overground scene

Internet and Demystification

Even though I usually want to know how things work and what goes on around me, I sometimes find myself being comfortable with, ‘ignorance is bliss’. Technological progress provides a window to the world and access to unlimited information. This can be both good and bad. Here I discuss one of the cases where it is bad for me. Internet provides access to the personal lives of musicians which results in their demystification.

What musicians think and how they go about their everyday lives, can either be reflected or not in their artistic output. In the former case, for example, one or several members of the american band ‘Malevolent Creation’ were racists so they wrote extremely offensive lyrics in one of the songs in their ‘Eternal’ album. I won’t say which song nor the lyrics because I am ashamed. So they were rascists and they expressed it openly and I was not bothered with them again. Other bands that I might like may be rascists as well, but they do not express it overtly, so I don’t have a problem with them. Their personal life is not of my concern as long as I like their songs.

The problem with the internet is that it opened Pandoras box. Things that I could imagine but I didn’t have evidence, like the fact that many of the bands I loved and personalities I admirred were in reality rascists, started to take form. Internet manifests elements of personalities through the friends bands have in their myspace page, through the bands’ correspodence in their websites, through access to several webzines, many of which are gossip zines.

It turns out that many artists, especially in the death metal genre which was the most suspicious in the first place, are rascists, belligerent, homophobes, at best completely unintereting persons. Why should that bother me? As long as they write music or/and lyrics I like, what is the problem? The problem is that artists are role-models. We love their music and lyrics and, because that is all we (used to) know about them, we think that their personalities are 100% reflected in their artistic output. Further, we tend to turn a blind eye when we diagnose a flaw in someone we admire a lot. We like to beautify our heroes. Cannibal corpse, for example, write horrible lyrics but they obviously do it for fun. Moreover, there are times when these admitedly offensive lyrics are written in a really clever and inspired way. Without extra information on the personalities of the artists, the admirer tends to glorify them.

In the past, movies would demystify artists or a whole scene. For example, movies like Suburbia demystify the old punk scene to the rest of the world (i.e. beyond California) and of course to the youth of today. If anyone ever thought that punks were thinking people with genuine discontent about the system or, in general, societal concerns, they would definitely reconsider after seeing this movie. The same goes for documentaries like The decline of western civilisation and punk heroes like Darby Crash. Movies and documentaries like these, take away the magic of scenes like the punk scene. For me, who have not experienced the birth and death of punk since I was not even born at that time, punk is important because of what it was supposed to stand for! For me, witnessing a decaying image of drunks, drug addicts, completely hopeless people dwelling in filth is not helping.

What is important is that the lyrics of bands like the Germs may have a positive effect on humanity. Their lifestyle will not. Their lifestyle, gruesomely depicted in these movies, can only negatively affect the world. It will affect the minds of people who are already into drugs, and will remind us that the punk scene was not what some of us dreamers thought it was.

Today the media through which artists are demystified are numerous. I do not claim that fans of Deicide, for example, will be offended by the fact that their drummer is obsessed with weapons, or that they are in it for the money. As far as the former is concerned, their patriotism and weapon obsession might even attract more attention, especially of their fellow americans. My assumption that death metal fans are thinking individuals is obviously mistaken. However, I think that all these new avenues to information about the artists we love, will actually drain various music scenes of their non-lobotomised individuals and turn them into pure stereotypical scenes. That of course is not bad for the music industry.


1 Comment so far
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I agree that easy access to all information demystifies bands. It may devalue all aspects. You don’t have to hunt down information and fill in the gaps with your imagination.

Comment by Jill Francis

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