Following several examples of ageing rock stars making fools of themselves, Getintothis’ Zach Jones hopes all your favourite bands break up immediately.
At what point does punk stop being punk?
Does the popularity of bands such as Slipknot take away from the concept that this music is for outsiders?
In high schools all over the world, there are kids swathed in black, sewing patches onto their jeans and finding solace in the cathartic swathes of noise that these bands released as their debuts. No matter what you say, Slipknot‘s debut album was fundementally heavy. It had it’s cheesy moments with the drum ‘n’ bass breaks and gross lyricism that became the cliche of nu-metal, but it was heavy.
Slipknot and their contemporaries such as Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie and Nine Inch Nails became a huge black flag in the sky for misfits, outcasts and all those who felt uncomfortable in their teenage lives to rally around. And rally they did.
The rallied so much that it projected these bands, who in theory should of sold no more than a few thousand records, to platinum selling status.
Now here’s the crux.
Can you still be a band for outsiders, when you’re on a major label, with a net worth of millions, winning MTV Awards, headlining festivals and gaining sponsorships? When touring has stopped being nine guys in a van, and is now luxury tour buses, first class airline tickets, five star hotels and a rider that costs more than most bands fees, are you truly fighting for the underground?
And we see a direct impact on the music, we see Slipknot releasing poorer and poorer albums. Green Day become less than a shadow of the band they once where and who the fuck are Blink-182?
So as we stare in the face a Misfits re-union we have to ask ourselves; why? Why do bands cling on until the end?
I’ve had the displeasure of watching The Stranglers in their 70’s play a set that wasn’t even up to cruise ship karaoke standards. I saw Dead Kennedys play without Jello and all I could think was, even Jello wouldn’t make this nightmare any better.
If punk’s not dead maybe it should be.
There are few bands who can master ageing, the record industry and relevancy. Because tastes change, ideas change and the world around us change.
When The Misfits started playing there was no phones, no internet and Ronald Reagan hadn’t become President. The world was different, the time was different, and the industry was different. How can that band still be relevant now?
In their 60’s and 70’s, playing music that isn’t heavy anymore and isn’t shocking anymore literally just means cashing in on nostalgia. For The Misfits to play the main stage at Riot Fest with Fucked Up and Against Me! is like Leeds United going into the Champions League with Arsenal and Man City, they just can’t compete anymore.
Slipknot really should have called it quits after Volume Three.
But they didn’t, they carried on and now they’re no longer a metal band. They’re a pop act.
Because that’s exactly the purpose behind the records, to be popular. Don’t believe for a second the bullshit marketing behind the band. If they were truly the visceral, aggressive, hard hitting machine they claim to be, they wouldn’t be sponsored by Monster Energy. I feel there is more to bands than just their guitar sound, and where it’s obvious Slipknot still have a distortion pedal, I question why they use it. They are no different to Justin Bieber. They want to sell records for the profit, at least Justin Bieber has the decency to know he’s a prick.
Most punk bands lose their relevance after their debut, maybe we get a good second or third. But the best thing for Nirvana to preserve their legacy was the death of Kurt Cobain. We won’t ever witness Kurt get bald and fat. We won’t witness him run out of money and do a commerical. We wont ever have to tolerate a 2020 comeback tour where they headline Glastonbury with a new drummer because Dave‘s contract didn’t work out.
We have been saved from the bullshit. We have three solid albums, reems and reems of bonus tracks to explore. Yet no scandals in the tabloids of messy divorces.
If you don’t believe me I have two words for you; Billy Corgan.
What a train wreck that is. Pro-Trump, pro-Hunting, pro-Gun Republican. Horrible quotes about ex-band members, dire music, and less artistic integrity than the Futureheads doing a private healthcare ad. Billy Corgan is now the furthest thing from that punk rock icon he once was. An embodiment of everyone’s weird subconcious, of the strange urges and desires we all have.
But now all he is, is the embodiment of your mildy racist mild aged white privilege.
And it overshadows how great Smashing Pumpkins once were.
So the truth is, if you love your favourite band, you should hope they break up soon. Here’s this month’s top picks, all of which I hope don’t last.
Nothing: Tired of Tomorrow
Raw emo that is utterly and totally over-dramatic. It’s one of, if not the, best release of the year. After a UK tour that encompassed everything a young punk rock band should be, their going to be massive so go see them before you’re paying £35 quid to ticket tout outside the Echo Arena.
The Body / Full of Hell: One Day You Will Ache Like I Ache
This came out back in March, but having only just got around to their UK tour this is still as brutal as ever. I’d actually be willing to hazard a bet that The Body are one of the heaviest bands ever, and their consistent collaborations show artistic vision and unapologetic, unwavering harshness. I didn’t think anything could top their work with Thou, but by the time you reach World of Hope and No Pain you realise it isn’t getting any lighter and the existential crisis of questioning what mistakes you made in your life to make you enjoy this music starts to set in.
Another band who are relentless with the quality of their work, this acoustic record is beyond awesome. It’s always worrying when a heavy band crack out the acoustics, because the truth is no one likes Fade To Black and I wish metal bands would stop with the token acoustic track. But that being said, Amenra‘s vision pays off and perhaps the only acoustic doom record ever sounds brooding, dark and probably would Sauron tries to fall asleep too.