baggage's Diaryland Diary


diet rock

So, what happens when fashionable yuppies in their BMW's and SUVs are forced to listen to music they don't like?

That was the basic question running through my head a few hours ago as I sat in the parking lot of a trendy Southern California Mall watching a very intense band tearing through a set of angst-filled tunes.

This morning, we packed our gear and drove about 60 minutes west of our humble backyards to play a cancer walk. Our motive was part philanthropic, part selfish. We played for free-but there is always great food at these things. Plus, as the two single members of the band always consider, there are always attractive ladies walking for a good cause. Entirely unselfish we are not.

Somewhere between Montclair and Pasadena, we decided to play some of our mellower, more accessible tunes (we felt that the crowd at this event would be vastly different from the usual purple-haired, moshing young folk we get at our club gigs). And since we're just as capable of sounding like Tool as we are at sounding like Santana or The Eagles, we decided to chill out on the heavy distortion and opted for a kindler, gentler version of ourselves.

We got there, played our set, sold some CDs, and, in general, was well received by the patrons of the cancer walk and the mall.

The strange, beautiful mix of angst and yuppie-ville came afterwards in the form of the band following us. We were actually good friends with this band-and was surprised to see them there. We looked around at each other as they were tuning up half-wondering why on earth the organizers of the event would get such a heavy, intense band to play a cancer walk at a trendy mall.

I really wish I had my camera to record some of the expressions of the people who were within earshot of the music. Shock, maybe? Disgust? I couldn't tell. Some folks covered their ears and walked away as fast as possible. Some parents complained that they didn't want their kids exposed to "that sort of music" at a mall. Some folks tolerated it, and a few listened as lyrics about hypocritical religions, backstabbing, and anger towards society in general drifted throughout the parking lot. I have to admit, there was something slightly ironic about a band attacking materialism and big business while playing in front of a giant Microsoft logo.

But, the band played on. And they sounded every bit as intense as they did at the last warehouse party I saw them perform in. Before too long, I stopped worrying about the crowd and joined in with the few people in front who were swaying, grooving and dancing to the angst-filled tunes.

It's interesting to see how some folks are so turned off by the image or sound of a band; dismissing their music as trash simply because they don't understand their message. If people were to get past their little musical prejudices, they would realize that these angst-filled songs had a deeper message of understanding and confusion. These young lads see a lot of fucked up shit in the world, and are more than willing to vocalize their questions and opinions via their guitars, samplers and drums. (One of my personal favorite songs is simply called "Why?")

We're all victimzed by our own prejudices, wether we admit it or not. We see people who don't dress like we do, don't listen to the same music as we so, or have a contrasting lifestyle, and we dismiss them to the side of the road as if they were beneath us. We are extremely fucked to each other in that sense.

Afterwards, both bands talked about the gig. The singer of the other band complimented us saying we were "funky and groovy as hell like always."

Yeah, well "funky and groovy as hell" can't compare with having the balls and musical integrity to go up there and raise a musical middle finger up at the commercialism and shallowness, I told him (not in those exact words. I couldn't use the words commercialism and shallowness in the same conversation if i tried). He just laughed, and said, "we do what we do."

In the end, I felt like we had taken the low road-like we had somehow sacrificed ourselves by catering to what we felt would be the wishes of the audience.

This other band went up and challenged the listeners; asking the same questions with their music they always ask. They went up there and chose to stand up and be heard. We went up and chose to be background filler instead.

23:15:50 - 2000-10-21


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