Saturday, December 30, 2006

American Hardcore: The Movie

I am so hopped up that I have no idea how I’m going to get to sleep at all tonight. I just got back from seeing American Hardcore, this amazing documentary about the rise of hardcore punk in the US. Listening to all that hardcore music for an hour and forty minutes just gets under your skin, so now my heart and my head are beating just like that music and I’m so hyped up I can’t stand it. It also doesn’t help that I had a fun little skidding incident on the road coming back from the theater. It had just started raining and the street was slicker than I thought. I was coming up to a stoplight with two cars stopped in front of me. I thought I would be stopped in plenty of time, but a second after I hit the brakes I realized that my wheels weren’t turning but the car was still moving, skidding right into the car stopped in front of me. Luckily, as I was steering toward the left turn lane, which was empty, the light changed, the car in front of me started moving, and the skid stopped, almost all at the same time. But I could still feel my heart in my throat for five minutes afterward.

But, anyway, on with the movie. It was really amazing to see all the performance footage of these bands just roaring, the crowd so aggressive. Also, to know that most of these bands started in 1979-1981, when most of the band members were teenagers, and the whole movement was pretty much dead by 1986. And it was all grassroots, all-ages, play anywhere, DIY attitude. These bands knew they would probably never get airplay on the radio, or sell a bunch of records, or ever be mainstream, and that was what they wanted. They wanted to be the antithesis of mainstream. It showed how a lot of the LA and DC bands were made-up of more suburban and privileged kids who just wanted to rebel against the whole Reagan, dawning of a new America, faux 1950s perkiness, disco & 1970s hold-over rock. But on the other hand, the NY scene was made-up of a lot of street kids who weren’t really rebelling but had instead found a home in the hardcore scene that traveled into their town from LA and DC, which they took to another level. The sections on the NY hardcore scene remind me of Warriors because that was what NY was at the time, before Guiliani turned the city into the family-friendly place it is today.

Two things really struck me, one while I was watching the movie and the other on the road home. The first thing that struck me, while I was watching the movie, was how amazing this time period was for those involved. It is the same thing that struck me when I was watching Nomi song, though this music movement happened about a decade later. But they were creating something out of nothing that was by them and for them. In the hardcore scene, these were teenagers and outcasts making music for other teenagers and outcasts. How often can that be said? Most of the time, the teenage fans of a band or a music movement are a generation behind those bands making the music, because it took the band that long to get to a place where they could be heard. But because they were making their own way at the time among their area and age group and “hit the big time”, there wasn’t that generation gap. But it seems like one of those movements in history that can never and will never be recreated, that you had to live in to really appreciate it, though if you were living in it, you had no way to recognize how big and special and great it really was.

On the drive home, however, I was thinking that, if these guys (and girls, sometimes) were in their teens, maybe early twenties, when they started these bands in 1979-1981, then when the hardcore scene was over in the late 1980s, these guys were only in their mid-twenties. I can’t imagine being 25 and the biggest, greatest thing you ever did, ever wanted to do, is already over. I’m 24 and I definitely feel like my life hasn’t even started, but these guys took chance I don’t think I could ever take. Like touring when you don’t even know what kind of a place you are going to find when you show up, you don’t know how or if or how much you are going to get paid, you have to front your own money for records or tapes that you don’t know if anyone will buy, like traveling to play in other cities and being thankful that you have a place to crash on the floor of another band’s apartment, like knowing that the aggression you bring out in your fans could get you punched in the face, like knowing you could get hauled off and/or beaten by the cops at one of your own shows. And then, just as fast as it began, maybe even faster, the whole scene just disappears. I’m sure that these guys have done other things in the 20 years that followed but I doubt it was easy to try and create a new life after having that life for five years. Especially when you know that you haven’t even lived a quarter of your life yet. You have three-quarters of your life left to live, but the biggest, coolest shit is what you’ve already done. I wonder how many of them just kinda fizzled out, drugged out, killed themselves. I think I’ll try to find the book that the movie was made from. Hopefully it will have more answers about the later lives of these guys. I don’t think I’ll ever like hardcore music. But the movie and the movement it was about is awesome. As in, I am in awe of it. See it, live it, love it.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Merry Fucking Christmas!

Wow! It is crazy out there!!!! Today was my holiday crunch day--tons of stuff to do and no time other than today to do it. I leave tomorrow right after work, driving 4 hours to my grandparents house in my mom's nicer car with all the presents. So, today from 10 am when I got off work until about 3 pm I had to squeeze in all that I had to do while dodging lots of cranky shoppers and drivers. Condensed list for today in order: Work, Best Buy for Grandpa's Birthday gift (too many people for 10am on a weekday!), Costco for prescription, Hollywood Video for movies to entertain my family with (or maybe just for me), lunch, school for ID card (closed :( ) and parking permit, Half Price Bookstore for Secret Santa giftcard (also bought stuff for me, oops), Red Lobster for gift card, and some place for kitty litter and a birthday card. This might not be alot of stuff for most people, especially these high functioning Johnson County soccer moms out here, but since just getting to work and doing nothing else is still an achievement for me, this was A LOT for a few hours. But I did it all and now I'm done (kinda...) Breath. Breath. Sing mean Christmas songs (or any songs) at the top of my lungs, dancing, smiling, shaking my now-longish hair. So here is the song that is in my head. Take it for what you will.

I Will Be Hating You for Christmas- Everclear
Thanks for the christmas card
I dont want to hear about your new job now
I dont want to hear about your new boyfriend
I dont want to hear about it all working out for you
No, I dont want to hear it now

I dont want to hear about your swinging new place
I dont want to hear how everyone thinks its great
I just want to sit in our apartment and hate you
Yes, I will be hating you for christmas

You can have the christmas tree
Remember when we bought it at the store down the street?
Remember when I found that cheesy color wheel?
I dont want to think about the lights on your white skin
No, I dont want to think about it

I dont want to think about last year at your dads
We said it was the best sex that we both ever had
I don't want to think about my face in your soft hair
I will be hating you for christmas...

I must be losing my mind
There's gotta be a better way to deal with the pain
There's gotta be a better way to deal with the hate
Wish that I could find some way to make you go away
Wish that I could have a drink and make you fade
I wish that I could have myself a drink and make you fade
I wish that I could have a drink and make you go away
Yeah make you go away
Wish that I could make you go away

I will be hating you for christmas
Yeah I will be hating you for christmas...

Thanks for the christmas card