(Loaded for bear)
07/07/07 08:25 PM
Re: Ask a music scene micro celebrity


I grew up in the 80s listening to Pussy Galore, Big Black and Sonic Youth and their ilk (the sst bands, the T&G bands, etc.). It seemed like all those bands were fellow travelers, there was a legitimate scene. It seemed like, post-Nirvana, a scene of that sort was no longer possible and a sort or "are you with us or are you with them?" mentality sprung up. You and SY had some public bad blood, as did many of the underground bands that comprised that American underground 80s network. As a participant in this small historical moment (now long dead), what happened?

You have summarized events pretty nicely. What happened was the overt polarization of the underground into two camps, those who thought they could follow in the footsteps of Sonic Youth and (more importantly) Nirvana, and breach the barricades of popular culture, and those who thought such aspirations were not just unlikely but ill-advised. Such mainstream gamesmanship was unprofitable, and by removing bands and resources from the underground was destructive to the underground culture, which had been flourishing, and usually led to the demise of the bands who took their shot.

An era of competitiveness ensued, with bands, clubs and labels trying hard to get noticed by the big players in the conventional old-school music business, and a veneer of professionalism interceded between people who had previously dealt with each other as real people.

The whole thing creeped me out and destroyed a lot of bands. That there were bands in the scene urging other bands on in this rat race seemed almost treasonous.

That said, I have always gotten along with Sonic Youth, and I consider them friends despite our differences in the culture wars, and they have been specifically kind to me and my bands over the years.

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