Friday, July 29, 2005

The Kids Are Alright

When I first started playing in bands (when I was about 14) nobody else seemed to be into music around these parts, it was almost like I was wandering around talking another language! I had the obligatory (for an indie kid) logos written badly on my school folders and posters covering every spare patch of the eggshell white walls of my teenage bedroom. This feeling of musical separation is something I think all teenagers heavily into music feel, but it seems particularly strong for us indie kids. Indie music (sic) seems to close our minds to other types of music, when I was a teenager I had three very close friends that I formed a band with. We listened religiously to Mark Radcliffe when he was on Radio late at night and pawed over copies of magazines like Select and Raw. This was all good, and it was certainly more positive than the pastimes that the other yoofs in the village partook in, which almost always involved drinking cheap lager, smoking cheap fags and yelling homophobic insults at anyone that came within two hundred yards of the men’s toilets they chose to hang around outside. But the negative side of being so into this genre of music was that it closed our minds off to so much other music, it was like being in a club with very strict rules, a sort of rock ‘n’ roll freemasons. The very thought of admitting to liking a band that wasn’t on our invisible unspoken approval list just didn’t bear thinking about. The very thought of metal or punk sent shivers through our baggy blue jeans and our overly scruffy lank hair. After chatting with other people that grew up as indie kids it appears we weren’t alone. As a genre indie appears to close far more minds than it opens, your stereotypical NME obsessed indie kids can be the worst music snobs I’ve ever met, and before you put down your sonic youth rarities and start wagging your finger at me remember I’m including my teenage self in this equation! Unfortunately the same can go for some underground indie bands. I’ve booked bloody hundreds of bands for shows over the years and it’s always the indie kids that give us trouble (but still very few of them). Maybe it’s because the punk ethic doesn’t expect stardom, (nay, it pretty much shuns it) that punk bands are generally very grounded people. To give you an example I booked a co-promoted show with a very large music website that shall remain nameless. Four bands were booked, two indie, two punk. The first punk band (Second In Line) turned up, shook our hands, shared a laugh and headed for the bar. The second band (Junk Culture, admittedly my band) helped Second In Line load in their gear then sat around laughing and joking with said first band. Then first indie band turned up (Phoenix Down) and immediately proclaimed, “oh gawd it’s amateur night”. To which I replied, “yes, you’re in a pub”. They then demanded they have five DIs to the soundman or they would refuse to play, to which the sound man replied, “Well you might as well fuck off home then.” Phoenix Down then spent the rest of the night in the corner of the pub refusing to talk to anyone else, because, of course they were above all that. The fourth band, Dive Dive rang ten minutes before they were due on stage to inform us their drummer had the shits so they were heading home, make of that what you will. Anyway, I’ve gotten way off the point here, and as my word count is running out fast I’ll get right to the point and hope this pint of homebrew I’ve been drinking hasn’t turned my entire effort into gobbledygook. My point is, never close your mind to any music, no matter how unappealing something sounds still give it a go. And if you’re in a band don’t be a prick, you’ll get found out soon enough.

Okay, have a butchers at my new band -

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