Hey Bob, What’s Up? An interview with Bob Meadows of A Life A Lost

When you guys first started out in 1999 where did you guys expect to be about 10 years from that point?

I guess I just expected to be more on a different train of life, y’know? You don’t really expect ever to start a band with a bunch of kids and then eventually it kind of unravels and unfolds into something 13 years later. It’s just kind of a surreal experience in a way. But man, it’s pretty awesome, I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world. Actually, a lot of other friends of mine are moving along, moving past, and kind of starting these new lives and here I am, still chasing down this thing, this dream that I call music. It’s pretty wild, man, I never really expected it all.

Right. So what are some of you guys’ main influences, and what are some artists or bands might be surprised shaped your sound?

You can hear the Black Sabbath and the Meshuggah influence for sure, but in the An Ecstatic Trance record there’s definitely other influences we’re pulling from, anywhere from Fela Kuti, and Ti Peyi A, and Orchestra De Polyrhythmo from North Africa, to the German Krautrock scene, bands like Can, Kraftwerk, Aman Duul, things like King Crimson. Anything within that little hiatus that we took where we ended up exploring a lot of different things in music. It’s always been an interest of mine with music; the more obscure, the more different and weird it was, the better it was for me, that’s kinda what I got off on. Being able to pull from those influences, and finally being able to let it hang on my sleeve, it’s a pretty cool thing, it’s definitely very unique, and I definitely think we’ve developed a unique sound with the An Ecstatic Trance record.

Let me ask you something that I’m sure most people probably ask you; What are your attitudes on the “djent” craze, as many cite you guys as innovators of polyrhythms in Metalcore and related genres. Have you any love for bands like Periphery and After The Burial that are expanding on that formula?

I don’t have any feelings towards it. I’m not really interested in that music. When I listen to music, I kinda wanna be floored. When I was younger, when I was 19, that kind of music would be more appealing to me. But since I’m older now, I find more satisfaction in something that’s more soothing, and it’s not really soothing. I hear it all the time, people referring to us as a band in that scene, and I agree to a certain extent, but there were bands before us that were doing it, and there are bands that are still doing it, and those bands deserve more of the credit. When we started doing it, we didn’t do it to fit into a “scene”, like these other bands, these younger kids are doing, but the youth of America is a very impressionable group of individuals, and they feel the need to be able to fit in somewhere. Maybe this new “djent” thing is the new Deathcore, the new Pop Punk or the new whatever. It is what it is, it’s popular, those dudes can play. Misha’s a cool dude; I don’t like his band, but I think he’s a cool dude. I can be friends with someone and not enjoy their band, and that’s the case here. The After The Burial, Born Of Osiris guys, I really don’t know them. Michael Keene, Evan Brewer, those guys in The Faceless, awesome dudes, but I just can’t get down with the tunes, y’know? Doesn’t make me less of a man, but more of an individual, I guess.

Yeah. I noticed you guys were selling a shirt that says “Drop Acid, Not Bombs”. Is this a hint at some of the creative process behind “An Ecstatic Trance”, since there are a lot more psychedelic influences, as you may have mentioned before?

You can look at it as that. One of the main things was to explore that world of music, like psychedelic rock, I definitely think we’ve succeeded with this, and it’s definitely a great introduction to unravel into something that’s gonna be bigger in the future with our sound. With hallucinogenics, there are only two of us that sorta dabble in that, haha. I think it was more like a goof shirt. We had this Rolling Stones rip-off tee goin’, with some dude with fucked up teeth, and we were like “We should totally put an acid tab on his fuckin’ tongue, just throw in “Drop Acid, Not Bombs”, it could be funny”. So we ended up doing it, and I think the design turned out pretty good. And it’s funny, the people that actually come up and buy this shirt, they’re so weird, haha. We had t-shirts of a “World Bong”, something like that, and we were on tour with Norma Jean. We printed the shirts on yellow, red and green, kinda like a Rastafarian, Jamaican color scheme going on. Then you had these impressionable youth, the Christian kids buying the shirts because of the colors, not necessarily knowing what was going on with it. But if it’s funny, it’s funny, it’s fun to be in a band and do shit like that. But yeah it’s more of a goof, haha.

Since you guys recently replaced half the band and have been experimenting with some new sounds on your last two sounds, some fans have expressed that they’re not entirely happy with the direction you’ve taken. Do you have anything to say to them?

Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. There are kids that don’t like my band now that probably really love Periphery and After The Burial. That’s the beauty of being a person, you’re entitled to your own opinion, likes and dislikes, and shit, man, if you don’t like my band, you don’t like my band! That’s fine, just don’t base that on my character as a human being. I’m sure my conversations are ones of humour and also interest. If A Great Artist is the record you wanna hear, you can pop that on while you’re driving and punch the steering wheel. But if you’re coming to our shows, that’s what to expect: We’re gonna play what we just put out, what we believe in. An Ecstatic Trance is that record we believe in at the moment.  When we go into the studio to do more things, that’s what you can expect. You’re either with us or not with us, it’s no sweat off my ass, y’know?

Yeah. Going on with that previous question, do you believe you’ll ever make another album like A Great Artist or Hunter, or has the musical environment in the ALOL camp and the general Metal/Hardcore scene has changed to the point where you have to leave those concepts behind?

We were never a band to repeat anything or fall into sequence, or an order when it comes to writing music and songs. We had a very large gap of aggression between A Great Artist and The Iron Gag. It’s a small gap, but there’s progression nonetheless. Once you step back and rewrite something like that it’s regressing in a way. For us to constantly evolve and grow as people, I think the only thing we can do is continue to move forward and develop on sounds that we created in records past. You may see me doing another band in the vein of the older stuff, but never in replication. I would say the likelihood is very slim at this time, haha. But you can never really rule out the elements of pure brutality and heaviness mixed in with the music.

Alright, this is probably the most important question you’ll be asked within the next 6 months: Was math your favourite subject in high school, and if so, what type?

I actually like math a lot. I like algebra. I wasn’t a geometry guy, but number solving, shit like that was always a big interest of mine, haha.

Alright, well thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview, Mr. Meadows, and I hope you guys have much luck in your future endeavours: tours, albums, stuff like that, and I hope to see your band again, hopefully with a crowd that’s more energetic?

Ah, see, that shit never really matters to me. I think that it slowly morphed from people going crazy like it was with A Great Artist and with Hunter. With Iron Gag you saw people just more there to experience the show, experience what we’re doing, and that’s actually kinda cool. It takes the Metal that we’re writing and evolves it so that you can sit back and enjoy it whether you’re a fuckin’ stoner, you’re drunk, you’re a cokehead, you’re fuckin’ trippin’ on acid, or you’re straight-edge. You can step back and watch the show, enjoy the show for what it is, and that’s the place where Doug and I are trying to take the group now, make it a live experience, not just an experience for the record.

Hmm, that’s actually a pretty good way to look at it. Well, once again, thank you very much, and I wish you luck.

Thank you very much, bro.


I Can Think Of Nothing Clever. Revocation at The Great Scott

Ah, the Great Scott, how I thought I missed you. This venue has been the site of many a great show: Toxic Holocaust, Shonen Knife, Ringworm/Nails, and The Red Chord. All massive blasts of great times and home to rousing rounds of avoid-the-beer-spills-so-as-to-not-die-in-a-rather-embarrassing-fashion. It seems that over my times of going to shows there, I can just tell which ones are going to be the type where chubby bearded men stand and drink PBR as opposed to actually showing signs of life. Not necessarily mosh-til-you-drop, but something more than one or two guys who genuinely seem to enjoy the opening bands, y’know? Regardless, there was some great talent to be found here in all forms, as usual, and opening the festivities was the obligatory local band with a strange name, Lunglust.

While Lunglust are certainly a group of good musicians who know a little something about writing songs, their Hardcore meets… something else combo isn’t something that meshes well with my own interests. Some of the songs crawled along too slow, and while others were at a pace more my speed, they still didn’t quite capture my attention for much longer than a few seconds at a time. They have a sizeable following in the Bosotn area, I believe, so I’m probably alone in not nodding along while they perform. So be it.

Following the hometown heroes were KEN Mode, three angry Canadians that play Hardcore that sounds very angry.

Only in Canada can you get red-carpet treatment after expressing your desire to destroy.

KEN Mode’s style of hardcore is one that’s as abrasive as it comes in Canada. If you thought Cursed were a shovel full of soot to the mouth, then KEN Mode are stepping it up to a shovel full of soot on fire to the nuts. It’s no-compromise, it’s sludgy and covered in scars, and it’s mean. KEN Mode weild chugging riffs that seem to come from the bottom of the sea, breakdowns that make your soul hurt, and during one song the guitarist swapped out for a bass, providing even more low-end battery that could make mighty castles crumble. This band’s a take-no-prisoners type, go see them and be wowed. It’s the type of Hardcore that doesn’t even require any pit antics, and pitting would almost take away from just seeing them go about their hateful proselytism.

A Life Once Lost is a band with quite a reputation, and even they would have a hard time topping KEN Mode in their tooth’n’claw approach to Hardcore with their mishmash of psychedelia, slap-chopped prog riffs, and whatever else they feel is appropriate.

Little do fans know, Doug and Bob work in a factory that exclusively produces mannequin torsos.

Though ALOL no longer play what people nowadays refer to as “djent” (the term didn’t exist in the time they were trailblazing), they still bring enough heaviness for the chubbies who frequent this hole in the wall. Beginning their musical trek sounding like Meshuggah meets metalcore, and becoming one of the frequently cited bands of this style, I wasn’t quite ready for the more laid back, ethereal feel that the tunes on “An Ecstatic Trance” offered, with a light-show to accompany the musical goings-on.

Far be it for me to make assumptions, but seeing that they were selling a “Drop Acid, Not Bombs” shirt and now knowing that two members of the band dabble in mild-altering substances, I can guess who, but I ain’t snitching. All I will tell is that some standing on the bass-drum occurred, and the sober mind considers the consequences of such an action.

Moving on, ALOL played a set mainly taken from the new album (I assume), and closed with “Surreal Atrocities” from their seminal release, A Great Artist. Throughout, the band remained focused, andseemed to be enjoying the direction their music has taken, which emphasizes their groovy nature and ditches a lot of the polyrhythmic pummeling, but it still remains in trace amounts. Certainly not a bad direction to take, though some old fans are understandably miffed. I, being a newcomer, see no evil, and will jam An Ecstatic Trance with no remorse.

Last and arguably not least were Revocation, who I’m proud are from here because David Davidson is the mad notes, yo. MetalSucks and hopefully other sites have had him pop up on Best Guitarist list multiple times, so you know that he’s better than Buckethead.

Revocation’s one of those bands that just can’t seem to stop getting better. Since Empire Of The Obscene they’ve just gotten more proficient in their Death/Thrash craft: ever-deepening technicality and melody seamlessly integrated with a heaviness that lets them clear the battlefield of all opposing forces. Their latest EP, Teratogenesis is free, so go steal it guilt… er… free. Though it isn’t wildly different thematically from what they’ve been doing on Chaos of Forms or Existence Is Futile, you can’t argue with a FREE Revocation cd. It’s pretty sweet, and it’s green, go eat it. They sold their souls to Scion to give us, the fans, a little something in return for stealing their albums already and making up for it by buying shirts.

Anyhow, they always boast an energetic and above all, entertaining live show. It’s amazing how much the crowd changed from ALOL to Revocation. Virtually all of the hardcore dudes hightailed it, and longhairs were the kings of the ring. David Davidson being intoxicated and silly is always a great treat to see, and marveling as to how he manages to pull off all those solos while possessing a firm buzz is a favourite pastime of Revocation fans nationwide.

While the band members themselves were in top form musically despite the most queer absence of Anthony Buda (I don’t know the story, someone research it for me), the audience was a whole different kettle of fish. Mr. Davidson, the grand judge, juror, and executioner of the festivities, was eager to see some harebrained knuckle-dragging mosh action, just to see if everyone was alive or an oil painting. While there was indeed movement as per the nice man’s request, it was more like an oil painting running due to a poor mixture of linseed and whatever else oil paint is made of. In short, an uninformed onlooker would think it was a drunken game of football occurring during a Metal show. The sheer clumsiness of the sport closer resembled a 5th grade game of tackletag, it was fucken hilarious to see. Circlepits were a lost cause, since some people don’t really know how to run in a straight circle, opting for hexagons instead. By the honour of Greyskull, it was a sight to see. Mr. Davidson attributes the poor moshing skill to the fact that Converge and Suffocation immediately preceded this show, but I can personally say that none of the attendees of tonight’s show aside from perhaps one were at either, and thus have no reason to be tired. While I was licking my wounds from a knockout, they were probably watching 16 And Pregnant.

Due to the MBTA’s propensity for stranding people in the Autumn and Winter cold after a certain time, I couldn’t stay for the whole of Revocation’s set, though they did play some choice cuts such as “Harlot”, “Re-Animaniacs”, “No Funeral”, “Across Forests And Fjords”, and of course, “Dismantle The Dictator”. Lots of air-shredding and headbanging remained to be seen, but I like to not walk all the way from Allston to Dorchester at 12:30 at night in order to minimize chances of encountering the stab-happy.

How I had missed the dim light and redolence of ages of spilt beer and sweat lingering in the rafters of this old pub. Many a great show I have seen, and many I shall still see. Add this notch to my bedpost, or whatever one does to keep score of shows these days.

You Ever Go Night-Night? Converge at the Royale

The Royale Nightclub’s website specifically states that formal dress is required, and yet they seem open to hosting Metal and Hardcore shows. I’m sure you’re aware they attract people that sometimes don’t bathe as well as the normal clientele, or at least dress in a manner that suggests this fact. The Royale should have no right to judge since its locale is so nondescript on the exterior that one would be forgiven for missing it entirely while looking right at it. Even I, who had seen it a month prior before The Ghost Inside show was having a hard time believing this was indeed the place that pit warfare was set to occur. Located next to a grubby convenience store and boasting the outside of a hotel suffering from cognitive dissonance, surrounded by Hardcore kids, you’d be shocked to see the largely rose hues adorning the walls of the interior. Just goes to show one can’t judge by appearances, at least for buildings. Just assume someone’s dying in any building you set your sights on, basically.

The inside of the Royale is such that you’re almost made more eager to start smashing things once the riff gate opens. Fancy chairs for those who would rather stay unharmed, Patrón on the rocks, and the aforementioned pink lighting performing an unrestrained waltz of chromatic liberty with splashes of lavender. I had a most wonderful conversation with a security guard about being careful in Dorchester for a few minutes, since apparently I’d make an ideal target for roving packs of gangbangers, but this is common sense and he was wasting his time. I humoured him regardless. Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful, baldie.

Before I digress any further: this place was just ripe for the blood, sweat, and tears approach to Hardcore that Converge brings. The type of Hardcore that openers Whips/Chains bring is lacking in that, however.

Because this is cool to look at.

While I do have great respect for Whips/Chains and related band Coliseum, both fronted by Ryan Patterson, I just can’t get into either. Sure, the visual æsthetic they bring is wonderous due to Ryan Patterson’s artwork; all manner of well-drawn skulls, occult-ish imagery and a healthy helping of the upside-down cross, which is damn tasty to see at any given time. Though this alone cannot repair what I find to be uninspired music.

They have everything that I enjoy in bands like All Pigs Must Die, Nails, and Cursed: sludgy production, riffs draped in unveiled malice fired from cannons of “fuck you”, vocals from the void, and pounding drums matched only by subterranean rumblings. Though they possess the skill and anger of the bands I just mentioned, something sounds out of place, and I just can’t get into it. Blame it on overexposure to bands that have done it before, and maybe I do indeed have no room left for another band that sounds like Coalesce swimming in an oil spill with members of Bolt Thrower. In the meantime, I’ll just leave it at the fact that they’re good, probably even great, but at the moment I’m not into it.

Following W/C were local hatemongers New Lows, whose lyrics revolve around being mad and other negative things.

Having not seen New Lows since a matinee show some time ago, I was eager to see how they’re doing these days, and hoping that they’re still as pissed off as they were before. By Jove, they haven’t changed, and I love it.

The crowd was luckily the type that either appreciated New Lows or simply liked what they heard, so I didn’t have to feel like my going all-out for them would be seen as unnecessary roughness. This being the first time seeing New Lows in such a large venue, it was almost bizarre having so much space within which to perform my normal drowning-in-air ministrations. No gimmicks, no hype, just piss.

Up next were everyone’s favourite Black’n’Rollers Kvelertak, mainly because not many other bands make Black’n’Roll so fun.

Kvelertak hail from frøstbitten Nørway, though their musical output does much to warm the blood of audiences they play to. Having recently played Fun Fun Fun Fest with they’re showing no signs of quitting any time soon. From the ultra-energetic opener “Ulvetid”, to hymn-for-the-imbibed closer “Mjød”, not a single song let the energy die down.

The mosh action was hilariously inappropriate for the band, though they are a mix of Black Metal er… Metal-ness and the driving rhythms of Hardcore and Punk, one wouldn’t expect two-stepping to rule the roost. Nonetheless, everyone seemed to be having a great time shouting along, crowdsurfing, and of course, spilling the beer they had bought merely minutes ago.

Self-proclaimed “Stoner-Pop” band Torche arrived to cool things down, and I solemnly swear that I don’t think it’s funny that the name directly contradicts what they did.

By the time they rolled around, the crowd had grown at least twice as large as it was during Kvelertak, showing just how much pull they alone had for the evening. I even know a couple of people who would have gone mainly for Torche, if not only just for them. In their generous set time they showed off their Miami-brewed blend of the heaviness they take from Stoner/Sludge Metal while infused with the lighter harmonies of Indie leanings. Comparable acts are The Sword and Red Fang, though Torche is definitely the silliest of the three, and thus I like them best.

The only issue I had with Torche this time around, having seen them before, was the vocals, since they weren’t as strong as I remembered them being. This was a small issue, since all of the other elements were in their prime: The guitars were heavy, the drums were on target, and the atmosphere was that just-right juxtaposition of having your head dunked in a bucket of syrup and taking a pleasant swim in clear water.

On a completely unrelated note, I positively adored their Descendents rip-off tee of the “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up” album featuring baby Milo sporting a Jane Doe shirt, with the title “Torche Goes On Tour With Converge”.

Had I a few extra bucks to spend, I would buy it at a high price.

And now, for the pièce de résistance, the crème de la crème, and other French phrases one uses to express delight at the part of a meal one is most excited for: Converge, the superheroes of Massachusetts Hardcore.

I’ve known about Converge since I was 13 years old, having heard their song “Last Light” on an Epitaph compilation CD. Being musically stupid at the time and thinking that Linkin Park were THE rock band to listen to, I absolutely hated it. I hated the vocals, the production, the song structure, everything. It was one of my least liked songs on that compilation next to “Forever Young” by Youth Group.

It took me about 4-5 years to grow up and realize the error of my ways, and “Last Light” began to grow on me. The dynamics of balancing vulnerable emotion and chaotic rage finally struck a chord within me, and I just got it. After listening to Jane Doe and No Heroes, I was swayed to the side of good. It’s a shame it took ages for the real message to stick, but better late than never.

So fast forward to 2012, and there I was greatly fearing injury, yet at the same time accepting that it was quite inevitable. My prediction, as some of you may know, came true; My worries were made manifest as an elbow to the left eye and nose, and the lesser torments of repeated kicks to the skull from stagedivers, though fear not, any damage incurred has been repaired… or has it? I still worry whenever I make slips of the tongue that were more easily avoided prior to this experience. And yes, dear reader, I was, in the parlance of our times, “knocked the fuck out”, and I must say that the quick nap I took due to the sheer dizziness of that attack gave me the strength I needed to stagedive for “The Broken Vow”. The “dive to prove I’m alive” manœuver, as it was so cleverly termed by a Spaniard, proved quite effective.

It was a phenomenal set. They played a lot of greats, opening with “Concubine” and “Dark Horse” just to get the audience churning themselves into a mass of flannel, flesh, and hatred. It was no-mans land in the middle of that pit, and even the outermost perimeter did not by any means make one safe from flying limbs. Jacob Bannon kept the people energized by reminding us just how crazy Boston can get even if we are past those golden years of Hardcore, throwing out the names of Colin Of Arabia, and some others I forgot because I took many blows to the head, remember. The Metalheads, Punks, and Hardcore kids of Boston may be divided on the surface, but it takes a great band like Converge to bring them all together.

It’s all a whirlwind of fists, loud noises, and bloodshed. I’m sure I accidentally punched someone in the face, and to you, I apologise. It was all in the spirit of the moment, and if you weren’t committing some violent act or on the receiving end of one, then you probably wasted your time and money going. Some gladly kept the action going even when the music had stopped, and Jacob insisted that if you happened to be caught onstage not stagediving, waiting for the next song, then you were probably not using your time wisely. Of course, he said it in a more imperative fashion, but that’s just my spin on it, you see.

I’m beginning to ramble, but that’s what happens when I love a show so much that I can scarcely put into factual terms just how monumental it was. Converge’s homecoming was a magnificent dithyramb of naked fury, and no amount of hyperbole will surpass what everyone in that room felt that night during that final dissonant breakdown of “Last Light”. I don’t know about you, but there was no sound in the heavens sweeter than that disfigured chord at the time, and I shall admit that I shed some manly tears, thus causing lions made of dragons to be born from exploding stars. When they announced they were encoring with “The Saddest Day”, it was quite unwise to be near the stage for those 7 minutes, as you ran the risk of having your head dropkicked off by some errant punk. Practicing caution and raising my arm at key moments was instrumental to my being alive to relay this tale to you, reader, so always wear a dental dam at a Converge show.

In the aftermath, it was discovered that there were no casualties, though few who actively participated came out without some form of soreness or bleeding. I made it out with a not-too-noticeable lump on the bridge of my nose. One person completely missed the crowd during a stagedive, and the floor shook a bit from his landing on his back, so I’d hate to be that guy waking up for work or school the next day. No pain, no gain, you’re Dave Mustaine. Next time Converge roll around, which is hopefully soon, if they’re indeed gonna be getting back to their normal lives in the illest colonial city of them all, I’ll make sure I get legitimately banged up. In the meantime, I must procrastinate and forget to do things, as usual. Ciao, bella.

Smash Divisions: The Life And Death Of My Affiliation To Subculture

“It feels it hath been buried under the ashes of aeons!”, whispered I in amazement to malaise personified as I pried its dusty sarcophagus open with the crowbar of divine knowledge. Angst, this song’s for you.

It seems only yesteryear I made a post that hasn’t involved some manner of review or another, and that just ain’t right. I would like to take a moment to bring myself  back to the type of posts I made in the olden days. The ones where I gave a status update, mainly detailing what I’ve been listening to or thinking about. If you missed them, you’re in luck, but if not, then there’s always next time.

It has come to my own attention recently that I’ve gone cold-turkey as far as affiliating with any subculture. If you know me, then you’re aware that I once called myself and to a certain extent acted like your ordinary Metalhead; clumsy afro-headbanging, horn-hailing, going out of my way to complement someone on their shirt whether or not I actually knew the band, and a fervent anti-Hardcore mosdancing stance. I had a good time, yes, but eventually it came time to realize that I wasn’t cut out to keep my pinky and index extended toward a band, regardless of genre, just cos y’know, Metal. In time, as I slowly lessened my dependence on the salute of steel, I also became less willing to lay my life on the line for Metal itself. If I try listening to a Death Metal band I had never heard before and it doesn’t immediately capture my interest, I don’t pursue it. Thrash? Don’t mind if I don’t, since it begins to sound painfully samey after a few hundred bands. Black Metal still has a shot, as long as it goes beyond pots’n’pans in the dårk førest or is otherwise experimental. As far as Gothic Metal goes, if it’s not Tiamat or Therion, chances are I won’t give it a second glance. “War Metal”? Keep out with that fucken shit.

In short, Metal just doesn’t captivate me in that same essential fashion the way it used to when I went under the tag Metalhead. And this does not mean that I was never truly into the music, or am not now, because that would just make me a faker on a monumental scale. Had I continued espousing everything “fuckin’ metal” for the sake of consistency, then I would be a poser in the truest sense. I’m not gonna regale you with all the points I made in the post where I explained why I no longer call myself a Metalhead, but you get the idea.

I’ve had an epiphany in recent months regarding how being part of a subculture, or “scene”, can really affect how one chooses to view others. Belonging to a scene, in my experience, was restricting, you have to dislike or even ignore people from others even though you’re in the same boat as outcasts. It hearkens back to the Catholic/Protestant divide, but far sillier because usually people don’t die. Usually.

Different shades of alternative cultures are always at pains to identify and make fun of the “others”. I don’t really see the point in allying oneself to a “counterculture” if the main activity is to trash others behind their backs for doing what they do. Clandestinely snickering at scene kids, pointing out “poser punx”, making fun of how Hardcore kids like to mosh versus your own way, saying “look at that fuckin’ mallgoth”, or bashing Metalheads; All are tired and vain ways to wile away one’s time that could be spent making friends with whoever you deem to be interesting or even better, just paying attention to what you enjoy. Making bloodsport of what you hate without even the self-awareness to see that it’s pointless is so widespread a malady that fabled Greek tragedians would be fain base a comedy around this phenomenon.

I am in no way proposing that no one ally himself or herself with a subculture; By all means, if you enjoy headbanging along to Reign In Blood with a group of buddies, do so. If you like slamming around in dingy basements with people that spend equal time drinking cheap beer and not showering, be my guest. If you’re all about feathered hair and shirts that are coloured like a box of Fruity Pebbles vomited on a robot unicorn, you are quite free to. If you’re all about The Decemberists or Kanye West, Lady Gaga or mainlining Emmure’s entire discography, that’s your life. Just know that even though my latest preferred mode of dress leans heavily towards Allston gutter rat, I’ve refrained from carrying any sort of subcultural banner, because to be frank, I can’t see myself fitting in perfectly with any of them. Just take a peek at my last.fm, and see that while it is mainly Metal, Rock, Hardcore or related veins, I’d never be accepted into any particular group if my eligibility were judged by scrobbles, though truth be told, I kind of like it that way.

My main reason for this distancing myself from any particular label unless humour calls for it was an evaluation of the types of people that I get along with, which turned out to be a little bit of everything. I can converse with a Metalhead, a Pop Punk kid, a Hardcore kid, a straight up Punk, and even “normies” with equal awkward deftness. Then it hit me: If I am equally daft around an Indie leaning person as I am with someone who is mainly into Metal, Punk, Hip-Hop, what have you, then why bother walking around with a tag that says “Hello, My Name Is Sean and I’m a Fucken Hipster”? It’s the focus on the outward appearance or subculture that one identifies with rather than the content of that person’s character that leads to bullshit like the Punk vs. Metal wars of the 80s, the anti-Scene kid fervor of today, and the Sophie Lancaster murder of 2007. It goes without saying, and is well into the realm of cliché, but it rings true nonetheless: If you don’t like it, don’t pay attention to it, and if you’re gonna jock someone for their preferences, make it quick, and above all make it funny, cos you’re no better than anyone else.

This video of Trash Talk taking the stage to play “Radicals” with Odd Future is a great example of how subculture barriers can break down to participate in a superb instance of countercultural unity. Whether or not you like OF, my point stands, so no bitching.

Whether they were Hardcore Kids, Punks, Hip-Hop fans, “Hipsters”, or what have you, when the chorus of “Kill people, burn shit, fuck school” emitted from the speakers, they all feel it in the same way, they all shout along with equal passion and vitriol towards the majority that tells them to dress normally, cut their hair, act like everyone else. I fail to see how when all subcultures basically share the same base view of the norm being boring, they insist on arguing about which one hates cops more. Get out of your scene, or stop fighting with others. Enjoy yourself by your own rules, not by how other people say you should, least of all your friends, because real friends transcend genre.