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COLUMN SEVENTY-EIGHT, NOVEMBER 1, 2002
(Copyright 2002 The Blacklisted Journalist)

HARDCORE? HARDLY!

"It sounds the same but it's lost the meaning...cuz the underground ain't underground no more..."

                              - The Black Halos

Every Sunday morning my eyes are a little redder than usual, and it's not from bong hits, as some of you might suspect.  No, it's because I stay up that extra hour to watch both The Punk Show and Loud, Much Music's pastel attempt at putting "hard" music on TV.  Remember, I have to get up at 3:45 a.m. (that's A.M., folks) to bike to work.  Yes, as you all stumble home from whatever jug of grog you've been putting your mucusy lips on all night, I am going to work. Pass the hairshirts and violins, please...

I have a beef with the music industry, particularly the alleged hard music industry.  With the advent of the rap-metal mix, or nu-metal, as it is called by youngsters manning the chatgroups and web-boards, a music I came to identify with at an early age has gone down the pipes.  This argument is nothing new; every generation thought that their music was better.  I wouldn't have a problem with nu-metal, other than the fact that really, it isn't metal and it isn't even hard.

I don't care how they do it, anyone can duplicate a sound; I can cover Beatles tunes if I want to---it doesn't mean I have the feeling or the true blood and guts of what Paul, John and Bozo the Drummerboy put into it.  I'm talking about bands like Poppa Roach, Linkin Park, Sum 41, Blink 182, I'm talking bands like The Vines, The White Stripes; basically what you've got is a bunch of products, a pack of Boy Bands With Punk Guitars.

I'm waiting for the next season of Popstars to be the punker band, where they'll give a bunch of preppy kids a few thousand bucks to go out and buy a new wardrobe, complete with fishnet


Punk
is a sell-out
term


stockings (to be worn on the arms), black nail polish, leather pants and piercings.  The second step will be to get them as tattooed as possible before teaching them the Bent-Over-Korn-I'm-Biting-My-Lower-Lip-Chewing-My-Goatee bass technique.

And all that before hair and make-up.  My sister tells me in the truck the other day, "I don't consider myself punk because punk is a sell-out term."  Yeah, it's a sell-out term alright, because the kids who used to be punker kids were the scum of the school grounds.  Having a Mohawk used to get you a fat lip.  Now, it's a fashion statement. How does a person stand out in the crowd when the crowd is the abnormal?  The tides have turned---now the preppy kids are "punk" and to NOT have a strange pattern of hair dye is a fashion no-no.

As much as these teether punks try to claim they are "individuals", they are really nothing more than the status quo, and the marketing executives at every clothing manufacturer and record company knows this.  I for one, am sick of it.  Yeah, Sum 41 and Blink 182 are punk alright, but in the most vile and prison-sex sense of the word...

And speaking of so-called hard bands, I saw this interview with a band called Glassjaw, who claims to be a hardcore band.  They likened themselves with Ian McKay's Minor Threat, the original hardcore Straight-Edge band (for those of you who don't know, Straight-Edge was a concept where the individual abstained from all drugs, booze, cigs, and sometimes, sex, and instead found their pleasure in the aggression and drive of hard, pounding aggro music).  "You wannabe's, you don't belong," the lead singer said to the VJ.  I'm thinking, hey, cool, a hardcore band. This guy's saying what I've always said.  The next thing I know, I'm watching a video by this band that sounds exactly like Our Lady Peace.  How can this guy claim to be a hardcore unit when they sound like a Coors Light power-puff band?!

If Glassjaw is hardcore, then Abba is Led Zeppelin.  And again, the singer is wearing the Gap t-shirts, the kitschy foam redneck hat and the Converse All-Stars.  If you ask me, anti-fashion is the nu-fashion.  The more retarded you look, the cooler you are.  I could go on and on about sell-outs---like Nofx, the anti-racist, anti-corporation pseudo-punkers from California...yeah they're anti-everything alright...with a small chain of coffee shops to run in their spare time...fight the corporations, guys...oh wait, you are a capitalist too...whoops...

Moving on the Canadian rock and continuing with the clone theme---how many Nickleback spin-offs are we going to see?  Jesus, it's bad enough we have to listen to some of the worst lyrics and generic riffs ever written by a band whose smartest statements in interviews seem to be about how much booze and dope they ingested the night before, but do we have to hear it from 25 others just like them?

"Man are we hung over.  Hey here's our new song, which sounds like the last one we wrote.  No, we're not two-dimensional dickheads, we're the awesome force of Nickleback! Now let's get high!!"  That could be a misquote.  Don't quote me...Again, it's the same thing---our hair is long, but not too long, and it is washed and styled nicely.  My teeth are bleached and these faded black jeans are retro, man.  I got them at Workwear World, to show my blue collar roots.  It's all style and no substance and as the weary consumers we are, we just keep snapping that shit up.  I have a hard time listing bands that sound like them, not because I can't but because there are SO many of them, I keep thinking I'm seeing the same band on TV, or hearing their songs on the radio. Stop the madness!  Of course, I have the right to turn it off, but what fun would that be?

There is hope in the world, however.  Jason Newstead, former bassist of Metallica, has jumped ship and will join Montreal's VoiVod on their next tour and will record on their next album.  Perhaps VoiVod will come up with something better than that Pink Floyd cover they did 10 years ago.  Look for something harder in the New Year...

Speaking of something harder, Henry Rollins was on the Drew Carey Show.  So maybe that's something softer...Ol' Hank played a thug that Oswald hired to beat him up after he accidentally thumped his mom.  The best thing about Rollins' acting is that it's just Hank wearing different clothes. Rollins will also host a new show on TLC (starting Oct. 20) called Full Metal Challenge, which is basically a twisted version of Junkyard Wars.

So much for new entertainment.  Hopefully it will be better than his last show Night Visions, which lasted a half-season on Fox.  TLC has another show featuring Ice-T, who you may recall sang for Body Count, whose song, Cop Killer got banned from record stores.  Seems Ice has had a change of heart and no longer thinks all cops are racist, homophobic, fat-ass donut eaters, as he goes "out in the field" with some of America's finest law enforcement on Too Tough, TLC's version of Cops.

So there you have it, even the old Road Dogs have their days in the sun. Maybe I'm old and cynical, maybe I need to accept change more easily, maybe I need to be less rigid...

but as Iggy Pop once penned,

"I Want More".

That's all the news that's fit to print, as Cliff Syringe would say...

take 'er any way you can get 'er  ##

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