(EDITOR’S NOTE : from time to time, Austin music blogger / fledgling independent label operator Norman Wanklord takes a break from his own unique brand of trenchant analysis and hard-hitting commentary to grace the pages of CSTB with, well, even more trenchant analysis and hard-hitting commentary. Upon Vice’s publication of “REASONS WHY AUSTIN IS THE WORST PLACE EVER” by noted urban planning expert Luke Winkie, Mr. Wanklord politely asked….well, actually, he begged for equal time – GC)
It’s hard for me to understand why some people who have the opportunity to bring the Austin community together, a chance to foster a greater understanding and sense of harmony, instead choose to hurt others with their elitist attitude and “I’m so fucking cool” bullshit. But enough about this blog — I hear the Pavement back catalog sales aren’t what they used to be, so perhaps it will disappear, soon.
(if Austin sucks so bad, why do artists this good looking keep moving here? Answer me that, Mr. Vice Column Person)
Instead, I’d like to turn my attention to local journalist Luke Winkie, who today took to the pages of my very favorite website (after this one) to blast the people of Austin, TX as a group of smug, insincere creeps with no greater purpose beyond novelty-drink guzzling and making fun of people who are trying to make something of themselves. Certainly, I can relate to some of Luke’s claims — no one knows better than me what it is like to sacrifice for the greater good only to be roundly ridiculed. But there’s a number of cruel, destructive arguments of his that I wish to refute. Or repudiate. Or refudiate.
“Nobody Has a Clue What His or Her Job Is”
I’m sorry, but that’s simply not true. When I’m not posting several dozen Soundcloud links a day, I’m teaching kids at one of Austin’s wonderful schools. If it weren’t for people like me, your future leaders would grow up with zero knowledge of the Declaration Of Independence, how many states there are in Canada and which was the best song on Belaire’s “Exploding Impacting”.
“Everyone Hates the Festivals That Pay Their Rent”
WHAAAT? Did Luke not read our comprehensive coverage of the Austin Psych Fest? Were my previews of cutting-edge talent playing SXSW some kind of secret that no one on the UT campus could access? What about the time Best Coast played Chaos In Tejas and I was the first to applaud that particular event finally booking a band I’d heard of? I LOVE FESTIVALS, and when I eventually organize my own, this entire beautiful city is invited. Except for Luke! But you won’t need an invitation because I’m not a fucking elitist!
“Barton Springs Is a Giant Toilet”
I’m sorry, but Luke’s copy-editor at Vice has let him down. I’m pretty sure that was supposed to read, “Beerland Is A Giant Toilet”.
“This awful little club had some of the best shows in the whole city, which means you were at risk of catching hepatitis every weekend.”
I guess even a smug San Diego-transplant looking to make a name for himself can’t be wrong all of the time. But why fixate on the negative, Luke? Emo’s closed years ago. Now we’ve got terrific, clean venues like Holy Mountain,
Metal & Lace, the Swan Dive, etc., and like me, they’re totally committed to musical diversity and the highest standards in hygiene. In fact, we co-hosted a terrific show at Holy Mountain just last Friday that featured a number of well-groomed performers strumming guitars no harder than you’d handle a new born kitten. And unlike a new born kitten, the entire event was thoroughly germ free. No hepatitis, not even the slightest hint that sexual congress might’ve occurred anywhere in the entire world, let alone Austin.
But would Luke Winkie know the first thing about this? Of course not. He was too busy writing a hatchet job about the city that’s given him so many great opportunities.
Anyhow, I’d love to go on, but I’ve got a meeting with the parents of a kid who was caught spray-painting “fucktarded” on the side of my car (and that doesn’t even make sense, right?). The bad news is, he’s suspended from school. The good news is, he’s just been offered a column with Vice.
SEE, I CAN BE FUNNY TOO.
Thanks for your time, and keep on rockin’
(EDITOR’S NOTE : from time to time, Austin music blogger / fledgling independent label operator Norman Wanklord takes a break from his own unique brand of trenchant analysis and hard-hitting commentary to grace the pages of CSTB with, well, even more trenchant analysis and hard-hitting commentary – GC)
Unlike certain living-off-past-laurels jerks I could mention but shall not because I’m such a positive, community minded guy (AHEM, PAVEMENT, COUGH, COUGH, PAVEMENT) , not all of us are lucky enough to earn a living from the music business — not even those of us who tirelessly review upwards of a dozen soundcloud links a week. No, instead, I’m paying the bills by teaching the future of tomorrow, beautiful, sweet innocent public school children. And while these kids are pretty goddamn lucky to have a mentor like me (by the way, who spray paints a penis on a middle school teacher’s car? when I was their age, I didn’t know what a penis looked like!), in many other ways, I pity them. Sure, they’ve got all sorts of cool new gadgets (iPads, electronic cigarettes) but they’re never gonna have the thrill of discovering paradigm-smashing new music in a way that’s personal and meaningful. Simply put, no amount of Soundcloud links or Spotify album premieres can replace the incredible moment when me and the rest of my generation saw Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! make their network television debut.
(BLOG ROCK IS STILL REAL TO ME : you can keep your Kurt Cobain! The anonymous balding guy with the melodica was my gateway to an entire universe of people dying to cut loose)
If you were there, I don’t have to tell you what it felt like. But if you weren’t, you’ll just have to take my word that it represented an epiphany for countless white males who didn’t have much rhythm, sex appeal and really didn’t want to make too big a racket because we just moved into the gated community and what’s the point getting off on the wrong foot?
It was a moment where we all realized everything was possible — just so long as, y’know, we didn’t have company after 10pm and remembered which day was recycling pick up.
I wouldn’t think I’d have to refresh anyone’s memories of that glorious age, but Grantland’s Steven Hyden has made such a crash course in early 2000′s music history sorely necessary. Of the genre, “blog rock”, Hyden writes, “Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Cold War Kids. Tapes ‘n Tapes. Black Kids. Nearly 10 years ago, a new crop of bands appeared and a new genre was born before quickly dying. Did it mean anything at all?” Excuse me, dying quickly? Would my site be generating nearly 100 unique visitors a week if BLOG ROCK WERE DEAD? Would the recordings I’ve issued by some of Austin’s least intimidating bands have received nearly as much acclaim from other Austin music blogs with nearly 200 unique visitors a week if the struggle fought by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah were all for naught?
Hyden — who I am starting to think might be an even more cynical, elitist creep than the guy who publishes CSTB — says of a latter CYHSY TV appearance, “this was an actual band, and not a comedic sketch written by a person who hated indie rock and wanted to exaggerate the genre’s most familiar mannerisms.” Oh, so now you’re the mannerism police! There’s more sneering (“MP3 blogs were just another extension of the industry, frequently promoting bands as ‘real’ that in retrospect would be more aptly described as ‘corny’) and ultimately Hyden dismisses CYHSY as a merely “solid indie-pop act”, not quite the equal of The National (why not just say they’re not as good as The Beatles meets Radiohead meets Jesus, Stephen? Talk about an unfair standard!).
I mean, duh, they aren’t the National. I’m not Raoul Hernandez, either, but that doesn’t give Hyden the right to diminish an incredibly special time for those of us of a certain age (who routinely got our ass kicked by metal kids). I realize Clap Your Hands Say Yeah only sold a few tens of thousands of records, but every single person who bought one of those records went on to work in the tech industry. Which of your precious punk/thrash bands are gonna be nearly as influential? Lumpy & The Dumpers? Listen, I’m only the person in music/new media who has earned the right to be compared to Lumpy Rutherford, so those guys can fuck off, whoever they are.
Alright. That’s about all I have time for. There’s papers to grade and tomorrow’s pile of Soundcloud links aren’t gonna review themselves, though if I manage to paraphrase the press releases while tossing in the odd “delightful” and “toe-tapping”, they come awfully fucking close to reviewing themselves! That’s a time-honored trade secret…don’t tell anyone!
yours from the live music capitol,
As a life long resident of what I like to call, “the live music capital”, I could not be more proud of Austin, TX’s cultural diversity, especially in the way it’s been showcased by my efforts. While CSTB’s curmudgeonly publisher openly trades in negativity, elitism and advocacy of people who think they’re too damn cool to send me a soundcloud link, I’m out there in the trenches, supporting a wider range of new bands that don’t need some outsider from the big, bad city to quash their enthusiasm.
To paraphrase one of my favorite comic minds, James Belushi, I cover both kinds of music : indie and rock. And I’ll be damned if I’m gonna let the musical legacies of Fastball, Sound Team, Voxtrot, Patrice Pike and Romeo Rose get trashed by someone who probably doesn’t even remember Thursday nights at The Whiskey Bar.
Stuff like this (see above) just makes me wonder what he’s trying to prove, and why is my car being keyed every other day. You’re better than this, Austin, Texas. We’re a city that can rise above such petty concerns and concentrate on what’s really important — branding opportunities and building new hotels. Please join with me in rejecting the hostile, know-it-all rhetoric typified by this blog, and let’s a build a future where our kids don’t ever have to encounter a person who isn’t exactly like them. Thank you, and keep on rockin’!