What's Eating Pop? Notes From The Underground

Searching for informed opinions on the state of music, Crimson Arts plunges into the netherworld of the MBTA (a.k.a. the Pit) to catch a train to cultural nirvana.

Remember last week when we wrote about how the Backstreet Boys still make us cry? This week, we talk to the people who think they should die. While many of our population stay in counting our Dave Matthews T-shirts and WBCN buttons, a gang of subterranean music-lovers is stoically, imperceptibly up in arms over the death of real music. The existential angst of today's sell-out music industry is visited on their bodies in rings, rags and tattoos. They congregate daily at the underground hub of the hub of the universe, and sling albums, gig times and rap loops at one another. Keeping it alive are they-while we shuffle by them in haste looking at our feet. At last, they inscribe their disappointment and displeasure in our pages, narrate to us the history of pop music as they understand it, and offer advice for rescuing our souls.

Gerald, 21, lives in the underground music scene. When he is not riding, he is putting together a band that is a mix of old-school hardcore, thrash, metal, punk, dub, ska, some reggae, rockabilly--just the stuff he listens to. When he was six, his babysitter took him to a hardcore Bad Rings house party and hid him with earmuffs under the stage, and he has been a punk all the way ever since.

THC: What is wrong with music now?

G: It's pasteurized crap. Simple as that. You get five numbskulls with seven-string guitars and fake dread-locks, and you know what, you've got a band? You put some goofy white boy in big baggy pants and take him out to the tattoo shop, you've got another band. You take two lazy fat-ass pieces of white trash from [lousy] Detroit and put clown makeup on them and you've got another band. It's not [really] music. I'm sorry, but you know what--I can get a seven string guitar, I can tune it down two steps and play with some bass guitar effects, I can get some numbskull to [mess] with their turntable and you know what--I too can be Limp Bizkit, I too can be Korn. I can run around in reverse Black Face; I can paint my face white and put on stupid little dark circles and go "Yo, I'm the juggalo" and talk about drinking Faygo and I can be Insane Clown Posse. You know, it's not music. I give more credit to someone like Eminem who just doesn't give a shit and who's like, you know, I've been slugging this out for seven years, yeah I may rhyme about the same [stuff]. He may have an entire album about being pissed off about his life, eating acid and smoking pot and eating shrooms and [sundry items], but it's the most original thing I've heard come out of hip-hop in a while.

THC: What is all the stuff that's been missing?

G: Fun! It's no longer about having fun. It's all about having an image of either "Yo, I've got a big [male genitalia] and I'm the world's biggest player," it's "Yo, [my friend], I got the biggest gun" or "I can handle all my drugs, I can be the biggest freaks"...It should be about you know what? I got 400 of you all out in the audience, five of us on stage, we've got enough weed and beer to keep this motha going all night...Let's have a good time! I miss the days of girls just running up...no one says "Show me your [breasts] anymore." There's no more unnecessary excess of women and booze backstage. It pisses me off, because that's what I though being a rock star was about, not "We got tofu on the deli tray." I want to hear somebody bitch and whine because they lost an eight-ball of coke behind their couch, not "Who drank the last bottle of spring water?"

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