We consider Scott Vogel a poet around these parts ("Can I have more stagedives in the monitors, please?), so when Scott wanted to submit a guest blog, we jumped at the opportunity. Scott is writing about 10 things that have changed in hardcore since Terror was formed in 2002. The band's new album, The 25th Hour is out August 7th on Victory Records. Without further ado, take it away, Scott…
These are just my observations. I'm not here to judge and I am definitely guilty of some of the things I’ve stated here. Like Lifetime once said "Times change people change and so must I. Something in the music just makes me smile – remember when"…
1) Lyrical Breakdown
Sadly, most hardcore bands today don't have too much to say. I was drawn into this genre of ours mostly because of the message. I would rip open new records and go right for the lyric sheet to learn, grow, and question everything. I didn’t even have to agree with what bands were saying, at least they were standing for something. Now, some records don't even come with lyrics. Hearing lyrics that make me feel and believe something are few and far between.
2) Big Business
It seems like every hardcore band today has a booking agent. Lots of bands have a manager. Many have moved away from underground hardcore labels and are trying to get exposure to the masses with multiple web-stores to sell the product, contracts, Soundscans and road crews Like it or not hardcore is a business for lots of bands.
3) Gas prices rise and rise…
Terror survived our first few years of touring getting paid $150 to $200 dollars a night. It wasn't always easy or profitable, but we got by on that money. With the rise of gas prices, I'm not sure how some bands make it. Greenvans introduced those vegetable oil vans but they didn't really seem to stick. I often wonder if people that go to shows and bitch about the prices of tickets and t-shirts ever think about how expensive it is to be on the road as a band.
4) What Does Hardcore Mean Anymore?
When someone would say to me that band X is a hardcore band, I had a general idea of what they sounded like. Whether it was more Gorilla Biscuits or more Madball, I basically knew what I was getting. Nowadays, when someone tell me a band is a "hardcore band," I have no clue what I am in for. I have no idea what they sound like, no idea if they even know who Agnostic Front is. The word "hardcore" has been stretched and taken in so many directions sometimes it's hard to know who even cares what that word even means.
5) Death of ethics
Hardcore bands today are pretty much on a Motley Crüe mindset more than a later-era Chokehold ethical trip. Bands want to get big,want to get paid,want to come to town, get drunk, and fuck some babes. They want to dress to impress and get some attention. Don't get me wrong, there are still bands and kids with ethics, but sometimes when I'm at shows observing what's going on I wonder where all the community values and all the ethics and thinking and screaming for change has gone. I also don't see too many vegan bake sales anymore.
6) Broken Down Walls
I would say Hatebreed broke down a lot of walls for hardcore bands to come after them. They shattered all the expectations and limitation of what a hardcore band can do. They expanded their fan base well past the hardcore scene without changing their look or sound. They got the bigger tours in all genres. They signed to a major and they got nominated for a Grammy. Fucking insane.
7) The Mall of Merch
Bands now have so many more items for sale on tour, in many different sizes (including girls and even children). Online stores are stocked with every item known to man from shot glasses to sunglasses to flip flops to whatever you can think of. Hardcore bands today will put their logo on anything and sell them.
8) Everybody's on tour, always
When I first got into hardcore there would be a few shows a month in Buffalo, on a good month. They were special and almost every hardcore kid in Buffalo would do everything they could do be there. Lots of kids would travel from other close cities. Now it seems like there are so many shows, so many tours, that no one can keep up, no one has the time and money to attend all these shows. Bands that don't even have a decent fan base in their hometown are down to hit the road for a full U.S. tour. Band that have never toured the USA are off to Europe. It's the Wild West out there in the touring world.
9) DIY is there for the taking
Bands can now record on laptops. Bandcamp is a great way to get your music out. Social media is a great way to great the word out about your band. Booking tours can be done much easier now with the internet and all the communicating that is done. Big Cartel is a great place for people to cut out the middle man and handle all their own merch mail orders. Spin things yourself and cutting out everyone that wants to put their greasy hands on your band is easier than ever. But have we become so numb and lazy to realize it.
10) Vinyl back on top
After lots of labels stopped giving a fuck about LPs and 7 inches, vinyl has made a comeback and is cool again. This is a big slap in the face for most hardcore labels that have always been pressing all of their releases on vinyl, because now the turnaround to get your records is extremely high. It's sad, but it's life. So keep this in mind when you order a record and it comes in the mail a few weeks late. The labels are doing the best they can while the major labels are remastering and repressing for Urban Outfitters and Record Store Day are getting in the way.
Terror's new album, The 25th Hour is out August 7th on Victory Records.