Here’s to the Snobbery
I hate snobs. You all know who they are: those rock stars that take the fame to their head and blow off everyone from the paparazzi to their fans to their families. I hate ‘em. That’s why I liked independent music so much once I started getting into it- it seemed that most bands were pretty nice, average people. These guys were in bands that had pretty nice, average sounds, and overall, I was excited to see that not everything musical was attached to an ego.
This lack of pretentiousness enthused me, so I started getting deeper into the scene, finding the bands that really made the best music. Since then I’ve lost all hope in music. Why? Well- all the best indie bands in this town (and quite possibly the nation, as I’ve had this trouble in other places) are snobs. Downright, straight up, however you phrase it- complete and total snobs. There’s a collective of them, actually- a self-serving zine that’s in order, shows that only support that collective, all sorts of stuff. No band gets into the collective. No band gets out. It’s a self-perpetuating monarchy.
I hate to be a little bitter, but come on, people! Indie music is supposed to be one up on the corporate music world! Yes, you’re one of the best bands in town- for pete’s sake support the scene! Include some bands! Endorse some shows! The scene picks up when there’s actually a scene- a bunch of people who go to each show, and go to each other’s shows…If there’s only enough bands in the collective to form one show, then what have you accomplished? Nothing! No expansion, no growth, nothing. The scene stagnates.
The hardcore scene is thriving here in Tulsa. Bands are coming out of my freakin ears, all playing metalcore/hardcore. The scene supports it- everyone goes to shows, people get inspired, bands are formed, new bands are accepted by older bands, given a leg up with a show or two, and off they go. The new band has collected some fans from the established band to build a base of, and they now have the confidence to play shows on their own. Those new recruits are now pulling up more up-and-coming bands, resulting in a tree effect for the scene. If I liked hardcore as much as I liked art-rock, I’d be in heaven in this town. But no one in any other scene, whether it be art-rock or rock or punk or grunge or mellow or any other genre, is putting that formula to work. It’s tried and true- it works. But no one wants to stretch themselves. No one will put their arm out and say, “Here- I know you aren’t as good as we are yet, but I hear some promise in you guys. Play a show with us.” No one.
This isn’t directed at any one band, nor even at the collective that inspired this rant. This is fired directly at the scene en masse- the entire formula, top-to-bottom. All bands in any genre should be actively searching out other bands of their sound and talking to them. Whether you’re in the little band or the big band, you should be talking to your scene and building it. No one goes anywhere unless someone does something- outsiders like us can comment and complain all we want, but until the bands start sticking their necks out, nothing new happens. Cause what’s a scene without bands? Nothing. But what’s a band without a scene? Unhappy, undiscovered, and unused. This is not to be tolerated. If you’re in a band, there’s no excuse not to be actively networking. You never know who knows the A&R man who will make you famous. It might be that one band that you know has one good song amongst 20 piles of musical rubbish- and if you ignore the one good song and don’t start a friendship, you may not ‘make it’. Think about it.