Posted tagged ‘selling out’

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.

The History of Punk, Class #9

2012/07/12

Saturday 14 July 1:30PM
Location: Humanities 1-14,
The University of Alberta All-Ages, All-Welcome

Money for Nothing and the Chicks for Free: Diet-Grunge and Punk-Lite

After punk broke into the mainstream via Seattle, the city reversed a trend that had held true since Ray Charles left the region for a record deal in Los Angeles: instead of leaving, bands started coming to the Pacific Northwest to further their music careers. Rather than trying to sound like the latest hair metal band, imitators were latching on to the sonic characteristics of punk bands…and wearing lots of flannel.

This week we will trace the legacy of punk since 1991, and the bands that cashed in on the angsty grievances of a generation. Not all the musicians that became successful were doing it just to get on MTV though, so we’ll examine milieu participants that stuck to their ideals, and the punk attitude, as they navigated their way from community hall shows to Top 40 rotation. The hardest part, of course, will be telling the difference between authentic punks and the marketable pretenders. So we’d better bring food to share, be prepared to sit outside and the sun, and let the debate begin.

Readings:
This is Not For You: The Rise and Fall of Music Milieux in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, 1950s -1990s, pp. 167-180.
That Tom-Tom Club bought all the Wack Slacks, Fuzz, Plats and Kickers!
In Defense of Nickelback or: How I learned to stop worrying about having credibility

Playlist:
The Offspring -“Jennifer Lost the War” live on public access 1988
The Offspring – “Days Go By”
Green Day – “Disappearing Boy”
Green Day – “When I come Around”
Rancid “The War’s End”
NOFX – “Bob”
Bad Religion – “Stranger than Fiction”
Pennywise – “Fight Till You Die”
Good Charlotte – “The River”Avril Lavigne – “Sk8er Boi”
Simple Plan – “I’m Just a Kid”

The History of Punk, Class #8

2012/07/06

The Edmonton Free School
Saturday 7 July 1:30PM
Location: Humanities 1-14, The University of Alberta
All-Ages, All-Welcome

“Punk, Grunge, and Selling Albums vs. Selling Out”

This seminar will discuss whether or not bands such as Mudhoney, Nirvana and Beat Happening were part of the underground punk community. Moreover, while viewing it as a social and cultural construct, this seminar will debate if the grunge movement, was, in fact, an extension of the norms, values and practices of punk culture.

Spoiler: I argue that grunge was an extension of punk, and when it hit the mainstream, there were all kinds of resounding implications for the mainstream music industry, underground culture, and a generation known by the letter X.

Once again, we’ll start with a short lecture, and then transition into our intellectual picnic format – so bring food to share if you can!

Reading:
I’m Just Selling Albums, I’m Not Selling Out

Not Required Reading:
This is Not For You: The Rise and Fall of Music Milieux in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, 1950s -1990s

Playlist:
Mother Love Bone “Crown of Thorns”
Jane’s Addiction “Had a Dad”
Soundgarden “He Didn’t (Live from Seattle Bumbershoot Festival 1988)”
Mudhoney “Touch Me I’m Sick”
Ronald Reagan “Morning in America”
Fugazi “Waiting Room”
Hüsker Dü “Eight Miles High”
The Replacements “Unsatisfied”
Scream “Came Without Warning”
Martha Quinn “MTV VJ 1982”
Mötley Crüe “Girls, Girls, Girls”
The Dead Kennedys “Pull My Strings”
Mr. Epp and the Calculations “Of Course I’m Happy, Why?”
Rodney Bingenheimer “Rodney on the ROQ Theme”
Wipers “Doom Town”
Beat Happening “Black Candy (live on TCTV 1998)”
The U-Men “They”
The Melvins “Happy Grey or Black”
The Fastbacks “Swallow My Pride”
The Gits “Insecurities”
Skin Yard “Skins in My Closet”
Green River “This Town”
Malfunkshun “With Yo’ Heart (Not Yo’ Hands)”
The Posies “Ontario”
The Young Fresh Fellows “Amy Grant”
The Green Pajamas “Kim the Waitress”
Screaming Trees “You Tell Me All These Things”
Nirvana “Spank Thru (1/23/88)”
Tad “Loser”
Sonic Youth “Kill Yr. Idols”
Sonic Youth “Teenage Riot”
Alice in Chains “We Die Young”
Pearl Jam “Why Go”
7 Year Bitch “M.I.A.”
Bikini Kill “Double Dare Ya”
Nirvana “Smells Like Teen Spirit”

 

In Defense of Nickelback or: How I learned to stop worrying about having credibility

2012/01/24

When I started this blog, if someone had asked me what the last thing I’d ever write on here would be, I’d have quickly answered: “a post defending Nickelback.” Then the question-asker and I would have had a good laugh, do an awesome high-five and a jagerbomb, compliment each other on our great new haircuts, and then go back to talking about some obscure indie band that neither of us had actually heard of, but pretended to out of fear of being judged as less than cutting edge by the other.

The other thing I never wanted to do with this blog was write a run-on sentence with too many commas. As you can see, I’ve already done that. Now, here I go with the whole defending Nickelback thing. Of course, I understand if that means you’ll stop reading this post at the end of this sentence…

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I’m just selling albums, I’m not selling out

2010/04/06

“I used to like that band, but then they totally sold out.”

Everybody has heard someone say this (less than) insightful statement, I’m sure I’ve said it at least 100 times myself.  When somebody says this the are usually attempt to make at least one of these points clear:

1) They are super rad and liked that band before you’d heard of them and
2) Now that the band is popular, they have no street cred and their music and message isn’t worth anything. The band just didn’t abide by the principles that the person speaking attests to.

Well, the truth is – people that say this are pretentious, yes, but they are also idiots (in my case, I’m just a more self-aware idiot).. AND they have mostly no understanding of the band or the type of music that they are speaking about. Mostly.

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