Where's your anger? Where's your f@!l*# rage?

After watching the splendid American Hardcore Friday night, Ryan and I got to talking. Hardcore originally came from a time of great disdain for the current Republican administration. Ronald Reagan was the target of many, and as Henry Rollins puts it in the film, "oranges were hurled." Young people were pissed not just at politics, but the world around them. They wanted to do something drastically different from the norm. The deal is, Ryan and I wonder why there hasn't been something similar with George W. Bush's term in office.

I could be completely overlooking something here, but here's my take.

For one, back in '80-'85, there was no Warped Tour. There was no Green Day. There was no blink-182. And losers, drop-outs, nerds, punks, and angry youth were not mass-marketed to. If anything, hardcore was seen as a failure of society. It was what wayward, problem kids were into, as seen in unintentionally funny episodes of Quincy and CHiPs. It's what reportedly caused $250,000 worth of damage on a Halloween episode of Saturday Night Live (though it was actually $2,500). In other words, it was a threat.

Ever since the first wave of hardcore, things haven't been the same, for better or worse. Things splintered and splintered some more. You had post-hardcore, emo, straight edge, metal-tinged hardcore and so on. Post-Dookie (and especially post-Enema of the State), the mainstream's view of punk and its hardcore spawn has been much more welcoming. What is sold as youthful rebellion and anger is very much from a marketing angle. This has been this way for a long time and I doubt it's going to change.

Teenagers could very well think punk and hardcore is what Alternative Press, Fuse and the Warped Tour covers. For those outlets, they listen and care about what their audience wants. So it doesn't surprise me by how well they do what they do. But I wonder about the people who reject all this stuff. I'm talking people who cannot relate to the struggles of Panic! At the Disco, Taking Back Sunday and The Academy Is . . . I'm talking the people that don't like going to the Warped Tour. I'm talking the people that want to actually develop a band instead of getting on the fast track to fame. Where are these people? I know they're out there, but I'm just curious if they're speaking up.

I still believe there's a sharp difference between what gets promoted and what's really out there. It's difficult for me to gauge because of where I am in my life and where I live. I don't live in the suburbs. I don't have teenage children. I'm not in high school. If there's any sort of alternative to mall punk/screamo/emo, I haven't found it. But something tells me I'll hear an alternate history of this time that was completely under my nose. And that is pretty promising. But for now, things are very foggy.


Rj said…
The underground movement around here is in Denton. It's splintered into many genres, with the one common goal of talking to the true outsiders.

Punk is just a fashion, like Grunge was a fashion. Leather jackets or flannels? paper or plastic? The music is what truly mattered in those movements, and shortly after the major labels got their hands on those genres, they were corrupted.

It'll happen again for the next big thing. Which should hit in the next 2-4 years...or will it ever hit with todays media?
I thought the same thing after I watched AH. Why aren't kids aren't more angry and listless? After all, the Bush administration's mortaging of their (and our, I guess) future is just as nefarious as trickle-down economics, plus there is an open-ended war going on. I honestly think that kids prefer to be distracted and pandered to than angry at something they have to work at to understand. Teenagers are still angry, but I think their rage is more narcisistic than ever before. They aren't trying to work to change anything; they're just mad because consumer products aren't falling into their laps.
Kev said…
"I still believe there's a sharp difference between what gets promoted and what's really out there."

But much less so with the advent of MySpace and YouTube and other DIY music marketing outlets, no?
Eric Grubbs said…
You're right Kev, but I think you really have to search for the good stuff on MySpace and YouTube. It's easy to find some shlub in his bedroom playing Metallica songs. It's another to find an incredible band in North Carolina who rocks your brain.