Monday, November 2, 2009

this is skinny. I don't feel like formatting it. sorry dudes

Hanging out listening to the first Gray Matter
12”, talking about the Dischord bands you
missed out on because you heard some later
record that did not encapsulate their greatness…
Though I guess that could apply to anything,
any sound, any idea, any band that started out
hardcore and decided that hair metal was the
future. I like listening to Revolution Summer
music, it just sounds nostalgic to me. Reminds
me of being a teenager, skating to see hardcore
bands play, trading zines, feeling dramatic, you
know the scoop. Things are different now, they
were different then, that time is just a memory,
rewritten to suit how one wants to regard ones
youth. Skip the endless boredom and feelings
that you’re never gonna get outta this goddamn
town, just a snapshot of walking down the street
with your best friend, both listening to the Rites
of Spring tape on separate walkmans.
I have been thinking about growing old and
staying punk a whole lot while putting this issue
together. How things change and stay the same.
There have been so many discussions about
queerness in punk and hardcore, the shifts from
the era that I got into hardcore until now, how
the internet has wiped out penpals and perzines.
Where are the girl gangs that Bikini Kill talked
about, that were gonna rule all towns? Punk is
ruthless, culture is ruthless, things are deified,
museum quality pieces, until they are no longer
needed or remembered and they disappear. Riot
Grrrl, queer core, XChicksUpFrontPosX—does
your girl gang need a name in order to do its
work, or is it OK just to labor on in the trenches,
no affiliations, no straight edge lady crew to run
with, no secret society of drunk dykes in the pit?
Can you explain why it’s cool for women and
queers to claim this tiny piece of space as their
own in the “scene?” Can you explain for the fiftieth
time why women cannot be sexist to men?
How easy it is for some guy to shut down the
conversation with one dismissive remark? How
having a network of other punk girls and queers
talking about the shit that gets them down about
the scene that they love isn’t gonna wreck some
nervous white boys world? Though maybe it
should. You just have to accept the shit to be part
of this right? You have to accept the drunken
insults and shutdowns, the thoughtless remarks
and casual dismissals. People leave, they abandon
ship because it gets tiresome and boring
always being on the defensive. Just because that
girl you know, or your one queer friend doesn’t
have any problems with sexism or homophobia
in the hardcore punk scene must mean that it
doesn’t exist. Right?
I know people dismiss the ’90s punk personal-
is-political years as being one long boring
workshop at a fest with a bunch of bands that
whined more than they played, but for me at
least coming of age in that calling-you-on-yr-shit
culture made me think about what I was taught,
and interrogate what punk and hardcore offered
me as a girl.
It’s weird sitting here writing this shit, month
after month, year after year, thinking about
when I first moved here, in ’03 and starting shitworking
for the mag that I am now coordinator
of. We went to two shows this week, one in
someone’s kitchen in the Mission, where a
bunch of pop punk bands played, then Libyans
took the floor, and as is the case whenever I see
a great band at a show such as this, totally
reminded me of why I am still here. Total
destruction basement hardcore with the raddest
lady vocals, the right sound in a room full of
psyched kids… Then another touring band,
Portland’s Silent Majority, playing with Culture
Kids and Fugitive Kind at a birthday generator
show at the 16th St BART plaza, a show that didn’t
get shut down until the last possible minute.
We put together a benefit fest, San Francisco’s
Doomed, at the beginning of the month to raise
money for the magazine and for a new all ages
space for san Francisco. There were two or three
shows a night for five consecutive days, with
bands ranging from the Bananas to Crime. MRR
set up a show with Descarados, Adelitas, Rayos
X, Tuberculosis, NN, Send the Dogs and
Conquest for Death, at a bar that because of San
Francisco’s weird licensing laws can put on all
ages shows a couple times a month. You have to
pay extra for security, and it’s true that we raised
way more money at the 21+ bar show, but it was
worth it. I worked door for the first three bands,
(yeah it was an epic show) but caught
Descarados, who were awesome, reminding me
of Revolution Summer desperation mixed with
the fury of Southside Chicago punk. Their 12” is
great, but if you have a chance to see them do it!
Tuberculosis had to cancel due to a run in with
the police shitsystem, though I think I have
raved enough about that band and the inspirational
South Central LA punk scene that they are
part of, along with Rayos X. Hopefully there’s
gonna be a piece in MRR about it all in the not
too distant future, and I know Lengua Armada
are putting out a 7” or two… Watching the kids,
of all ages, races and genders freak the fuck out
in the pit, singing along and dancing, to the most
raging punk sound, of boredom, rage, alienation
and community all at once. Yeah I was not in
there with them, something about punks in their
thirties? Well, to be honest I don’t think I’ve been
in a pit since I was fifteen, I like dancing but…
There was a shitworker band show, where
bands ranged from the pummeling noise and
fog machine disorientation of the aptly named
Celine Dion, to the post-punk almost Zoundsesque
Rank/Xerox. And another inadvertent
shitworker show, featuring the very sketchy
geezers (in both US and UK senses of the words),
Young Offenders, and the return of the two
Allans, post-Giant Haystacks with the tense
herk’n’jerk of Airfix Kits. Anyway I could just
list every band that played each show, but I
won’t, except to say that Crime were great.
Seeing them at a seedy venue with a non-pro
sound pro-attitude soundsystem made them
make so much more sense as a band that exists
now. Thanks to all the bands, and people who
came out and supported the fest and the cause!
It was fucking exhausting but worth it…
You may wonder why we are accepting taxdeductible
donations nowadays. We recently got
sent this book, Gimme Something More, which is
an oral history of punk in the Bay Area, in the
tradition of We Got the Neutron Bomb or Please Kill
Me. I don’t think the editors are punks, and you
can tell that they focused on more sensationalist
aspects of the scene and its history, plus it’s published
by a major corporation, so you won’t be
reading a review of it in these pages. But the
chapter on MRR left me trying to imagine what
it must have been like running the magazine at a
point in time when it had so much money it was
able to give the excess away to other zines, and
projects, (like Gilman St) that the magazine
aligned with politically and punk-ically. We are
definitely not in that position at this point in
time. We are getting by, but it’s another era of the
magazine, for print media, record stores and
book stores in general.
We get several emails a month from kids
complaining that their local spot has stopped
selling Maximum, if this is the case in your town
are there any other places that would work? A
show space? A skate store? Another bookstore?
You can get distro rates if you order five or more
of the magazine, and getting a subscription
makes it even cheaper than buying it from the
newsstand, and you get it before it hits said
newsstands. I wanted to write more about the
magazines financial situation, but maybe another
time… As always layla@maximumrocknroll.
com or for old
columns. Thanks to the Mydolls for replacing
MRR’s lost Mydolls vinyl (see story on them in
the TX punk article) and to Michael for all the
scans of the early punk girl zines! So amazing...