Ch-scene Digest, Vol 14, Issue 20
grady at ibiblio.org
Tue Dec 21 17:43:53 EST 2004
I've avoided the whole anti-rockist thing because it's a total straw
man. Most of the rockcrits who matter are more than happy to embrace
both the rockist canon *and* N.E.R.D. and/or Kelis and/or whatever. Who
the fuck do the anti-rockists think were championing Outkast for years
Or were Outkast rockist because Andre sang & they occasionally used live
instruments? It's a slippery slope, to be sure, and I think the whole
argument is so silly I just mostly can't be bothered.
I mean, it'd be really fucking "rockist" to champion the Eagles but
there are precious few folks doing that. Or if they are, I'm thankfully
not reading about it.
It's not that I'm worried about Franz or Interpol or whomever selling
out the cradle, it's that I'm curious where "the kids" find out about
the stuff that isn't on *either* college radio *or* MTV/G105. And I'm
curious whether any of them (or the emo kids, for that matter) would
ever give a shit about live music that wasn't just their fave
band-from-the-internet playing their town.
I mean, what Richard is getting at is that moment in college where the
young undergrad suddenly realizes that there are a shitload of bands as
good as or likely far better than what he/she's been listening to, and
they start going to shows, and their grades drop. And at some point in
that process they find out that there are different subcategories of
pleasure to be derived from a sold-out show at the Cradle vs a hot
Saturday night at 506 with Jett Rink, f'rinstance.
Maybe it's that the "kids" are accessing relatively non-shitty music
when they're still in middle school, so by the time they get to college
they already know there's more to life than MTV et al, and they're
paradoxically less inclined to dig that half-inch further down to the
stuff we're talking about.
I mean, emo may be kind of generic, and all this post-post-post-whatever
boys-in-mod-suits electro-rock may also be kind of generic, but there's
maybe just enough intelligence & human emotion (certainly compared to
the half-dozen bands in rotation on MTV) to keep yr average 19-year-old
pretty well occupied for quite a few years.
I mean, "I gots no time to go try out for that weird college radio
station full of longhairs who listen to nothing but field recordings and
laptop bleeps; I've got my website to run and my 24/7 streaming web
radio station. Ya dig?"
And yes, local rock *should* be an event. I guess there are many worse
mottoes than "play every show as if it were your last."
p.s. I suspect there are other things that the Moaners have in common
with des_ark beyond ease-of-touring.
> I want to bite on this one, but my thoughts are really disorganized, and
> I've thrown out a few attempts already. But to add to the discussion:
> - Glenn dropping the cover for various local shows is good. And it's
> symptomatic of something larger that's going on with the business of
> music right now. My own band made far more money from pass-the-hat gigs
> than anything with a cover charge.
> ...and this is a list full of rockists, for sure. While I've fretted
> that "rock" might be passe, I get a look some fresh-faced bunch of
> shitheads like the Coachwhips or Something About Vampires and Sluts, and
> I know everything is okay. They play the same damn riffs everyone has
> played for 50 years now, but somehow make it sound scuzzy and sexy and new.
> So I don't think the worry should be Franz Ferdinand selling out the
> Cradle. FF is just the 2004 model of the Verve, who were the 1997 model
> of School of Fish or whatever. I remember my 18 year old self getting
> into it with a 30 year old friend who was arguing that upstarts like the
> Smiths and Sonic Youth didn't fit his mold of underground rock (which
> was, if I recall correctly, The Germs and The Violent Femmes.) Like
> grady concludes, most of that audience isn't really looking for new
> music anyways. They probably found out about it while reading mom's
> People Magazine.
> - I do think we're on the cusp of something really different than the
> last 50 years though, and I think it's mostly economic, not a style or
> demographic thing. And it's here my thought get most disorganized. The
> audience for gut-level music has remained pretty constant, or grown,
> given that we can find out about a good Swedish or Japanese band fairly
> quickly, without that band ever coming to the States. Or in the case of
> the A-Frames, even making it to our coast. But still, it feels like a
> winnowing. The whole "This Band Could Be Your Life" circuit is probably
> dissolving. The rise of guitar-drum duos might have something to do with
> economic change. I know I've looked on with envy at the super-stealthy
> mobility of des_ark, and how they don't even need a sound check. I
> wonder if simplifying touring had anything to do with M. Swingle moving
> from Trailer Bride to the Moaners?
> - Local rock does great when we make it an event. Blackstrap should have
> made every gig our *last* gig. Or Niku should organize everything.
> Getting more incoherent: vaudeville and cabaret. If you're music is
> downloadable for free (and if it isn't you are dumb), you better make
> that live show stand out.
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