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Agony & Irony

Riddle me this: when a skateboarder gets his own custom made shoe, people consider that a sign that the skater has "made it." But when a pop-punk band has a custom made shoe, it's a pure sell-out, credibility-killer. Why is that?

The reason why I bring this up is because of this story. The gist: Alkaline Trio worked with Nike to create a custom made shoe. Why is this so troubling to certain fans of the band (and those who think being "honest" is leaving anonymous message board comments)? Maybe because many still think all things that look and sound like punk rock adheres to a strict code of ethics. And if that code is broken, there's hell to pay.

As somebody who never really got up in arms about a punk band signing with a major label (and still doesn't), I'm more puzzled by those who do get up in arms about stuff like this. Isn't this a band that plays music and we like this band because we like their music? Yeah, I know there's all sorts of sociological complications with a band getting popular, but at the end of the day, I ask myself, "do I still like this band's music?" More often than not, it's an answer of yes, whether or not I like the old stuff more than the new stuff.

In this case with the Trio, I can only offer my perspective as a fan of most of their material. I still think highly of the band's debut album, Goddamnit. Something about the playfulness, zest, and hooks on that record have always rung true for me. The band has plenty of other songs that I like, but I just don't follow them as closely as I used to.

In regards to the band working with Nike, this news doesn't make me want to spew hate about the band. The band worked with the company and created a shoe. If Nike created the shoe without the band's involvement, sure, I think that would suck. But does any of this stuff make or break my daily life? Absolutely not. I've got a book to edit, a job to work, a dog to walk, and a band to practice with for an upcoming show. Those are the more pressing matters in my life these days.

I'm not really interested in buying the Trio's shoe. I'm not saying I'm uninterested in order to make a stand against a band's merchandise. I just think the true jewel of a band is if their music can move me. But we all have to find something to complain about, right?


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