Saturday, May 17, 2008

Don't Believe The Hype

sally forth vampire weekend

Perhaps this a tired subject to some in the PDX music community, but I just felt I should chip in my double lincolns anyway.

Every year since their inception there has been lots of back and forth banter regarding the WWeeks "Best New Band" Poll as well as the selection of bands for the PDX-POP comp or the PDX-POP festival. As frequent readers of this blog know all too well.

Admittedly there's not much to add to this conversation that hasn't been said already, yet here I go regardless....

Perhaps I'm in a unique position as I am seemingly entrenched as a so-called "insider" as someone who has been involved in PDX-POP as a fan/volunteer since it's inception and have voted for my favorite new bands in the WWeek poll since it's impetus as well. And yet my very inclusion into this perceived "in-crowd" derives from the fact that when I moved to Portland from St. Paul, MN in 2001 I felt so isolated and disillusioned and disgusted by the local music scene that I went batshit crazy maxing out thousands of dollars in credit card debt in order to prove my point that my friends' bands were worthy of anything more than a one shot thursday @ the tonic lounge. And thus the label Lucky Madison was born. I'm not hating on the tonic lounge either, I've seen some amazing stuff there and made some great life-long connections to bands/soundpeople/friends/etc there. I'm just saying.

I don't know how many people remember newly minted post-millennium 503, but there was no local cut, no PDX-POP and virtually no local music coverage anywhere beyond a little local music zine called Music Liberation Project that had some printed copies scattered around record stores around town. (Remember 'zines and record stores? They were kind of like video rental stores pre-netflix.)

Anyway, the first CD I ever put out was a band who lived right across the street from me on SE 37th & Madison. Recent graduates of Oberlin, The Roulettes. So, it being pretty much the only game in town I submitted a CD to the MLP, who gave it 0 out of 5 stars and trashed it in such a vindictive way that in retrospect I can only attribute to jealousy. No need to reprint the mindless vitriol but a "letter to the editor" response can be found by scrolling to the bottom of the link here.

Shortly after, in "promotion" for a show @ Kelly's Olympian the WWeek called the Roulettes something equally offensive to me. I remember "man-hating" something something and I just lost it. I e-mailed the then music editor, Mark Baumgarten with a pissed-off rant and thought that would be it. Yet to my surprise he actually met with me at my house and drank coffee with me and explained how as a newly hired editor he was constantly trying to change the WWeek's focus towards championing local music. And to this day he is one of my heroes for succeeding.

Shortly after my next-door neighbor, a quirky looking kid named Kevin introduced me to his college friend Sam who worked together @ the now defunct Blackbird venue (Kevin as a cook and Sam as the soundman) and the rest is history. Oddly enough, my initial idea/motto for Lucky Madison was "Deconstructing the Art/Commerce Paradigm" due in part to my imagining one of them as the art devil on one shoulder with the commerce angel on the other. They also both started the PRA out of Sam's house in NE along with tech expertise from my boy Gus Elg.


Anyway, I've learned that if you don't like what other people are doing in this music scene or anything else, you can only benefit by creating your own thing. I work a day job 4 nights a week where most of my co-workers don't take local music seriously unless it's thrash metal/grindcore and that has taught me a lot. As much as I sometimes despise listening to it, I am equally in awe and respect for their passion towards it. Much as some of my indie-rock loving friends are perplexed by my hip-hop/nba basketball obsessions.

Anyway, long story short (too late) I could go on forever on this topic, but let's just say I admire people like Ste. Goldie for creating this awesome venue that I would never otherwise be able to ramble on in such detail. And I also immensely respect people like Casey Jarman @ WWeek/Local Cut as well as Cary Clarke and everyone else @ PDX-POP. As well as my boy Bill Brenght, who on Local Cut said, "It’s so political. Gross. I don’t understand why people care who Blah Blah Blah at Lucky Madison and Blooh Blooh Blooh at Marriage are listening to. ‘fuck outta here with this."

Speaking as Blah Blah Blah (thank god I wasn't Blooh Blooh Blooh!) I feel you dude.
Maybe I should do what my boy Mark B. did and try to befriend you and hear you out. What are your favorite local bands? Or anyone else?

2 comments:

AristeiA said...

Your story was fun to read. I don't know why people like to hate on music. I have learned over the years how to understand what people like even if I don't like it.
My favorite local bands:
Westfold
We're from Japan!

Awesome Post!!

-Adam steinfink

Ste. Goldie said...

Kid Tyger -"I moved to Portland from St. Paul, MN in 2001 I felt so isolated and disillusioned and disgusted by the local music scene that I went batshit crazy maxing out thousands of dollars in credit card debt in order to prove my point that my friends' bands were worthy of anything more than a one shot thursday @ the tonic lounge" this sentence really struck a chord in me. I am grateful that I don't have credit nor am I even capable of receiving it. I can relate to the firey passion that goes along with wanting to prove that my friends music is just as good as yadda yadda.

I don't think you are too late. I am captivated by your response. I defiantly think that winning hearts and minds begins with listening. I hope Mark B. gets a chance to bend your ear.

CIMTB is defiantly for people to talk about the culture and politics of Portland music scene. We are literally archiving what is going on in and around the scene.