This band: Worst band ever. I really hope they take the time to read all that!

This band: Worst band ever. I really hope they take the time to read all that!

When Al Gore Tim Berners-Lee first invented the World Wide Web, I’m sure he had no idea that the relatively benign Geocities websites and simplistic messageboards would soon proliferate into literally thousands of dedicated music websites, each with their own messageboards of hatred and sarcasm. Back when I was growing up, things were different. It wasn’t cool to listen to multiple styles of music since you were either a punk, metalhead, prep (who listened to popular radio), or wigger fan of urban music. Of course, I happily listened to it all except for the radio bullshit, and was ostracized by most people because of it. Popularity contests didn’t excite me back then, and as a middle aged man they sure as hell don’t excite me nowadays.

But go on to any music messageboard, and look at the complaints:

That band/artist “sold out”.

Well, what the hell do you expect? Touring as a musician means that it has to be financially viable, or at the very least you have to be able to break even. If you can do anything that gives you greater media exposure, even if it is headlining some stupid hipster festival where you are the single token hardcore band, then by all means go for it. If you can sign a major label deal even if they own all your merch rights into perpetuity long after the band is broken up, then go for it. Of course, I believe it is much wiser to do as much groundbreaking as possible as an independent band or artist, so that you will have more leverage when signing a recording or distribution contract. But as long as you are fully informed as to what contract you are signing, then more power to you. James Hetfield of Metallica was once confronted about “selling out”. His response: “Damn right we sold out, we are selling out arenas now!” Well said James, well said.

That band/artist isn’t “real”, they are rich kids from the suburbs.

I hate to piss on your fantasies, but most bands and artists are from the burbs, even the ones who act like inner city thugs. Most of the members of groundbreaking hardcore bands such as the Cro-Mags (except for Harley Flanagan), the Bad Brains, Black Flag, and Negative Approach were from the suburbs. In fact, tough guy hardcore bands like Fury of Five and E.Town Concrete were from suburbs of New Jersey. So what if some trust fund kid starts a hardcore band complaining about how tough life is? It’s important for US ALL to realize how tough life is, and living in a shitty van while eating Cup O’ Ramen and 7-11 hot dogs while playing to 10 people per night is a stark reminder of how shitty it can be. As long as life has its enjoyable moments (the time on stage, or the time creating music), then the shitty times aren’t so intolerable.

That band/artist changed their sound, the only album I like is their poorly recorded demo that no one knows about except for me and some random sound engineer.

What the hell do you expect, them to play the EXACT SAME shit over and over again? Unless you are AC/DC or The Rolling Stones, consistency in music isn’t the best thing. Ideally, a band or artist should have a core sound that they then expand upon through subsequent albums. Of course, the basis of hardcore music is a simple two-step drumbeat with simple barre chords and palm muted breakdowns. There isn’t really too much to add to that, and yeah some bands try wayyyy too hard. But ANY musician is going to get bored playing the same shit over and over again. Which is exactly why bands break up (“musical differences” is code for “I’m sick of playing this goddamn shit”) and is exactly why most successful bands have members that have side projects where they can play other styles of music. And as an audiophile, who the hell wants to listen to some poorly recorded demo? These aren’t the 1980’s anymore (and even Greg Ginn was able to get decent recordings back then).  Any musician, even with consumer grade equipment, can record, mix, and master a recording that will rival any major label release. Your demo is your calling card, make sure that card kicks as much audio ass as possible.

That band/artist never plays shows around me, that is some bullshit!

While it is true that most tour managers chart touring itineraries much like a three-year old might randomly draw lines on a North America map, again tours must be financially viable in order for them to work. Driving or flying all the way out to Alaska or Hawaii isn’t going to be viable for most artists, and the ones that do usually take a loss in order to play these places. It is getting close to impossible for many bands to play Canada due to their overly restrictive visitor laws (if you’ve had any assault or DUI charge in the past 5 years, forget about it). It is much more viable to do regional tours, and to hit up as many venues as possible in the process. You want a band to play your town? Put on your promoter hat, come up with a financial figure that you and the band both agree upon, and bring them out your damn self. Problem solved!

That band/artist is a ripoff of another band/artist, they sound exactly alike!

Last time I checked, there were a finite amount of notes that could be played on a guitar, and a finite amount of drum rhythms. Even singers will have similarities (i.e. Michael Poulsen from Volbeat sounding exactly like 1990’s era Mina Caputo from Life Of Agony). Sure, some musicians steal ideas from others, but that has been going on ever since blues legend Robert Johnson supposedly sold his soul at the crossroads. All music, even if it is metal music, can be directly traced to early rock n’ roll like Chuck Berry and The Beatles. Early hardcore bands jocked the MC5 and the Ramones, the Cro-Mags jocked Negative Approach and the Bad Brains, and most deathcore metal bands nowadays jock Limp Bizkit. Personally, I like this so-called “nu-metal” revival, but my point is that all music is derivative in some capacity.

Now…there is nothing wrong with having opinions. Sarcasm and the Internet go hand in hand like Jagermeister and Red Bull. But there is a difference between being serious, and just joking around. Try not to take stuff so seriously, and try not to get caught up in the bullshit. If you don’t like an artist, then just go listen to someone you do like. Support touring bands by going to their shows and buying merch. Stop worrying about looking or sounding “cool”, and just have fun! Life is seemingly more enjoyable that way.


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