Archive for the ‘American Glamour’ category

The Backlash to Selling-Out

2013/05/20

In 1988, Seattle was still a few years away from seeing its music community explode into the mainstream. That didn’t mean the city’s musicians weren’t getting noticed by major labels. Here’s a page out of Backlash, a Seattle fanzine aimed at covering the local music community:

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(From Backlash, August-September 1988, p. 1)

J.R. Higgins’ article was about the rumors going around Mother Love Bone, a super-group made up of members of MalfunkshunGreen River, and Ten Minute Warning. Jokingly, it quotes frontman Andrew Wood on what would happen to the band after hitting the big time: “we won’t forget Seattle,” he said, “until we come back and we’re all at the Coliseum and we’re like, ‘Hello Portland! How ya doin! and everyone boos.”

Dawn Anderson’s piece was about how a stalwart of the Seattle punk scene left town and started a band in Los Angeles (hint: the group had a name that combined both guns and roses). Anderson playfully included old quotes from the migrant punk rocker, Andrew “Duff” McKagan on the topics of selling-out and community.

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This fanzine page offers a glimpse into the Seattle music community in 1988. At the time nobody knew, of course, what would happen three years later. What folks did see was a) local musicians on the threshold of the supposed fame and fortune that comes along with signing a major-label contract and b) a guy that left the community for greener pastures and it had panned out.

Everyone knows that things ended up ok financially for McKagan. Mother Love Bone, unfortunately, ended up with a huge debt when Andrew Wood passed away on the eve of the release of Apple, their debut LP. The surviving band members were fronted a lot of money by their record company, which was now almost impossible to pay back.

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Luckily, two of the members of Mother Love Bone, Jeff Ament and Stone Gosssard went on to form Pearl Jam. But the musicians mentioned in Backlash showcases the tension between local music scenes and major labels, and the dangers posed by being drawn further into the depths of the music industry.

“Somebody needs to figure out a new way to smash a guitar”

2011/08/04

it’s been a while

In the 1950s, we had beatniks and rebels without a cause.
In the 1960s, we had mods and hippies.
In the 1970s, we had glam rockers and punks.
In the 1980s,  we had metal and…other stuff.
In the 1990s, we had flannel and more flannel.

not just for lumberjacks

Then starting in the 2000s, we had…everybody dressing up like their favorite character from the last fifty years. The fashion became the passion, and folks with no connection to the subculture those styles came from regurgitated rather than invented something of their own. Often, these styles drew from music communities that formed around a particular grievance or attitude, – a relationship that can be symbolized by, say, reggae music and dreadlocks. Of course, the foundation for both of those was Rastafarianism, and anybody that knows anything about that branch of Christianity knows how stupid an affluent white person with dreads is. Or at least they should be stupid for not being informed on their stylistic choice, but nowadays there’s no meaning behind the styles – the superficial is all that matters.

This may be the reason why I’m still wearing the same clothes I had in high school.
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24 Hour Political People

2011/05/03


Happy Birthday to Sub Pop – April Fools to Everyone Else!

2011/04/01

So they did it on April 1st so it could be called a joke if they failed, but really they were serious. Today is the anniversary of the day Sub Pop Records officially opened its office doors, way back in 1988. With a knack for self-deprecation, the independent label also had a talent for combining innovation, timing, and marketability – not only for its bands, but for the label itself.

Sub Pop developed a unique image based around hype that became the straw that broke the camel’s back – that is, if you can call the wall that was blocking underground musicians from having mainstream success in the United States a camel – and thereby caused a major shift in American glamour. Nevermind the make-up and leather outfits, here’s the flannel.

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Recycling in America

2010/11/07

Why do something new when you can just reuse what’s worked before?


Converse’s new brand is bands

2010/10/06

Converse is getting into the recording business. What took them so long?

“Looking to a Sneaker for a Band’s Big Break” 

The New York Times 6 October 2010

is it better to burn out AND fade away?

2010/08/18

“For students entering college this fall, e-mail is too slow, phones have never had cords and Clint Eastwood brings to mind a sensitive film director, not the catchphrase “go ahead, make my day.” These are among the 75 items on this year’s Beloit College Mindset List.”

Here’s the article:

Nirvana a classic oldie? What today’s college student believes

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