Pretentious music, musicians and fans

Do talk back
User avatar
Geezee
Posts: 12343
Joined: 24 Jul 2003, 10:14
Location: Where joy divides into vision

Re: Pretentious music, musicians and fans

Postby Geezee » 12 Oct 2018, 12:27

The Modernist wrote: I think McClaren's ideas of what it was about ( which were pretty elitist and all to do with making The Pistols stars) mutated quite quickly into something else ( something more egalitarian and provincial essentially).


Perhaps - although I'm not sure egalitarian is the right term here - if you draw a straight line from punk to let's say C86, Factory, SST, K Records, Sub Pop etc - a similar streak of DIY elitism and, I think, pretension, does emerge.
Smilies are ON
Flash is OFF
Url is ON

User avatar
The Modernist
2018 BCB Cup Champ!
Posts: 12681
Joined: 13 Apr 2014, 20:42

Re: Pretentious music, musicians and fans

Postby The Modernist » 12 Oct 2018, 13:06

Egalitarian as in anyone could form a punk band and did..up and down the land.

User avatar
bobzilla77
Posts: 15922
Joined: 23 Jun 2006, 02:56
Location: Dilute! Dilute! OK!

Re: Pretentious music, musicians and fans

Postby bobzilla77 » 12 Oct 2018, 15:47

I don't have a problem with the idea that some aspects of punk were/are pretentious.

I always wondered if Henry Rollins ever had a really nice day, where good things happened and he felt his heart grow three sizes, felt love for humanity, and it made it hard to go onstage and ooze pure pain.

But I also recognize that it's performative and don't have any doubt that on the day he wrote those lyrics, he really did feel that way. And when you do 100 shows a year, sometimes performative is the best you can hope for and hopefully if you're a good performer, it's enough.

As for the audience enforcing mind control on itself over what's cool and not, I guess that went on, but I always thought that aspect of it was ludicrous. I went through my big prog phase and my big hardcore phase at roughly the same time. As your mom told you, anyone who would make fun of you for liking music isn't your friend. Anyway by the time I got into it, I knew punks who danced to Madonna and tripped to the Grateful Dead. Some people might look at you funny but it wasn't a real problem.
Jimbo wrote:I guess I am over Graham Nash's politics. Hopelessly naive by the standards I've molded for myself these days.

User avatar
Hightea
Posts: 1510
Joined: 16 Apr 2015, 02:18
Location: NY state

Re: Pretentious music, musicians and fans

Postby Hightea » 12 Oct 2018, 18:14

I also disagree with the punks had a problem with others. Here in NYC it was one thing to walk down a lower east side street and get punks commenting on what you looked like. However, once inside a venue (aka CBGB) you were part of them and they didn't care what you looked like as long as you showed interest in the music ( we were a ponytail flannel wearing 15 year old kid). My brother was a staple on the CBGB crowd and he had shoulder length big wavey hair and didn't wear anything black but he never had a problem. I think the punks had more a problem with the disco crowd but didn't really see that either. I did get spit at once but that was on Ms Mark's place late at night.

User avatar
The Modernist
2018 BCB Cup Champ!
Posts: 12681
Joined: 13 Apr 2014, 20:42

Re: Pretentious music, musicians and fans

Postby The Modernist » 12 Oct 2018, 19:41

In the UK it was more likely to be punks getting attacked for the way they looked than them doing the attacking.

User avatar
bobzilla77
Posts: 15922
Joined: 23 Jun 2006, 02:56
Location: Dilute! Dilute! OK!

Re: Pretentious music, musicians and fans

Postby bobzilla77 » 12 Oct 2018, 21:02

I know what Geezee is referring to, the orthodoxy of certain sub-scenes that enforce like-mindedness. "Don't listen to hair metal," from 80s hardcore kids, for instance. "Don't support sellout major label punk bands" from those same types in the 90s, for another.

Some people may have felt they had to go along to get along, even if they didn't personally share those attitudes, thus pretending to feel a certain way. I'm sure there are straight edge kids who feel like having a beer once in a while but are afraid of what their friends would say!

But that's one small piece of what punk is. A bigger, more overarching thing, is that by reinforcing homemade & non-corporate art, and making it easier to produce and share, you have a lot of people expressing themselves totally honestly with no market considerations, no apparent desire to fit in. It provided a direct path from the artistic impulse to the listener with no interference.

And I think those kinds of anti-something-else movements are short lived. Maybe when genuinely new scenes first spring up, they're so young and soft that people feel the need to protect them by putting up walls. I don't see that happening among young people today. Everything is equally valid and equally accessible. Even once-really-orthodox scenes like black metal now have electronic variants. I don't see many people struggling to deny things in order to stay true to other things. We may be the last generation to witness such behavior.
Jimbo wrote:I guess I am over Graham Nash's politics. Hopelessly naive by the standards I've molded for myself these days.

Bent Fabric
Posts: 2882
Joined: 22 Jul 2014, 21:38

Re: Pretentious music, musicians and fans

Postby Bent Fabric » 15 Oct 2018, 12:20

It's a potentially maddening thing to parse out, because there is ultimately so much non-translatable "eye of the beholder" baggage at the very heart of it.

I look at a band like Yes playing something like "Heart of the Sunrise" and (for all of its various movements and joins and cross stitching and apparent technique) it seems no different than some other person (let's just say John Fogerty or Neil Young or Little Richard, for the sake of making a point) executing THEIR best idea to maximum effect and intensity. There's people who would puke to hear me say such a thing, but...in terms of what's actually happening (people basically putting themselves out there in some effective and compelling way), it's as close to the core of "why we bother" as anything I could name. Like a dog barking as if to say "Look, I'm a fucking dog, okay? Do you truly not expect me to bark? My bark may be more elaborate, but...I'm still just trying to let you know the mailman's nearby."

And then you have these sort of obsessively and pathologically "down to earth" people who are believed (and/or believe themselves) to be honoring some timeworn, primal, bare bones function of the form (popular music, I guess - in its most insufferably purist "unpretentious music for fucking and dancing and cannibalism"/"they saved rock and roll" stick in the mud rigidity), and there's something so deeply "wanting" about it...you could say that some essential friction is missing, perhaps...I know heckling a band like Oasis is a shopworn trope in and of itself (Stereophonics? Fabulous Thunderbirds? Primal Scream?), but...often wherever the sort of "apparent aim" is to be Jerry Lee Lewis, early Ramones, Slade, early Who, AC/DC, etc. - there is such an utter "failure to launch" that you think...I'd be better off trying to cop a buzz from something (on the surface) far more baroque and bejeweled (Queen?). "Deliberately unpretentious intent" is as lofty a perch as any, when the practitioner fails to reach the summit.

Which, I suppose, brings up the relative "nobility of failure". Does a more ridiculous goal earn a begrudging respect on the basis of "Fuck - God loves a trier.", in a way that failing to be Humble Pie or the Sonics might just elicit a "meh"?

User avatar
DRUGS SNAKE
hounds people off the board
Posts: 19206
Joined: 24 Apr 2007, 23:21
Location: selling a self-detonating James Last CD to a Copenhagen thrift store

Re: Pretentious music, musicians and fans

Postby DRUGS SNAKE » 15 Oct 2018, 12:30

So you've nothing to fear when the definition of the word is 'ornate, complex' and everything to lose when you take the word to mean 'reaching for something completely beyond one's grasp' ('pretentious' containing the root word 'pretend')?

In which case I'd agree - most of the time...
Ghost of Harry Smith wrote:I have no idea what this thread is trying to achieve.

User avatar
DRUGS SNAKE
hounds people off the board
Posts: 19206
Joined: 24 Apr 2007, 23:21
Location: selling a self-detonating James Last CD to a Copenhagen thrift store

Re: Pretentious music, musicians and fans

Postby DRUGS SNAKE » 15 Oct 2018, 12:33

Is 'ambition' a dirty word in rock and roll?
Ghost of Harry Smith wrote:I have no idea what this thread is trying to achieve.

Bent Fabric
Posts: 2882
Joined: 22 Jul 2014, 21:38

Re: Pretentious music, musicians and fans

Postby Bent Fabric » 15 Oct 2018, 12:45

I mean, but...even then, surely if you aren't (on whatever level to whatever extent) reaching for something potentially beyond your grasp, what do you have left to try for? Might you, under the right set of magical ambient conditions, achieve some glorious, unintended result (however short it might fall of your actual aims)?

"Playing to your strengths" is funny - you wanna do your best thing, we all do, but...it's also the sort of thing that can be very "square" when it becomes rigid or confining ("Ah, there he goes again with that 'signature sound'...good for him.").

I can't claim to have any real argument here as such. I feel like people who actually make the magic rarely even know until after they've done it (who says the Kingsmen weren't dying to do a second take of "Louie Louie"?).

User avatar
The Modernist
2018 BCB Cup Champ!
Posts: 12681
Joined: 13 Apr 2014, 20:42

Re: Pretentious music, musicians and fans

Postby The Modernist » 15 Oct 2018, 12:49

Ah you'd be so good commenting in the 70s cup...

User avatar
DRUGS SNAKE
hounds people off the board
Posts: 19206
Joined: 24 Apr 2007, 23:21
Location: selling a self-detonating James Last CD to a Copenhagen thrift store

Re: Pretentious music, musicians and fans

Postby DRUGS SNAKE » 15 Oct 2018, 13:08

yeah - get up, get into it, get involved, J!
Ghost of Harry Smith wrote:I have no idea what this thread is trying to achieve.

User avatar
DRUGS SNAKE
hounds people off the board
Posts: 19206
Joined: 24 Apr 2007, 23:21
Location: selling a self-detonating James Last CD to a Copenhagen thrift store

Re: Pretentious music, musicians and fans

Postby DRUGS SNAKE » 15 Oct 2018, 13:09

Bent Fabric wrote:I mean, but...even then, surely if you aren't (on whatever level to whatever extent) reaching for something potentially beyond your grasp, what do you have left to try for? Might you, under the right set of magical ambient conditions, achieve some glorious, unintended result (however short it might fall of your actual aims)?


Ah, yeah. Loads of examples of that.

I'm just interested in how people define the word, and if they tend to see it as pejorative. Because we throw it around all the time.
Ghost of Harry Smith wrote:I have no idea what this thread is trying to achieve.

Bent Fabric
Posts: 2882
Joined: 22 Jul 2014, 21:38

Re: Pretentious music, musicians and fans

Postby Bent Fabric » 15 Oct 2018, 14:08

'Face of Fruit Pastilles 1981' wrote:I'm just interested in how people define the word, and if they tend to see it as pejorative. Because we throw it around all the time.


I see it as pejorative. I think most people do.

You don't think Pet Sounds is pretentious, right? He's hitting the mark, and it's such a satisfying mark, at that. The intent or effort or mechanics seem so deeply secondary to the thing itself.

And then there's the guy who just seems to be visibly straining himself in the service of some deeply questionable and self-conscious aim - and maybe he's a little perceptibly smug about the fact that he believes his work to have some element that makes it more special than the guy next door. I can't say what it is about these people that I find so loathsome, cause...again, surely we all feel like we're a little more clued in than the neighbor, but...there may be a way of wearing that particular form of self satisfaction that just makes people want to draw a mustache on your picture.

User avatar
fange
Posts: 12963
Joined: 20 Jan 2010, 11:30
Location: 香港

Re: Pretentious music, musicians and fans

Postby fange » 15 Oct 2018, 14:36

Bent Fabric wrote:... maybe he's a little perceptibly smug about the fact that he believes his work to have some element that makes it more special than the guy next door. I can't say what it is about these people that I find so loathsome, cause...again, surely we all feel like we're a little more clued in than the neighbor, but...there may be a way of wearing that particular form of self satisfaction that just makes people want to draw a mustache on your picture.

Billy Joel called, he said stop talking about him.
Jonny Spencer wrote:
fange wrote:I've got my quad pants on and i'm ready for some Cock.


By CHRIST you're a man after my own sideways sausage, Ange!

User avatar
pcqgod
Posts: 17290
Joined: 11 Apr 2010, 07:23
Location: Texas

Re: Pretentious music, musicians and fans

Postby pcqgod » 15 Oct 2018, 19:11

The original post is a good illustration of the danger of judging a band after having heard one thing by them. Three people seeing ten minutes apiece of the same Yo La Tengo performance at different times in the set could come away with three completely different impressions of what their music is like.
Where would rock 'n' roll be without feedback?

User avatar
Jimbo
Posts: 15543
Joined: 26 Dec 2009, 21:22

Re: Pretentious music, musicians and fans

Postby Jimbo » 15 Oct 2018, 21:14

pcqgod wrote:The original post is a good illustration of the danger of judging a band after having heard one thing by them. Three people seeing ten minutes apiece of the same Yo La Tengo performance at different times in the set could come away with three completely different impressions of what their music is like.


Nah. I just like to rock out at concerts - no matter the style - and these guys were boring as fuck - and they knew it. They seemed like they were boring on purpose.
Some say the glass is half-empty others half-full. I say. "Lemme see that glass!"

User avatar
pcqgod
Posts: 17290
Joined: 11 Apr 2010, 07:23
Location: Texas

Re: Pretentious music, musicians and fans

Postby pcqgod » 16 Oct 2018, 16:14

Jimbo wrote:
pcqgod wrote:The original post is a good illustration of the danger of judging a band after having heard one thing by them. Three people seeing ten minutes apiece of the same Yo La Tengo performance at different times in the set could come away with three completely different impressions of what their music is like.


Nah. I just like to rock out at concerts - no matter the style - and these guys were boring as fuck - and they knew it. They seemed like they were boring on purpose.


Well, that's fine if you didn't like what you heard. I recently watched an entire, two-set performance by this band, and near the end of the show they played this pounding, unchanging, robotic riff for a good fifteen minutes with the lead guitarist making noise throughout in what seemed an exercise in seeing how much the audience would tolerate. But (which was the point I failed to make) at different points in the show, they played delicate, twee melodies with harmony vocals at such a low volume that the noise of the crowd threatened to overwhelm the music, changed up instruments and instrumentation and drifted from one style to another. You might have found all of it boring for all I know, but hearing ten minutes of a Yo La Tengo show really won't give you a good sense of what their music is like generally.
Where would rock 'n' roll be without feedback?

User avatar
Hightea
Posts: 1510
Joined: 16 Apr 2015, 02:18
Location: NY state

Re: Pretentious music, musicians and fans

Postby Hightea » 16 Oct 2018, 21:34

^^ to each's own I love the jam section of Yo La Tango's set along with the other parts. I've got tickets for two of their Hanukkah shows. They do the 8 nites of Hanukkah almost every year. Can't wait as they typically have guests and its usually pretty wild.