The equation is usually the same formula over and over again. You get together with a few friends with a like-minded intent on doing this "band thing". So you start writing, make some songs, play some shows, maybe record a demo or album together, maybe do a tour here and there but usually it hardly goes anywhere after this. There's hardly any mention as to why we do this. I mean, really, why do we do this? At the end of the day where is our foundation? With all the trends and excessibility now simply handed to us through the many forms of media around us, why are we really doing this?
I ask myself those questions everyday. Yes, I love making music. There is no denying that. But the above mentioned formula is something that just doesn't jive with me any longer. Not that everyone should see this my way. I'm simply stating that something has gone very wrong here in this quest to be like every other band, whether independent or major. As I was saying...
...Of course it goes without saying that I love what I do. Then again, I don't believe many musicians actually come out and say that.
There has been this powerful communication that I have found through being a music listener as well as a player of it. This is one major aspect. Now does this mean that it is necessary for me to always tour and make records and play a couple hundred shows a year? Of course not. Then why are so many of us falling prey to this silly notion that if we play music, we always have to be on the move, on to bigger and better things? Fuck that! As far as I'm concerned, you either play from your heart and let your passion and logic guide you, or your art is fucking dead...dead to me at least. You don't need a fucking label or tour to validate your art, dickhead! You're just as pathetic as these folks out in the world who think they need a romantic partner in order to "feel loved".
Time and time again, I've seen a ton of bands go through line up changes, awful song changes, faulty planned tours, and senseless ammounts of arguements just over the silliest shit: tour, money, albums, equipment, getting noticed, etc. And I know I'm not the only one who has witnessed a band on stage and thought to myself, "Man, these kids are trying way too hard. They're totally pretending to have a good time. That guy doesn't mean anything he's saying. How fucking sad!" But I'm not in the business of changing anyone. So let them be.
But what I won't be silent about is the constant abuse of art and passion just so these scene kids get can their emotional and musical dicks wet, while clogging up a system that is meant for all artists and not just for their stupid scene of friends and genres.
Still to this day I am trying to find the verbage to convey just exactly why I am doing this for. But there is only so many ways of saying you love something before it merely comes across as lip service. All I can say at the moment, is that regardless of how long this (Colony) lasts, or how many songs we write, and how well the tour goes...I honestly don't give a shit. In my most sincere place inside my heart I can say that I've been able to create such close bonds with these three other men whom I've grown to love very much.
Things seemed doomed from the start. Before leaving town, the van sprung a leak, and I discovered that I had left one of my shoes in Justin's car. We hung out at the parking lot of the Walmart on the north east until the van was cool enough to add sealer. Once we hit the road we were stopped by some Boarder Patrol dudes, I figured because the van looks creepy and two Hispanic males in the driver and passenger side looks suspicious. We arrived in T or C (also known as TORC to the locals) around 5:30 pm. Stopping at a gas station, we found ourselves stranded. A click from the van every time the key was turned. Not a harsh raspy sound, or an almost start... just a click. After calling several people to no avail, a T or C local came to our aide. We needed a new starter. We coughed up the dough, and the locals had to help us install it. It was 8:00pm and we had to decide: Go back home, or boogie to Albuquerque and see whats up. AMPED closed at 10, but lucky enough, Nny, a dear friend of mine and the group, hooked us up with an opening slot at the Thread Space just down the street from the original venue. We played with some really rockin' groups, and alot of our friends from the area showed up. Thanks to Nny, the TORC locals that scared us more then anything, our friends in the 505 and you.
Here is a short video of the event, a teaser if you will.
By the day it gets worse. More separation all in the name of sexual orientation. And even in light of current scenes and genres spreading like a current form of mad cow disease, it's growing like a sickness. What I speak of is homophobia.
Since I can remember, this has been a huge problem in my personal life. Growing up I had a brother who called me a "faggot" everyday of my life till about a year before he moved. At church, I was told how "evil" and wrong these fags were. Everywhere I turned I had a no place. I knew I was different from the "norm" of kids at my school and at my church and even in my family. Even when I was a christian I denied my own sexuality all because I feared this mythical place called Hell. I had nowhere to turn.
However, regardless of this denial and refusal to come to grips with who I am, I found a force of power in music. At the age of 12 I discovered punk rock/hardcore. This was the fucking anthem for my confusion, angst, and utter depression about my place in life. Bands like Minor Threat, 7 Seconds, Black Flag, Born Against (etc), all felt the same as I did regardless of whether or not they were gay or bisexual or lesbian (although Im sure none of them are). I found power in this music. And it took years to take this power into practice.
Yet in this cloud of dissonant joy, where everyone was plugged in and turned up to 11, I found from my research that this punk scene was just as riddled with homophobia as every other place I had experienced in my life. Even though queers have been just as vital to the punk scene (Husker Du, The Screamers, The Germs, Millions Of Dead Cops etc) they were just as hated as they were before they plugged in. Once again, I was crushed.
In my city (El Paso, Texas) there is still this stigma (although not spoken out loud) that "fags can't rock". But I always say, "Try telling that to the bassist of Botch, the keyboardist of Faith No More, the singer of Torche, the singer of Otep, and then come and talk to me." Of course this is all about a matter of the heart, in my opinion. And that is something you can't change in people.
But be that as it may, it's 2009, and all over this country all of us who are part of this cancerous scene are victim to the hardening of our minds and hearts towards our fellow gay, lesbian, bisexual brothers and sisters. We have a long way to go, kids.
All I'm trying to say here is that there is still a huge homophobic problem in our culture and its bled over into the music that we're making together. Lastly, don't be fooled for one fucking minute that just because you just might happen to play punk rock you'll be excepted, even by your fellow friends in the "scene". Mark my words, the moment you come out of the closet they will change the way they look at you. And if that is the case, then they were never your friends nor your community.
If this applies to you just remember that you are not alone. Keep hope alive! We are everywhere!
Perhaps its the look of "professionalism" that really gets to me, or the fact that every "self-respecting" band has a Myspace page. It's not what you play, it's how you look, who you know, and how many friends you have. Bummer. Record labels like Nitro and Jade Tree no longer except demo tapes or CDs, if you don't have a Myspace page or a Purevolume page consider yourself disposable. It's insulting to think that the only exceptable mediums of music discovery are through web socializing and networking websites. I understand that Myspace was started as a way to help musicians out, and I've used it as a tool to help book shows and tours, but to know that a venue or promoter won't even bother writing you back because your page is "boring" or "unprofessional"truly signals the last days of punk rock.
New social regulations are brought into the music scene everyday, backwards thinking like that, and militant ideas keep art from growing and flourishing. Art is threatening, and should never be limited to ideas or constraints of any kind of "scene." Start a band, draw a picture, create something. Anyone can do it, regardless of talent, skill, or class. The only limits you have are the ones you set for yourself, so stop reading this and go do something!