Whining isn't Hardcore, and Punk Never Died

Every few months, I see some guy post a massive diatribe about what's wrong with “the scene” today. A dozen or so paragraphs filled with typos and grammatical errors, lamenting the supposedly piss-poor state of Punk Rock typed by a guy who is clearly so far “in his feelings” you'd think it was ghost-written by Drake. Sometimes there are good points being made, but they're usually buried under downright sniveling sentences.

You've probably seen these rants, sometimes they start off with a cliché like “Punk is Dead”, “The End is Near” or some other equally over-dramatized nonsense. I'm pretty sure that half the time these are just ploys to drive attention to their brands, mainly because they always do, in spite of how whiny they usually sound. I tend to get about halfway through these mini-novels and start reading them in a high-pitched voice reminiscent of a teen-aged girl who just found out she wasn't allowed to go see Justin Bieber in concert.

“It's just not fair!” they cry out, one from a laptop computer emblazoned with “Hello Kitty” stickers, surrounded by cigarette butts, and empty pumpkin lattes. The other screams it before storming upstairs and jumping on tumblr to pound the pain away on a keyboard, certain that their life is nearly at an end. I'll let you figure out which one is which on your own. Frankly, sometimes I can't tell. To me, drama is drama whether it's from a teen-aged girl or middle-aged man.

Every time I see “Punk is Dead” somewhere, I laugh. It's much better to assume it's an exceptionally dry joke, rather than an actual serious statement; otherwise I might become annoyed or angry. Punk is about as dead as the Sun; just look around, it's right there. Sure, no one's making any money, I won't dispute that, but since when has hopping in a van to play non-commercial music in someone's living room seemed lucrative? Get over it, either keep playing the music you love or stop. Odds are, no one is gonna hug you and say “it's okay, we still love you” because you didn't make a profit from tour.

Life is short, and hard, like a body-building, porn-star Dwarf. Sometimes it gets so difficult to keep your head held up that you might fall into problems with addiction or depression. You might wake up some days and never want to leave the bed, and in my experience, that's why most people started making music in the first place. I know plenty of established, rock-star types have said it was to “get laid”, but that was a different time, and they may have been lying. It's show business after all, a lot of it is a lie, but I digress.

Truthfully, “the market” is over-saturated, and people do spend entirely too much time on their phones, especially at shows, but no amount of whining on the Internet is going to change that. Bands form, and break up every day; disappearing into obscurity, but likely still taking up bandwidth. Throughout history, show fliers have been filled with band names that most people have never heard of, but true music fans go to these shows regardless. These true fans also wind up dragging their significant other along, even if they don't want to be there, and it always shows. It is what it is, some people just bitch a lot.

When you get right down to it, if your scene sucks, it's because you suck. Go home, cry about it, make a tumblr post if you have to, I don't give a fuck. People will always go to shows, and spend most of the time chain-smoking outside, being overly-cynical about how shitty the band playing is; never mind the fact that they're not watching them or even really listening to them. Why worry about those people outside though, aren't you there to see live music, and have fun? Good, go do it!

I've said this countless times, and I'll probably say it till I'm dead to this world: don't bitch about the turnout, give the people there a great show. It's not that hard, a lot of people just have giant egos, and think they deserve a two hundred dollar guarantee just because they have some local buzz. Let those same people play a show to six people on a Tuesday, and they're mortified. Do it for the love or don't do it at all. If you want to be a pop star, go get on one of those “talent shows” on TV, and leave the real shows to the people who actually want to play them.

Everyone I know is broke, but guess what? I put big shows together with ridiculous lineups, and people come out to them because they want to see these bands perform. Yeah, there's always someone standing around outside bitching about something or someone, and I could not care any less. None of that is important, I promise you. All the “scene drama”, low turnouts, and lack of money in the world can't (and doesn't) stop me from doing what I love. Step up to the ever-changing challenges of being involved in music, or get the fuck out, and make room for the ones who refuse to be stopped.

It seems to me that a lot of these people complaining about “the scene” forgot where they came from once they started businesses. They have mortgages, children, and day jobs in addition to their indie labels, and touring bands. I know it's hard, and it really sucks the life right out of you when things don't work out the way you think they should, but again, since when has this lifestyle seemed like a great career opportunity? I'm not saying you should give up on making any money at this; it's still possible, just increasingly difficult, much like life itself. However, I am saying you should keep your petty bitching to yourself because whining ain't Hardcore, and Punk never died.


  1. "...if your scene sucks it's because you suck."
    I have thought this a hundred times! Well said!