Friday, August 24, 2007

Hardcore Is a Festering Sea of Bullshit, Part 1

A few days ago I was reading a post about punk rock documentaries on Discoparlante, and felt the need to vent about the "cultural status" of the American Hardcore movie. I feel it's a good thing to bring up here now, as it will probably be something I return to from time to time. It's a valid subject. Below are embellishments on quotes from my comment on the page.

"...maybe because I’m pretentious, I always feel the need to interject my disdain with the way American Hardcore turned out. The book was really great, but would have been much better if we’d been spared Steven Blush’s pompous (and ignorant) opinion on skinheads, homosexuals, and how No Trend was “more innovative” than Minor Threat. The main problem with both is that it completely cuts off the scene in 1986, and the last 10 minutes of the movie are old bands telling new kids to fuck off. Hell, even the Circle Jerks, who fucking suck nowadays and totally rely on 14 year old kids who don’t know any better to go see them and pay their bills, were talking shit about the current scene. My bet is that the Circle Jerks couldn’t name one hardcore record from the past 20 years. They’re all outsiders now, trying to make money on our scene that they removed themselves from, and Blush is no exception."

If you haven't seen the movie, Keith Morris ends it with his fair share of talking about how the current hardcore "scene" is just copping shit that happened in LA back in the 80s and we need to get our own culture. What Morris fails to see is that he's not even a part of hardcore. The Circle Jerks put out a couple of really great, timeless records, but they are so inconsequential to me, and most people involved in the actual undergound. They tour nowadays and play places like the House of Blues, have corporate sponsorship*, and play songs they wrote 20 years ago (so who's living in the old days, huh?). They've become part of the machine they were supposed to be fighting so hard against.

"In 1986, Age of Quarrel had just come out. Warzone, Gorilla Biscuits, Operation Ivy, and Agnostic Front were all brand new bands. Belching Penguin’s Draft Beer, Not Me! came out, and the Borderless Countries Tapes series was in full effect. 1986 was the year when things branched off and hardcore turned into something completely different. The fact that 20 years later a lot of the people from the second generation of hardcore are still at least somewhat supportive of the scene now speaks volume about the people from the first generation who turned their backs on it as soon as something better came along."

The second generation of hardcore, to me, defined it so much more than the first. The second generation is the one that legitimized it as a lasting music style, but more than that, as a movement. Where the old guys saw a burned out gap where nothing could grow, the new kids saw fertile ground where they could build their own ideas, and that's still apparant. Sure, there's bullshit. Sure, there are tons of really mediocre bands that get a lot of hype, there's a ton of drama, and there are millions of kids who "just don't get it", but I'd be willing to bet any amount of money that if you could build a time machine and go back to 1982 and ask any LA skinhead at a Fear show, they'd say the exact same thing.

*This is not to say that corporate sponsorship is always necessarily a bad thing. However, that's a different post.

Yes, the title of this is the name of a Positive Reinforcement song. Good for you for paying attention.

2 comments:

br0q said...

other than the jerks footage in decline, keith morris has taken a steaming dump on nearly every punk/hc documentary ever made with his "the way it was back in the day" speech that he vomits repeatedly. i could go on, but im trying to be posi today..

Joe Stumble said...

I agree with your opinions on the book and the movie but one thing is worth mentioning....

The focus of the book is the classic first period of US HC. I think that he is right to end it with the Cro-Mags Age of Quarrel. To have gone outside of that time period would be to go outside the scope of the book.

What you are suggesting would be better served by a second volume to cover the 2nd wave of HC. That would be a killer book I'm sure and would probably start with Gorilla Biscuits et al.

Just as long as Blush doesn't write the thing.