It seems as though digital music sales have overtaken physical music sales for the first time.
CD sales are down 10 percent, and digital is reigning king. Not surprising, since the ease of finding music online is so readily available. It looks like the most popular non rock categories are punk and indie, and I know that’s a good thing for musicians….
The old guy in me misses the hunt. That’s something that a lot of kids and modern music shoppers will never know.
Growing up, I discovered punk rock at a very important time in my life. I was a new kid in a new school, in my previous one I was bullied and never welcome, coming into a new school, I had a new chance to be somebody else, but learned it was not going to be easy. Then I met a kid named Paul Nasty, he made me a tape one day, and the rest was history…
Punk rock was not easily attainable then. The internet wasn’t what it is now, basically a couple of message boards for Star Trek geeks and text based adventure games. When we wanted something we went hunting. This often involved travelling hours to Houston, Austin or San Antonio to a record store. I remember all their names. But I mostly remember the feeling I would get walking into these tiny cramped spaces crammed with records, zines, stickers, tshirts… my senses on overload as I actually tried to find the right music for the little money I had.
I have spent thousands of dollars over the years on music. My collection has grown into the thousands and I have tried to organize it before, but the feat was too great. Despite this, I still know every CD and record. I can tell you where I was when I got it, and if it’s older than a few years I can tell you what happened on the road trip I went to get it. My music holds certain memories for me. I can remember walking out of a store with a few new purchases in hand, and putting them on the CD player as we headed to the show that night. I remember listening intently to every track, proud of the fact that I had music I couldn’t find in my home town.
I remember the first album I bought online. It was actually Tom Wait’s last album that I had been looking for in various stores before I just gave up and bought it on itunes because music stores are just about obsolete and they don’t carry anything cool. I missed holding the album in my hand, and the artwork. I eventually bought the physical copy, but I just can’t seem to get into digital. I think the ease and convenience of digital has ruined things for people. I always appreciated the obstacles I had to go through to get my music, and the envy of other music lovers when I found something they didn’t. Now… for the right price we can all have the exact same music collection. There seems something wrong with that to me…
So today the big hullabaloo is that starting in Jan, Instagram is changing it’s terms and conditions. In particular…
“To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you:”
Of course, this probably would have gone unnoticed except that it just happened to go viral (must be a slow news day) and everyone from Wired to CNN posted news stories about the evil Instagram and Facebook empire.
Look man, we know it’s evil. We get it, I just wrote a post about it yesterday. Facebook and Instagram are in it for the money. Don’t let anyone tell you different. Just because some of you share your most intimate moments on these sites does not mean they care about you or your friends. You are a consumer, an ad clicker and a hit counter. I’m sure FB was laughing all the way to the bank on election night as you guys bickered among each other who had the best candidate, because it brought record traffic. Every major news event, tragedy, storm etc isn’t you guys and your “valuable” opinion. It’s your hit count and your logged in hours that makes them salivate, and their investors.
So knowing this, why should we be surprised when Instagram is bought out by FB and then pushed to make money? And why are we surprised when we know that if FB gets the rights to our privacy and info (oh yes.. and you agreed to it) why are we surprised when Instagram makes a similar claim.
It’s a free service to you. It’s free. It costs you nothing. Here’s a news flash. Nothing is free.
But it’s the same reason people complain when twitter is down, or FB gets a new timeline. People feel the need to complain. They will form petitions, they will make FB groups (ironically) they will share memes to show FB and instagram they ain’t playing around. Slacktivism goes another step.
In case you are wondering, FB and Instagram are posting blogs stating that “there is some misunderstanding” on how the terms are worded and they are working to change the wording to a simpler and easier to understand language… Simpler than English… since you know most of you already lost interest in this blog due to my use of words with multiple syllables. But what this means is they will probably backtrack and find another way to make their money off you. Somewhere. Somehow they will. In the meantime, post a meme and make sure to like my status or you don’t love America.
Get off my lawn.
This rant is nothing new.
I just remember that when I was a kid. It was different.
My dad always said, we should be something scary. My mom made all of our costumes. This was before I was old enough to know that something made from my mother’s hands was far cooler than the cheap plastic trashbag looking costumes the other kids with lazy moms got every year from a Woolworth store. I wasn’t old enough to appreciate the handmade embroidered “S” logo on my Superman costume she made, or the furry gloves and head piece of the werewolf she had on “back up” in case any of her three kids made a last minute change on her before trick or treat time.
My parents… were on the ball.
Halloween was a time of awesome hijinks and spooky costumes, scaring yourself silly with your friends and just for a moment, letting the animal inside run a little loose.
A Lot Has Changed In The Past Few Decades:
1) I blame parents: I guess we were just tougher stock back then. I just don’t know when people became such wimps. We always heard the stories of razorblades in candy and apples, but honestly, I don’t think I ever got one apple. Kids roamed the neighborhoods, and parents didn’t document it every step of the way with their cell phone videos.
The fountain of youth has been tainted. Somewhere, a generation of parents forgot that kids live for fun. And as parents, anything remotely smelling of fun should be banned, or at the very least monitored for everyone’s “protection”. You know the types, the kind that use hand sanitizer on everything and won’t let their kids play outside because the sun may give them skin cancer…
These parental units, take their kids trick or treating in a mall instead. A fucking indoor mall, totally killing the spirit of door to door adventure, they take them to church festivals, which have hated the day of Halloween more than any other organization and have invented their own family friendly (boring lifeless and pathetic) “fall fesitivals”. No my friend you will not find a skeleton here. (I don’t know why, we all have one… well some of you are missing spines but I digress)
If you are this kind of parent, you are doing a huge dis-service to your kid. Coddling and babying your child, is only giving him or her a false sense of security and entitlement. You have micro managed your kids to the point there is no freedom for them and when they do rebel, they will rebel hard and fast and not even know how or why. Soon you are wondering why you are being called into parent/teacher conferences because little Johnny has an attitude problem and you can’t figure out why he won’t do his homework, or worse yet, you can’t figure out why he is still on your couch years after getting that art history degree and can’t get a real job. (This worse case scenerio brought to you by Halloween)
2) I hate hipster d-bags and social media “nerds” who claim to love Halloween: Fuck. We get it. You love Halloween. You go and buy all the decorations on Nov 1 to save money and decorate year round. Yes we know, you love horror movies and wear spiderweb tights to look sexy. We get it. Tim Burton didn’t sell out to you. We know you call it a holiday when in reality it is not a nationally recognized holiday and if I bring that up, to correct you because I don’t want you to look foolish, you will scream and yell that I am just a boring old man who is bitter (and you’re right). But still you will spread glittery graphics and memes on facebook and tell everyone on twitter that you are the Halloweeniest person ever…
I like the idea of Halloween too… But you see. Unlike you, I don’t feel the need to express that. A friend of mine called me out online the other day, saying I have a problem with age. I guess I do. While I love horror movies and the macabre, every day truly is Halloween (like the Ministry song) I actually regret telling you to look up that song because I don’t want you D-bags making that your mantra.
3) Halloween was taken from the kids by force from the “Young Adults” of the world: We have overstepped our boundaries. I am not sure why. But most “adults” 18- 28 are trying to reclaim this lost youth. As a result what was once cool is now shit on and reimagined as a halloween costume. ANYTHING as long as it is slutty. This year, I was appalled to see “sexy Big Bird and sexy Ninja Turtle” costumes. There goes my youth, date raped by some shyster who swindled it out of Jim Henson and PBS. We are to blame, we let it happen. To make it worse, in the last few years, a lot of “tween” costumes have become slutty, thus lowering our already toilet standards and wondering why we blame the youth of America for our down hill slide when we never bothered to look into the mirror to take a good hard look at ourselves other than to take that new profile picture we hope will score some likes on social media. Now don’t get me wrong, I like a sexy french maid as much as the next guy, that is I when I’m in France, I have an open line of credit, the Eiffel Tower has already bored me and she has me tied up telling me how she hates Americans, but Halloween, well that’s different. I guess I’m just old fashioned in thinking that a woman with a big book is sexier than a woman with a big badonk. But hey that’s just me…
So what have we learned?
To me, every day is Halloween. I get up, dress in this daily costume to walk among you, smile at people I work with and pretend you guys aren’t killing my spirit.
Kids then dress up to be who they admire (Superheroes and cartoon characters)
And Young Adults dress up to show their true nature (sluts and D-bags)
There’s no candy here.. beat it..
Like the rest of you, I heard the news today about 4pm central time that rocked my news feed. I had been debating on starting to write again, but really wanted to wait for something important or to rile me up to make me write something that made me think… and rant.
Than this came along: “Disney Buys Lucasfilm for $4 Billion”
That didn’t phase me until I read: “Episode 7 due out in 2015″
I remember the Marvel buyout. How everyone freaked out (including me) but y’know… Over the past few years, Marvel hasn’t lost their identity. As a matter of fact, the movies have been pretty good, and I’m still reading. Like the video suggests, Disney has let them keep their identity, so I am hoping that they do the same with Star Wars. My brother sent me a text that is sums up everything:
Hope For The Best, Prepare For The Worst
Yup. That’s about it…allow me to elaborate
WHY I LOVE STAR WARS
You see… Star Wars is life for me. It’s important and I love it. I’m not just a fan, I love it. I’m not a cos-player, I don’t own every toy or collectible that came out. I do not believe these are things that are needed to show my love for these films. My best childhood memory is watching Empire during a matinee and then my parent’s saying “stay seated” as the movie started over again. I remember waiting the three year wait to see what happened to Han, and instead of cowboys and indians, the kids outside played “Rescue Han from carbonite” as we all debated and schemed how the Alliance would save him. Then I remember the day, sometime after 3:30 in the afternoon (Laverne and Shirley was on) when the movie trailer hit the airwaves. My brother and I jumped and screamed for joy on the bed as we watched our little black and white television set in my parent’s room. I remember that wait more than any of them. It was important and it was also the last great thing of my childhood because after ROTJ, Star Wars only lived in my heart for many years. There were no VCR’s (we couldn’t afford one) and as I got older, my mother sold my toys in garage sales. But it lived on you see… in my heart.
It sounds silly to you I guess. I do not expect most people to understand. But I was a kid, living in a rural town which he hated and saw something that lifted me up and made me happy, I cannot put it into words. I have written about Star Wars so many times I have NEVER gotten it right. These movies shaped me. They made me a better person. They taught me to always save the princess (even if she didn’t think she needed it) to always stand up for myself no matter the odds, the Jedi way taught me more about being a good person than years of Catholic education, and here I am… Still looking to the stars. Still trying to take my shot. Still believing that one person can make a difference. I do not apologize for that. So while some may think it’s just a movie, and I am over reacting. Fine. You do not know what it means to me. You can’t ever know, and I am not saying you don’t have a right to not like SW, I’m saying that you can’t possibly hold it in the regard that I do. It is sacred to me. Sacred. I will demonstrate.
1) I don’t give two flying shits about Disney buying Lucasfilm. There. I said it. I don’t. They can make all the movies they want. Despite my momentary lapse in anger when I saw that Disney bought Lucasfilm (I’ll tell you why later)I was worried about Episode 7 and the rest of SW. But then I remembered my Star Wars.
My Star Wars is not tainted with Special Edition effects and bonus scenes. My Star Wars does not have Gungans and people who are starving on a lush green planet due to a blockade by the weakest droid soldiers in the system (I think Samsung made them). No… My Star Wars is pure. It is a farmboy and a scoundrel, a wookie and a crazy old wizard. It is a strong heroine who is strong for the sake of being awesome, not for political or gender reasons. It is a classic storytale in a future setting. It is perfect. It is the reason a kid in Kenedy Texas decides to race down the slope of the playground and skid with shorts on catching gravel in his knees and only then deduces it is because he did not use the force enough. It is my brother and I drawing on pieces of butcher paper in the back of my grandmother’s diner when we are about six or seven years old. It is when my siblings and I meet at the Star Wars museum for the first time when we are adults and embrace at the front of the door. No… you can make your movies. You can change them. You can sell them. But you cannot take my Star Wars away from me. My Star Wars is perfect and lives in the memory of my mind.
2) I am mad at George Lucas for selling. I know I know. Some of you are saying “Good, he won’t have anything to do with them.” But let me tell you something. You can be mad at George all you want, at least they were his. They were his to make and his to destroy. Now… they aren’t. This makes me mad and sad. Let me explain.
George invented this. He invested in it when no one believed in him. He became stinking rich. THIS is the ultimate American success story. America has lost it’s gumption. We lost our heroes. No one invents anything anymore. If you write a comic for Marvel, guess what… Marvel owns it. If a musician is not careful and signs a contract, their music becomes property of the label, if you invent something at your work, it becomes their intellectual property. That’s the whole reason Iron Man was written. It was an inventor in a corporate world. It’s all about keeping his invention and not surrendering it. George invented (and abused) his own creation. But it was his to do so.
Was George hurting for money? Nope. Were they foreclosing Skywalker Ranch? Nope. He just got rid of it. He says he wants to go and make his own movies now. I hope he does. I hope he takes his 4 billion dollars and makes those little movies that only 4 billion can make. But am I mad that someone would take his invention and give up? Yes. Yes I am.
3) I hate Mash ups and Memes and wish people would stop posting them. If you are doing this… I cannot stop you but let me tell you why I hate it. Remember that thing I said about Star Wars being sacred to me? I meant it. I revere it. I love it. I love collecting black and white photos of the set, and concept art for my walls, I love reading the extended universe and playing the video games. I love the pure Star Wars canon. What I hate is everything that cheapens it.
Spurs fans who wear “Obi Wan Ginobli” Tshirts, Star Wars M&M characters, Darth Vader helmets with Mickey Mouse ears, memes that have Yoda marrying an ewok and producing a mogwai… This is not Star Wars. This is a cheap ploy to sell a shirt or product or even worse, to get a cheap laugh off of facebook. There is no redeemable value in this other than someone thinks it’s “cute” or “funny”.
I realize though, that I am a small minority. People will continue to shit on the genre I love and also claim to be a fan, but in reality posting something like this does not pay homage to Star Wars, it does not revere it. It cheapens it, it makes it something that others can toy and scar. It lets the mainstream grab a better hold on it eat it and shit it out. Then… we get things like Star Wars dancing video games and Pluto Kenobi.
4) I weep for the younger generation. There I said it. I’m sorry to those that see nothing wrong with this. I guess it is age. (so what, the name of the podcast is old man and bitter girl, so get used to it) It’s not because I think I am cooler than you (I am) it is because you will never “get” what I’m trying to say. Even if you do.
I am sad that kids will never get to see it like I did. I have a memory that cannot be taken away. I’m sorry they have to put up with bonus scenes and Han being honorable. I am sorry they will not have that anxious feeling of driving an hour and a half just to get to the nearest theater. I am sorry they will not have that awesome feeling of the greatest Christmas ever opening that original Falcon. They will have to make do with their Harry Potter books and their Pokeman. That’s fine, but for me, there was only one love that opened into others, that paved the way. They will not have that, and that is a little sad.
Star Wars is for the kids. It isn’t for sad old men like me. It did inspire me to create, to write stories, to write for pop culture websites, to get into punk rock, to become a musician, and even to make this podcast. I hope that it does the same for new generations. This is why, if any money grubbing soul feasting corporation will steal it, I am glad it is Disney, who will do whatever it has to to make a profit, (which hopefully means keeping it in the same spirit) I can only hope for the best, and pray for the worst.
I will never be that guy who claims Lucas ruined my childhood. I had an awesome childhood thanks to these movies. I am not the guy who hates things because I liked them first. I am the one who hates things who become ruined because the mainstream latches on to them and changes them. Every year, I deal with it happening. I see as comic conventions get worse every year (Dallas’ comic con last spring was crap and last weeks Wizard World Austin was the most expensive waste of money ever) Shows like “Arrow” are made and shoved down our throat, and great creators are pushed aside so Wizard World can put out “The Situations” comic book. THIS is what bugs me. We let it happen.
I hope that Disney does not take the bait. I hope that things still stay cool. I am the sucker who will still keep buying the ticket no matter what, so I guess they win anyway.
They win. You win. They all fucking win.
Hope for the best, expect the worst.
Get off my lawn.
Yeah yeah… you heard the news. Green Day front man Billie Joe Armstrong got mad and smashed a guitar onstage. Everyone online started freaking out and saying how “punk rock” he still is… blah blah. Even iHeart radio (who hosted the event) said it was “one of the most epic punk rock sets in recent memory”. Whatever. Now not shocking news or anything, but the band has apologized and sent their front man to rehab. But look man… you can call it whatever you want. An egotistical sad man who knows his new record is going to bomb, a guy who is mad he got cut short to appease Usher, or just another rich aging rock star who forgot his place in the world, but let’s not get it twisted… Green Day is not punk rock.
I take great offense to the idea they are.
Oh sure, they may have been at one time, when they were on Lookout! records, but even the band has distanced them selves from their own past citing how young they were when they wrote their “punk” songs. You will notice me using quotes around the word “punk”. I do that because you don’t have to play traditional “punk” music to still have the underground edge and attitude that people respect… but let’s face it… Green Day lost it all in the early 90′s make no mistake.
When you play the MGM Grand, when you are an MTV darling on their award shows, when you are played on iHeart radio for Pete’s sake… you can’t claim my DIY way of life.
Here’s a news flash GREEN DAY… and anyone else who thinks what they did is cool…
My life.. our life, is hard. It’s rough. Even as I type this, I face an uncertain employment future in 30 days, I’m living on a shoestring budget. My home has forgone luxuries like cable and XBox live so we can keep the wheels on the truck spinning and heading to other towns to spread our music message. It rarely pays for itself. I sometimes wonder why I do it. But let me say… that I can’t see us doing anything else.
So when a forty something aging one time cool singer who has made record companies millions of dollars throws a temper tantrum onstage and people call it punk, it makes me sick to my stomach. That’s not punk. There is no struggle in that. I think about my friends in bands who try to make a living on music, and how they would kill for a chance to play a show that big or a stage like that. All this guy did was break a guitar any of my friends wish they could afford. All I see, is a rich washed up drug addict who is a cliche. That’s not what we podcast about. That’s not what we promote.
We’ve been following the “When We Ruled H Town” documentary since pretty much it’s inception. It has a special place in our hearts. So when the movie finally came out, we knew we had to be there.
Luckily all the work we put into it paid off this weekend, as we got to help behind the scenes at the events, have all access passes to every stage and area there was, and even join Manhole onstage for their into song (see video)
It’s not just the podcasts we’ve done for the movie, it’s not just the interviews or even the articles I have written for Austin magazines, music publications, and other forms of media we have pushed to make this special.
Houston was a scene I regularly escaped to when I couldn’t take my hometown anymore. I was a mad kid, who loved punk rock, fast music, and was tired of the things that my town did not offer. It was in Houston, and when these bands started coming to Victoria and playing down here, that I realized everyone was doing it themselves. The documentary touches on that a lot.
This paved the way for me to start my own bad garage bands, help put out zines and help build a scene in Victoria in the ninties with help from great bands and people like Worm Suicide, Purple Kush, Frontline, Ar15, DMK productions, and many more I can’t even mention because then my fingers will get tired and feelings will get hurt because I didn’t mention everyone.
Not to sound dramatic Victoria Texas, but if I wasn’t going to Houston shows and coming up in that scene with my friends there, the 90′s scene in Victoria could have been a lot different. I’m pretty sure things would have still happened, as long as there is a will and a need, there is a way, but things would have been very different.
I’m not saying I’m important. I’m saying that Houston provided a model for everything I wanted (and still want) us to be. All the bands support each other (they do here too) we have a venue we can rely on and when we are working together we can make things happen. The most important ingredient we seem to be missing is the fan participation sometimes. Houston had rabid fans, we have some, but not as many. We are living in an era of apathy when it is much easier to rip songs off the internet than bother going to a show. But looking at history, the show was our social media. It was where we hung out, had adventures, and more importantly had the afterparties. Local shows brought me more ex girlfriends, more hangovers, and more memories (and erased ones) than I can talk about. I wouldn’t change that for anything.
Thank You Houston.
Now let’s get our second wind and go see some shows
I remember seeing the poster for the first Warped Tour in 95. I remember seeing all the bands on the poster, and thinking “There is no way this is a real thing” it was the first time I had ever seen a huge lineup of punk bands in one place. So… we went. I went a few times over the years, and the last time I went to Warped Tour was ten years ago in 2002.
To tell the truth I was pretty much done with Warped Tour in 2002. I had enough of it by then, the long lines, the heat, the short sets, it was enough to make the young punk rocker finally concede to the old man inside.
That part of my twenties was forgotten until recently, when OMBG decided to try to get press credentials to go to Warped Tour this year. I’m not sure really why we pushed so hard to go. We’ve been around for going on two years now, and we have been covering more and more events, I think we just really wanted to prove to ourselves that we were legit enough to get into something that mainstream music magazines and publications go to. It wasn’t until we got our credentials and looked at the lineup that we realized how much had changed in 10 years…
1) There used to be a ton of punk bands and a couple of others…. Now, there’s a lot of “alternative music” and (literally) a couple of punk bands. I saw this turn on my last Warped in 2002. I begin to see the turn of music even back then, as pop punk gave way to emo and screamo, which in turn ten years later turned into “metal” (I use that in loose terms) “hardcore” (this one too) and bad rap groups. I am not sure how this happened. I mean I know that times change. I guess at some point, the tour has to decide if it wants to stay punk or change with the trends. If it didn’t change with the trends, it would bankrupt. The only people that looked kind of like my old friends were some people in the bands and a few of the workers.
Which leads me to my next point…
2) I have nothing in common with typical kids… That’s not a bad thing. At the old punk rock age of 36, I am happy to not be in the same category as a lot of kids. I always liked going to shows as a youth and doing my own thing, but one thing I noticed in this concert was that I never saw so many kids try so hard to look different, they all looked the same. As I stood around tired of crowds and heat, these kids seemed to revel in being put from one crowd to another. It didn’t take long for Brea and I to see in line… Warped tour is a youngin’s game.
3. DIY vendors have given way to activists and social causes… When I first went to Warped over a decade ago, there was always really cool booths that had DIY clothes or free mohawks to give, or zines to give out. I mean there was always something there like PETA or Truth.com, but for the most part, there was usually something cool to find… This year, I found pretty much no DIY stuff. But I did find… a heap of activists in it’s place.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Over the years punk rock has gone from having fun and doing your own thing, to being politically correct and not offending anyone. It just seems that all the fun has been taken out of rock and roll.
3. Vegans have taken a whole new low… So… at Warped Tour, one thing I did notice were at least 4 different vegan organizations. Each with varying degrees of passive aggressiveness. One thing that really stood out, was that one group was actually paying concert goers money to watch a 4 minute video on animal torture. I’ve heard of desperate measures, but this one took the cake. See pic below.
The level of rudeness from their workers, was not surprising. The scoffs of the volunteers that I actually declined their offer of one American dollar to watch a video meant to shame me. Now, look, don’t get me wrong, I believe people have the right to live their lives. If you want soy and leafy greens, more power to you, and more steak for me. But like I said, I believe in the right to live your own life, that means not spreading your agenda on other people. I really miss those old DIY booths.
4. In the midst of this, there is still hope… Now I had just about given up hope that day. Until I met the Jukebox Romantics. I had an interview with them that afternoon. They were cool guys, played in an actual punk band, and put on the best set I saw that day. I was introduced to the fine people on their label, and all in all, they made a possible shitty day pretty damn good.
So to recap, I don’t know what I was expecting. I knew that a lot of things had changed in 10 years, and even being a “music journalist” who helps put out a podcast. I knew that musically, I was going to be at odds with it. I will always have a feeling of discontent with it I guess. Everyone else seemed to have a blast, and our photographer (these pics are mine but Jake’s will be up later) seemed to love it. But thanks to bands like The Jukebox Romantics, I guess it is possible to go home again, even if the family is a little smaller than what you’re used to.
When I was a kid, we didn’t have a lot of money.
Back then, my family moved in to a run down house on the south side of town. But even though it was worse for wear, my parents put some elbow grease into it, we scrubbed tubs, painted rooms, and made it livable. It never went downhill the years we lived in it. In that area of town, there were other houses, where it looked like people just gave up. There was trash in the yards, discarded remains of machinery or various things, broken doors and sagging ceilings, and unkempt lawns.
I learned a lot those years about taking care of what you have. About being proud of who you are, and even though it’s not the best, you make it the best for you.
I say that because it’s sort of a mirror for the kids (and sadly adults) today and the attitude of the town they live in.
I live in a town called Victoria Texas. It’s one founded on old money, established families and a very close minded ethic on progress. At least… that’s the stereotypical view of it. All through my high school life growing up. (twenty years ago kids) it was the same thing that is echoed by people now. They all say their hometown sucks, there is nothing to do, and they can’t wait to leave.
So my question to these people is… What are you doing to fix your situation?
I’m not saying I’m your role model (please you can certainly do better than that) but allow me to tell you about my past:
1. When I was in high school, the high school paper kicked me off their staff and made me a photographer. I responded by putting out my own zine to compete with their school paper.
2. In 1994, after being tired of cover bands playing everywhere I looked, I met up with my buddy Nick. He had a guitar, a drum machine and a jambox. Our first “band” was born, after a few months, we joined an actual band with our list of over 30 written songs and never looked back.
3. In 2010, after a drunken night in Houston, Brea and I came up with an idea for our own “radio” show that focused on our friends’ bands and other hijinks. The OMBG podcast was born, going on two years later, it has grown into a bigger monster than we ever thought it would. We interview and see bands from all over the world as well as travel to concerts, comic conventions and expos.
What I’m trying to say is, we don’t settle. We never have. If we don’t like something, we fix it, or make plans to fix it. I’m not on a soapbox here saying Victoria is the best place to live. It’s not, it has a long way to go before the music scene can get better, the art scene that is in it’s underground can get noticed and many other things. It is up to it’s inhabitants to make sure it gets better.
We live in a country that is one of the best in the world. It lets me (for now anyway) say what I want. I am never short on things like air conditioning, food or clean water like other countries. I am paid for a day job, and I do music as my passion. My life lets me.
I say this because I still get mad. I still hate the fact that the city would never put a band like Stout City Luchadores in a downtown festival, or that local museums would rather feature some artist than a local person who slings paint. But I won’t let a city that has councils and boards and organizations run by desperate housewives, lawyers, doctors or people with certain last names get to me. Because this… is my city too.
My name is Tim. I’m an old punk rocker. I am an advocate for independent artists and bands. I am a podcast host, a blogger, a social media thorn in everyone’s side. I am a Victorian. It’s what I got, and I’m going to put some elbow grease into it, scrub some tubs, paint some rooms. I do this because it’s what I got, and while I’m here, I’ll make it the best it can be.
Now either mow the grass or get off my lawn.
So Father’s Day passed Sunday, and I got to spend some time with my folks at the end of the night. I was pretty pleased about that. This morning while thinking on what to write about I thought about my past as a kid growing up. You see, my dad always wanted to set an example to us as kids, so he made sure to never use bad language around us. Growing up, when he would get “swear worthy” he would often grit his teeth and mutter real slow almost yelling “God…. Bless…. America!” every time one of us did something stupid.
Needless to say, he was a very patriotic man growing up.
Imagine my surprise, when as a kid going into kindergarten in the 80′s, we would crowd around the teacher’s piano and sing Patriotic songs. This had me very confused.
I bring this up, because my dad is a good man. He’s honest, hardworking, he continues to self educate himself. Judging by my large frame as a kid, we never went without, and even though they tell me stories now about how we struggled financially sometimes, I was lucky to have a family unit that was strong and molded me to be a free thinker, a hard worker and a bit of a badass. (Sorry Dad… Er… American Badass?) As a role model, I could have grown up with far worse examples of what a man should be.
So I look at the way things are now, and how dads in general are given a bad rep, and basically the short end of the stick. Dads lose most custody battles in divorces, dads most often pay child support but have restrictions on when they can see their kids, and when they are still part of the parental unit, they are often seen as dimwitted bumbling idiots in popular culture.
I’m not trying to start a gender war. I don’t care about that stuff, I could go on about the portrayal of women in pop culture, and stereotypes etc, but I’ll just stick with dads right now.
I can’t think of a sitcom or even a house cleaning commercial where dads are seen in a positive light. Even our favorite dads like Homer Simpson and Peter Griffin, are basically a watered down dofus with a heart of gold who bumbles his way through life and accidentally gets things right.
We have men who seem to be emasculated by their dominating wives (who are usually out of their league) and seems to send the message to most people that this has become the norm.
I’m all for empowering women. I dig it. I surround myself with powerful smart and beautiful girls. But I also have a balance with them, because when I deal with people whether it is my girl friend or a coworker I make sure we both know this is an equal playing field. I just can’t for the life of me see how an irresponsible passive oaf becomes socially acceptable.
I’m not some kind of hippie freethinker who asks you to think of how kids are going to see themselves and their roles in society. I’m asking you to see how you view yourself in society. The only way things can change, is if you yourself make the conscious effort to be a better man, and for women to push men to be better men.
That’s the only way I can think of to honor the man who helped make me who I am.
Even if I’m the last one out here.
DC Main Character To Be Reintroduced As A Gay Character. Progressive Politics Or Ploy To Raise Sales?
Bleeding Cool is reporting that DC comics Co Publisher Dan DiDio has told attendees at the Kapow Comic Convention in London that DC would be “reintroducing” one of their most identifiable (but as yet unnamed) characters to become one of their “most prominent gay characters” Senior Vice President Bob Wayne compared the company’s policy on gay characters to that of President Obama’s recent shift saying that DC’s position “has evolved”. Although it is unclear how and when this will happen, speculation has also appeared online that the character may be rebooted or rewritten when he/she is “reintroduced (A common tactic DC comics uses).
So where does that leave the readers? Recognizing that comic books have a wide range of appeal to everyone, and that politics are a hot topic which should never be discussed at the dinner table in Thanksgiving, we begin the tightrope walk that is my rant.
I also recognize that people don’t agree with me, and that’s cool. When people read this article or the first few sentences enough to know that I am not really rooting for this change, I may be labeled as something that I am not. Of course this will only happen to people who don’t read the whole article because people don’t want to take time to read, only to make up their mind very fast and quite frankly, if you aren’t with them, you’re against them… But let me just say, that I believe in love… no matter who it’s with. If you can con someone into loving your ugly mug, go for it. I wish you well. It’s the best feeling in the world, and quite frankly it should be the reason we do things in life… Now, back to my comic books…
#1 If it ain’t broke don’t fix it- Look, I’m a purist. This is obvious. I complain when they get Iron Man’s costume wrong, or they make Asgardian costumes look like something from X3. I don’t like it when people take something that was already great, and try to mess with it. I mean… I’m not the only one here. If we change a character, we are changing who this icon is. This isn’t some B level character like Captain Karate, we’re dealing with one of the big guns. When you do this DC comics, ESPECIALLY IF YOU REBOOT, you are negating everything you did to build the character in the first place. Can you imagine what would happen if Peter Parker and Mary Jane didn’t get together? Well guess what, it happened in BRAND NEW DAY and it sucked ass. To this day, I can’t get into Spider-Man anymore because they crafted a story in which the wedding of Parker and Watson just didn’t come to fruition making 20 something years a lie. That didn’t set well with fans. Sometime last year, Marvel killed off Peter Parker in their Ultimate Spider-Man title and replaced him with Miles Morales, a minority character, again losing fans, I don’t like Miles. Not because he is a minority (like me mind you) but because he isn’t the Spider-Man I know. I refuse to believe that you would take someone like Superman, and totally negate the love Lois and Clark shared. But then again DC maybe you would because….
#2 DC comics loves to do this for the money- So back in the 1992, DC did something crazy. In a media blitz that made headlines around the world, they killed Superman. Wowza. Can you believe that? Yeah, nobody cared about him, he was just too powerful, Americans grew up since that time, and Superman was kind of no big deal other than being the 1st real superhero. After record sales and swimming in pools of money, they brought him back to life, thus plummeting Action Comics into a horrible decline which it has never really recovered. Marvel also did similar things, from killing off Captain America to having Obama appear in a Spider-man comic around inauguration time. I understand that comic characters are intellectual property of DC and they can do what they want, but I doubt that was what Bob Kane had in mind when he made Batman. I like to think that the reason Batman can’t get a steady girl is he is a messed up dude who lost his parents and is spending his life getting justice, not because of what twitter speculators think.
#3 Reboots and re-introductions never work-
A) New Coke- 1985… You may not remember this because studies show that “nerd culture” is actually just 20 year old good looking hipsters, but let me tell you about this disaster called NEW COKE. This happened when Coke decided to change it’s formula forever. Guess what… it sucked and they brought the old one back. You ever wonder why the coke you drink is called Coca Cola Classic? BAM
B) The Star Wars Trilogy (Special Editions)- Lucas says you will NEVER be able to see the old trilogy again. We will be forever forced to watch crappy musical numbers performed in Jabba’s Palace.
C) ANY reboot that Tim Burton touches- seriously
#4 Being Yourself makes for a better activist than anything else- I sometimes feel for my fellow humans who are fighting a struggle they feel they need to fight. But I’m going to let you in on a little secret I’ve already mentioned in this article. I am a minority. I hardly bring it up only when I am trying to make a point. And while I am a minority, I have never tried to play the race card. I never applied for minority scholarships or aid, I have never said “I didn’t get the job because I am not white” I watched 10 minutes of a George Lopez comedy show and turned it off because he couldn’t be funny without trying to talk down on other races and use stereotypes of my heritage to make a joke. This in no way means that I am ashamed to be Mexican. I come from a rich cultural heritage and it shows . I have simply tried to build my band, podcast, and work ethic based on what I do as much as who I am.
I’m all for equality. I believe EVERYONE has a right to vote, marry (and especially divorce) in their manner of choice, and live the way they want. I think you SHOULD be able to enjoy all the freedoms in life that is available to everyone. I think that in this chase we should embrace our failures and letdowns as much as our wins (in this society we forget about the struggle of what we do to be successful)
I do think people are born the way they are born for a reason. To love, live, create because that is the way the universe has done it. For that matter, I do not think that DC should reboot a character, changing their origin (basically how they are “born” just to go with hot politics)
Which leads me to the last part of my rant…
A Hero is a hero no matter what- To me, reading comics as a kid was always inspiring. It taught me that one person could make a difference, and that if you walk the path of good, you can really do extraordinary things. It taught me never to judge someone on things they could not control, and it also taught me that even villains think they are the good guys. A person is a person. I don’t need to know Animal Man’s sexual preference to know that he has a cool power, and Green Lantern can do whatever he wants as long as he keeps that ring charged. I just fail to understand why we make such a big deal about things.
I think that the politics of today are stupid. I think that the activists and extremists are going about this all wrong. I think that there will never be equality if we keep looking at our race, sexual orientation, age, nationality and religion of choice. These are limits we place on ourselves, we segregate ourselves and get mad when people don’t see eye to eye with us. For that reason alone, I don’t think we will ever live in the world we want to because even though we want people to respect our own opinions, we are not willing to meet theirs.
Suck on that DC