Thursday, November 07, 2013

It's not that kids don't rock today, it's that they can't get to the masses: What I've learned from my "Spread the word of good newer grunge bands" page

So from having my Spread the word of good newer grunge bands facebook page, which now has 700+  bands that have been posted, I have realized certain things. Mainly, that there are SOOOOOOOO many really good and amazing and incredibly talented and really hard rocking and totally revolutionary style bands today. There are also tons of modern grungers, tons of whom really want grunge to come back, tons of whom have good and genuine ideals and the same ones that folks like Kurt Cobain had, tons of kids who hate generation Y and feel alienated by today, tons of kids who want to rock out and rage against the machine and want some sort of revolution etc. Us modern grunge kids grow up hating our generation and thinking the ever-present thought, "Why doesn't today/my generation rock? Why do the kids of today sound softer than the older people of the rock generations when rock has always been said to be for the youth? WHERE'S THE FREAKING ROCK!?!?!?" Well, there are tons of bands today that totally freaking rock and kick ass, they just aren't getting to the masses, and aren't getting much attention at all.

It only takes so many really good modern grunge bands that could totally knock all the pop people off the charts, and really make you feel like moshing, and totally connected to their music, like all the best bands of the 90s do, before you start to realize that there is NO lack of hard/heavy/rocking/actually talented and good/revolutionary/unique etc. etc. bands today. So...what does this mean? There must be some sort of barrier stopping people from hearing of them. I think this has to do with the way things are today, and the internet. We have developed a generation that has less and less actual word of mouth and sense of real-life community, no more MTV,  a zine culture that has died down, less record stores etc., more and more older people enabling kids liking the garbage of today and not telling them of actually good things because they figure it's the special "technology" generation and they'll like what they like and they don't really speak their opinion on how much they think it sucks, more people being apathetic and thinking "well it's all there is today, so what can you do? we have to like it/but into it/accept it", and people being more and more shackled to the internet (which has many flaws.)

The average person on facebook, for example, isn't like me to where they friend hundreds of music people and can see updates of music things from time to time or checks out tons of pages for mentions of things (which is really the only word of mouth that exists on the internet) but rather people who have average friends and do average things, so since the outside world doesn't tell them of things and they are friends with people that also don't know of these bands, they won't end up hearing of them. Like I tell people all the time, the internet has many flaws, some being that you have to know of what you are looking for before you look for it, you can't just type in a question mark in the search bar and have everything you would have wanted to know about come up, not everything gets put on the internet in the first place, tons of stuff gets taken down off the internet all the time, you have to do tons of advertising for something if you want it to get even the littlest bit of attention, but even then, lots of other comments and things will bury yours, things are actually pretty hard to find on the internet, search functions miss a lot of things and don't have them register, post tons of things that have nothing to do with what you searched for, and post only the most popular things, making the smaller things hard to find. If someone makes a page and doesn't advertise for it or tell anyone of it, it will never get any likes or anyone knowing of it. You have to do hours of searching on the internet for something you might like in order for it to actually be worth it and to find anything, and most people don't have that kind of time. The audience of bands is now limited to the fans who specifically search for them, and try really hard at that, and somehow find out that they would exist in the first place.

Then you have the media and music corporations today pushing all that pop garbage, so the only thing that ever does get spread out there is the pop stars that are already as famous as can be, which leads to kids only knowing of pop. I have a feeling the people in charge of that have a big hold on what music ever gets anywhere. It seems like the mainstream media is pushing out a smaller and smaller amount of different types of music. I keep hearing that in the 90s, there were all sorts of styles of music that had mainstream success simultaneously (grunge/alternative/pop/r&b/latino/rap and hiphop etc) What do we have now? Pop, maybe some rap still, then the "underground" is the hipster indie which I'll get to next. All of this has made it very hard for anything new to come about in any sense where it gets attention. It's like there's a middleclass has disappeared so now it's poor vs. rich/99% type of problem in music where the underground is really underground and the mainstream is really mainstream, and the crappiest quality and smallest amount of music is getting the most amount of attention and the people behind them control all.

So then you have the false "underground/indie" made up of those popular, overly atmospheric and soft, hipster, "indie" bands that don't sound anything at all like rock and roll and sound half-dead, to give the people a sense of some sort of underground/indie "cool" culture when really these people are famous and I think a lot of them are signed to major labels anyway and they are probably being controlled and marketed as well, so it ends up in a level system for the underground, where the actual underground bands are really underground and no one's ever heard of them, because when you go looking for non-mainstream bands or bands that sound like 90s indie, you get the not-as-popular-as-pop-but-still-kind-of-mainstream "indie" bands.

Being the type of kid I always was and before I started this page and all that, you start to get fed up with the world and think "Ok well if no one's going to rock today or form a revolution, then I'll do it!" while also simultaneously thinking that maybe it would end up happening because you don't see anyone that wants to rage or has passion like you do and you know there would be a fanbase for it if you ever did do it because now would be the perfect time because polished pop has been around for so long and people would want raw and your thoughts are the same as Kurt Cobain's, and that it'll never happen because that'll never happen to you, let's get real here, it doesn't happen that often anyway, no one's ever going to pay attention to you, it's just not going to happen, but it's about the music anyway first and foremost, so it doesn't matter that much. The page also made me realize that there are so many bands that are so much further along at this game than I am, so much better, and would totally form a revolution before I do. It really makes you think, even if someone did form a band or help push a band thinking they would be totally revolutionary, they probably would just end up in the pile of bands that are already like that and haven't gotten there yet.

My page as of now has around 3,000 likes, 700 bands, and I'm sure it's not that famous.  I'd say that's pretty good for a small-time page, but it doesn't have any sort of mainstream attention on it. I bet most grunge fans checking out the hundred-thousand-like grunge pages have never even heard of my page. Imagine the impact if it actually got any sort of attention. There'd probably be millions of modern grunge bands posted on there!

Luckily, there has been a little bit of attention here and there for some of these bands, like Violent Soho going to Lollapalooza a few years back, and selling out the shows of their recent tour, and The Indecent going to the Warped Tour, and them and a few others having facebook pages that are in the tens of thousands of likes, or being produced by cool people like Steve Albini, and I think a few of them opened for some more famous bands, so perhaps there is some sort of revolution but it is only just beginning. One can hope. At the very least, we need to find some other way of showing people these bands, because they aren't going to learn about them elsewhere.

You know what, as I am writing this, I am reminded of a few points that this recent article brought up. I think this kind of proves a lot of my points, The 13 Most Insidious, Pervasive Lies of the Modern Music Industry...

Friday, October 25, 2013

Grunge References on Parks and Recreation

So when the show Parks and Recreation first started, I noticed a few grunge references. Then as time went on, they seemed to have more and more. I'll mention as many of the ones I remember and caught. I have a feeling that this may be due to Chris Pratt's (who plays Andy) influence, as he is at the beginning of that I love the 90s clip in the 1991 episode when they get to grunge, saying, "The biggest I think, most poignant topic of the 90s to be touched upon is is the explosion of grunge music out of Seattle" and I think he really plays the guitar, so I'm guessing he really likes the stuff and was influenced by it.

*Every time Andy's band plays at that one venue they always play at, the marquee has a band called Flannel Grunge, I think the first time being in the season 1 episode "Rock Show".

*One of the names that Andy's band used to be called is Malice in Chains, as mentioned in the season 1 episode "Rock Show".

*In the season 2 episode "Leslie's House" Tom says, "Pawnee is the opposite of hip. People in this town are just now getting into Nirvana. I don't have the heart to tell them what's gonna happen to Kurt Cobain in 1994."

*There is a Letters to Cleo shirt and a mention of it in the season 4 episode "The Comeback Kid", and apparently that led to the band trending on twitter, and the shirt has shown up since then as well.

*They mentioned the Singles Soundtrack in the season 5 episode "How a Bill Becomes a Law" when April and Ben are stuck in a car together and she is going through his CDs.

*In the 5th season episode "Halloween Surprise" there is a garage sale and Andy is wearing a Pearl Jam shirt with a flannel over it, and holding a hat, saying it was the hat he was wearing the first time he heard Vitalogy by Pearl Jam, and he has other grungy clothing there, and come to think of it he always seems to be wearing flannel throughout the series, and Ann mentions that she adopts the personality of the person she is dating, and Andy was her grunge phase.

*In the season 6 episode "Filibuster", Leslie throws Ben his dream Birthday Party: A roller skating bash with an early 90s theme. She says, "Ben lives for the early 90s. The music, the fashion, it's his favorite era." which sounds a lot like us! So of course there are lots of cool references. The ones I picked up on are I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) by The Proclaimers playing, Ann dressed as Blossom, April saying that Leslie said it was a "Come As You Are of The 90s" party, Tom dressed as Kriss Kross, Hey Jealousy by Gin Blossoms playing, Leslie wearing overalls and a sideways neonish dark pink hat and a white and neonish pink shirt and buttons, Ben wearing a flannel shirt and a Toad the Wet Sprocket T-shirt and a sweater jacket and jeans, Ben mentioning R. E. M. and their albums Monster and Automatic for the People, Larry/Jerry/Garry wearing an Arsenio Hall shirt, Losing My Religion by R. E. M. playing, Chris wearing a denim jacket an a white t-shirt under it and jeans that look a bit acid-washed, a mention of a Reservoir Dog themed birthday cake, and Unbelievable by EMF playing.

*In the season 6 episode "Farmers Market", Dave Grohl was mentioned. When Andy is playing with his band to get ready for a show at a kid's party, one of the members said, "You said we were playing at a festival" to which another replied, "You said Dave Grohl might be there" to which Andy replied, "Dave Grohl might be there, I don't know, he might be anywhere. The guy's awesome, and he's unpredictable."

If you know of any more, please comment.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Dirty Girls

I figured I'd share this on here, and maybe talk about some thoughts I had in regards to it. It's a short film documentary about a group of girls who were outcasts in their school just for not following the trends and actually bothering to be themselves.

From the description, "Shot in 1996 and edited in 2000, this is a short documentary about a group of 13-year-old riot grrrls in Los Angeles who were socially ostracized at their school by their peers and upperclassmen. Everyone in the schoolyard held strong opinions about these so-called "dirty girls," and meanwhile the "dirty girls" themselves aimed to get their message across by distributing their zine across campus. Directed by Michael Lucid. Music: "Batmobile" by Liz Phair."

It starts off with people talking about how horrible and disgusting they think these girls are for not following standard protocol for how one is supposed to dress and act, and then the girls start talking about what they are really doing and what they think about things, and luckily they do have some support from people who get them. Then they go on to talk about their feminist ideals and show their zine, Sour Grrrl, with a lot of people talking about how stupid they think it is.

This clip was relatable to me because, while I don't think I really was an outcast in the physical sense with people treating me that way, I always felt like an outcast based on what other people would say, which basically was everything the people who didn't like these girls were saying, and I basically have always thought like the dirty girls do and agree with what they have to say. When first starting to watch it, I wanted to slap all those jerks who acted like they were so disgusting, as if you have to be totally preppy and popular and dress "nice" and shower all the time, and I was worried the documentary would be in favor of these people and basically about how horrible these girls are, but then I love it when the girls themselves said what they had to say and the girls who weren't part of their group  but liked them and "didn't give a shit" said what they had to say as well. Then I could see it was basically just capturing everyone's reaction to them and actually supporting them, as they were unfairly alienated just for being different.

I also didn't like how everyone acted like all they were doing is rebelling, or wanted attention, because they were doing no such thing, and I myself hate it when people do that. They were honestly just being themselves and sticking to their values and integrity in a world where you are assumed to dress properly and whatnot. I hate it when people confuse being yourself with rebellion, as if there's some set standard and anyone different from that MUST be rebelling as if you can't just honestly be different, because it has that false sense of "Everyone is this way, it's written in stone that everyone always happens to be this way, if you're not then you are purposely defying your true nature just to get attention." The truth is that everyone is different (well obviously you can't be totally and completely different from everybody) but there is no thing where people just are a certain way, and anyone else must be rebelling against that. We come in all sorts of everything. Some people like this, some people like that, some people like the other, some people like none of it, some people like all, some people like a mix etc. etc. and while I do hate it when people do purposefully rebel, try to act "cool" or "different" or "tough", since rebellion is just as conformist as conformity as they are two sides to the same coin, it becomes clear that these girls are not doing that and they honestly just want to be themselves. Heck, I didn't think there was anything wrong with their clothes, and I shared their ideals, and it's not everyone likes to shower all the time anyway (though one thing was that they were falsely being labelled as dirty and smelly when they did shower, just because it became a stereotype, and people kept assuming things and judging them without even knowing them, just based on hearing the rumors of what they were like) so it's not so hard to realize that these girls could actually just be like that. They're pretty much your standard grunge/riot grrrl.

So I would like to ask people to please not confuse being yourself with rebellion. Rebellion is reactionary just like conformity. You are playing by the opposite of someone else's rules,  and not your own. You have to be rebelling AGAINST something, which proves if you just happened to be that way and weren't even paying attention to other people's standards, you aren't rebelling. The only reason individuality gets confused for rebellion is because people who happen to conform easily only can see it from their view, like I've said before, they think everything they subscribe to is just how it's supposed to be and anyone who happens to be different isn't really different but TRYING to be different as if there's a set definition for all humanity, and some of them were probably brainwashed themselves into the "you have to do what's popular" type of culture, which actually makes them hypocritical because they are claiming that it's bad for people to act different when they themselves are acting different from their true selves by conforming to what is currently trendy or what other people say the should be, and it's always going to be better to be yourself anyway. It also reminds me of how realists get pegged as cynics by optimists because they are looking at it from their view and ironically only can see the bad things out of people talking about the good and bad, so since they have to have everything happy and good all the time, anyone saying anything remotely disturbing or sad to them MUST only be thinking of bad things in life (which is actually said by someone in the clip). Just because you are talking about something that may not be considered sunshine and roses doesn't even mean that you consider what you are talking about really bad in the first place, and it doesn't mean that all you think of is bad things, or that you are depressed, or cynical, or trying to be different. It's better to not have the wool over your eyes anyway. I also always noticed this with the characters Darlene from Roseanne, and Daria from Daria. Everyone in the shows acted like they were so depressed and dark, total "misery chicks", yet I never once saw them that way. Though with Daria they did hint at how silly that was (seriously, watch that show if you haven't, and the episode Misery Chick really explains it.)

Another thing I noticed about this video was that it was shot in spring of 1996, and these girls basically are your standard grunge/alternative/riot grrrls, and grunge was huge at the time, yet they were totally ostracized and everyone acted like they were trying to be different. I would expect that everyone at that school would be the same as them, since that was the big thing then, but I have a feeling it was more of a preppy/rich school, especially since everyone else acted like preps. Perhaps if they had gone to another school they would have fitted in better. Oh and I'm a riot grrrl myself, so I also liked their feminist views and thought the zine was cool, and I LOVE the song that is playing during the whole thing. Batmobile by Liz Phair. I'm going to have to check out more of her stuff.

Friday, March 08, 2013

This is Not My Generation Part 3

Well really a big thing is finding out that all your favorite musicians died. It's bad enough that you have to find out that Kurt died, but then you find out that Andrew Wood did too, and so did Layne Staley, and Mia Zapata, and Stefanie Sargent, and Shannon Hoon, and Ben Mcmillan etc. And then Mike Starr just died, which was really sad because it was not too long ago and while I actually knew who he was, and he was in his 40s! Everyone expects the young rockers to die, and die from drugs, because it's the stereotype and everyone knows kids live fast and all that, but no one really expects the middle-aged people to die. It's like wow, even if you get over a thing like drugs in your youth, you're never really over it, and it can hit you at any time. It's like all of your favorite musicians are dropping like flies right before your eyes, though most of them before you even knew who they were, but they KEEP dying! I hate that. Right before Mike Starr died, Rick Kulwicki, the guitarist of The Fluid died, and then back in 2008 Ben McMillan of Skin Yard and Gruntruck died, and then I think Layne was the one before that back in 2002, but it feels like they never stop dying, and I'm too young to have all my idols die so fast, and they're still too young to die. I'm only 21, and they are only in their 40s! They shouldn't even be dying for another 40 years and yet they started 20something years ago at the age of 24(Andy Wood)! 24 is way too young to die! I'll be that age in just a few years. I don't blame the guys themselves for their habits though, if they were one of the ones who died from it (some had weird/random circumstances like Mia being murdered and Rick dying with something wrong with his heart). I don't know why we're supposed to care that they are "rockstar junkies." I mean I think it's sad and all, but it doesn't change the way I think about them. It's just sad that they end up being beaten by it.

Well, one good thing about this generation is getting to relate to all the other outcasts and modern grungers. When I was little and first starting to feel like an outcast of the modern times, I thought that I was different, but a lot of times I actually liked that. I was never the kind of person that felt like we need people and will die without friends or if we aren't part of a group and everyone feels the need to fit in with a group. Then grunge came along and I realized it's cool to be part of a group as well. It was actually awesome being part of something bigger than yourself, and being around people that are a lot like you. Recently I've been thinking about how wild and cool it is to grow up and see all these modern grunge bands that are around my age. It's great to like grunge in general, but now I think I get it a bit more, with the whole being a part of your generation, and being around people that are going through what you are going through. It's cool to realize there are other young grungers today that probably have felt like an outcast as well. The old grungers will always have a special place in my heart, but there's nothing like ragging on your own generation with people your age that are interested in the same things you are and get to sarcastically laugh at the world with. It helps to think of the other modern grungers as your generation, so that you can actually feel like your generation isn't so bad, and, heck, the outcasts always end up rising up and becoming the generation eventually, so we might end up being that anyway. I used to hate it when people always refer to grunge as a generation X thing, and I still do, because I can relate to them a lot, and of course it never went away, but now I get it a little bit more as it is cool being around people that grew up with the same stuff you did and who are your age, and feeling like you're on the same wavelength. It's great that other kids can get what I'm going through, because they're going through it too. Ha, I was watching an interview from maybe a year ago recently for Pissed Jeans, and the frontman was talking about how they started when they were 13 and they're 19, 20 now, and I'm like "WHOAA, they're MY age!!!" I guess I was so used to my favorite bands being my parents age or a little older, that it just caught up on me, but yeah most bands do seem like the members are in their early and mid 20s, so it would be about time. Here's to growing up with this generation of grunge, and feeling connected to these people.

The funny thing is how much of a difference real life is to the internet. You can find buttloads of modern grungers on the internet, like there's a whole world of us out there, so much that it feels like there are millions or billions of us out there, and then in real life, nothing. It's hard to find people who have even heard of grunge in real life (well, at least for people under 30), let alone who follow it. Yet it still is the genre for 20somethings and teens. Most of the people on the grunge forum and other online grunge sites are in their teens or twenties. Heck, the dude who runs is my age. It's as if it stayed the same but the world changed around it. Luckily some middle-aged people are still into it, but I wish there were more, as I've always expected to see long-haired 40somethings wearing Nirvana shirts walking around town, and I've had no such luck.