So it's coming up on three years (or something) that I've been a staff member here. It's crazy to think of the things that I've accomplished in these three years: the friends I've made, the things I've written and how it's gotten stronger but not quite to the point of excellence, and the challenges I've given to myself in each field of interviews to reviews to even this run down old blog. Pushing myself and pushing myself and pushing myself. It begins to tear, creating exhaustion and a rundown engine of sorts. This is being in a touring band. This is pushing your bands on your label that aren't selling as well as other bands, yet you still believe in their talent and poise. This is the hustle of the industry.
I hate it. I loathe it. I breathe it through my inbox every goddamn day.
This past week there's been a heated discussion about the workings of this site and other sites, for which we have partnered with to craft a larger community of news, ideas, features, thoughts, anguish and joy of our love of music. The right selection when we get in the car, or we want playing when we attempt to nervously land that kiss we've been thinking about all night. It's a sense that runs through many of us, but when I talk to many - I feel like it runs through few so deeply. Those people that I think it effects the most are the people I work with. It runs through our "Voices" sites. There is a wall called the Internet, and we're all sitting here yelling at it. Sometimes it talks back. Whether we tend to agree with it or not, we also tend to believe what it says most of the time. That's a scary thought for many reasons I can neither condone nor explain fully.
As one of those "free writers" for which half my networks know nothing of my lack of pay - nor do I think they care, because let's face it, at the end of the day it's a job to pedal. That's why you get paid, and I understand that. But through the muck and negative (a lot of which has been tossed around the social feed as of late), there is opportunity. Opportunity to be a complete ass clown of an opinion strewn across pages and pages of utter bullshit and contempt of uneducated and unmovable fandom alike. Every time someone questions my fiber to continue doing what I do for "free," I think of my friends in bands who have shitty part-time jobs like me; I think of my networks who have worked their way up from nothing; I think of the kind words I've been given - hesitant if they were in vain of personal gain - and just smile.
Writing for a huge publication used to be king. Then someone said, "Fuck it. I'll start my own." The variable that people tend to forget that separates one blog from another is content. Content is fucking king. Content is the fucking Walter White Jr. of this industry. It shocks, intrigues, stirs shit up and never backs down from its stance on or off of a contemporary and/or historical topic. When you're the master of your own domain (pun intended), you can run free and see what works and what doesn't. In the fast paced world of the Web, shit changes every day you're not paying attention. This is a game of chess you should plan on losing if you're not keen to a sense of surprise or uncomfortable feeling.
The truth is, I'm not sure what's next for me. I'm not sure if it lies here within the confines of AbsolutePunk or somewhere else. But no matter the location, I'm determine to make you all think. I'm even more determine to push my writing further. To question my own convictions on music, while testing your patience to hold a conversation without lashing out with your heart, instead of finding an understanding between the layers of the mixes. Lester Bangs died at the age of 33 taking three drugs and (supposedly) listening to the Human League's Dare. I wonder what his last thoughts were on the record, the song, the moment in time before his last breath. Was it understanding or was it nothing but more questions? Can I beat that? Can I write my best by the time I'm 32 and mix it with four drugs?
One of my co-workers is in his Fifties. While we were discussing a song playing over the speaker, he brought up a point when thinking of who the artist was: He not only remembered when he heard the song, he connected it to a time in his life and how old he was. He told me that's how he remembers music, by remembering the time in his life. That's his documentation. That thought hit me hard, because I sometimes think I'm the only one who thinks that as well. I work in an industry of hip denoucers. I work in a "buzz" time and "best new music" of sorts. I'm not that person. I'm just a sixteen year old kid who thinks NOFX's Pump Up the Valuum is the best fucking record he's ever heard - and it's damn funny too!
But now I sit here listening to Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band's 13 Blues For Thirteen Moons. That's far apart from my adolescence. That feeling of discovery and excitement still embeds itself in each new record I hear though. As I grow older, I always tend to think in the aforementioned mindset. To put it bluntly, that's the coolest fucking part of music. That's why I get up and write and put together features and shell out reviews for "nothing." I do it because I want people to be as excited about something as I am. I want people to connect to a sound, a destruction and a bloom of something special.
This is one of the most exciting times in music, and I'm truly grateful every day that I'm somehow a part of it. As one of my favorite bands once said, "The best things in life are free."