From: The Punk Professor, Vivien Goldman on BBC America:
Assignment # 1: I’d be interested to know if – and how – you see the spirit of true punk in action around you, wherever you are.
Punk is actually something pretty new to me. My musical journey has been one with a lot of strange stops. First it was the top 40 stuff, because while my dad liked the classics he certainly did not try to influence my taste. (however it is thanks to him that I like the Cars.) After I discovered an alternative music station I fell head over heels in love w/ it. 103.9, KUWL fm, it used to be. If I knew the names of the radio djs I loved I would contact them and be like, Thank you so much! It’s ridiculous how much that radio station influenced me. But I won’t dwell on that. We left Alaska (where that station was) and after that my music taste went pretty undeveloped. I liked random stuff, and I could be found watching the German music channels, Viva and (then) Viva Zwei (I think now it’s viva plus). Kinda like MTV & MTV2 only they were a lot better. It was during this period that I found H.I.M. and Placebo & Muse (this was way before Time is Running Out.) I also found German bands such as Die Toten Hosen, Die Aerzte and The Guano Apes (who have the best BEST video to this day. Just ain’t nothin’ like it.) And near the end of my stay in germany, this was the most popular song. I remember the german section of my school one day (it was divided into sections-there was the american section, the German section and the *cough* Canadian section) during the carnival season went through the school in one of those dance lines singing this song. a bunch of the people in my class and others joined the line. It was funny.
so after Germany my taste begins to get slightly more refined. Remember how I mentioned H.I.M.? well, a wonderful brilliant cousin of mine soon introduced me to Nightwish and Lacuna Coil. And then in 2005 I went to Ozzfest where I saw Arch Enemy. And sometime between having been introduced to Nightwish & going to Ozzfest I discovered the Gathering. Then sometime last year I decided my library (full as it was of metal and and other such music.) was rather depressing. and I needed happy music. Now it should be known that I stopped listening to the radio around 2004, when I transferred here to UNC.CH. so everything I have discovered has come via recommendations/hearing about the bands. One of the first bands I got to help make my library happy: Metric. Note that unlike the bubble-gum disposable pop that makes the pop industry, this is actually good. So yeah. that’s pretty much set the standards on my pop consumption since. It’s not pop in the popular sense, it’s pop in terms of the sound: Catchy, light (but not necessarily light in terms of lyrics. Listen to Metric enough & you’ll get what I mean) and Danceable.
So, this has gone on a long time and I haven’t even addressed the question. Well, I’m getting there. Right now I’m in the midst of another phase. My punk/riot grrrl phase. (a word about my ‘phases’ later, because this word makes everything sound so temporary) I recently discovered Patti Smith, who I have an entry about earlier in this blog. such a phenomenal woman. And I also recently discovered the riot grrrl movement. So here’s where the punk comes in and here is what I have learned. First of all-fuck advertising, ‘girl power’ cannot be sold (http://riotgrrrlrevolution.wordpress.com/). but between this and talking with a local band, the Midtown Dickens, it doesn’t take a natural born superstar to pick up an instrument and play. It just takes a desire to learn, a desire to make something beautiful, something relevant, something important. (doesn’t have to be beautiful. in terms of what came out of the riot grrrl movement, the music was far from beautiful. it was hello-i’m-fuckin’-angry-and-sick-of-this-bullshit, it was I-have-never-ever-played-an-instrument-before, but-damnit-if-that’s-gonna-keep-me-from-it.
Many of those women learned how to play their instruments throughout their career. and that’s the thing. they did end up developing, and getting better. and that rocks. 🙂
I wish I had known more about them in my Alaska period (which is around the time this stuff was reaching it’s peak.)
If I had, maybe I would’ve picked up an instrument. Maybe when one of my friends told me and another friend that we should start a band I wouldn’t have laughed it off and said, “Me, I can’t play anything!”
But here’s the thing: because of what I’ve discovered I am more than ever determined to make sure I learn an instrument. maybe not now…I certainly don’t have much I can do at this point in time, but it’s a thing I really want to do. There’s a “ladies rock camp” in portland, oregon. I’m pretty sure I wanna hit that up sometime. (I also want to make sure my sisters go to the girl’s rock camp, but that’s another story.) (oh and these girls seriously have the BEST big sister ever. once I get a job, I’m pretty sure my money will go to my rent, my loans, my groceries, and them. and maybe a music show or two if there’s any left.eep.)
Anyway, let’s just say that discovering the riot grrrl (which is a subset of punk! so it works for the initial question) has been a wonderful enlightening thing for me.
I do think that for a while I was kind of lost on the future…in the way that I didn’t feel like there was anything there. Now I’ve gotten back to this almost whimsical optimism. I think I have some idea. I do want to write for some alternative weekly (hopefully the Salt Lake City Weekly! I should comment on their blog and see if they’ll come visit mine!), I want to learn music and I want to make sure that my words are in fact being put to some good use. Like with music I don’t think one has to be naturally gifted. if you are naturally gifted and don’t do anything about it, it’s not going to do you a lot of good anyway. I think everyone has the ability to write, it just takes learning.
Oh–and about the phases thing. While I said that my musical growth has gone through a period of phases I want to emphasize that this does not mean what I liked in one phase is gone forever. I still love The Gathering and Opeth, I still love Metric and b/c of my AK phase I love Ani diFranco’s Little Plastic Castles and I love the Squirrel Nut Zipper’s song “afterlife” (the AK story is something different)… and I will always love Patti Smith, Joan Jett & the riot grrrl bands such as Bikini Kill & heavens to betsy and sleater-kinney…the list goes on.
that is my excessively long blog post on music. I had to get it out at some point, you know?