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State of the Scene

aka did the Digital star kill the Record Store

"I don't want to think about it, I don't want to see, I don't want to know the kind of fool they'll make of me, the public gets what they deserve not what they demand unless we all decide to be a business, not a band" Agent Orange - Breakdown


To say that music hasn't been an addiction of mine would be a flat out lie. I've spent most of my life in and around the Punk and local music scene. I've seen it at it's best and brightest and at it's worst. Lived through the cycles of lot's of shows, Great bands and scene to lame cover bands and the place turning into a Ghost town too many times to count. Saw the bands I loved go down in flames or live to become what they most hated. Saw a number of clubs and venues bite the dust and burn to the ground.


The thing was that all the way through this 25+ years I've spent wasting time with a number of great people, there was always this hope. Much in the same way parents look to their children hoping that their life is some what better. There has always been that same vibe that somewhere in some basement or garage some kids were inventing the next wave that would bring in a new sound and generation. However unlike with parents in kids musical generation, especially in Punk Rock tend to last 2 to 3 years and often involve lot of time wondering in the wilderness. Each generation seems to have their own identity and belief system that seems to set itself apart from the last but the underlining theme is the same. That same frame work has always been there and though the codes of conduct may change from time to time, each generation seems to fall into the same pit wholes and crack pot idealism that the last one did. And let's face it music doesn't only eat it young, it eats the old and itself. T


Three major things have happen in the last few years that greatly seem to be effecting the music in general: The Live Music boom that started with "grunge" in the early 90s seemed to have really cooled and fell in on itself. The internet has allowed sub-cultures that tend to find rebellion in obscurity, the ability to group together even smaller and obscure specialized groups and styles. Thus isolating even the most interesting new music ideas more and reducing changes of cross-influences.


So where is the danger, where is the excitement. Have I grown too old and too complacent to even notice or is it all just a merrier-go-round with the same speed, background noise and up and down motion it always had? Was I just so wrapped up in the center of it all that I either didn't take the time to notice or did I just turn a blind eye to it? Maybe there was something there, maybe it took being at the heart of it to really understand it. I don't know but now, sitting in the back, Guinness in hand I can't help but wonder if there is in fact something better on TV. 


As my son gets older I worry that he won't have that chance to belong to something outside of the mainstream. To be able to feel that he is a part of something that is important and a touch stone event. To know that he is in on something that those on the outside really don't understand. I'm always having these discussions with other parents about their fear for their child's safety. Sure I want my son to be safe and healthy but I also want him to experience danger first hand not destruction first hand but danger in many forms. Weather it be facing off with authority, thinking dangerous ideas or just blazing his own personal trail.


Often we are faced with the truth that there are a lot of exceptional children out there that turn into boring ordinary adults. You never here that the other way around do you? Sure we want our kids to fit in, have great social lives and become productive member of society but time and time again it was the outsiders that brought about true change. They were the ones that challenge the status quo and think of those around them. In the last 50 years or so, a great deal of those outsiders made gained their voice through music, underground art and through living on the edges of society. They were the weirdos, the freaks and the geeks. They need playgrounds to build, explore and develop their ideas. I just can't help but wonder where that playground is?



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