If you were a left leaning teenager going to high school in a conservative suburb in the U.S. in the 80’s you were surrounded by the cult of Reagan. It cannot be overstated enough just how much his racist, xenophobic and homophobic beliefs permeated society during that time. Woe onto you if you disliked Reagan and refused to join the cult. Because of ‘red scare’ tactics being a tried and true method to shut down voices on the left you would constantly be called a commie, and told that if you didn’t like his policies you should just leave the country.
Conformity was king, not only were you supposed to love Reagan you also had to look just like everybody else; perms, neon clothing, pastel clothing, tans, etc…were the standard that you were supposed to want to achieve. If you went outside of that box with your appearance you would get shit on not only by fellow students but by teachers and total strangers. In my senior year in 1988 I got my first shaved undercut, wore skull buckle pikes and applied a lot of black eyeliner. So, I got a lot of negative attention, with one teacher even telling me that if I dressed like everybody else I wouldn’t be bothered.
What helped me get through all of this shit was the music of the Dead Kennedys, and Bedtime For Democracy was my first taste of them. I don’t remember the year I bought this album but I think it was late 86 because I had this when I transferred schools in early 87. Songs such as Rambozo The Clown made me realise that I was not alone in my hate for Reagan and that it was totally okay to not want to conform to his cult. The music made me feel like I was a part of something that opposed social injustices and fascism. In other words it got me in touch with the way punk music can carry a important political message and speak for those who have no voice.
I don’t think I would have become politically active without this album and it fuelled my love for political punk music; something that I still care about and listen to. So, thank you Jello Biafra for helping me realize that I will never be alone in thinking that the Reagan administration was shit, and that not conforming to society should be praised and not scorned.
I wrote this rant elsewhere out of frustration when it comes to younglings claiming that they are ‘grunge-goth’, because in truth grunge was never a subculture and has never had anything to do with the goth subculture. Enjoy!
The amount of people who think grunge was an actual subculture is disappointing and yet doesn’t surprise me. Just because some dark fashion retailer is trying to sell you something that they label ‘grunge’ doesn’t mean that it was a damn subculture. You know what grunge was? It was a marketing label used by mainstream record execs to sell pre-packaged ‘safe’ rebellion. Those bands that they labeled ‘grunge’ were playing punk meets garage music and their original audience was made up of mostly punks.
All of that changed when the label ‘grunge’ was pushed into the mainstream and the new audience was mostly made up of trend whores who thought they were now at the peak of being alternative. They were the same people who would give punks and goths massive amounts of shit for looking too different or for listening to music that was too strange. The lyrics for Nazi Punks Fuck Off say it perfectly:
‘You ain’t hardcore ’cause you spike your hair when a jock still lives inside your head’
THIS! Needless to say grunge had nothing to do with the goth subculture. Did some goths like grunge? Of course, but that didn’t mean that the two were connected. Punks, metalheads, and everybody generally alternative wore flannel, military surplus gear and thrift store clothing way before ‘grunge’ made its appearance. The bands labeled ‘grunge’ were just wearing what other weirdos wore, they didn’t invent a style. The mainstream took that style and marketed it to the masses.
Now there are a bunch of people who are using the term grunge-goth, which makes zero sense because of the reasons I talked about up above. It is a term made up by dark fashion companies to sell nostalgia to kids, as if grunge was also a subculture equal to goth. ‘If you buy this grunge-goth top you are going to be double cool and ultra rebellious!’ No, no you are not because grunge was never a subculture and if you buy into those marketing tactics you are nothing but a fashion victim, the same as those mainstream trend whores from 30 years ago.
I originally shared this over in several goth communities on Reddit but I thought that my darklings who read this blog was also appreciate it.
I do a lot of DIY projects. I get my ideas from films, dark clothing websites, Etsy and even Vogue magazine. Don’t ever dismiss something outright as inspiration because there are techniques that you can glean just from the construction of ‘regular’ clothing. I actually taught myself how to dart clothing and I was able to make two different corsets fit my chest better by doing that technique.
Personally, I have never felt comfortable using a sewing machine so I hand sew everything. That may sound daunting but once you practice enough it can be done fairly quickly. All clothing was hand sewn before the invention of the sewing machine, so if somebody stitched a hem by candlelight you can also do it! Honest! All it takes is some practice.
With all of that being said I have two boot boxes filled with the supplies that I use in DIY projects. I have purchased most of them from Etsy. That website is a treasure trove of DIY supplies. I will not name the companies I have bought from because it costs a fortune to ship items across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans right now. Always buy from stores on Etsy that are on, or near, the same continent that you live on. Almost all of my items come from the UK or the EU.
I hope this inspires you to start some DIY projects because it is a lot of fun and you end up with an item that is uniquely yours.
STUDS/SPIKES There are a ton of stores on Etsy that sell these and most of the time they are very affordable. They even come in colors which you don’t actually see on most ready made studded and spiked items. I own a wide variety of them: green pyramids, black pyramids, silver pyramids, skulls, silver studs, black studs,etc… Some Etsy stores also sell beginner kits that include instructions and tools. I also own an awl to punch through leather and a flat headed tool for pushing the ends of them down upon the object.
FISHNET I bought multi-packs of fishnet tights in different colors and with holes of different sizes. These can be used to make fishnet shirts. Just cut out the crotch, put it over you head, put the legs on your arms and make holes for your fingers. A much cheaper option than paying £30 for a ready-made fishnet shirt. I also will be using them in other projects, such as layering a jacket collar with it, and safety-pinning it to the sleeves of a jacket.
NEEDLES AND THREAD You can get small kits that include different colors of thread, multiple sizes of needles, thread rippers, small scissors, measuring tape, etc… I personally always double my thread when I hand-sew anything because it will guarantee that the object will stay together rather than rip easily.
A GOOD PAIR OF SCISSORS Those small scissors that come in a kit are okay for cutting thread but you are going to need a good pair of scissors if you want to cut material. You can get decent ones for fairly cheap.
PATCHES Whenever I see a patch I like I buy it and add it to my collection because I know that I will use it in a project in the future. Many dark clothing sites, and other online alternative stores, will quite frequently have them on sale. However, I have bought most of mine from, you guessed it, Etsy. I have my own post-apocalyptic/dystopian goth kind of style going on and Etsy is a treasure trove filled with patches from films such as Terminator, Blade Runner and They Live. You can find band, horror and anything else you like on there. If you are more brave you can even make your own with fabric paint.
ACRYLIC PAINT, BRUSHES, AND STENCILS An acrylic type paint is what you should use on leather and pleather materials. I bought a kit by Angelus specifically for leather and pleather. You can also use just regular acrylic paint, whatever brand you like the best. I also have some stencils of things such as mushroom clouds and pandemic symbols. You can find a lot of them on Etsy, or you can make your own stencils out of cardstock.
BLEACH PENS AND FABRIC PAINT Bleach pens are seriously awesome because you can either stencil or freehand designs onto any fabric object. They were a game changer for me! Fabric paints are very cool as well. Using them is an easy way to instantly change the look of an object.
FABRIC SCRAPS I never throw away any fabric that I cut off of clothing. The reason being is that you never know what you can use it for in the future.
HALLOWEEN RIBBON I live in the UK where Halloween isn’t as popular as it is in the US. I spent my first 40 years in the US and Halloween has always been my favourite holiday. Whenever I see Halloween themed ribbon on sale online I buy it and add it to my stash, because I know that I will use it in my hair or on an item.
SAFETY PINS You can buy boxes of different sizes or packs of the sizes that you really like. I use them to attach items or as decoration on items.
SPOOKY KEYCHAINS I attach these to zipper pulls, belts, purses,etc… You can buy these in bulk for fairly cheap.
That’s all for now. You do not need a lot of money to do DIY projects. Just buy a little here and a little there and soon you will have a whole collection of things you can creatively use.
I went down a rabbit hole on Bandcamp last night, and to my surprise I found a band that performs spooky Halloween music called Fright Night Club. Being a huge fan of Nox Arcana I got really excited because I think it’s great that another band is creating unsettling music.
They perform both instrumental and original songs. Some albums are filled with instrumentals, while others are packed with original songs about monsters, horror movies,etc… There are even a few cover songs which is pretty cool! I am currently listening to their album called Creepshow: Re-Scared, which as you can guess from the title is full of sonic landscapes that flesh out the scenes in the film Creepshow. It’s seriously good stuff! I love listening to this kind of music while writing because it gets me in the mood so that I feel extra spooky!
This band has a ton of people contributing songs to the albums, so it is a collective; a spooky version of a band such as The Joy Thieves. I honestly don’t know who the people listed are, but I am betting that at least a few of them are goth or horror-punk musicians. They put out one album every year and also some separately themed albums . They take an obvious cue from John Carpenter, which can only be a good thing! There are lots of keyboards and guitar mixed together which makes for a spooky unsettling journey through a horror filled landscape.
I seriously love this band, as you can tell. Surprisingly all of their albums, save one, are free to download off of Bandcamp. Sit down, because this next part is a bit shocking. There are NINETEEN of them! Their newest one titled Sounds Of The Season Part II, which was released last year, is a name your price album.
So, get your spooky behind over to Bandcamp and check this band out! It’s great spooky music to listen to all year, and to scare the kiddies with during Halloween.
The first time I ever heard TSOL’s music was when I was at a friend’s house watching the early 80’s punk film Suburbia. I’m pretty sure it was in late 1989 because I remember being just out of high school. Watching Suburbia was a right of passage if you were any kind of weirdo back then.
I love the film because there were some parts of it that were very relatable, such as metalheads, and other general assholes, who would give you shit even though you were just walking down the street, or shopping, minding your own business. Sure, the acting is pretty atrocious, but that is what makes it a cool film. Most of the actors were actual punks so they looked and acted more real than say the people in Return Of The Living Dead. Also love that film but one of the reasons why it’s so funny is because of the shit they got wrong in it.
With all of that being said the scene that really pulled me into the film and got to me on a deeper level was when TSOL took the stage at the club and started singing Darker My Love. At that time I was already listening to goth and punk music and that song spun the genres together into a sound that really hit me hard in a good way. I’m not going to lie, Jack Grisham was also really easy on the eyes! That same week I bought the soundtrack of the film, Dance With Me and Beneath The Shadows. Needless to say I was hooked. Watch it below.
The only sad aspect to all of this was by the time I discovered them Jack had left the band and without his presence they had morphed into a hair metal band; a music genre that I generally disliked. In 1999 the original members sued the hair metal singer for the rights to the band name, and for the right to perform their older songs. They won, and afterwards started touring again.
In 2001 I had just left my ex-husband so I was somewhat scantily dressed when I went to see them play at The Cactus Club in San Jose. It was a cool venue and I had seen 7 Seconds, Christian Death and some other bands there in the past. When TSOL started playing I was sitting on some stairs that were attached to the left of the stage. I was was only a couple of feet from the band so when Jack complained about the tour bus getting a parking ticket I took some change out of my purse and handed it to him. He gave a sarcastic chuckle, and soon afterwards came the familiar intro to Code Blue. The audience went really nuts and everybody was singing it together. Jack grabbed me and a guy and motioned us to get in front of the mic and sing some of the lines. I don’t have the greatest voice but I knew all of the lines and gave it my all! I had such a blast and after the show I shook Jack’s hand and thanked him. To this day I still smile when I think of that show, because it’s not every day that you get to sing a song about necrophilia with one of your favourite bands!
As you can tell from the title of this blog I love anything post-apcalyptic or dystopian themed. I already have my post-apocalyptic pleather jacket but I felt like I needed something for warmer weather. Hence this jacket was born!!
I first featured this jacket back in November. Due to being constantly tired from MS I didn’t touch it for a while. Thanks to a new med I am taking I have way more energy so that I can finally finish this project. Hooray!
Before I get any deeper into this I would like it to be known that I bought this jacket in the clearance section of Killstar’s website. It cost about £30 and it has grommet work and lacing on the sleeves. I’ve never done grommet work so I thought it would be better for me to purchase this rather than attempt it myself. I definitely could have done the ripping and webbing. However, I have done so much to this jacket that it doesn’t look like it’s from Killstar. I find absolutely nothing wrong with buying clearance items from ‘darkly inclined’ clothing sites and doing DIY projects with them. Not everybody lives near thrift stores or can physically get to them. The people who go on and on about how you have to get everything from thrift stores are full of shit.
Here is the list of things I have done to this jacket.
First thing I did was browse Etsy for post-apocalyptic themed patches. No matter what kind of jacket you want to do you will find associated patches on that site. Personally, I always sew patches on rather than iron them. Mainly because an iron on patch can curl up more easily than one that is sewn. Using a double thread instead of a single one is also advised. Some people use dental floss, but I have never felt the need to do it that way.
I also purchased all of my pins from Etsy. I have more nice enamel pins but they tend to come off more easily than regular pins in my experience. I have way more pins than this but I don’t want the jacket to look too busy. I think jackets look better when they aren’t cluttered.
I used tools to put on the skull studs that adorn the bottom hem of the jacket. Again, I bought the studs and tools on Etsy. Way back when I would use the point of a knife to stud a jacket, but I wouldn’t recommend that! An awl makes it so much more easy. I also have some pyramid and cone studs that I may use on the jacket. In particular some pyramid ones that are the colour of green toxic sludge.
I put large safety pins on either side of the bottom of the jacket and hung some spooky keyrings from them. They are visible in the top photo. I got the keychains off of Etsy, of course. I might put one on the front but haven’t decided yet.
I’ve had a lot of fun working on this jacket and I hope it inspires you. Remember, always work on projects that you like, not what somebody dictates to you. Think for yourself.
Lately there has been a lot of talk about how goth music is political, which in turn would mean that the subculture is political as well. When it comes down to it is the subculture actually politically minded?
Everybody reading this knows that the goth subculture was birthed out of the punk subculture. The punk subculture has always been political to varying degrees. There are famous punk musicians such as Jello Biafra and Dick Lucas who have always talked the talk and walked the walk. When they write songs about supporting equal rights or about how evil corporations are they mean it. They aren’t being political to gain ‘scene’ points, they are being political because they think that speaking against injustices is important and something that must be done.
Do goth bands speak up about injustices? Sometimes, but not as often as their punk cousins. Sex Gang Children have recently put out the most politically charged album that I have ever heard come out from under the goth umbrella. It’s called Oligarch and it speaks up against corporations, religious hypocrisy and fascist politicians. I honestly hope that other goth bands listen to it and are inspired to make their own politically charged art. Christian Death is another band that has openly made politically charged music through the years. Both the Rozz and Valor versions of the band have done this. Then there are modern anarcho deathrock bands such as Mystic Priestess and the Creeping Terrors who make music with a political bent. With one foot in the punk subculture they are carrying on the tradition of speaking up against what is wrong in society.
If you spend any amount of time in online goth communities you will see people ask if they can be right wing and goth at the same time. The goth subculture has always leaned left because of the acceptance of those who society sees as the ‘other’. Are there racists within the subculture? There have always been those in the subculture who think that a person has to be white in order to be goth, which is a load of shit of course. Do some people wear white foundation and try to look as pale as possible? Of course but you don’t have to look like a Victorian ghost to enjoy the music. You don’t have to be a certain weight, a certain colour or dress a certain way to take part in the subculture.
All of this could be called political, but do people in the subculture actually stand up for the rights of others when it comes down to it? I would like to argue that there are some that do, but they are heavily outnumbered by those who talk the talk but don’t walk the walk. The most important thing about being politically minded is standing behind what you say, even if it inconveniences you. A huge example of this are all of the people in the subculture who will be attending the Cruel World festival, even though the person putting it on is a proven homophobe. They will post about how they are for the rights of those who identify as LGBTQ, but they don’t want to be inconvenienced by missing a show. It’s hypocritical to not stand behind what you say.
Back thirty years ago the subculture was largely not political at all. To the point that Nazi skinheads would attend the clubs and nobody would lift a finger to boot them out. Seriously, I witnessed this shit myself. Back then I weighed 100 pounds and I knew that it would be impossible for me to do anything physically about it. However, there were several times back then that I told Nazi skins off because I didn’t like the crap that they were saying. I did all that I could do back then but when it came down to it there were definitely others who just didn’t care. As long as they could dance to their favourite songs everything was hunky dory.
When it comes down to it the goth subculture can be political, but there are many people in it who need to learn to stand up for what they claim to believe in. Supporting the LGBTQ community online is good, but if it is not followed through with some sort of physical action then that support becomes meaningless. Go to marches and events that are against racism and homophobia, and don’t attend events that are put on by racist or homophobic promoters.
Since very bright hair has become very mainstream it seems like more and more brands of bright hair dye are coming out of the woodwork. This itself isn’t a bad thing because what works on one person may not work on another person. What I personally take issue with is the fact that a lot of companies are charging a ton of money for these dyes, and a lot of people who have no experience with these type of dyes are being gouged in more ways than one.
Before I get stuck in I would like to let it be known that I am not a licensed hair stylist. However, I have been dyeing my own hair for about 35 years so I have a lot of experience. I have dark brown hair that is very coarse and consists of three different types of curls. Bleaching my type of hair is very difficult and time consuming. I would bleach it once and then in a day or two bleach it a second time. This would get it light enough to take in a magenta colour and that’s it. These days I would say that 80% of my new hair growth is white, which means that I no longer have to bleach it and I can dye it purple. My hair has been damaged many times in the past but it has never broken off, so my experiences may not be the same as others who have a different hair type.
With all of that being said there is no reason why people should be shelling £20.00 or more for one container of dye when they can get two, three, and in some cases even four containers of bright dyes for the same price. A lot of people wasting their money this way are doing almost no research on the subject. They are taking the word of beauty ‘influencers’ that are making a ton of money off of them by claiming that their bright hair dye is more ‘special’ than others. I’m looking at you Brad Mondo. I don’t care that you are an internet famous hair dresser, I am not going to pay over £20.00 for your bright coloured hair dye.
Certain brands work on my hair while others don’t, and that is a pretty common issue. The first main brand I ever tried was Manic Panic and it literally washed right out of my hair. These days it goes for about £10.00 a tub. The brand that I had the most success with when I lived in the US was Punky Colour. It was a little cheaper than Manic Panic and would actually stay in my hair for a few weeks. I would always mix one of their reds with one of their pinks to make my own magenta type colour. It is very pricey if you are living in Europe so I now use Directions, which is probably the most affordable brand out there. I have gotten pots of it for as low as £3.20. Their plum shade has the most cool fade that I have ever seen. Some of my hair will turn pink while other strands will turn a bright blue. When I recently went to get my hair cut my hairdresser was shocked that I had only used one shade to get that kind of multi colour fade.
In the end you can spend your money on whatever bright hair colour brand that you want, but just know that you do not need to spend an outrageous amount of cash. Do some research as to how your hair type reacts to bleach, because if you have dark hair you are not going to get a very bright hair shade unless you lighten it first. Some ads will claim that you don’t have to bleach your hair first. Quite frankly that is a load of shit. Also, ask others with your hair type what brand of dye that they use. If you do these things first before buying a bright coloured hair dye you will not only save money, you will also not be giving liars and grifters your hard earned cash.
Within the last few years there has been a resurgence of interest in anything having to do with the 80’s. Everything from endless posts about mediocre 80’s ‘post-punk’ bands to people asking questions as to how to directly copy the look of ‘trad’ goths litter the internet. Then there are the truly special individuals who constantly talk about how cool the decade was and how they wish they could have lived back then. They should never wish that. You want to know why? Because for the most part the 80’s was a hellish landscape of conservative neo-liberal politics mixed in with a highly conformist society that punished those who were in any way different.
I was a teen in the 80’s and graduated high school in 1989, so I spent pretty much the entirety of my teen years in that decade. I was very politically aware during that time and paid attention to the world events going on around me. For example, I went on a trip with some classmates to Washington DC in late 87 that was called Close Up. Teens from all over the US go every year to learn about politics. You get to meet your representatives and talk about important issues with others. We got enough free time to wander about the area exploring and one day two friends and I were walking near the Capital Building when a motorcade appeared. During that week Soviet officials were there to draw up the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty along with officials from Reagan’s cabinet which included the Secretary Of State George Shultz. I hated, and still hate, Reagan with the burning heat of a thousand suns so I was obviously not a fan of anybody serving under him. The first limos going past us had Soviet flags attached to the front, rolled down windows and Soviet guys waving at us with smiles on their faces. Seriously, it was as cool as it sounds. We smiled and waved back of course. Then the limos infested with the lice off of Reagan’s head rolled by and not one of them rolled down their windows. However, it was easy to see through the tint that one of them contained Shultz. I started yelling to him that he sucked and gave him the finger with both hands. Yes, I told a high ranking US official to basically go fuck himself. My friends were panicking telling me to stop but I wouldn’t. To this day I am still proud that at the age of 16 I had the balls to do something like that.
Now that you have learned a little bit about me I will now tell you a little bit about what it was really like to live in the 80’s.
THE COLD WAR AND THE CONSTANT FEAR OF NUCLEAR ANNIHILATION
I don’t think that younger people right now quite realize just how close we came to all being killed in a nuclear war. This fear was largely due to the constant posturing of Reagan. He would call the USSR the evil empire and threaten them on a very regular basis. Frankly I was way more afraid of Reagan back then than I was of the USSR. To the credit of the USSR back then they didn’t give in to Reagan and start a war. I honestly think the professional war mongerers who stood behind Reagan wanted an all out war with the USSR because they would have made billions from that. Both empires fought a proxy war in Afghanistan when the USSR invaded the country while the US backed and trained the rebels. By the way one of those rebels was Osama Bin Laden.
Nuclear war was such a possibility at the time that two powerful tv films were made about it happening. Threads in the UK and The Day After in the US. Since I was living in the US at the time I saw The Day After when it was first aired in 1983 when I was in the 7th grade. It freaked my friends and I out so much that we went to our vice principal and asked about whether the school had a nuclear fallout shelter. Think about that for a second. Imagine being a young teen and having that kind of fear hanging over your head on a constant basis. It sucked. A few years ago I finally saw Threads and it shows the reality of a nuclear war; people being burned alive and the unsanitized reality of what would happen after a nuclear conflagration. If I had seen it back in the 80’s I would have had full blown nightmares.
IF YOU WERE IN ANY WAY ‘DIFFERENT’ YOU GOT CONSTANTLY SHIT ON AND CONFORMITY WAS A WAY OF LIFE
I always see younger people in online goth communities say that they wished that they could have experienced an ‘alternative’ subculture back in the 80’s. With confidence I can say that the vast majority of them wouldn’t have been emotionally equipped to have handled all of the shit that they would have gotten from others. It wasn’t just the ‘normal’ people that you had to deal with back then, you also had to deal with intense pressure within the alternative community to fit in by liking the same bands and behaving the same way. Woe onto you if you actually acted happy or liked a band that wasn’t considered cool. People think that ‘gatekeeping’ is bad now? They have no idea.
There was a huge amount of pressure back then by society to fit in. Reagan constantly preached about how America was better in the good old days, which were actually not good for anybody who wasn’t wealthy and white. If you didn’t go along with his not so hidden racist agenda you were seen as unpatriotic and a traitor. I am not exaggerating. You had to hate the USSR, be scared of black people, and look just like everybody else. If you didn’t have a perm, didn’t dress in the trendiest clothes and didn’t listen to the latest pop bands you didn’t fit in so you were considered fair game to tease and even physically attack. Luckily I was never physically attacked but I know that lots of people were. Far more violence happened back then than now. However, I had things yelled at me on a constant basis, for doing such things as simply walking down a street. In high school I was even told by a teacher that I wouldn’t have as many problems if I just dressed like everybody else.
IT WAS DIFFICULT AS HELL FINDING OUT ABOUT BANDSAND SHOWS
There was no functioning internet back in the 80’s. There were some bulletin board type communities but computers were expensive as hell so most people did not have them. There were thee ways of finding out about bands back then. You could be one of those lucky people that lived near a radio station that actually played alternative and punk music. These were usually college radio stations, but sometimes pop stations would play less popular music in the the middle of the night. There was a pop station in my area that did this. So much so that by the very late 80’s they became an ‘alternative’ station. However, by that time they played more radio friendly bands than experimental ones. However, I did learn about some bands by listening to them. Another way to learn about bands was by getting mix tapes from your friends. In early 86 I got one from a guy, who then ghosted me. There was no track listing written down so it took me literally years to figure some of them out. However, I had another person introduce me to Joy Division by handing me a tape with Unknown Pleasures on one side and Closer on the other. The last way to find out about music was by cold buying it. You would see somebody cool wearing a mysterious band shirt and you kept a log of those band names in the back of your head. I actually cold bought November Coming Fire by Samhain using this method, and more times than not I had really good luck.
On top of all of this there was a code of silence that the uber goober type people would pull when you would ask them about what bands they liked. Seriously. There was some sort of strange code that some weirdos lived by that made it very uncool to share musical knowledge with anybody. It was as if they were going to be killed by an evil cabal if they dared to utter the sacred names of bands. These were the same types who would try to dictate how you behaved in clubs.
Wanted to see your favourite band play a show? Good luck! Most of the time the only way you would find out about shows was at club nights, but if you were under 18, and sometimes 21, you weren’t allowed in them. I actually went to one that let you in of you were 17 or older and another that was all ages so I was lucky when it came to that. However, that didn’t mean you would find out about all of the shows because venues were usually total shit at advertising shows unless they were some of the better known ones that also hosted metal shows. There were some ‘alternative’ weekly papers where I lived so I would find out about some of them that way, but there were two times that I accidentally saw bands because I thought it was going to be a regular club night. I saw Meat Beat Manifesto and The Call that way which looking back on it was pretty darn cool.
Well, that’s it for today. I realise that I have probably broken some hearts and crushed some dreams but the amount of misinformation about the 80’s really needs to be balanced out with a reality check. I don’t look back at that decade with rose coloured glasses, even though I lived through those years. It could be fun, but it was also really difficult. If I had the ability to go back in time to those years I wouldn’t.
Tramp Stamps are quite possibly one of the worst wannabe pop-punk bands I have ever heard. Considering how many bad pop-punk bands that there have been in the last thirty years that is really saying something. Many are calling them an industry plant, while they say they came up with everything themselves.
The first thing that you need to know about these women is that each of them was involved in the music industry before the band was formed. Up until around mid 2020 singer Marisa Maino was a run in the mill pop singer who looked totally normal. Both her and guitarist Caroline Baker have song writing publishing deals with Dr. Luke’s company Prescription Drugs. The drummer Paige Blue is a commercial music producer. Dr. Luke was the guy accused of abusing the singer Keisha and is not exactly a guy that an actual female feminist punk band would do business with. Being involved in the music business in itself is not a bad thing, because other people in it have made really good music. The issue here is that these women were never involved with the punk subculture before this in any way shape or form.
What is this band all about and why are people so pissed off? Here is their ‘about us’ statement from their website. Yes, this is a real statement:
Whip-smart and wildly irreverent, Nashville-based band TRAMP STAMPS are introducing a fantastically unfiltered new voice into today’s pop landscape. With a lyrical style that’s equal parts social commentary, soul-baring confession, and brilliantly profane storytelling, singer Marisa Maino, guitarist Caroline Baker, and drummer Paige Blue speak the truth on societal ills like white-boy privilege and fragile masculinity—all while revealing their warped sense of humor and untamed joie de vivre. And with its high-energy collision of pop and skate-punk, TRAMP STAMPS’ sound fully reflects the raw catharsis that fuels their songwriting. “All our songs start with us going on rants about stuff that pisses us off, shit we wish were different, stories that have happened to us involving fucked-up guys,” says Maino. Adds Baker: “It’s the kind of stuff women talk about all the time with their friends, but no one’s ever put it to this kind of music before.”
This sounds so contrived. Seriously, it sounds like some old music industry promoter sat down and wrote what they thought was hip commentary about the band so that kids would totally be down with. If the women actually wrote this it really doesn’t make it any better because it would show just how out of touch they are with the punk subculture. Actually, the quote by Baker at the end pretty much sums up this whole debacle. They think that women have never made social commentary type punk music before? Oh hell no! It’s insane how out of touch Baker is and she proves that even if a person has access to the internet that they can still be a completely clueless idiot.
It’s obvious that for these women punk is nothing but a costume. Dye your hair a funny colour and put on some ‘alt’ style clothes and that makes you punk! I can understand that some teens do the same thing, but they are teens. Most teens try different things until they find something that fits them. These women are in their twenties. In fact Paige Blue is twenty-nine. No joke! That makes this whole thing even worse. It looks like Dollskill threw up all over them, and that is something nobody should ever want to achieve. I feel like a mom when I look at them because I have a huge urge to spit on a hanky and rub all of their make-up off.
In my opinion somebody that they have collectively known suggested that they start a band together. This individual told them that they could make a lot of money and get famous if they pretend to by an angry pop punk band. Could they have come up with this on their own? Sure, but everything about this really reeks of record company involvement. One of their songs is called I’d Rather Die and one line goes ‘I’d rather die than hook up with another straight white guy.’. Guess what, one of them apparently wants to die because she is married to a straight white guy.
Their whole shtick is not only highly hypocritical it reeks of fake outrage about subjects that mean a whole lot to people. People are mad about white straight male privilege, so let’s write a song about how we will never fuck any of them! That’ll teach those evil white men! It morphs an important social construct that negatively affects a lot of people into some trite crap that speaks to absolutely nobody. Political punk music has been around for over forty years, and this lame attempt to jump onto that train falls flat.
That’s the huge problem that this ‘band’ has. They came out of absolutely nowhere with professionally made social media accounts, a slick website and a backstory recounting how they met at a bar and decided to make music together. Bands do not normally come out of nowhere like this, especially when they are any shade of punk. It takes time and money to build a career. To come out of the gate as a fully formed punk organism is not normal, especially when it involves a subculture that is all about doing things yourself. Yes, bands such as The Sex Pistols and The Clash were formed by managers to make a buck, but in the case of the Pistols all of the members were actually involved with the newly emerging punk subculture before being in the band. They weren’t pretending to be punk because they actually were punk.
So, what is to become of this band? The audience that they are trying to reach online largely knows already that they are inauthentic so trying to cater to them is pretty much a lost cause. They could go down the trolling route and make themselves into a joke kind of band, but I don’t think whomever is behind the scenes is going to be into doing that. I could actually see them pivoting over to a more ‘goth’ sound, but they would have the same sort of issues because of switching music genres so quickly. They would have had more success if they had just done a ‘goth’ type band in the first place, since a lot of younger people don’t understand exactly what goth is. They could have sung about wanting to be a vampire and some of that target audience would have definitely bought into it.
I’m all for people making the music that they want to make but this just really rubs me the wrong way. People have literally been murdered for looking punk, goth or alternative. Pretending to be a part of any subculture just for the fame and fortune aspect is gross. Instead of pretending to be punk they should just be themselves. Adult women should know better than this, especially ones who claim to be feminist in nature. Pretending to care about social issues is never a good thing, and it is actually worse than looking like Dollskill fashion victims.