Ok, you can choose to switch off now if you want to. Itís time for "the same old story" thing.
Couple of days ago I saw Earthtone9 support Megadeth. Itís my opinion that they blew them away. Where Megadeth played to the crowd and rested on their laurels, the result perhaps of 10 years plus being in the spotlight (I mean, how can Mustaine really sing "what do you mean I donít pay my bills, why do you think Iím broke" these days?), Earthtone 9 were hungry. They were a band playing for each other. It went over most peopleís heads. Disappointing, but understandable in a way. But at least it was a little exposure. Planting seeds as Mr Hicks used to say.
Couple of days later, and a couple of miles away in Derby I saw them again. This time with Unfounded and Chasm. Now, itís tricky, cos at TOA in Nottingham Hard To Swallow and 3rd Stone were playing, which Iíve no doubt was awesome, and I did want to see. I hate gig clashes like that. But anyway, Derby and the crowd was minimal. Iíve seen it so often. Consumed stand out. They played Rock City to a packed crowd with Green Day. They go to the Vic and six of us watched their first 3 songs. Yet if they were American ....
Yeah, youíve heard it before. Iíve typed it before. Itís nothing to anyone. Anyone that agrees with my sentiments, thanks, but I know itís almost preaching to the converted. The unconverted? Well, they donít read zines anyway. They wait to see what the magazines tell them to do instead. So this is pointless. Itís repetitive. And I know to a lot of people, itís just funny to read me "going off on a rant again". Yeah maybe. I donít know what else to write. I know that each time I write this sort of thing I feel closer to giving up on the whole thing, cos it really is a stuck record. It makes no difference, and itís just becoming a parody. But, at the same time, it is my outlet to say what I feel. And sometimes that just helps.
But anyway, the reason for what Iím writing here is once more sheer frustration. The day of the Derby gig I was watching the news. There was a report of the MTV awards. Britain had one nominee and winner. Fatboy Slim. Iíve nothing to say about that, as I know nothing about his music. However, they interviewed the editor of the NME. Discussing the lack of British nominees. His insightful comments? "Well at the moment the Americans just do everything better than us. Theyíre better at Rock, they have Marilyn Manson." What? What the hell is the guy on about?
Look, Iíll tell you this, American doesnít have "better bands" than anyone else. What America does have is a better publicity machine. It has better hype. Itís so much better at that element than us, that if even has the people that influence a nation of record buyers, or potential record buyers, that they are better. The terrible thing is, these influential people combine this brainwashed state with doing their jobs incomptently. Personally I think they should be supplying information to their readers and then allowing them to make up their own mind. Instead they make the decisions and tell the readers effectively what to listen to by the restrictive nature of their coverage. Yes, theyíll argue thereís a lot of crud out there. And theyíd be correct. Theyíre filtering it for us. Hmmm. Except a lot of their filtering process results in 3rd rate Kornabie bands getting through on a constant basis. And filters out the UK bands.
Recently Lockjaw issued a new compilation album. 19 tracks. All UK. Ok, some werenít that great. Fine, you expect that. But the reviews in all the magazines were like "some of these shouldnít give up their day jobs" and "well, itís up to you if you want to take the chance." I mean, what kind of promotion and attitude is that? 19 bands for a fiver. Irrespective, they should be telling you to give it a go. Let you decide. Encourage. Yes, some will say thatís the equivalent to blindly accepting anything. But itís not. Itís not because at the moment you need to give the encouragement to get the whole scene up on itís feet, walk and then run. Then you can apply that kind of "thereís some shite here" approach. Itís an approach that maybe ought to be levelled at a lot of the crap that they are pushing out to people at the moment from elsewhere. If they continue that sort of attitude you see, what hope is there in this country for all the bands starting out. Why does everyone have to have "the finished product". A high quality CD. What happened about the music? Production can be resolved at a later date. The focus needs to be on the music being produced, not the sheen of the production.
I mean, letís take Earthtone9. Just released a new and stunning album. Weeks later so do Will Haven, whom theyíve often been compared with. Earthtone9 have received good press again for it. Though their reviews are the small ones, Will Haven and large. Itís my opinion that the new WH is good. The new E9 though pisses over it from a great height. Yet live, Will Haven have 450 people queuing to get into their London gig. If they or say Earth Crisis played Derby, theyíd be hanging from the rafters, and the doors closed early. Why? The music is in a similar vein. If you like WH why the hell are you not checking out E9? I mean, the comparisons are there. The reviews are good? Why then? It just always seems that thereís the element of them not being American or not on a name American label. But what about the music - thatís surely the main point. For me they have a tonne more variety than most of the current crop of "hard" bands - be they nu-metal or hardcore, itís what helps to make them so special and utterly compelling. But the press just donít get behind the bands in this country like the Americans get behind theirs, or like we get behind them. Itís killing a thriving scene. And believe me, kill the scene in this country and you kill it for Americans coming over. Weíve had people snivelling at the cancellation of Ozzfest. Are you surprised? Really? I mean, show me the gig going public in this country. Why are Americans going to come over if they think that the UK doesnít want to see bands?
So as much as anything people have to get behind them. But it often strikes me that for all the cries of greater open-mindedness in todays musical climate - "hey man, I like rock but I can also listen to techno like The Prodidgy!" itís as closedminded as it ever was. Everything is reliant on a scene or a look. But the music is the key to it all, it would make a refreshing change to see some real emphasis on music. Look through the pages though of the glossies and tell me that music comes before fashion - because it really doesnít come across that way. Look at how many "scenes" we have, thereís now metal, nu-metal, skater, hardcore, punk, ska-punk, goth, death, grind ... whereís it all going to end. There are obviously differences between the styles, but hey, revelation, thereís actually a number of similarities - if you boil it all down to the music.
But itís all fractured at the moment.
Itís almost like itís a vindication of what the likes of the NME editor is saying. Yet itís so wrong. The UK is full of quality. As is America. At the moment though, people are allowing themselves to be dictated to by people motivated by greed and their next paycheck. If you go out and just take a look, itís there for you to nurture, caress and love. But ignore much longer, and itíll disappear. Itís time that some of the prejudices were let go. It is up to people to try now. Try and drag a friend along. At the moment everything is simply preaching to the converted, including this. If that continue for much longer itíll be the deathknell of music in this country. I mean, if E9 canít crack it, what hope is there for the bands that get no coverage. Itís the same story for Medulla Nocte. Pulkas. Stampiní Ground. Kill II This. Sack Trick. Itís an impressive line-up of bands. And thereís a tonne more. They get a degree of coverage, but it requires more than that. It requires people. It requires people to see beyond the scene that they like to classify themselves as being part of and focus on the music instead.
If people would only actually listen and take the time and effort to check some of these out, then theyíd see for themselves. And then apply a little bit of pressure to the media machine in this country. Yes Iím a broken record. I know. But I also feel closer each time to being broken in doing all this. I mean, whatís the point. Maybe Iíll just get a new passport and accent and accept what the macine is feeding me. If I feel that, given that yeah, Iím a selfish egotistical git, then Heaven only knows what the bands feel. They deserve a hell of a lot more, and some people deserve to be proven wrong.