What a morning to wake up to: I've got $6 in my bank account until Friday, have been struggling at both my jobs and have been having the worst writers block since my head's been clogged with a lot of financial and job related issues as of late. But through it all, someone out there loves me (and is possibly in a lot of trouble) and leaked the new Blink 182 album a couple of weeks early. First thing I scoured the vortex of Google today for, and upon first listen...well...second listen...okay....third listen...yeah, I really like this one track...fourth listen...okay, finding some favorites...
Through all of these listens, I've been thinking about a lot of things: longevity, nostalgia, excitement, disappointment, criticism, expectations, past and present projects, etc. Every little judgmental detail that was processing in my head before the album even finished downloading on my computer. I was just as nervous as I was excited. It was like not seeing a longtime friend you had grown up with and shared a lot of your fears, good times and adolescent spurts of emotion with for so long. One day - they just disappeared. Then you fell apart. You'd revisit good times and bad. Their voice and actions came up in casual conversation and it would sound nostalgic thinking about the close connection.
Listening to Neighborhoods, so much comes rushing back all at once: the last time you met, the last you heard from the person and what they've grown into. For most of us that really grew up with the band like we may have grown up with a certain television show or batch of childhood movies or teen comedies - this is something we hold as sacred as pop fundamentalist see The Beatles or paintings by Andy Warhol. In context, we do appreciate it more because we grew up alongside it.
Today marks my second year anniversary with the site. A site that of course was built around this band. (It should be noted that the week of my first anniversary as staff I actually interviewed Mark Hoppus.) But it's not about the site, and the exclusives and music and interviews and all this paralegal bullshit - it's about the feelings I stay up until 4 in the morning writing sometimes. I'm not the best writer and I continue to struggle to somewhat come close to my idols. Those idols have taught me two great things: don't bullshit and speak from your heart. This industry is complete bullshit sometimes. The way it's shaping every day, it's just a bunch of frustrated people trying to keep some sort of control that is absolutely out of their hands and far beyond the technology that someone has already figured out how to hack (how punk rock) before they figure out the next move.
The members of Blink 182 don't need anymore money. They went in the studio to make another album because they wanted to do so. Neighborhoods will sound familiar at times and leave you gritting your teeth at others - but I think it's still honest all around. Honest music will continue to thrive. Honesty and longevity go hand and hand. It's absolutely too early to say if this next wave of bands making music will make such a lasting impression - and I'm not saying that a few of them won't. At the end of the day, whether we received another Blink 182 record, or it ended with their self-titled, they already made their mark. Neighborhoods is just another notch in the band's career no matter how you personally take it.
The most aggravating thing - yet biggest laugh - about life is that there is no true reflection without a great distance of time between the initial event and any sort of action or reaction thereafter. The same can be said about anyone's career and where it fits in the grand scheme of a small portrait or larger mural of any practice, skill or market. Blink 182 hasn't just been there for me when I needed simple answers and reflections on current digressions and joyous occasions, they've really showed me that growing up is going to be okay - even if you make some enemies and falter along the way. Lucky for me, I've made so many great friends, been fortunate enough to live my dream and somehow have had people connect to the words spewed across the open forum of ideas that is the Internet. I really don't know how to react when people say that stuff to me - so to those people who have, don't take my reaction as offense. Thank you.
In 2002 my best friend and I recorded a cover version of "Dick Lips" on his computer. Guitar and vocals only. I found the CD the other day going through some boxes and cleaning up. I was just a kid who loved music then, and I'm still a kid who loves music now. It's good to hear a familiar voice almost 10 years later.
Yesterday I gave my mechanical engineering roommate the price for Blink 182 tickets with fees, and asked him to calculate why I would have to pay these ridiculous add-ons.
He failed, and ended up paying a fee to Live Nation once all was calculated. We're still scratching our heads over that one.
Later, I picked up the April issue of Rolling Stone off the coffee table and found an article entitled, "Where Do All the Best Tix Go?" explaining how some of the best seats are scalped by insiders and sold at higher prices to the public.
Also, I've started reading Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music, and in a chapter documenting how Prince fought the business and went out on his own, there's also a discussion on how Pearl Jam tried to side-step Ticketmaster, and ended up losing.
In the Rolling Stone article, Ticketmaster CEO Irving Azoff's Congressional testimony is quoted, confirming that "15 to 20 percent of tickets - 'the vast majority of the best seats' - are regularly excluded from the public on-sale," and the article goes on to say that industry insiders say it could be "as high as 30 percent for many shows."
Even some of the best ideas to counter scalping isn't without fault. Trent Reznor, who seems to be the guru at changing current industry business models, wishes to print customer names on tickets. Now, this would be a fond idea if not for the "Oh, well, I can't go to the show, I'll just give you my ticket, friend" situation that we've all been in. Yes, the model counters scalping, but punishes good will. The same can be said with the article's other mentioned notion of picking up tickets with ID at will call. (Though, if you pick the tickets up for a friend, guess that would solve that one, right?)
Blink 182 have given away free parking with their ticket purchase. I have to wonder, is free parking worth the extra twenty something in fees? How about a screen printed tour poster? A tour only EP? Is free parking the lowest common compensation that artists can give back to fans and attendees?
Processing fees are there for a reason - I guess somebody has to get paid for their help. But if artists want to make it up to us, I think the idea of tangible tour only property would be a step up. As far as the inside scalping goes, it's just another reason to hate the bigwigs, but unless you're as high up on the chain as they are, there looks to be no way around it.
Thanks for the free parking Blink, and Trent and Bruce, I always send my tickets to will call. I think it's time to go back to the drawing board, and make my extra money worth it, just a bit more.
"But people are what they wanna be. They're not lemmings to the sea."
This was my class quote, and Dude Ranch is still part of my top five favorite records of all time and still number three on the top five chronological records that changed the way I looked at music.
I love Blink 182. They are my Van Halen. My Jawbreaker. My Jonas Brothers. Wait, that last one may have been too far.
In the wake of their recent announcement to get back together, record and hopefully tour yet again-- the only band in my top five favorite artists that I haven't seen-- I sigh, and ponder if I wish for their return. I look to May's graduation, August's 23rd birthday and a possible summer 2010 release date, and I ask myself if this is really what I want?
With that being said, I popped in Dude Ranch on my way to work this morning. As the opening hits of and heavy chords rocked through my speakers, I wanted to scream to the students waiting for the bus, "BLINK 182 ARE BACK...AND POSSIBLY RECORDING WITH T-PAIN!"
Yes, I remember how "Dick Lips" reminded me of how much my parents got me down when all I wanted to do was watch TV and play video games; hearing "Josie" and wishing to have a girlfriend as cool as that, but reverting back to "Enthused," and thinking that's how I really feel about these "dumb girls."
And well, not a lot has changed. I still dream of a "Josie," I'm still paying my dad back for things and girls still make me feel like that kick ass song-- my favorite on the album.
But I am 22 years old, not the 12 year old rocking his first listen of Dude Ranch. I'm slamming down to Panda Bear's Person Pitch and relating to The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me and relaxing to Fleet Foxes' self-titled.
As mature as my musical taste have gotten, and the attempt of maturity of Blink 182's self-titled try to get, I'm still intrigued to where they will take their sound, which would be a possible two way street.
What could happen is something like a Jawbreaker, Sunny Day Real Estate, Promise Ring thing where they go for something even more mature and progressive then what they are known for, possibly abandoning their fun kicks for old man boots-- hopefully not the one's Bono was screaming about last night though.
The other road could be that of what the Get Up Kids did, where they came back with a mature take on their old sound: Guilt Show. This would rock. The pumping bass of Mark's following an easy progression while straying at times. The larger than life sound of Tom's guitar (sigh) and vocals, all layered atop Travis' "sicker than life itself" drumming.
In all honesty, I would love to see the later happen. I would like to see Blink 182 with some new lyrical tricks (something like New Found Glory's venture in Slow Coming Home) and tight pop punk style (Guilt Show-esque).
I'm happy that one of my favorite bands are getting back together, but I think we're all excited to see the revival of a milestone in many of our musical lives. But let's hope that this isn't going to be a giant rock that sinks when we hear the outcome.
If it does take a turn for the worst, you'll see this site crash faster than a Brand New post declaring they're "bigger than The Beatles and Jesus combined!"