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Getting Past the Industry to Love Music Again
Late Night Thoughts: Ripe/Rot
06/09/12 at 12:58 AM by Adam Pfleider
"The whole 'music sucks now' thing to me is so lame. Youths write me and tell me that their band will go nowhere because of all the bad bands in the world. I tell them there has always been awful music and that no great band ever wasted any time complaining, they just got it done. Their ropey ranting is just a way to get out of the hard work of making music that will do some lasting damage." - Henry Rollins, LA Weekly

The media can be damaging. I wonder how Lebron James felt Thursday as sports outlets put his career on the line in every segment leading up to game six. It's not enough to tell people what's going on anymore, it's also about how they should feel about someone or something that they're closely attached to. My biggest personal problem in working in the media industry is basically trying to figure out how to open people up to something I'm excited about, without forcing my opinions onto them as a final will and testament about anything. When I read the quote above from Mr. Rollins the other day, it got me thinking about how negative not only I, but media outlets everywhere, can come off towards something they're just "not feeling" or "extremely biased" towards in the passion of conveying any sort of message.

It's a catch-22 in this business and a cop-out at the same time. We have to pit what we think is good to what we think is bad. Every day we wake up and evaluate someone's progress to others around them. We tier and create caste systems that are bulit and torn down on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis of "best of" lists and hyped review systems of numbers and best new "something or other" to make us selfishly feel like taste-makers and give us some sort of worth in a job that a lot of people not in this business could do - if they weren't already out there making a real difference in society, like we maybe should be doing instead of this.

I'm not going to lie, I've had a pretty shitty day. The one good thing that happened today was getting to see my friends play to a packed house show. Our other friends played with them. All of their friends showed up. It was quite a special moment to be briefly part of. While I always hear about concerns of opening for touring acts from some, a good local show stacked with close friends excited about what's going on centrally is an enjoyment that should be had once in anyone's life - especially if you care about the heart and community of music in general. No matter how big you see a band get and tour with other bands from states away, the local aspect of music is and forever will be felt as a well kept moment among many. In that living room, basement or backyard - the people around you get it. There is no media judgement. There is no "anticipated next album" or expectations in general for that matter. There is only support.

I can't tell you how personally happy I am for the current local scene in Texas right now. A lot of great bands are doing not only great things right now, but the best ones have the most distinct sounds that I've heard writing and reviewing for a national outlet. I know it's not only going on here, it's going on everywhere. The excitement a local scene has is necessary to carry over into national takeover - whether that takeover is playing small rooms for five years, or hitting it big in two or three. The great thing about the hardcore scene that Rollins grew up in during the '80s was that sense of local community - from Chicago to L.A. to D.C. to New York - that carried into national word of mouth. Through it all, shitty music has always existed during it. There are some terrible bands that get big all over, and a budding underground that will never die within a specific region. You just have to go out there and seize the moment among the muck. If you have a unique voice to some, you may not be suitable for others - but there's always that some, and that's who you should give a fuck about.

Today I realized that I wouldn't be getting an opportunity that some of my friends received. I somewhat have my thoughts on why that is, and for the most part it has to do with my output as of the past year. I've said it before, but today - especially - it warrants another reminder: If you don't go out and bust ass and never lose steam, someone else is going to grab the crown. Someone else who also yields success will probably get it when you trip for even a moment. It's a dissheartening feeling when you don't stack up to the competition, but it should still make you think for the long run.

A friend said something that cut quite deep tonight: "I don't really care what anyone else is going to think about this album. I care about the people here and shows like this and what my friends think." I'm thankful every day that any of you give a shit what I have to say. The truth is that I'm half plagiarizing discussions that I quarrel with among my best friends on a daily basis. In the end, that's all I care about - success will eventually follow to any who do their best at what they're passionate about. It's not about how you don't like what's going on around you, it's about how you can go out there and change it and get people to recognize that. It's not about forcing your opinions on someone, it's about getting others to see a different take on music, ideas, politics, religion and the such.

I'm coming up on three years for this site and I hope I haven't eaten those aforementioned thoughts. My close friends continue to inspire me, and it's helped so much. I can't be anymore thankful for that sort of "local" support and challenge. Every quick minute to the crawling year we grow a bit against the grain of "awful" we deem around us as highly opinionated creatures. Mediocrity will always thrive - it's how we end up fighting it that's the best part of any long term goal in life.

- love and respect
Tags: Late Night Thoughts, Life, Local Music, Friends
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