There’s a reason why there isn’t a thriving audience for local music and it goes beyond a handful of terrible, patron-abusing establishments and their counter-productive owners. What’s more, it goes beyond the 21st century’s promotion of a sedentary, computer-oriented, never-leave-the-house, lifestyle: it’s the fucking bands!
I’m going to name names so it’s worth acknowledging that some of you will know (perhaps even BE) these people. In my view, they are destructive. They contribute to the public’s apathetic view of our city’s otherwise talented musicians by perpetuating a mediocre-bordering-on-laughable substitution for music that thinly masks a narcissistic impulse to place themselves in a narrow spotlight, failing that, to condescend to those of us not hip enough to “get it.”
Let’s begin with an obvious question: Who the FUCK am I?!
My name is Sam. I’m not a cynical, overweight music nerd, blogging from from my parents’ basement in between marathon sessions of WoW, cursing the death of vinyl (in fact, good riddance). I too am a musician and all too often observe the negative impact of these bands. If you want to rip apart my musical offerings, be my guest: I currently front The Skraelings, play keys and produce Shocktopus; I’ve fronted Man-Sized Rat, played drums for Pilar, and contributed to Esther and Lokyata EPs. That’s the short list.
Musicians like to pay lip-service to the general public with rumblings about their varied musical influences as that same audience struggles to pick out those influences in their banal catalogue. From electro-clash to death metal, I do it. That’s who I am. That’s what I do. I’m not above criticism.
When it comes to local bands and their inflated sense of entitlement, it’s always inversely proportional to their musical ability. Walk into any men’s room at any rock venue on a Friday or Saturday night and wait for Mr. Bar Star to hose the urinal down with voided Budweiser and break the ice with, “yeah, my band is being looked at by several labels…”
What is it about a musician gripping his member in the presence of another man that makes him feel inadequate enough to compensate with a statement about his perceived marketability?
No matter. Just understand that your favorite local band may be “all about the music” in front of their fans but in front of other musicians, their motivations become clear.
I’ve been playing music here for roughly a decade, bouncing between genres that wouldn’t condescend to pay attention to each other and I can safely say that the attitudes are universal beyond the fashion borders. Along the way, I’ve also met a lot of GREAT musicians. Unfortunately, most of them are adrift in an ocean of banality, stuck at the ass-end of terrible FIVE BAND BILLS that no one has the endurance or curiosity to subject themselves to.
Let’s assume you are curious John Q. Public, looking to “support the scene” and check out some of these great local bands you’ve read about or maybe you’d like to check out a few bands you’re connected to through various social networks. How do you decide?
It’s 2010 and anyone can sound passable with Pro Tools. Even DIY efforts can be quite polished. So it’s not enough to base your local show success on recordings alone. At the opposite end of the spectrum is this ridiculous Lo-fi movement where laziness is intentional and white noise is a by-design excuse. These people spend so much time intellectualizing their work, if they spent half as much energy on their music they wouldn’t have to present an argument for why it doesn’t suck… or why you don’t get it.
Let’s focus on 3 locals who will act as examples for their like-minded contemporaries:
First of all, something personal: Kevin Newberry. I don’t know what possessed him to pop up on The Skraelings fan page and leave a snarky comment about his distaste for my lyrics but, the minute that he did, he landed square in my cross-hairs.
My first reaction was, “Who is this guy?” and “How awesome is his music?” I know that reads a little facetious but, for a moment, I thought he might be rad and laughing at my silly attempts to compete on his level of excellence. Then I heard his music. Now I’d simply recommend Zoloft and guitar lessons.
Musician etiquette 101: if you don’t like someone’s music, don’t go to THEIR page and express your distaste. You’ve got your own page or, if you feel the need to vent publicly, do so.
Tell your friends we suck. Don’t tell OUR FANS we suck. I don’t go to your page and call you out you for your half-ass, hipster, atonal, acoustic, lo-fi noise that you pretend is music while dispassionately counting off a monotone “…2…3…” before you unleash that sleep-inducing, diminished, open mic night drivel that is your ENTIRE repertoire.
Learn how to play your fucking instrument. I know that sounds totally un-hip but I will fuck you in public! Seriously, book a show on the same night and follow our set. Stick to what you know: high cholesterol and facial hair.
AC deathstrike: Is it just me or have these guys been first in line to the indie music media teat with a frequency that suggests favoritism? No matter, seeing as how they don’t have the ability to hold the attention of a brain-damaged, 6 year old coma victim who would prefer the simple pleasures of a shiny object to their fucktarded noise, they will NEVER live up to the press hype they’ve received and therefore, anyone who takes a chance on checking out Jax’s thriving indie music scene will no doubt lose all faith in music media coverage locally and continue to flock to St Augustine to see The Flaming Lips for the billionth time.
No real personal grudge. I simply have no tolerance for bands that treat music like an exercise in irony.
Finally, there’s Marion Crane.
I had a long rant prepared but just go listen to their music. These guys are status quo nu-metal all the way. A whole lot of ego for something so tired. Marion Crane is a poor man’s Mindslip; Mindslip is a watered-down Burn Season; Burn Season was a desperate emulation of … well … everything 1998. I call it “Goatee rock.” You are welcome to use that.
The Marion Crane frontman sounds like he’s trying to sing and work out a reluctant shit at the same time. If you choose to subject yourself to their music–for pure comedic value–go ahead a read their bio on facebook. Recommended reading for any fan of verbal irony. At least we know someone in the band can read and write at an 8th grade level.
Years ago when I was fronting Man-Sized Rat I waged an ideological war with that superficial group of spray-tanned, no talent, tween-fucking, style over substance, goth ass-clowns, PHILLER. I don’t care if your dad owns a fucking car dealership in Orlando and pays for however much studio time it takes to make you sound like you shouldn’t be wearing Ed Hardy and putting ground effects on your honda civic, you don’t know the first fucking thing about rock n roll.
To borrow a quote from my musical ally and local trouble maker/musician, Ryan Gunwitch Black, “You ain’t nobody till somebody hates you.” I’m certain there’s a small army of haters now but here’s the thing: I don’t have to like your music. You don’t have to like my music. Honestly, I’d rather you prove me wrong and write better music. However, in all the cited examples, I’m certain you won’t.
That’s a challenge!
Chance In Hell Productions