Wednesday, July 13, 2005

BULLETPROOF NOTHING:Mediocrity is the Enemy

Fuck new material, here's another reprint from mid 2002. It was by far and large my most popular Rip Off column:

"Mediocrity is the Enemy"


-by Clint R. Parson(the "R" stand for "Reasonably Well Adjusted")
Okay, so first up, I actually have some record reviews for you toss-bags. Yeah, people have actually started sending/giving me stuff to specifically review for here or Blank Gen or whatever. The scam is finally starting to pay off. Although, I've already started experiencing the DOWNside of getting free records, but lemme get into the reviews and you'll see what I'm talking about. First up we have:

The Busted Lives-"One Flap Down"-10 songs-CD:Pagan-isms abound on this disc, most notably so the second song which is a blatent "What's This Shit Called Love?" knock-off. Having said that, these guys are maybe a THIRD of the band the Pagans were. It's not horrible, but it's really not all that good or anything, it fits squarly into the "mediocre" category. Futhermore, these guys lose points for having a shitty album cover, re-occuring professional sports themes and for being on a record label with a REALLY stupid name("Blueball Records"). Kinda draggy punk rock that sounds at time like a lesser Rip Offs or uhhh Drags. There is absolutely no reason for you to buy this record. Maybe if they got together with the right producer and really applied themselves they could come up with a decent record, but I doubt it (Blueball Records, 6517 Farallon Way, Oakland, CA 94163)


The Briefs-"She's Abrasive"/"Like a Heart Attack"-single and the "Love and Ulcers"/"We Americans"-single:So, together these two seven inchers make up the latest offering from the Briefs. It more or less sounds like a less spirited version of the stuff on the "Hit After Hit" LP. For those of you not familiar, new wavey punk rock with a decent sized Plimpsouls influence. Overall, both singles are good, but not great, about ONE notch maybe below the LP. I think the main thing the Briefs need to watch out for is that they don't degenerate into some Panic Button/Lookout Records type pop-punk pablum. Although, now that their signed to Interscope, who the hell KNOWS how they're gonna try and market these guys, I dunno. Anyway, both records are well worth seeking out if you enjoyed the LP. If you're unfamiliar with "Hit After Hit", then either of these records would make a fine introduction to this fine band(www.thebriefs.com Dirtnap Records, PO Box 21249, Seattle, WA 98111)


The Beatings- s/t 4 song 7" EP, and "The Ballad of Jimmy and Jenny" single:Whelp, there's another Dead Boys' clone on the block, although these guys have more of an almost Ramonesy feel to them. The vocals sound kinda similiar to the Rocket From the CRYPT dude. On the picture on the back all of them have good "carefully tossled" hair. Overall, this is way mediocre as well, although it DOES have more 'tude and is better then the aforementioned Busted Lives. Anyway, these guys are the Beatings from the Baltimore area, not that other Beatings roamin' 'round out there wherever. Buy these two records if you can find 'em cheap(the 4 songer is on Pelado Records and the "Jimmy" single is on The Telegraph Company)


Having said that, let's get into the meat of this fucker. Now, ya see, the problem with bands like the Busted Lives isn't so much that they're horrible or anything, it's more that they just don't DO anything for you. When you listen to their records you think "Oh, this isn't so bad, but uhhhhh.....", it just leaves ya feeling fucking NOTHING. Ya don love 'em, you don't hate 'em, you just don't care, and that is really the WORST fate a band can suffer. It's MUCH preferable to be hated then to be invisible or ignored.

That's the way it IS nowadays though, there are just WAY too fucking many "blah" bands out there, bands that have great influences, bands members that are nice people and have good record collections, but, BUT, they produce music that is totally bland, disposable, dispensable and ultimately FORGETTABLE. There are hundreds of bands like that around nowadays, fuck-tons of "okay" bands putting out their "alright" records on "dime a dozen" record labels. They're everywhere you look, in every town and every city with population over uhhhh, a certain number. You turn over a rock in NYC and you'll find thirty of these bands, sit down in LA and you'll kill the latest band with those ever so perfectly quaffed do's. Every where you look and every where you turn nowadays we are surrounded by medi-fucking-ocrity.

There are so many of these bands out there now that they are serving to make things harder for the GREAT bands to get exposure. In the old KBD days, maybe one out of twenty bands were REALLY, REALLY fucking amazing, but nowadays that number has dwindled to maybe about one out of two hundred. And don't me wrong, there's still as many great bands as EVER, it's just that the number of mediOCRE bands has fucking exploded. Obviously, when 5% of bands are capital "G" "great", it much easy to find them then when only a mere 0.5% of bands are worth seeking out. Yeah, that's a good example of how things are much harder for GREAT band right now, five percent to 0.5%, that means it's TEN TIMES harder for GREAT bands to get exposure. Why? Becuase of all the mediocre morons clogging up the works with their watered down bullshit.

Yeah, people actually STARTED to "do it themselves", they listened to the Big Boys and they formed their own bands. Sadly though, that the vast majority of people, a good 99% of them, just don't have the TALENT be in a band. And I'm not talking about technical ability, I'm talking about fire, passion, the need to be up there doing THAT. The basic genetic DRIVE, encoded into your very DNA(emphasis on "DNA") that SCREAMS into your ear every second of every day that you NEED to be a performer, you NEED to being giving it your all, you need to be on the brink of fucking comBUSTION out there. Most people have absolutely no business being on a stage, that's what the whole DIY thing has ACTUALLY taught us. DIY is a good thing when it encourages talented people to start bands, but most of them probably would've started bands anyway, ya know, what with being so driven. As these last twenty years have shown us, NO, not every one can do it, everyone CAN'T start their own band. Why not? Because that band will most likely BLOW. Ya get that? Don't start your own band, fucko.

We don't need "okay" bands, there's no demand for musical outfits that no one gives a fuck about. The world doesn't need another band that "has it moments", we are already drowning in bands like that. Unless you are trying to be the best band ever, unless you are making a run at greatness, then your band is destined to never be more then "alright". Do you think bands like the Reds went out there with the notion that they were only an "okay" band? Was that all they ever wanted to be? NO, they wanted to be GREAT, they devoted hard time and hard work towards accomplishing that goal. One of the reasons fucking Black FLAG was such a great band is because YEAH, they were TRYING to be the best band ever, every once of their existance and personality was poored into promoting that band. Hours of pratice EVERY day, months long tours they booked themselves. That's a big part of what made Black Flag the legends they are today, they wanted to be great, they weren't satisfied with just "okay", they wanted to be GREAT and worked hard and long to accheive that. That's pretty fucking far removed from some local shithead band that's satisfied with rehearsing their six song set twice a week, and playing shows once or twice a month.

Mediocrity is a disease, a muddled insanity, a mediocre performance by a mediocre band is a sad testimony to a bunch of fuck ups who are too fucked up to even sucessfully communicate their own pain and yearning. Mediocrity is fear, fear of trying and failing, fear of pushing things, fear of how people might react to something real, something genuine. The mediocre are tied down, tied down by themselves, tied down by how they "should" act, tied down by what they "should" do. Mediocrity smothers all it comes in contact with. In this day and age, when there are more bands then ever before, there IS no bigger enemy then mediocrity. In these now times we must do our damnest to fight back it's cruel forces. Don't be in an "okay" band, don't be satisfied with putting out "alright" records, don't support "blah" groups, for they are the enemy of the "great", the people that truly deserve to be up there doing their thing. The mediocre aren't performers, they aren't artists, they are what attempts to smoother and kill those that are truly talented.......

To make a long story short:Fight mediocrity with every fiber of your being......................

send all hatemail to: crparson@hotmail.com