Why Does Your Scene Suck?
I am sick and tired of talking to fans of underground music and hearing over and over again “my scene sucks.” These are the same kids who put no time or effort into their scene and don’t play in a band. These are the kids who sit around complaining about the local club owner because he isn’t getting the right bands and complaining that Hot Topic didn’t get in any new Chiodos t-shirts. They never think about getting off the computer and going out to support that Tuesday night show that doesn’t have any signed acts on the bill or volunteering at the local under-21 venue. No, these kids want other people to take care of the scene for them. I’m sick of it.
Every time I hear someone complain about Harrisburg’s scene, I ask them what they do for the scene. The answer? Nothing. And nine out of ten times I get some excuse like “I’m too young” or “I just don’t have time.” Very few kids are willing to give to their scene; they only expect to be given. Neither time nor age should prevent people from getting involved. It doesn’t take a 20-hour-a-week commitment and you don’t have to be a 23-year-old with tattoos and two inch ears. You just have to want to help.
I started working the national music scene at age 14. I was a freshman in high school. I saw the last good local venue get shut down by “community activists” and I got pissed. One night I sat down and wrote an angry editorial about the lack of alcohol, tobacco and drug free places for teenagers to hang out and after a few friends read and enjoyed my article, I started a Xanga blog that consisted of me voicing my opinions about the music scene. That included writing about good bands that weren’t getting the recognition they deserved. This little blog grew into a budding magazine with the help of a few friends and I began to realize that my voice could make a difference. Yes, I was a 14-year-old freshman in high school, but I was still trying to do something.
The key is that an attempt is made. Was I influencing the direction of the scene in a pathetic little town like Harrisburg? No. But was I doing my part to foster the growth of the scene? Yes. And that is the important thing. Think of your local scene as a puppy. When it’s young, it isn’t very impressive and can be annoying, but as it grows and you work with it, it’s going to learn a few very cool tricks and suddenly you’ll have something to be proud of. All it takes is you walking up to the local club owner and asking if he needs someone to take tickets at the next show, or writing for a local zine, or even just driving a friend to a show. Get involved. Your scene may honestly suck, but until you take the time to at least try to train it, you can’t say a word about it.