Tiplett Leaves Wetlands
Since opening its doors in June 2005, Wetlands Dancehall hasn't exactly been a cash cow, according to its owners. But the room has been a place for catching highly innovative, mid-level independent touring bands like Orthrelm or Calla. It's also been a new home for local acts of all stripes. The club's principal booker, Mike Triplett, has been a major contribution to that high talent level. Now, though, Triplett has decided to leave Wetlands, despite the work he's done.
Triplett says his exit isn't personal, and it's more about business than anything. One of the club's owners gushes about Triplett, his capabilities as a talent-buyer and his integrity. But, almost immediately, he mentions the bottom line.
"We know that Triplett puts a lot of energy and passion into his role as a booking agent. He invests himself into it in such a way that you know he's not doing it for the money," says the owner, who asked not to be named. "We, on the other hand, are a 'for profit' business and must keep the success and survival of the business a priority. Our paths are simply different."
The Wetlands' hopes larger audiences and broader appeal will come by implementing theme nights from jazz to reggae, the owner says.
The owner admits, though, that the new direction is straying far from the Wetlands' original path as a live, independent rock-oriented club. And Triplett confesses to being unfamiliar with the new portions of this broadened focus for the club.
"I don't have concerns about doing blues every Tuesday. That's not my thing," says Triplett, who was one of the booking forces behind Go! Studios, which closed in 2004. "Of course, it could become a great thing to support. But my scope is somewhat limited. I like independent music. That's my thing, and, it's not as accessible to the public. And [the owner] wants to hit a larger audience."
Of course, no one can fault the owners for valuing the money that keeps the club open. But Triplett does think the club eventually could have made it as an indie rock haunt.
"We're a new club. You have to develop," he says. "To me, a huge part of running a club is working with the community and building something. It doesn't just happen overnight. It's a push-pull relationship." --Robbie Mackey
Dex & Crow
Thankfully, Dexter Romweber and his former Flat Duo Jets mate Chris "Crow" Smith hugged at the premiere of two headed cow in Durham Saturday. But no reunion.