Alternative Music Dreams

Isn’t it funny how hearing a song from days gone by can trigger emotions and transport you back in time? Even better, you can magically remember each and every lyric to a song you haven’t heard in a while – sometimes to songs you didn’t even care for.

The-Screaming-Blue-Messi-I-Wanna-Be-A-FlintstoneI can recall songs and lyrics to some of the most obscure music of the 1980’s, like Screaming Blue Messiah’s I Wanna be a Flintstone and Old Skull’s Hot Dog Hell.

I’ve often wondered about the part of the brain that can store away all the song lyrics over the years and recall them at the moment you hear a song played. A scientific researcher really needs to do a study on this conundrum, as I would love to read the findings on it. They could even use me for research.

 

Music. It really is a big part of life for most people without them even realizing it.

 

Music has played a huge part in my life. While I am quick to say I am an old school punk rock girl, my musical tastes are all over the map. Of course I love my punk/new wave roots, but I also enjoy all music – yes, even some rap, like Eminem and Dr. Dre – however, I do not care for modern country music. Give me some Johnny Cash and Hank Williams for my country music fix.

I believe you can tell someone’s personality by their taste in music. Of course I could just be a music snob, like the character Rob Gordon in the 2000 movie adaptation of the book High Fidelity by Nick Hornby.

 

high fidelity rob gordon music snobs
Music snobs – High Fidelity, 2000

 

While I have nowhere near the musical genius of writers like Legs McNeil, Lester Bangs or Rob Sheffield, I do pride myself on having decent musical knowledge. In my younger days, I often dreamed of one day being a rock magazine journalist and photographer for Rolling Stone… I must admit, I still do.

Taking the idea from the movie High Fidelity, if time were not an issue and there were such things as time machines or even a TARDIS, I would go back to the mid-1970’s and report on the punk explosion in both London and New York City. I would get to meet such greats as Johnny Thunders, Debbie Harry, The Ramones, Iggy Pop, Sex Pistols (Sid Vicious!) and The Damned.

Hopping into my time machine, I would then transport myself to a few years later, to the late 1970’s and early 1980’s when new wave and hardcore punk were smashing onto the music scene. Duran Duran, The Cure, Depeche Mode and Siouxsie and the Banshees are at the top of my new wave list, while Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, Misfits and Social Distortion lead the way on my hardcore punk list.

Yes, as you can tell from the above, I love my alternative music roots.

I never followed through and pursued my dream of being a rock journalist or band photographer when I was a young adult due to the brainwashing my Mom-ster did to me growing up. “What musician or artist would want to talk to or be photographed by a fat girl?” It’s ridiculous (and sad), now looking back, that I allowed her backwards thinking hold me back from realizing my dreams.

Perhaps it’s not too late.

Alas, Rolling Stone is but a pipe dream – I doubt they’d hire someone without “formal” training/education (hey, I did take Journalism I in college, doesn’t that count?) to write for their iconic magazine. Even though in my mind I have convinced myself that I am “too old” to write for modern alternative music magazines, I still jumped off a cliff and applied to be a freelance writer for Alternative Press (AP) recently. It would be great to combine my writing and photography for AP – especially if I’m able to do the photos in my style. I’d love to follow in the footsteps of my favorite photographer, Anton Corbijn – he’s photographed greats such as Depeche Mode, U2, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Nirvana, and the list goes on.

AP dec85I can remember from my (much) younger days when AP was a free music magazine in Cleveland with info about punk and alternative music. Such young and humble beginnings. Now AP, celebrating 30 years of publication, is one of the most popular alternative music and culture magazines, both in print and online, catering to the 16-25 year old crowd.

Am I too old these days for such lofty dreams of working for an alternative music and culture magazine?

Maybe, but I am far from being uniformed and hip to the new music culture. While I still prefer my classic old school punk and alternative music roots, I can appreciate the new artists screaming onto the scene, begging to be heard.

Today, it’s a much different scene than when I was in that age bracket.

AP 30yrsBands had to physically pound the pavement to get their demo tape heard. Lots of in person public relations with bars, clubs and record stores were necessary. Our alternative music scene was underground and if you were a band, you had to really work at building a name and a following. You had fans and you knew all of them, if not by name, by face from coming to see you play.

Today, all you need is a smart phone, the internet and social media.

While I think this has cheapened the process of getting your name out there, it has over saturated the music scene and made it more difficult for new bands to get a break. Pounding the pavement has gotten broader with the advancements in technology. Every time I turn around, I have a band following me on Twitter, asking for me to go listen to their music or watch their videos. It’s even harder to get noticed. Really noticed.  

In an attempt to help these young musicians out, I’ve been checking out their YouTube videos. If I like them, I give them a shout out on Twitter and sometimes on my Facebook page. I’m thinking of expanding this shout out to a blog post once a month about up and coming bands to check out.

Maybe this will help these young kids out with their musical dreams of making it big, who knows. I just like having a foot in the music scene, even if I am an aging old school punk chick. By helping these up and coming bands reach more people and realize their dreams, I’m doing the same for myself. We all just want to be relevant and leave our mark on this world after all. 

 

In the spirit of my post, check out these guys from Atlanta, GA  – Next Year’s End  – I’m really digging this song! Don’t Think Twice

“And I’ve been fighting the future now I’m sure my story’s not over, still getting older with decisions in my head… Live in the moment and don’t look back!”

You can Follow them on Twitter @NextYearsEnd