought process here - shouldn't you be encouraged to stop and check out a band if they're halfway decent? Idiotic. I hope the payday was good for these bands, because they sure didn't earn any respect from anyone involved.

Hipster baby
Hipster baby

Aw... poor baby. Somebody was sweepy.  Two mornings out of the entire year they block off the streets to give runners from all over the country an opportunity to tour our city. Yes, the bands sucked. Sorry, Radiohead and Jay-Z had prior engagements.  That is so horrible you were up at 8:00 am on a Sunday morning. You should sue the city. I'm happy you are moving too. Hopefully it is far away.

Jessica Fritsche
Jessica Fritsche

I absolutely hate this marathon with every fiber of my being. I live one street over from Swiss Avenue, so we're right within hearing distance of whatever band is on the corner of Swiss and Carroll mangling already terrible songs.

Yesterday morning they were so loud my earplugs didn't even work, and I awoke to the thumping bass line of Staying Alive. That band closed with I Will Survive...so creative. UGH. I am glad we're moving and won't have to deal with this stupid marathon ever again. 

wallie
wallie

And Dallas does not even make the top 10 in the U.S. for Marathons. They are all on the East & West coast where the 'real' wheatgrass shot drinkers live.

http://www.facebook.com/l.php?...

wallie
wallie

The avg age for marathon runners in the U.S. is 35 for women, and 40 for men, as of 2010. Hardly the lower Greenville crowd.

wallie
wallie

Thoes that do that are in the 99% that never get off the couch, yet complain that they are overweight.

Jessica Fritsche
Jessica Fritsche

Sorry to disappoint, I'll still be in Dallas, hipstering it up. See you at Whole Foods!

Matt Decuir
Matt Decuir

I've ne'er understood these bands on the marathon course either. I can understand at the end, but not during.

Don't the vast majority of runners run with headphones in?Et cetera.

Blondtele
Blondtele

I'm sure Portlandia would welcome hipster douchers like Jessica and Eric.

Jim Suhler
Jim Suhler

So you're the one blocking the line at the juice bar.

Jessica Fritsche
Jessica Fritsche

How is it being a hipster douche to not want to be woken up on a Sunday morning by crappy music? I think that it's being a normal person who likes to sleep. You're right though, I'd probably fit in in Portlandia, as I like to put birds on things. (Sorry your insult didn't insult me.)

Jessica Fritsche
Jessica Fritsche

I'd say that was really nice of you, but hipsters don't like anything.

Jim Suhler
Jim Suhler

I'll be the one in the I Hate Morrisey shirt. Your wheatgrass shot is on me.

Jessica Fritsche
Jessica Fritsche

Sorry, Jim, my bad. I had to adjust my TOMS and my obscure vintage band t-shirt. I'll look out for you next time.

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