Tuesday, 29 October 2013
Remember when Tauranga Music actually did suck and it wasn't just a catch cry of ironic endearment to get people to buy more overpriced sweat shop t-shirts, jizz socks and hipster badges emblazoned with phallic symbols? In an era way back when every band was stuck in a dated Nu Metal time warp spanning many a faded backwards baseball cap wearing perpetual summer that resulted in chronic back problems for those involved after slinging their 18 string guitars so very very low for such a very very long time. How the venues, all two of them treated those with aspirations to play music that wasn't of their favoured genre, Winz Hotline Call Waiting Party Hits Vol. 6. How the fans responded to your music with yawns, casual fake watch tan line looks, bored texts to no one in particular and the occasional pity filled half mosh near the stage but not quite in front of the stage. And that the former highlight of your weekend was playing pool at the Bureta Trust with your friend Steve who now lives in Perth and drives a truck.
No you probably don't because you are the demographic I hate the most. Scene hopping history avoiding trendoid dilettante dickheads.
Let me preface... In an era not too long ago the local music scene was in tatters. A scene as it were no longer existed.That is to say if it ever did. A bunch of disparate musicians attempted to write songs, play gigs and live the 2am Brewers Bar rockstar dream with only a pentatonic scale and a 4:4 drum beat between them . It was an embarrassment. Everyone was apathetic to the fact that here was a place with so much potential due to its geographic location and ever growing population and yet due to a lethal mix of idiocy, indolence, cynicism and premature ageing no defined culture of our own could seemingly ever grow or become truly formed. Sure there were attempts, jam nights here, showcase nights there, gigs anywhere that sold cheap beer and didn't have a covers band ruining all ears with songs that the soul should never hear. Yes a lot of shit was thrown against the walls but nothing ever stuck. It just ran slowly down the sides, into the cracks of the floor leaving a putrid smell that no amount of Janola could ever rid.
Enter Tauranga Music Sux.
Enjoyed these past couple of years have you? Was it fun seeing a band from China play in a pedestrian train tunnel with support from a man in a gimp mask purporting to be blind and the last slave of his race? Had a jolly good time under the harbour bridge with some of New Zealand and Australias best punk bands as they thrashed it out while a tiny inverter generator struggled and smoked but still chugged on like the little red caboose that could? Was it a hoot when you went on that Tauranga Harbour booze cruise, drunk way too much and nearly fell off the deck into the freezing winter waters and or when you partied in that closed off former mining tunnel near Waihi, with Die!Die!Die! only to have it almost shut down by the authorities right before they started playing until someone offered the head honcho a beer to pacify him? Or when you went to those festivals centered around phallic imagery that had pretty much every band your hipster friend Gerald name dropped in that pretentious conversation you guys had over Valerian tea when you stayed with him in Wellington about the state of indie music in New Zealand and how 'rad' it is?
Yep, I suppose you have had a pretty good time getting drunk, meeting people, making friends, starting bands, getting high, having your music promoted for you - good and bad, seeing bands that otherwise never would have come to Tauranga, getting fashion tips on how to be comfortable and classy from the best dressed man in Tauranga, being exposed to genres of music your tiny uncouth mind had never known from bands that you had never heard of but now which you claim as in your top five New Zealand bands right now...On, my time, my dollar, my hard work, my creativity, my plans, my vision, my stubbie/jandal/flannel cut off designer combo, my never ceasing raw vegan energy, my modesty, my naturally self effacing nature, my beautiful white light emitting god like super presence . Yeah I've done a lot for you cunts and all I have got in return is a bright red inflamed areshole from you lot ceaselessly licking it with such incredible vigor....
And so for all my ranting, my raving, my raping is Tauranga Music any better for it? Have I made a difference? And if so has it been for the better? Join me as I review and find answers to the question 'Tauranga Music Sux???'....
Honestly I do not know who you people think you are kidding. I remember you all...
You were the fat bogan muppets. Faces covered in acne from eating too many Burger Rings. Bones brittle, skin porcelain white from avoiding the sunlight as you vampire hid in your mothers basements. Slowly learning all the guitar solos on Master of Puppets. 'They are soooo hard. Kirk Hammet is such a great guitar player'.
I remember you all.
You were the ones that would plan your week around Krazy Jacks Thursday Jam night. Not so that you could perform a new riff in the company of able musicians that might help expand upon it and create something new and exciting but so that you could stand in a one man mosh pit centre left and bellow out the lyrics to any number of shitty covers while drinking another refreshing brew of all froth Buck beer.
I heard your bands.
They were all metal, most were Nu Metal and occasionally you leaned a little slightly into the abstract avant garde by spicing up your repertoire with some Death or Prog Metal. Even then it wasn't good metal. It was aluminium, it was copper, it was tin.
Your taste in music was crap. Your sound reflected it.
Thank fuck that this scene was in such dire straights that the only venues around were ones that featured covers bands playing Dire Straights songs because you were a big reason why Tauranga Music Sucked...
Now look at you. You phonies. You frauds. Suddenly everyone is into punk and alternative music. The 15 year Nu Metal eclipse has suddenly shifted and everyone has declared Dead Kennedys, Bad Brains and Black Flag their favourite bands. Wah-fucken-hoo. Local punk bands are making strides in Tauranga and outside but I don't believe you lot for a second. You are sheep in Scowlin Wolfs clothing.
Your music belies your true intent. The fact that your anger is derived not from the pained tortured screams of the soul but from a throaty strepsil needing throat growl tells me that you still hate Dad and really want to have sex with Mum. Your need to complicate a genre which needs little more than one hate filled verse and maybe a hate filled chorus with elaborate breakdowns - emergency, mental and otherwise, tip gripping shaft thrusting cum spilling sprawling solos of hardcore self onerism, bridges to over passes to pedestrian cause ways and underground tunnels and lyrics that reflect on life lets me know that you don't get this style and all you really want to do is unleash your Yngwie.
Get your tongues out of my bung and give it up posuers. I respected you more when you played what you wanted to play no matter how shit I thought it was. Go back to aspiring to play Summerfest and orchestrating plans to record a 13 song acoustic album at Torchwood Studios. Because while my ego appreciates the obsequious sentiment the rest of me despises your disingenuous attempts at noise.
But in saying that... To the rest of you that didn't get the memo, you know the one that says that 'I'm big wolf in town and that you should kowtow to my every whim' or did and chose to ignore it. Well fuck you. I am the God of this music scene and while the other dude that goes by the name 'God' created the world in 7 days and made man in his own image well I created a scene in 7 months and made the bands in my own image. So say goodbye to diversity, artistic licence and creative freedom. Play what I want you to play and then when you do let me complain about it without complaint because that is what I do because I am a media mogul... Call me Rupert Murdoch bitches....
Everyone loves ragging on this town and the fact that live music venues are scarce. I did and i quote myself now because I find myself endlessly entertaining and amusing... "Every great scene has numerous venues where bands can play. Tauranga has 2, they are not great." I am a funny man but in reality it was true to an extent. And if you ask the common Tauranga Musician it still is. But their ignorance is infamous...
Live original music venues cannot exist in abundance no matter how big the city is. Auckland really only has a few; Lucha Lounge, Whammy Bar, Dogs Bollix, Cassette 9 that host regular gigs. Wellington has Mighty Mighty, Puppies, Bodega and the San Francisco Bathhouse. Many of these bars even on a Friday/Saturday are not packed out. People would rather stay at home having a cyber life on Facebook, talking to naked masturbating men on chat roulette, watching 'the game' whatever the game might be and generally avoiding going out unless they absolutely have to because lets face it once you are over the age of 18 your desire to party has already waned because you're always tired. Why? Because your an adult and you have adult responsibilites like jobs, kids and maintaining your online presence. Oh and your old and look like shit in artificial light.
And so the bars that cater to originals music make do with the people the bands bring with them. Their friends and families all the while probably thinking to themselves that if they were to have a covers band or a DJ on a Saturday night their patronage would expand considerably. So to rag on Tauranga for its lack of live venues is a stretch. They are there and the options are probably greater than elsewhere. Many of the local bars due to a variety of reasons do not do great business so a Rosie O' Gradys, Brewers or G2 that find themselves located slightly off the beaten track are very responsive to any ideas to stimulate business. You just need to have the right promotion so that these bars take a chance on you instead of the Beatles tribute act. But none of you seem to know the first thing about that hence why you are sucking me dry with your pained cries for help.
As stated Tauranga has plenty of prospective venues. A crap ton of crap bands and a number of people now dedicated to coming out to see original music. And so for a town that used to go a whole year without having a gig worth seeing we seem to have at least one per week.
And why? How? Who? Oh yeah little ol' me...
Yeah if you haven't heard from the people queuing up to suck my Stan Walker then I'm pretty cool. I make the deals with the bars. I book your new favourite band, that one you heard about last week... from me. I coerce you and your flatmate that plays a little bass to start a new band that has a punk flavour and a new slant on the same 3 chords that have been misused in noisy music since the 70's. I do the promotion with the same shitty photoshopped wrestling poster and or cartoon picture of a penis doing something musical with a written blurb that screams insight, hilarity and intelligence. Yeah I can see why your lips want to be on my Mt Zion..
But you know this whole Charles Manson thing is getting a little tiring. If you want you can book some gigs? Just email/facebook/call a venue - ask for an available date. Get back to them with a list of bands who will be playing. If you haven't asked any bands then invite ones whose music you enjoy. Make a poster. Do an events page. Waffle. Invite everyone you know. Spam them daily. If the people come congratulations if not do it again until people do...
But don't get to good at it. This is my thing and my ego doesn't appreciate the competition.
I remember your type;
The newly arrived Tauranga immigrant, bitterly complaining that this town 'Doesn't have any culture!!!'... Constantly comparing it to whatever massive urban sprawl, student hub, foreign home of inner city leisure living from which you came. While never actually doing anything to stimulate change because you 'Don't know anyone.' after already deciding you didn't want to meet anyone as we all seemed like country hicks to you... Not that you could have stimulated change because your ideas were ones poached from your past life as a gluten free summer holiday muffin maker on Woof farm outside of the Coromandel not ones borne of desire and or true frustration.
And I recall the life long living in the house you grew up in Matua resident too internally weak to ever leave the comforting boundaries of Tauranga City for greener pastures and yet bitterly complaining about a lack of scene. Cutting the existing bands off at the knees whether you had heard them or not because you ' Just know they are the ebola virus'. Never leaving your house to support whatever bands do make the trip here 'because if they are coming here they can't be very good'. Yeah I remember your cynicism when proposals of change were made. Your scoffs. Your Yawns. Your hairy knuckle on the middle finger of your right hand.
Who can forget the pot smoking bogan, reared on a decade of listening to Tool and who which abhorrently hated punk and the diy ethos that goes with it. How you thought the music didn't have any skill behind it because every song wasn't littered with a 30 minute simultaneous drum/bass/guitar/rhythm guitar/vocal/turntable/keyboard solo. And so whenever someone would come along with a stripped back ideal you would mock and laugh. Holding gigs that weren't in a bar, how amatuer they baited. Starting bands after learning an instrument for a week, 'how doomed to fail' they would laugh mirthfully in a stoner husk of smoke. Punk is dead...
And fuck the old cunts that gave up long ago citing that 'It was always like this, Tauranga will never change. Back in our day we tried but this town just doesn't accept original music'. Yeah those codgers that gave up playing in bands, jamming with friends, going out to gigs to instead take up something gay as fuck like making dance beats in their home studio or playing the harmonica.
And those who never tried. Who didn't even like music. Who were happy going to the Crown and Badger and listening to covers bands. Who thought Wash was Tauranga's greatest band ever. Who watched their freinds band play but only once and didn't take any friends due to being embarrassed about how shit their band was. Those who thought shit was shit and didnt get that shit can sometimes be the shit. Anyone called Owen. Those that left Tauranga who talk about moving back.
Yep fuck you all.
Cause this scene is pretty fucken indie cool now. And it's no thanks to any of you. But you are all a bunch of hyper sensitive attention starved self obsessed twats who demand constant validation so thank you for doing more to hinder than help the Tauranga Music scene over the past 20 years than anyone. Thank you for your banal counter productive ideas. Thank you for selling out your ethics and adopting a type of music you used to profess to hate. Thank you for getting motivated enough to put down your mouse and close your beats programme to start a band with all your friends over the age of 50 because as everyone knows the best angry music is made by those of progressing years. Thank you for coming to these gigs I have been putting on and then doing as you always did and ignoring the bands so you can get shit faced drunk, talk loudly and obnoxiously and then leave a huge fucken mess for the organisers top clean up. Thank you for not knowing who any of the bands playing are but raving about how great they were for months after you saw them for the first time. Thanks for seeing the same bands for a second time and then complaining about how they are over exposed and that you would like to see someone new for a change. Thanks for coming to only the gigs that have free entry and therefore your massive financial contributions to my ever worsening bank balance you miserly Dutch Jew mooch cunts. Thanks for stealing my ideas and trying to leach of my success. Thanks for being a pack of waster cunts....
For all my curmudgeonly complaints and half assed rants one cannot deny that the Tauranga Music scene has been pretty good to us these past two years. There are more bands than ever were before, some are even good. Venues finally seem receptive to originals music. And people actually leave their formerly hermetically sealed nests to see these bands. Out of town acts come here and not only that they list Tauranga as their favourite place to play and then bemoan their own cities scene no matter how established or greater in size than ours. People/musicians are working together for the greater good. Avenues are slowly opening up for gigs, recording, filming etc etc. Diversity of genres is expanding. But hate to be a downer but can't you see? Sadly a nexus has been reached and it's all down hill from here right...
The key reasons why this scene has thrived will soon be supplanted by new problems working to the detriment of Tauranga music.
Like a starving man eating more than his usual fill upon finding food,people have come out in droves to see originals music this year and last by virtue of the fact that in the pre TMS era there actually was no original music that was worth seeing. And so with the options gifted to them they have taken full advantage of this. Seeing bands they had never heard of but carrying the exotic title of having come from a far. But soon people will realise that just because a band is from Auckland or Wellington it doesn't mean they are good. And while a lot of them are, the supply of the better bands is not inexhaustable. And over saturation of the good bands means an increase in apathy and a decrease in attendance. Local bands can also suffer this fate. While sporadic gigging of the past meant that one could always rely upon friends and family to guiltily arrive to see said band, now with over exposure people are loathe to come to any but the bigger, more meaningful events. Ones that usually rely upon an out of town act or gimmick. And so all local gigs rarely work as well as they once did.
Even if attendance drops, bands will still come here. The reputation that we have helped to build that Tauranga is a destination worthy of bands touring through has spread via word of mouth. And while this is very important for us to get acts that matter to play here it also means that musicians that should be actively encouraged never to play an instrument ever again will also want to come here. And while it was relatively easy to build a good reputation somehow crafting said rep to be a blurred one will be more of a challenge.
I appreciate many of the local bands. I do, I really do. But what happens when they leave, disband, get some chick knocked up and have to work on the port? Who fills the void then. The ones with potential ie those under the 18 years of age bracket are still leaving the moment their student loans are approved. And sadly due to restrictions this happens before an age where they can be absorbed into this scene. So they head off to Wellington or Dunedin thinking Tauranga is a boring backwoods town and that we all love Jimmy Barnes and listen to the Rock while building decks in our back yards on a Sunday as a DIY project we under take with our father in law. And those that remain, they're a lost cause because lets face it if they stay here then their enthusiasm for life can't exactly be the greatest. So the youth won't fill the void. All talent or non talent either from the existing pool of Tauranga trash or recently relocated receptacle has been sucked dry. The fans are the bands. The bands are the fans.
The DIY, lo-fi nature of TMS has been very important in defining our aesthetic but due to the nature of change one cannot forever push an ingenuous product. Life constantly evolves so does music. And in this case it will. Bands that formerly relied upon self recording are venturing to studios. Most of us want and or are getting music videos made. And not lo fi $20 cellphone camera ones. Some venues demand a higher quality act, and so the tomfoolery and perfomance art that used to ensure is somewhat neutered. Even we are evolving with websites, festivals that people attend, budgets, advertising. We are, we all are producing a more sophisticated product. Which while not necessarily a bad thing for growth can mean that we run the danger of blurring the definition of what we have built. Continuing down this track we run the risk of turning into what we used to profess to hate.
I'm getting older. We're all getting older. With each passing day I care less about music and more about real estate prices, sports I don't watch and or care for and nightly TV1 weather reports. I have seen almost every New Zealand band I ever wanted to see, half of them I wish I hadn't. My asshole is red n' sore from you all tonguing it so hard and is starting to blister. I've pretty much exhausted my supply of dick jokes/drawings/hate/creativity/innovation. My desire to move to the middle of the bush and do some whittlin grows with each passing day. And my own ability for music dwindles with each strum of the one chord i know.
And we are all like this. Youth is not on our side for the most part. We have achieved what we set out to do. That is to create something from nothing. A scene that not only thrives but which we can be proud of. Something unique and distinct in a world of perpetual repetition. But the united energy that is needed to keep this scene running will soon evaporate. People only work for the greater good without reparation for so long. Loaning gear, gifting time, discounting and donating is something that happens on the up swing. But this up swing has almost reached its peak. And what happens then? It goes down...
Which beckons the question? When the motion swings downwards what will TMS do. Will we bow out with honor forever remembered as the counter culture revolution it was? Or do we push on, selling ourselves to the dollar and the pin striped suited man?
Well, of course we are going to sell out... Think I did all this hard work just so you could all enjoy yourselves? Fuck that I wanna Ferrari...