I was once criticized as being a capitalist for selling my own silk screened patches for 25 cents. It was amazing how well defined and elaborate the PC scene was when I grew up in punk community during the early 90’s. It’s so silly…the term PC. I mean, this is the most bureaucratic term out there, and there were folks in the punk realm wearing it on their sleeve. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of our ethos? This attempt at free thought and self-empowerment felt threatened due to this approach and in the process, alienated many.
BUT…it’s this truth and honesty we strive for in our ideals, and it’s how we perceive a genuine universal agreement among ourselves and our peers. “Fight the system”, “Through unity comes strength”, “The only good fascist is a dead one” you get the idea. Even that last comment is fascist on its own. So I feel we’ve honed our integrity, our honor system and the deepest and most sincere DIY ethics and practices with this “bureaucracy”, without trying to step on any toes (although, we all hold some sort of opinions on how things are done). The big picture and partial point is, we’ve come to a self-sustaining community that has benefited from our contribution of mutual assistance and cooperation. Be it, the anarcho agenda, touring bands, doing shows, Food not Bombs, the squatting community, distros, labels….the whole nine yards and with no interference from the business man…sometimes.
We all complain of these silly shops like Hot Topic or what-have-you selling CRASS shirts, and other political punk propaganda, but with time we tend to shrug it off, due it being that….just silly. It’s a disappointment when we see our ideological heros fall into the machine and churn out culture-less garbage that the next generation won’t understand like we did. But hey….we still carry on and hoist the flag and hope to stay out of the normalcy that grinds everyone down.
For myself, it’s been a long and tedious journey, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’ve had moments of despair, looking around and feeling glum due to the weight of every day life hanging on my shoulders, blah blah. I never wanted to contribute to the stream of garbage that the commercial world wanted to take from us in order to pocket the cash in the name of material gain. We all have made a name for ourselves and dedicated our hearts and minds to this thing….punk. The spirit of doing it D.I.Y. is gratifying for all of us and doesn’t serve any one particular person or thing. It’s the big picture of it that makes the underground flourish via network and camaraderie.
So here we have a modern world with very modern conveniences and enough commercial endorsement to make you sick for life. Marketing on every corner, products and gizmos being shoved down your throat at every moment. It’s so constant that it becomes second nature….sadly. We escape this through our music, politics and “alternative” living. We escape it to find our own form of normalcy and peace.
So to shake things up a bit, along comes Scion A/V (aka: Toyota) like a bat outta hell and a mission like no other. The all-loving corporation that cares about our cultural needs and will give us that ultimate communal satisfaction by putting their massive corporate name on all the bands that jump on their band wagon….or car. This is such a brilliant approach in comparison to what they’re really saying “Hey, we know you’re angry and we can relate, so let us put on these shows for ya….with our name all over it, of course and we’ll cut you a check and….oh hey, did we mention we’re putting our name all over it?”…………I’m sorry, did I miss something here?
So, this massive, multi-national corporation (needless to say other things) wants to utilize our community to market their goods? Ok, this is normal and has been happening since the first punk chord ever strummed. Have any of you seen a Scion ad? For those of you who aren’t familiar, this company’s approach is so saturated with shallow cultural ploys that it makes the New Kids on the Block actually look tough. They are out for one thing….to sell a manufactured car or SUV or whatever that shitty thing is. That is it! That’s all they want and they DO NOT care about anything we’ve done to promote our community or our message as a whole. It’s has absolutely no merit and whatever it touches, sucks the integrity from it’s very core.
This has been a bit difficult for me, since the previously mentioned antics has involved some very close friends of mine. This is NOT an attack on the people who have made the choice to join in on the corporate train. I will admit that I feel a sense of disappointment, but I don’t have all the information from each and everyone to make an educated guess. Some of the people involved may have never had their hearts in the same place as mine, and this is fine and shows the diversity of free thought. It is questionable at times, and I’ll be frank. If you’ve been involved with the DIY network for ages…what would make a person simply agree to jump on this? It’s a sincere question and I leave it open to any and all folks that are willing to answer it from their perspective. We don’t do this as a career choice, there’s never any money involved. Even if Scion cuts you a fat check…this is something that is temporary and superficial. It’s like signing all the values and dedication you’ve spent all your energy on…then POOF! There goes the integrity. Gone for good.
One other thing…I don’t buy the excuse that we don’t have a choice in not supporting companies. We have basic needs like shelter, food, etc and we give these companies our money to support these needs. This is the foundation of our society…sadly. But we do have a choice of not wanting the punk rock name on some products label or advertisement.
As a band, we would never think of coming into contact with something of this nature…after all, it would completely go against what our hearts feel….and I know this varies with people. Needless to say, we are a few degrees off of being affiliated with something that is involved. It’s a tough decision, since our material is for free, due to us giving permission many moons ago (long before this debacle). I’ve had some heart to heart discussions with some very close people that have taken the corporate tag route, and it’s been interesting…to say the least. Like I said earlier, this is not an attack on any one individual at all, merely an opinion. Just a sincere approach to something that baffles the living fuck outta me.
As some of you know, I operate a forum with some other lovely moderators and am leaving the door open to any and all folks that are involved or not. Come and join in on the discussion if you’re interested, but let’s be civilized. Decency is the last thread we have amongst ourselves before the whole place burns down. If you get online at www.organizeandarise.org do a keyword search with the word “Scion”. I’m sure there’s about a zillion pages on the thread about it now and wouldn’t be surprised if Scion A/V just bought the damn thread since their name is on it.
cool article leffer!
Thank you, Yan! This is something that’s been a threat to the DIY movement since it’s conception. Also, something that needs to be said and brought to the fore front of the underground community.
this is an interesting article from the singer of Trap Them, a band i am not a fan of. regardless, dude makes a few points. especially with shows still being $5.
i think this questioning sort of strikes a chord with the general mentality of living in poverty – granted, being in a band is selective poverty for the sake of art. but, it’s the day-to-day “how will i survive” mentality that a lot of people resort to, the same way vegetarians will go out and buy ten boxes of Morningshire Farms bullshit products.
people get desperate and then they compromise some values. nearly all of america does it every day, whether buying a Groupon that screws over a local business or buying clothes at Target for $10, made overseas in some unregulated manufacturing facility. i think its a basic human process.
personally, i dont know if i’d take money from Scion. i’m pretty sure no matter how many stickers they put on our van or free shirts they have us hand out, all of the people who listen to us are still a bunch of broke morons without any credit. i dont understand the marketing effort and what they’re thinking.
damn it, here is the URL for the article:
I have had many philosophical differences with the good folks that frequent PE over the years, this however is not one of them…I have found myself somewhat ostracized for being vocal and pointing out the same things as you have in this opinion piece..even been attacked verbally for stating Diatribe would not play any shows with any Scion sponsored bands…had to cancel a show with the wonderful Adelit@s over the whole mess…but if that’s the price to be paid, so be it…with you 100%.
The difference between bands (and people in general) who submit to a reality where greed is the dominant value is the difference between whiners and resistors. We’ve all heard the argument that bands are forced to go corporate (if they ever stated that they believed in independent music to begin with) out of necessity – to make ends meet, but WE always had the power to build a community that sustained itself (past tense?). It’s possible we are just too weak collectively to forge a strong independent music scene, one where the bands don’t continually cycle out IF and when opportunity presents itself, but that doesn’t make believing in the philosophy and practicing it to the best of our ability any less relevant. I definitely feel for everyone who has paid the price for adhering to d.i.y. It sucks not to be able to pay medical bills and watch your family also pay the price for giving a damn, while some of our less particular friends get rewarded for bowing to the, for lack of a better word, $reich$.
I agree and some of this I touched up on in the article. Most everyone involved with what we do aren’t in it for a career choice, it’s where our hearts and minds reside in the DIY philosophy to keep the business man out. We have our day jobs that pay for said bills and everyday B.S. Collectively, I’ve never felt weak within our realm and for the ones who have jumped on the Scion train, I never had too close an affiliation (in regards to the bands directly, etc). It’s just something that came to my attention and felt a direct line of communication should be broadened, since this does affect the age old conflict between the mainstream vs. the underground 🙂
Where do calling cops on punk houses fall on the D.I.Y. moral compass, sir?
How is this in relation to the article? I haven’t lived in a ‘punk’ house in well over 10 years, needless to say been around one for ages. I suppose my house is punk, just without the extra baggage and 10 other room mates. Most “punk” houses I’ve lived in or been to here in the Twin Cities are nicely organized and had no reason for any issues with cops, neighbors, etc. Most ‘punk’ houses are a nesting ground for people who are working for something better in their lives (school, work, family, etc) and need a place until something “better” comes along…at least with my experience.
Now, on the other hand there might be houses with punks in them that are more of a breeding ground for stupidity and blatant disrespect towards the community and have no “moral” anything since it’s only purpose is to house drunken “oogles”, “jitters” or what have you. If there’s an instance where the said house is dodgy with junkies, drunken “punks” that create nothing but a shitty environment, then yes, boot them out any means necessary. Punk houses are meant as an autonomous zone for us punks that want to share in a household that respects each other and the surrounding community, etc. It’s called common courtesy and works well when everyone abides.
We have an area of the city called Powerderhorn and there was house here some time back that had stories of being disrespectful to the community. The story is, a group of young snotty kinds that claimed to be ‘punk’ but all that was happening was they were having shows uber late, not confiding in the community to do this, pissing on others property and leaving garbage everywhere. Needless to say, the surrounding neighbors were woken quite often, with shit strewn about with no regard to the community or harmony, etc. Most instances like this are just a group of suburban kids acting out against their parents and posing like their the privileged anarchists or some dumb shit like that.
Cops being called on a house is evidence of some dumb act or a group of kids acting the fool, at least from what I’ve seen over the last 2 decades.