Don't Start A Band N° 1

BBBD is in a state or turmoil.
The world has become more complex for your favorite blogger: he neither wants to quit not exert more time into writing daily posts; he wants to pursue other things but utilize the freedom that BBBD gives. A conundrum has arisen, and solving it seems unlikely.

We can no longer churn out daily posts that hail the Hot New Thing -- such artists are few and far between, anyway, and not the stuff of frequently-updated blogs such as this one -- and we no longer want to compete with the other names out there. BBBD is content knowing it's been around, that it maintains a voice, and that it is still of at least some relevance.

That being said, expect to see plenty of articles on this website, but perhaps with diminished regularity. Today, we commence an experimental column of sorts: "Don't Start A Band." That's right, BBBD is prescribing abstinence. We're tired of the tirade of press releases, are afraid that every conceivable band name has been registered on MySpace, and are annoyed with our own desire to keep churning out write-ups for God knows why. With "Don't Start A Band N° 1," we indirectly outline the reasons why one shouldn't create a band (one-man or otherwise) through a brief look at more worthy artists. This is all we need. Sorry.

The Kills

The early 2000s were huge, and this doesn't need to be reiterated. Others had revived genres and styles before, but no previous generation of young musicians had done it so self-consciously. BBBD personally holds that this occurred because wannabe hip acts realized their fathers were actually listening to some pretty friggin' sexy music, played by pretty sexy kids, in pretty sexy and gritty clubs. Conversely, it's hard to imagine a twenty-something admiring Elvis in all his blandness in 1975 and thinking, "Wow -- I could totally reappropriate the King's sound, aesthetic, and fashion for my own, more current needs and desires." For a myriad reasons, 1975 - 1985 was an exceedingly appealing era to the younger musicians of the late-1990s and early-2000s who grew up on hip records by the likes of the Cure, Echo & the Bunnymen, Joy Division, Sonic Youth, Brian Eno, Talking Heads, Siouxsie & the Banshees, and so on. This was before the massive reissue trend put the CD market into a deathlock. Teenagers were listening to music that wasn't necessarily grounded in an era -- "In Between Days" still makes any somewhat emotional person fall prey to tears -- and certainly detached from prudishness, uptight behaviors, and constriction. The Beatles may have churned out some stunning pop tunes, but do you know what really has left them eternally ingrained in our psyches? Their fedoras, two-button, skinny cut blazers, narrow, leather-soled shoes, and knit ties. That and their rabble-rouser behavior ... who else could compete with their immediately gratifying nature? No one.

But we're digressing here. At the beginning of this millennium, kids growing up on the post-punk of the 1970s/1980s reservedly acknowledged that their parental units were actually attached to a pretty damn cool musical epoch, one that deserved to -- no needed to -- be revived. Hence the post-punk revival (or post-post-punk if you're especially dim). (Now we're bringing back "original" rock 'n roll, the stuff that finally snapped people out it and got them rejecting the crud that was on the radio ... after this Black Lips-fronted phase ends, though, what will we have? A revival of the 21st century's post-punk? Let's hope Devendra Banhart isn't in the equation, whatever it may be. Square.)

The Strokes, Interpol, Franz Ferdinand, Futureheads, and, of course, the Kills were at the forefront of this reincarnation of post-punk ... and we are forever indebted. Now those of us too young to have actually bought a vinyl record but old enough to remember the bad days of 1990s pop can happily live through both the modern and the trendily old both. That's the whole appeal of post-modernism, right? Keep recycling, reinterpreting, reading ... and never become unaware. As long as we understand what we're getting ourselves into, we're all set. The Kills, unlike the other aforementioned outfits, perpetuated their existence by pushing forward this whole post-punk revival trend. "Warm Leatherette" may be a tremendous piece of industrial post-punk music history, but it serves as a gimmick to many; that crap Johnny Marr and Bernard Sumner put together as Electronic was only intended to be a goofy side-project that neither moved the early U.K. electronic movement forward nor compelled many folks to actually listen; likewise, we're starting to believe that perhaps the Strokes (and like bands -- there are thousands ... use your imagination) didn't actually want to stick around, but rather hop into the scene at an opportune moment and profit off our collective interest in the post-punk of yesteryear. The Kills have plodded through the eight or so years since the dawn of postpunk revival and have kept their charisma and core principles intact. The Kills are a band to aspire towards, but few can do what they've accomplished. Plus, Jamie dates Kate Moss. Dream on, Brit-poppers. Tie your shoes and go home.

It's 2008: the Strokes have yet to return, Interpol has yet to impress us like they did with "P.D.A.," and Jack White has yet to shed the pounds. Hack DJs clutter out clubs pretending to be the voices of a generation, but have no idea what the hell their generation is, who don't give a rat's, and haven't an iota of a clue as to how to become relevant. Let's just mosh in the meantime, right? Next time you consider checking out Le Castle Vania or Steve Aoki or Guns 'n Bombs, resolve to staying home and watching Jeopardy at 3 AM. It's better than walking into a club, immersing yourself in the noise and confusion, and fooling yourself into thinking it's music. Until a duo like the Kills comes along again -- and the Old Guard of 2001 is replaced by a New Guard -- we've nothing. Don't Start A Band until you've something to say.

the Kills - Fuck the People

the Kills - Murdermile

the Kills - M.E.X.I.C.O.C.U.

Buy it at Insound!


kianna said…
damn i need my bibabidi! you have to post a best of 2008 for us, you just gotta.
Nicholas Mercer said…
You got it. I'm stickin' around. Have no fear. BBBD forever.
Anonymous said…
Write once an hour or once a month - your commitment to quality posts will remain. This one is no exception. If you're burned out, be burned out - no one can fault you for it. But your readers will stay committed because your quality is top notch. I look forward to more of these don't start a band posts. Best of luck to you.
Anonymous said…
haha, I ll stay here, too. I dont have a problem to wait for quality posts :) keep up the good work
Z said…
i feel your pain - it's a ton of work to get 5 posts up a week. but your blog kicks ass and i've heard of a ton of new artists from here. no need to chase the full-timers.
Anonymous said…
how the hell do you lump guns n bombs in with assholes like aoki and castlevania? you even interviewed guns n bombs. weird.
Anonymous said…
I know you will probably overlook this but im gonna say it anyway: MUSIC IS A FUCKING PROGRESSION, AND SHIT HAPPENS.

You are looking for things to move forward in the industry, however, you seem to only accept small change, and not radical change ("post-punk revival". you are still comparing the same genre, just an updated version of it). I hate the fucking shit that they call pop music today aswell, but you have to admit the reason you don't like it is based on familiarity, and just because you think it is shit doesn't mean progression is not being made. It may be shit progression, but it's progression. Think about, alot must have changed for you to so outrightly allow yourself to ascert you dislike it.

How are bands going to learn to be great if they've never fucking played before?! So ditch that crap it isn't important. Why didn't you just write an article about your thoughts on modern music? Using common sense. I'm fed up of sensationalist journalsim
declaring that everything has gone to shit.

Here is your greatest achievement in this article:

"Hack DJs clutter out clubs pretending to be the voices of a generation, but have no idea what the hell their generation is, who don't give a rat's, and haven't an iota of a clue as to how to become relevant."

Now that's fucking journalism. It perfectly expresses your points on the way generations have changed. Ironically, many would see you as one of these DJs, since you are not playing the latest "Flo Rida!" record. Sigh...

This is not:

"It's better than walking into a club, immersing yourself in the noise and confusion, and fooling yourself into thinking it's music."

The best thing about music which many many many people time and time again have failed to understand is that ALL music has its time and place. You can dance to JT in a club, go home and put on your favourite Kills record.

I agree with you in alot of
this and you make some good fucking points (regardless of whether you say you care or not, but you should care about other peoples oppinion, it helps you grow. Even if you are shaking your head at this comment by now). Just don't pretend to be a music fascist, that's all.

p.s have the confidence to say "I", don't say BBBD. "BBBD personally holds"... "I personally hold". Journalism is about your oppinion, JUST SAY IT! You have no more credibility by saying your websites name.
Nicholas Mercer said…
Wow, quite the comment!

Thanks for your thoughtfulness and honesty. You certainly dedicated a lot of time to a piece I'm not particularly proud of. Regardless, thanks for writing -- I appreciate what you had to say.

I'm an editor for Anthem Magazine and do plenty of journalism work through that and other outlets -- I don't need to subscribe to the same rules here. I won't use "I" for that very reason. I'm not hiding behind anything as everyone know that Nik Mercer and BBBD are synonymous. It's my chosen style and I resent how you called me out on it.
Anonymous said…
Well Nik, I don't understand why you'd dedicate your time to writing something you are not proud of.

I like your blog, and it sounds to me that BBBD is lacking a bit of confidence at the moment. My comment was not about bashing you for it, it was about trying to bring more guts to what you are saying. Your comment reaffirmed what I was thinking.
Nicholas Mercer said…
Wow, thanks, man. I'm happy to have reaffirmed your suspicions.

I'm not proud of anything on this blog, nimrod! The thing changes every time I put up something new, in a way obsolescing the old. If I were publishing my own magazine, I'm sure the first issue would look like crap in comparison to the most recent. Blogs have to live with everything they have penned at all times, and that can be scary at times.

I'm offended by your comments, man. Lacking confidence? You're no shrink, and I don't see what compels you to instigate like this. I appreciate your constructively critical remarks, but I don't need to be called out for lacking confidence and I certainly don't need you second-guessing my stylistic choices and editing decisions.
Anonymous said…
"I'm not proud of anything on this blog... the old"

So what you are saying is, everytime you update your blog, your entire matter of oppinion changes on everything that has been said? Nik, that makes no fucking sense.

"I'm sure the first issue would look like crap in comparison to the most recent."

This is true, but only in the sense that things become polished over time. Gradually, however, the level of polishing would become less and less until you had reached an optimum point. The whole shit is not just thrown out the window on each new addition!

"Blogs have to live with everything they have penned at all times, and that can be scary at times."

No they fucking don't. You're an editor. EDIT, REVISE, LEARN.

"Lacking confidence?... instigate like this"

I instigate it because this blog is becoming less about talking about music but more and more about ridiculous sensationalism.

I've told you, I'm not calling you out. I'm offering my oppion (see what I said about oppinions before this before commenting on my oppinion) Why must you be so fucking protective?
Nicholas Mercer said…
I've made it clear that BBBD's going through a little bit of a transition here.

End of discussion.

And it's spelled opinion.
Anonymous said…
Sorry, I'm not english.
Anonymous said…
fuck you i'm still starting a band

i hope someone can remind me never to become a music journalist though
Anonymous said…
If this is a joke, it's funnier in your head.

If not, it does answer the question "Do you know what's wrong with music journalists today?"

Seriously, if you hate music so much (and no, it doesn't count if you really really really love a couple of hasbeens) I would advise a change of career.
Anonymous said…
Stop trying to be a "generation", it's rather a childish thing to do.

There is no current generation, generations exist only in reflection.

Over-the-hill bitter journalists criticising youth culture.

Change the record.
Nicholas Mercer said…
Ouch, you two ...

Message received, loud and clear. Move on with me here ...