Archive for January 2012

They ain’t ready

They ain’t ready

Give Punk Rock It’s Balls Back…

I’m not sure if I have every told you guys the story of how I got into punk rock…

FLASHBACK:

I wish I could tell you I was there in the beginning. That I saw Black Flag’s original lineup or FEAR play in a crappy club. I didn’t grow up in an urban city setting on the lower east side. I wish I did from the stories I read. No… I grew up in a small town. Always feeling alien and alone. I never belonged to a club or felt like part of the norm. No, in this small town, I was the kid in the back of the class who identified more with Luke Skywalker than I did with anyone in the class.

Then the day came when my family moved to a bigger town. I guess I should have been excited. There were girls I didn’t know, my school had actual electives instead of just “agriculture for boys and homemaking for girls” (seriously) and the first day of school in this new city, my shoes got stolen from my locker. While I was stoked to have an actual crime happen to me, I quickly realized that I was still going nowhere and still the quiet kid in the back of the class.

All that changed when a lanky kid with a shaved head named Paul Nasty walked into my 9th grade class and borrowed a pencil… Instead of using it to write notes, he drew band logos all over his book. When he gave the pencil back after class, I asked him about the drawings. “Just a bunch of punk bands” he said. I asked him to make me a tape. “Really?” he said. “Really”.

When I got the tape, it said “Kreator” on it. He said it was his brother’s cassette and he just taped over it. There was no song list. I took it home eagerly and went into my room, closed the door, inserted it into my portable jambox and waited… After a few seconds a wall of sound hit the speakers and the most chaotic noise I had ever heard came to life. I wasn’t sure what it was. But it changed my life. I listened to the whole thing without stopping. Some was better than most, but one thing was for sure… I had never heard this before, and I knew I was changed.

Hearing songs about being an outcast. Hearing songs about being different and not complacent about where you were. The drive an energy of someone who is screaming “NO” as loud as they can over a set of speakers. This is what I needed. I remember hearing certain songs and saying “yes… I need that. Yes this is me.” And just like that I was a fan. I never looked back, and although my appearance has gone from weird kid with no fashion sense, to punk rocker, to bootboy hooligan, back to man with no fashion sense… I have never stopped supporting and believing in the music that I loved.

PRESENT DAY

Punk Rock… to me… has always been about this. To me, Punk has always been no holds barred, do what you feel, a voice that never backs down. It has been a voice of empowerment, giving strength to those who have always sought it out.

So what I don’t understand… is how over the decades… the music I love has become a hotbed for the “ists” in life. (I can just imagine the hate mail now) You know what I mean… “the feminisits, the anarchists, the occupyists” not to mention the anti capitalists, anti big business, anti steroetype, pro PC… etc.. you get the idea. It seems that people have been so against the man, they become so “anti facist” they build a set of rules for a genre and subculture that had no rules to begin with… and again… I become alien.

I flip through a popular punk rock zine. The most popular one, in fact I don’t even have to name it if you know anything about punk rock you know which one I’m talking about… and I see this article that finally pissed me off for the last time.

The article is about “not getting called out”. So I’m thinking. “Cool an article about not being fake, standing your ground and not getting called out for being a poser or something right?”

Nope.

The article is about one girl, who has noticed in her “community of punks” that people have a habit of saying the wrong things  and putting their foot in their mouth. She mentions an example about a person saying they don’t like chick singers and then everyone labels him a sexist. Instead of saying “Wow… maybe he just has a preference and can’t find any girl singers he likes” she gives a set of steps so the guy can recover and apologize for offending people. NO SHIT… I had to laugh. You want to know the steps don’t you? Here they were: 1)Breathe 2) shut up and listen to what people are trying to tell you 3) Kill your intentions dont cling to them 4) assume their intentions are good 5) Ask, seize the opportunity to make amends and learn 6) Learn and reflect…. yup what kind of bullshit is that?

Seriously… what kind of bullshit is THAT? This is not the music I grew up with, this is not the genre I love or the subculture I know. When did we turn ourselves into a quivering set of eunuchs? When did punk lose it’s balls and power to shake shit up and not apologize? If I don’t like chick singers, maybe it’s cause I like a certain song better with gruff vocals (I love chick singers by the way I’m just saying) If I think something is stupid, why can’t I say it and be proud. I eat meat. I don’t care. I drink like a fish. I don’t care. I like girls and fast music and I believe in capitalism because I think that indie bands should be free to make as much money as they deserve. I hate censorship of any kind… and that includes censorship of each other. I would never censor this girl, but I also have the right to rebuttal her idiotic article, and call it idiotic.

We as a society have let things go to far. We are so worried about being what we hate, we became what we hate… self censoring jackasses that follow the crowd. If that is your definition of “punk” you can have it. I’m going to go listen to my FEAR cd now.

Good times in shiner Texas

Good times in shiner Texas

twentyfourbit: Leonard Cohen: “Darkness” The great Leonard…

twentyfourbit: Leonard Cohen: “Darkness” The great Leonard Cohen settles into a world-weary blues groove for “Darkness,” the latest preview from his 12th studio LP, Old Ideas. “I caught the darkness, baby,” he sings toward the end of the b... Read the rest of this entry »

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Burnin’ Bridges: A 2012 Manifesto

So yesterday, I broke a cardinal rule in social networking. I got pissed off and put my personal view online, and participated in the firefight afterward to defend my thoughts. I should not have done that online. It’s a rule that I sternly believe in, and a few times a decade, find myself falling into it’s trap. It’s the human trait “pride” that does it, and one of the flaws that make me wish I was a robot. (Well that and a cool grappling hook hand)

Without hashing too much of it again… but totally for set up purposes, here is the gist: In 2009, my band THE LOVELETTER met a girl who was dating our drummer who appeared intelligent and with it, claimed to be in the know about bands, so we asked her to be our manager. After a 6 month honeymoon period, things began to go south with this person, as they proved not capable of promoting, pushing her client (us), and the band became subject to being bumped on lineups, schedules, and even overlooked on shows altogether when said person got a job booking at a local venue. While this was recently all settled with this now “promoter”, the band gets bumped one more time recently, and I taking it as the last straw, declare to not work with or drink at that venue again or work with that person. There is a lot more to the story, but this… is the main core of it, this is not a surprise to the “promoter” as I have addressed this with them before.

Because I have stated I will no longer frequent this bar, a shitfire of opinions have since been raised. My inbox and comments have been flooded with comments and similar stories, I have somehow become a spokesperson for live artists and a bane for venues and “promoters”. This has led to a ton of things I feel the need to say… not out of this particular instance, (because I am sure some people will read too much into it) but because as performers and people in the industry, you got to know the rules or make up your own. So without further ado… here they are… my set of beliefs and rules that if everyone followed… would make everything easier.  I figured I would take this time as my pages will be smoking hot the next few days with trolls looking for aftermath.

THE BURNING BRIDGES MANIFESTO

VENUES:

We get it. You’re main focus point is to make money. If you don’t make money in your bar… why bother? Hey man, I ain’t knocking that, I am encouraging it. But if you want to make money with live music, you have to do a few things. Treat your bands good, a free bar tab or beer tickets go a long way (kudos to the former bar I would play at for this, this was always nice) A guest list since the bands get the door anyway, and if you want to make money on live music, you have to act like it, which means you have to do some promoting besides leaving it up to the band or “promoter” and if you want to book the same bands over and over, make it a house cover band, don’t keep booking the same original band lineup every two weeks. But I understand you are in the bar biz not the band biz, so you’ll want to work with good promoters, but please… if you put one on the payroll… make sure they know more than 5 bands.

PROMOTERS:

I’ve been playing music live since 1994. Yup. Beepers were popular and the Cowboys were a winning team. In that time I have met a few GOOD promoters. They are: Joe and Crystal from Right Brigade, Evil Ritchie from DMK, Pedro from DCM, and those cooky DelaGarza boys. I may be forgetting some but those were the ones that stuck out year after year, putting rent money up for a cause they believed in and booking tight bands knowing they may or may not make their money. God… I miss these people.

Nowadays, all you have to be to be a “promoter” is the middle man, hooking up show with venue, and no out of pocket (if there is you’re doing it wrong). But there really is more to being a promoter. You have to be aware of what I stated above, you can’t keep booking the same acts (and if you do you need to rotate the lineup order every show) and if you don’t know more than 8 bands because your super former client introduced you to them, then you need to go make your own connections, get out of your comfort zone and take a chance on things you believe in. If you bump your bands repeatedly, book them for the same gig after gig they feel like they are on groundhog day, and complain about the stress of it, I really doubt you are capable or ready to handle a bigger band or client when you have to have something on the line. The last time I booked a show for a touring band, I paid triple digits out of pocket and the other bands agreed not to get paid so the touring band would have money to get to the next destination. If you bump something or decide to quit the show because it’s too much trouble or you don’t want to deal with it, you have no heart. And maybe you’re better off as a spectator. There’s nothing wrong with spectators… they are in my manifesto too.

MANAGERS:

If you are a manager. Your core existence is taking care of your client and help raise up the band. If they make money, you make money,if they get popular, you get popular, as a manager, you are officially part of the band, so when you start dealing with others and put your own client last (if at all) then you’re not fulfilling your job that you agreed to do. A good manager knows what a “conflict of interest” is. So one should be careful of taking booking jobs that will conflict with their current client. This is not a new business concept. Ad companies, vendor companies, and even fast food chains do it with soda products. I’m leaving this brief, because since managers are a great luxury, I have yet to meet one who can walk the walk.

 

BANDS:

OK here we go… the last 24 hours, my inbox has been flooded with requests, well wishes and “right ons” from other musicians and former bands around the local area. There are so many of you who are behind the choice I made to stop performing and frequenting this bar for a principle. While this is cool, the one thing I can’t shake is “I’m just doing what everyone else is thinking”.

Guys, we need to stand up for ourselves. We need to let people know that what we do is badass and worth it. We have succumbed to a society where facebook apathy and laziness has prevailed. We need to make it cool and exciting to see a show again and we need to give people a reason to keep coming out. These days, the modern fan is a lazy ass. They don’t need to buy cd’s they can rip it off the internet, they are so busy trying to pose for cool pictures in their restroom to post to facebook (or those pictures they took themselves that try to look like they didn’t take it themselves) to care about you. You need to up your price and your value. If the bars or promoters don’t want to pay it, go onto the next, if there is no next, either rent your own venue or go out of town. This is what I do. It’s fucking awesome and liberating to have this. When people do call, make sure it is what you want, not what they want. Other people will walk over you if they can. It takes guts to do what you do and damned it, go do it. I hate to tell this to you, but no one gives a shit about your band, you have to go and make them give a shit, you have to break out of your comfort zone and leave this city behind. It’s way more liberating to play a show in Houston where no one knows you and hear “great show I enjoyed it” from one person than a hundred of your friends sucking your junk because they have to. Trust me on this. No one got famous playing Victoria, all anyone gets is “Big Fish Small Pond syndrome” and then you only end up disappointed when the cool train leaves.

FANS, SPECTATORS, and EVERYONE ELSE.

This place and scene wouldn’t be possible without you. So grow up and go to a show. No one cares about your FB status (you’re not me) and its better than staying home complaining about your town. Your best friends and colleagues play music that would blow you away if you just listened. Holy shit you are missing out.

PEOPLE ON MY FACEBOOK, TWITTER, OR ANY OTHER SOCIAL NETWORK SITE

For the love of fucking Satan, please do not preach to me about music or your opinions on my space. Especially if you disagree with me. You can’t change my mind, you will lose your argument and Jesus says you are stupid. God must love Stupid… because you jerks are everywhere trying to argue with me on a spot of the internet I moderate (just like this blog dumbass)

What I hate are the moral people who tell me since I am a musician I should like all types of music, This is like telling a chef he should like taco bell. Just because it’s edible doesnt mean it won’t give you the shits. Seriously people.

You can call me childish because I refuse to accept your views, but remember… every social bio I post, I say I am a jerk, so you coming in here and trying to change me is like my 1st wife doing the same thing. I am a 6 year old who drinks… who’s the real asshole?

I don’t like dubstep. So what… fucking sue me. The fact I was bumped for a dubstep show was unfortunate but I also don’t feel the need to stifle my previous comments since they were directed at a genre. I also don’t like new country, Celine Dion, Micheal W Smith, Lil Wayne, Canadian whiskey or domestic beer. If you want a list of the things I don’t like, it’s too long, so please for the love of God, unfriend me or block me if it’s that big of a deal to you. Trying to tell me what to do well only get you a snarky remark, your feelings hurt and all my friends laughing at you… again.

 

So in closing. Bickering on the internet is stupid. My bad! But look at this awesome post I just wrote… guess it wasn’t all bad.

 

TIM= 1

World= 0

 

It’s a new year…

So 2012 has come around, we are celebrating a year anniversary this month of being one of the best regularly updated podcasts dealing with underground music and unsigned artists. It has been a tough road, by podcast standards we probably should have lost interest and done something else by now, but we havent. Being musicians first, the podcast has been a great excuse to check out new bands, go to more shows, meet cool people and keep us busy on the nights we aren’t gigging ourselves.

 

The New Year is funny though. I was telling Brea yesterday about the odometer effect. The weird need to pay attention when the counter resets itself. Measuring things in lengths of time (a minute, hour, day, month, year) is important, but how we pay attention to it is weird. Humans have the need to want to reinvent themselves. It’s like they aren’t happy with the bad choices they make, or they have brushes with mortality. On a night like NYE, people just want to make resolutions to change what’s wrong in their life, they want to address the things they aren’t doing for themselves, and make pledges to rectify that. The couples get gleeful and smooch, and the down on his luck loner in the corner watches the ball drop in the corner of the party, making the crowd noise envelop him like a deprivation tank… they both tell themselves the same thing every New Year eve… “This will be my year”.

It never happens. There is no magic. Things don’t magically appear at midnight, no revelations get made or anything special. More often than not, they forget the pledges they made to themselves (especially if they are emotional ones) by Monday.

 

That being said… it’s never happened to me. Yup… I’m hateful and mean everyday, another year won’ t change anything. All it’s going to do is keep me awesome.