Saturday, August 29, 2009

We're talking like "Sonic", right?

In the late 80s, I was kinda Marten. Not that I was in a relationship with a hot coffeeshop owner, but I was a big music geek who knew new music from lots of bands that most people who aren't me didn't know or care about. I know a little about a few, but I'm not nearly that guy like I used to be. I try — I follow music blogs and all — but I'm just not keeping up.

So, I saw something on Wolfgang's Vault that piqued the interest in the 1990s Marten in me. It's called "The Pixies/Fugazi/Sonic Youth Syndrome" . Let me give you an example: Eddie Van Halen loved Cream-era Eric Clapton. Eric Clapton loved B.B. King. B.B. King got started listening to Bukka White. Half the guitarists of the 80s got into Eddie. Now, consider that EVH fan chasing up the influence chain. Easily, some Cream could leave them cold. Maybe they'd get B.B. King and maybe not. But what is a metal guitarist gonna get from Bukka White?

OK, now recast all that as late 80s alt-rock bands and you get the gist of the point. It does me well to look for ideas in the influence of my favorite bands, but that doesn't mean that I'll get anything that means anything to me, and that doesn't mean the audience should feel remotely obliged to even care.

Let me quote:
I sometimes feel that people grow up but never grow out of that attitude, unable to separate musical opinion from musical fact. The bands they loved when they were young served as gateways to new, exciting music and may have just changed (or, as often stated overdramatically, "saved") their lives. But those bands existed in and for a certain time. I recently did a tedious article for the St. Louis alt-weekly paper where I listened to every single band playing the local date of Warped Tour. After the 15th screamo band I heard, I desperately wanted to burn 3,500 copies of Relationship of Command by At the Drive-In and hand them out to the youngsters in attendance, as if to "teach them something.” But I'm sure many who heard Relationship when it came out wanted to do the same pretentious campaign with Refused’s The Shape of Punk to Come at the front gates of ATDI shows. And it keeps going further back until we’re all crowded around a creaky record player listening to Black Flag’s first 7” on repeat all day long. Where’s the fun in that?
This woke up my Marten. Who is At The Drive In? Is Relationship of Command all that?

I don't know yet. Haven't had time to get into it yet. But, so far, I'm liking it better than Jane Doe.

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