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I just want to say right now how much I love music, and how much playing really means to me. Music is so much a part of my life, it is closer to an addiction. I have been playing for nearly 13 years, all the way back to 5th grade, when I decided I wanted to play saxophone. And that shiny Yamaha has served me well, though it is no longer my horn of choice. So, with 13 years experience behind me, let me tell you what I think of the current scene today:
I've played with a couple of different bands over the last few years, and I am still amazed and amused by some of the bands we've played with. Some are absolutely over the top, with nothing coming between them and the music.
Others are just addicted to the thrill of jacking off in front of an audience. Which can't be all bad, since they still mention The Sex Pistols on VH1! However, what pisses me off are the bands who are nothing but BAD cover bands. Mind you, I still want to create/join a cover band that does covers of weird songs in ska/punk styles. However, when I have to listen to Blink-183 and Blink-184, and Blink-185, I start getting a little pissed. What the hell happened to trying to express yourself? Why the hell would anyone want to cover a single artist song for song, except in the case of tribute bands (hey, I'll never get to see Pink Floyd, why not check out The Machine?)
Even more disturbing are the bands who "write" their own music (see also, PLAGIARIZE). I mean, is it illegal for these kids to have more than one influence? Aren't they allowed to like more than one band at a time? Even if you listen to Punk-O-Rama 4, you hear 20 different styles of punk! Every band sounds different. Go to a local show, and listen to "Growing Up (Dammit!)" 18 times in a row and tell me which you'd prefer.
On the other hand, kids don't go to the shows for the music anymore, so what's the difference? I look out on a crowd of 500, and I see that 99% of the kids in the pit are only there because its the only place they can beat the shit out of each other and not get in any trouble. Look outside the pit, and I see that 80% of the kids out there are only there because a show is one of the only places for them to smoke and smoke up and not get in trouble. Among the rest of the people there, more than half will just be in their own world. Now, I know its not just because of the music, since those who ARE there for the music are waay into it, and showing it as strongly as they can. for the rest, its just a fashion show. They are so used to the band changing in between commercials that the idea of an hour long set is completely foreign to them, much less 2 or 3 sets from the same band during the course of a night.
Nevermind promoters who couldn't care less unless you can guarantee 1,000 attendees at the door....
The solution? I have no idea. It seems easy from my point of view...go to a show, find a band you like, buy their cd, maybe a sticker and a t-shirt, and support them if they have the chance to quit their shitty jobs and make it big. Why the hell would any REAL fan want their heroes to fail, just to maintain some false sense of equality. Something every fan should bear in mind, as soon as they want less than complete success and domination for their band, they are that band's worst enemy. any band that has to sell tickets to show, or makes even a penny'sworth of profit from a cd is already a sell-out. The big secret is this: That's OK! I want to buy stuff from my favorite bands, and support them.
There is currently a view among the youth in this country. Everything should be freely shared. Which is fine, as long as they don't have to give anything up. They want their music for free (Napster) and everything that goes with it. Well, lets see if we can come to some common ground. My band has a t-shirt, and I want to share some of them with my fans. However, because sharing implies an even distribution, it seems only fair that those fans should share something back.
I like small denominations of money myself...it helps defray the cost of commuting to and working in NYC while I wait for the chance to sell my soul to the devil (or Carson Daly, i don't care which) and get my ugly mug on MTV. Seems like a fair trade to me, no?
Dustin is a Saxophonist for Inspecter 7. Contact him at email@example.com.