When I started out going to my first shows and being in my first band it was an exciting time. We felt like we were part of something real and vibrant and growing. There were a handful of bands and even fewer places to play but everyone was stoked on all of it. Admittedly my band kinda sucked and so did a lot of the other bands but none of that mattered as much as the fact that we were in bands and friends with other bands and we'd all go see other bands. Music was dead center on all of our minds. We'd go out to watch bands we hated just to get a chance to see live music and be a part of it. Occasionaly a really good show would happen and everyone would be there. Everywhere you turned there'd be kids stoked to see a band just because their friends said they were good. Word of mouth and an open mind went a long way.
Of course this was all before Myspace took over. You heard about shows either through message boards, flyers or friends. If you heard the bands before the show it was because someone snagged a demo from their last show. Not because they're on their friends list. Once you got to the show there was no wall of jaded hipsters standing at the back, arms folded, passing quiet judgement. If you liked the band you got up front or mixed it up in the pit. If not you politely stepped outside for a cigarette. A show was a success if ten kids showed up and really enjoyed it.
This is also before genres got so defined and segregated. It wasn't uncommon to have two punk bands playing with two metal bands. Again, the crowd didn't care as long as the bands were good. Music was music, fun was fun. Now if "metal" bands plays with "hardcore" bands at best you'll have two completely different crowds shuffling in and out all night or at worst you'll get non stop fighting.
That is if anyone even bothers to show up.
Recently I've noticed that kids seem to have such a sense of entitlement about things. I'm not talking about the kids that do and have done all the leg work starting bands or booking shows either. I'm talking about the new kids. The ones who never knew a time when there wasnt't three shows a week. The ones who feel like every venue is their personal playground and bands are just there to give them something to mosh to. I've had multiple kids ask me and my friends if our bands plays "breakdowns" as if that's the only reason to see a band live. So your friends can admire your new dance moves while you girlfriend stands around, holding your jacket, wearing impratcical shoes and snapping a million pictures on her Nikon CoolPix because her Myspace profile says she's a "photographer".
Here's the deal. The scene is about the music and everything that goes into bringing it to the people that want to hear it and feel it. The bands, venues, promoters and fans. When I look around I don't see that anymore. I see human jukeboxes, I see businessmen in hipster clothing and I see spoiled brats playing dress up. The heart and the passion died long ago. The scene we knew, the scene we came up in and helped build... died with it. Now kids just parade the corpse around like "Weekend at Bernie's" but with more eyeliner.
So sit back if you want and watch someone destroy what we worked for and abandon the mess when they're done. As for me, my band and a few of our friends? We're gonna start taking shit back. We're gonna do our damndest to make it fun to go to shows again. Give us four bands and a decent P.A. and we'll give you a damn Rock N Roll show. We'll give you blood, sweat and noise.
You'll get your money's worth and all you gotta do is show up.
Fuck your flat iron, fuck your makeup and fuck your fancy clothes. Grab an old t- shirt and some jeans and let's mix this shit up again. Let's mosh and fight and drink 40's in our cars. Let's stagedive and circle pit because we enjoy the band, not because they're playing the correct riff for such activities. Let's enjoy live music because it makes us feel alive. Let's have the fun everyone else is too uptight to have.
Who's with us?
Damn the kids, Save the Empire!!!