I just spent my Saturday night in a warehouse sweating my ass off. Around me walked what is usually deemed the "crust punks" and tatted underbelly of any town's D.I.Y. hardcore scene. Just kids looking for a cheap place to hang with their friends and swig as much cheap beer as possible. It's a community that has thrived across this nation for some years now. While the sounds around these show attendees have changed and shifted from the doomiest of metal to the highest spin kicks a local hardcore band can bring to the table, it's not only about the diversity of the shows' bills, it's also about playing on the floor. It's about roots.
Roots is something I feel is lacking sometimes these days.
Convictions are a hard thing to shake sometimes. For some, we stand by our own stubborn standards and never grow, and others bloom, taking their convictions to new levels without wrapping them in any sort of anchored guilt or hypocritical run around. No one knows this better than the D.I.Y. scene of ethics. It's why Fat Wrecks tells you that you shouldn't pay more than "this" for a record or why Fugazi will only play shows under certain conditions.
None of these things are hurting the scene, it only enhances the message of doing it yourself for yourself and gaining better self values in the end. There really is a greater reward in putting 100% of your own work in and gaining 100% of the profits - and not just financially. But, it can also be a burden. If it's not done right, it can be the end of you. Unfortunately in a time where gas is high and kids only have so much of their allowance to go to so many shows, there is a tight rope called touring just about every D.I.Y. band is facing out there right now.
Don't forget, bill collectors don't defer payments because you're on the road.
An even thinner line to walk is the push over from punk rock ethics to rock star tabloid. Lately, especially with the hurt of the tragedy that is isanyoneup?, internet n00dz are the new stolen sex tapes - that artists are intentionally putting up themselves! See, when I was growing up, the top 40 radio bullshit rock stars is one of the reasons I attached myself to punk music in general. There was no wall, and there was no ego. (Egos are something I don't deal with, so if you have one, please do yourself a favor, and fuck off.) With the contemporary "scene," it sometimes feels like a bunch of bro-hemians with studio tricks and party vans.
Ask any server, they will tell you the same thing: Every server wishes that every single person, especially regular restaurant guests, should have to work one weekend at a mildly busy establishment. I feel that in the age of Internet hits and plays and critical hype addressed across any shitty tumblr or even standard given website automatically blooms these rock stars without any sort of years touring in a van until they're on the brink of quitting.
On the flipside of that, there has to be a time when a band that has busted their ass on the road should consider getting a little bit of help. Really, nobody wants to go home, and after kicking, scratching, starving and clawing your way up the mountain for so many years, there's always someone with the right intentions to push your success truthfully. I know these people exist, because I talk to these networks on a regular basis.
I think Evan Weiss saying the days of the rock star are dead is a powerful, yet weary statement. Unfortunately, there's no turning back the numbers of hit counters and play clocks that plague the web. Labels consist of people with jobs, and that means revenue and turnover. While that system will continue to exist in some form for some labels, we'll continue to have this divide between the rock star and the D.I.Y. kids who haven't showered in days.
Sometimes you have to climb to the top. Sometimes you have to tell everyone around you to fuck off, pick up the hammer, and build your own four walls. In the punk world, or whatever it's called these days, building up usually means from below the ground, in the basement.
Thursday have played their fair share of basement shows. They've moved on to small venues. Big venues. A few arena shows. They're five records deep going into a 10+ year career as a band.
Sure, the band moved up to the major league for a few releases and are now back to a more suitable home over at Epitaph Records, but they go out every night, into every studio session, and love it or hate, I believe they put their all into it.
Last year the band released an amazing split with Japanese post-rockers Envy. Both sides of the record were beautiful, and I hope it opened up Thursday fans to the great sound that is Envy.
Unfortunately, this past week, the same can't be said about Daitro, a post-hardcore, screamo outfit from overseas. Now, Daitro is a pretty great outfit if you're into the sort of thing, but what an opportunity to miss. A band, who's frontman claimed Young Widows' Old Wounds as his favorite record last year has given you an opportunity to introduce your music to a new audience.
So when did D.I.Y. become an elitist thing? Since bands like NOFX and Bad Religion have made a career for themselves, does this mean that they are no longer entitled to the same ethics anymore? If a hard working back toils themselves to a peak, do they loose cred quicker than air from a collapsed lung.
Going into the next decade, I think we need to all begin thinking about the D.I.Y. scene again. I believe the music recession is coming upon us in a much greater worth in the years to come. Bands will have to start fighting for your love, and the whole industry will be a bunch of Billy Mays yelling at you in viral attempts and bonus offers to purchase and support their artists and clients.
So Daitro, to the above, I say you missed an opportunity to live through your passion of a career. Now I guess you'll have to learn how to really D.I.Y. in the end, because sometimes we forget the most important part of D.I.Y.: the success that comes with friends who help through the D.I.Y. community.