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Tag: Goth Music (Page 1 of 2)

Songs That Were Played At The Alternative Clubs I Went To from 88-92 Part 2

Somebody’s heavily pixelated photo of a Twilight Zone shirt and member pass. Not my photo.

This is a second list of the songs that I used to hear in ‘alternative’ clubs from 1988 to 1992. The shirt above is from the alternative club The Twilight Zone that was in Alameda California. You had to have a member card to get in because of the local laws and it was an all ages club. These songs were either played there, at The Edge in Palo Alto or at One Step Beyond in Santa Clara. The music was always very eclectic. Enjoy!

Bigod 20 – The Bog (1990)

Divine – Love Reaction (1983)

U2 – New Year’s Day (1983)

Nitzer Ebb – Join In The Chant (1987)

Until December – Heaven (1986)

MC Shy D – Shake It (1987)

Visage – Fade To Grey (1982)

Killing Joke – Love Like Blood (1985)

Book Of Love – Boy (1985)

Madness – One Step Beyond (1979)

Ministry – Work For Love (1983)

Faith No More – We Care A Lot (1987)

Trans -X – Living On Video (1983)

Fad Gadget – Collapsing New People (1983)

Lords Of The New Church – Dance With Me (1983)

Skinny Puppy – Assimilate (1985)

NWA – Straight Outta Compton (1988)

Tones On Tail – Go! (1984)

Sex Gang Children – Deiche (1982)

Danielle Dax – Big Hollow Man (1987)

Meat Beat Manifesto – God O. D. Part 1 (1988)

Songs That Were Played In The Alternative Clubs I Went To From 1988-92

This was the inside of the alternative club One Step Beyond that I went to from 1988 till it closed in 1991. I vividly remember that head painting! Not my photo.

I went to my first ‘alterative’ club in early 1988 on my 17th birthday, and it was called One Step Beyond in Santa Clara California. For whatever reason their age limit was 17 and up instead of 18, and I had a friend that had a car so I know I was very lucky to get to experience this. My friend had graduated in 87 so I was the only teen from my high school that went. My mom was/is cool and never gave me a curfew and let me go.

What did I experience exactly? It was the tail end of new wave, so the older songs were still played regularly. Radio stations refused to play rap songs by certain artists like 2 Live Crew or NWA and alternative clubs such as One Step Beyond were among the only places that you could hear those bands being played. The American government was trying to get such bands banned for offensive lyrics so playing such music in a club setting was actually pretty forward thinking for the time.

That is me on the left at the Twilight Zone in early 1991 when I was 20. Yes, I did the jacket myself, it had a Fiend skull on the back.

Rather than me droning on and on I am going to be posting some songs that I vividly remember being played during that time at One Step Beyond, The Twilight Zone and The Edge. Each place had it’s own unique vibe. The Edge was close to Stanford University so it was where the wealthy students would go if they wanted to go slumming, but there was definitely a gaggle of weirdos that also went there. The Twilight Zone was in an old movie theatre lobby and had the best venue I have ever been to. It has sweeping staircases to a second level where you could look down on the dance-floor and it was all ages. Finally, One Step Beyond. It had the most diverse crowd out of the three. There were punkers, mods, skins, etc… and everybody pretty much got along.

These are in no sort of order and are songs that I heard during that time in the clubs. Notice how eclectic this list is? It’s why I loved these clubs. I think something was definitely lost when the goth nights started to pop up in the early 90’s and left a lot of this music behind.

Desireless – Voyage Voyage (1986)

Red Flag – If I Ever (1989)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZlO_T71Ncw

Digital Underground – Doowutchyalike (1990)

A Flock Of Seagulls – Wishing (If I Had A Photograph) (1983)

Virgin Prunes – Pagan Love Song (1982)

2 Live Crew – Get It Girl (1987)

My Life With The Thrill Kill Cult- The Days Of Swine And Roses (1990)

Christian Death – Church Of No Return (1989)

Ofra Haza – Im Nin’Alu (1988)

Technotronic – Pump Up The Jam (1990)

Billy Idol – Dancing With Myself (1981)

Specimen – Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (1983)

Fake – Another Brick (1985)

Laid Back – White Horse (1983)

Blancmange – Living On The Ceiling (1982)

Grandmaster Flash & Melle Mel – White Lines (Don’t Do It) (1983)

Deee-Lite – Groove Is In The Heart (1990)

Soft Cell – Sex Dwarf (1981)

Front 242 – Don’t Crash (1985)

Eric B. & Rakim – Paid In Full (1987)

Some Thoughts On The New Bauhaus Song Drink The New Wine

Meh.

So, the members of Bauhaus have crawled out from whence they came and got together to produce something that sounds like it came from an album made 40 years ago. There are tons of younger people excited about this because OMG Bauhaus are just sooooooo goth, but this song really reeks of dialling it in for me. Everything that Bauhaus did over 40 years ago is in this song and it really doesn’t bring anything new to the table. All I hear in this song are the gimmicks they used that sounded new and ‘different’ in the 80’s. When done 40 years later it just feels opportunistic because the members know how trendy anything post-punk sounding is these days.

Am I against legacy type bands making new music? Not at all. I actually think it is pretty cool when such bands still regularly put out music. However, that really isn’t the case here. Bauhaus are almost on the same level as the Sisters Of Mercy when it comes to touring and relying on old hits to sell tickets. They did put out that one album in 2008 so they at least have that going for them.

Am I going to buy this? Probably not because I want to support bands who actually care about their fans instead of leeching off of them to make a buck. Sorry not sorry.

The Kardashianization Of The Goth Subculture Needs To Stop

Society’s wannabe ‘goth’ couple of the moment.

Kardashianization is a mighty long word, but I think it describes perfectly what has been happening within the last few years in the goth subculture. Unreal beauty standards, that are normal in ‘mainstream’ society, have wormed their way into the goth subculture. I think that has always been on the back burner, but lately it really feels like things have ramped up since everybody wants to call themselves a ‘goth’ these days.

Before the advent of the internet taking photos of yourself wasn’t really a thing. Friends would take photos of you, clubs would take photos of you, but would you take photos of yourself? Not really. Don’t get me wrong, there would be attention seekers in goth/alternative clubs who would always get their photos taken, but they were in the minority and usually thought of as uber goobers. I only have a few photos of myself from the 80’s and 90’s because I personally avoided people with cameras and I am okay with that. My hair was a mess most of the time and nobody needs to see that.

I have nothing against taking selfies of yourself, but what I do have a problem with are the people who manipulate their selfies to such a degree that it pushes an unrealistic standard of beauty. That is why I call this phenomenon the Kardashianization of the subculture, because younglings are doing the exact same thing as the Kardashians; posting photos of themselves that depict a fantasy rather than a reality. They create a ‘goth’ image of themselves that they think others will approve of, a judgement that will make them a ‘true goth’. I wish I was kidding about this, but I’m not.

Notice how this has nothing to do with the music of the goth subculture? They are basing their whole identity off of a dark aesthetic while listening to bands that are in no way goth at all. There is nothing the matter with loving different genres of music, but if you don’t like or listen to any actual goth music you aren’t a goth. An aesthetic does not a goth make.

The look that the modern wannabe ‘trad goths’ aspire to. How original.

For whatever reason many of these younglings are calling themselves ‘trad goths’. In their selfies they will have backcombed hair, Siouxsie clone make-up and at least one article of clothing that is fishnet in nature. To be included in their ranks you have to look like one another because that is how goths looked in the 80’s/90’s of course! Yes, I’m being sarcastic. Back in the late 80’s/early 90’s most of us didn’t look like that. I only ever saw that look at clubs, and it wasn’t done by a large amount of people. The most onerous aspect to all of this is that they will quite frequently lighten their face and blur it so much that their skin looks unreal, not a pore or realistic shadow to be seen. Again, how is this any different than what the Kardashians do on a regular basis?

Where do these younglings get these ideas from? The mainstream reporting of certain celebrities being goth because of them wearing black lipstick certainly doesn’t help at all. Many younglings think that they are automatically goth if they dress in black, not understanding that the subculture has always been centred upon the music. Material consumption is something that is encouraged in our society in general and these people buy into it and spend a ton of money to look like something that they really are not; a goth.

Don’t like being compared to the Kardashians? Then stop basing your identity on manipulated photos and how others perceive you. What you are doing is in no way original and the only people who will take you at all seriously will be the other people who also don’t know what they are on about. It’s a huge perpetuating circle jerk. This behaviour is in no way unique, in no way different as to how ‘normal’ society behaves and yet they will endlessly bitch and moan about how society sucks and how ‘normies’ are boring. All the while exhibiting the same exact behaviour as the people they supposedly dislike. What they are doing is not any different just because they are dressed in black and are wearing black lipstick.

When I see heavily manipulated photos in online goth communities I call them out because the only way this is ever going to change is if people speak out about it and challenge this behaviour. There are younglings out there that love goth music and yet they think they can’t be goth because they don’t look like said photos; they don’t have perfect white skin and they don’t have the money to buy clothes from a dark clothing site. I find this sad as all hell because the poseurs and wannabes who perpetuate this crap are stopping actual goth music fans from joining the subculture; blocking their way into it by means of selfie blurring tools and mum and dad’s money.

Instead of spending countless hours retouching and blurring the crap out of your selfies why not sit down and listen to some actual goth music. Don’t like being compared to vacuous ‘celebrities’ who have no discernable talent? Then be yourself instead of jumping on the goth train without paying your fare.

All of Lycia’s Digital Discography Is Up On Bandcamp for only $1.00

You read that correctly, all of Lycia’s digital discography is only $1.00. You can pay more of course, but if you are broke this is an insanely affordable way to purchase their music……and what music! For those of you who do not know they are an ethereal/darkwave band that has been creating music for about 30 years. Beautiful songs that transport you to somewhere dark and comforting. If you want to get into goth music this would be an excellent place to start.

A Lebanon Hannover Album That I actually Like? Sci-Fi Sky is good!

The song Come Kali Come off of their new album Sci-Fi Sky.

I have never been a huge Lebanon Hannover fan, mostly because their music usually sounds a bit like an 80’s video game soundtrack. However, on this new album they sound like a cross between The Virgin Prunes and Dead Can Dance. I can clearly hear the influence of both bands in this release and that can only be a good thing. I can even hear some Daniel Ash Love & Rockets style guitar playing.

Good on them for experimenting more with their sound instead of doing the same sound yet again. My respect for them has gone through the roof. There are people out there way better at reviewing albums than I am, but I can safely say that if you don’t like their earlier releases you will more than likely like this new one. Sci-fi Sky is available in a bunch of different editions on their Bandcamp page.

Don’t Listen To Actual Goth Bands And Call Yourself A Goth? That Would Make You A Poseur, Not A Goth.

How to pronounce the word poseur in case you don’t know already.

For years I have really disliked using the word ‘poseur’ because it would always end up being used against people who in no way deserved derision. However, given the climate that the goth subculture finds itself in right now, I really feel that the word needs to be used more often and with some intentional force.

There are many people right now who are calling themselves ‘goth’ even though they do not listen to the actual music at all. Most of the time they listen to rap/trap or metal music and think that just because they dress in black clothes that they are goth as hell. Nothing could be further from the truth. Angela Benedict put out a video the other day outlining why the overt sexualization and fetishization of goths is very bad and needs to be put to a stop. It is largely being perpetuated by sex workers, who are not in the subculture at all, playing goth dress-up and advertising their Only Fans accounts in actual goth spaces. She isn’t saying that sex workers are bad, just that they need to stop advertising their work within the actual goth community, because leg humpers then think that all goths are kinky and like rough sex. I totally agree with her.

In the comment section of Angela’s video somebody named Shino Tenshi took it upon themselves to state that goth is changing and that the subculture has got to accept it. I screen-saved all of their posts for posterity, so join me on a fun journey to poseurville. All aboard!

No, kids who don’t actually listen to goth music do not get a say when it comes to what is and is not accepted in the goth subculture. Why? Because they are not goth. Plus, these ‘sub-sub cultures’ that they are mentioning are the misused terms such as ‘trad’, ‘fairy’, ‘Victorian’, ‘vampire’, and ‘street’. Descriptors that were originally used as a joke in the 90’s. That’s right, if you use those terms you aren’t in on the joke and can be officially called a poseur. Trying to become a certain ‘type’ of goth to fit into the subculture instead of simply being yourself is sad and shows a lack of understanding as to what the subculture is about. It’s not all about how you dress, rather it is about actual goth music; goth rock, deathrock, ethereal, darkwave, and coldwave bands. Notice how rap/hip-hop, emo and metal are not on that list? It’s because those are not goth genres of music.

They respect the roots of the culture? Like hell they do. If they did then they would listen to actual goth music and not ’emo/goth/dark trap’ music. Hell, they don’t even know what music they are actually listening to! Those types of music are totally different from one another and are not related at all. Again, there is no such thing as ‘street goth’. Basically this person is wearing urban street wear, but because the items are black they think they can call themselves goth. That must mean nuns are goth because they also dress in black. No, we don’t not have to accept ‘deviations’ when they are not goth at all. Also, we don’t have to accept these poseurs into the subculture because they don’t listen to actual goth bands. This person has to deal with social stigmas because of the way they dress? Boo fucking hoo. Cry me a river. Some of us have been having to deal with it for thirty or forty years.

I thought they respected the roots of the culture? I guess not. If it is so terrible why the hell would they call themselves a goth then? Seriously, they are identifying with a subculture whose music they hate. To them goth is about fashion first, and the music is secondary. Music that is not goth at all. I would love to see this person go to an actual goth club and request their favourite ‘goth’ songs. I used to DJ and if somebody requested something like Lil Peep I would totally have a laugh about it because hell to the fucking no. It would be the type of thing I would share on social media the next day. Way to fucking go…poseur.

No, hun, you are also not ‘gothic’. That is unless you are a cathedral in Europe, so please correct me if I am wrong. No, goth is not just a ‘fashion statement’. See, this is what the person clearly doesn’t understand. They think that being goth is all about dressing in black and that the music is secondary. A person can be a goth if they don’t dress in black at all but listen to the actual music. If a person dresses in black, calls themselves a goth but doesn’t listen to goth rock, deathrock, ethereal, darkwave or coldwave music then they are a poseur. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it because it it simply the truth. It is not ‘gatekeeping’ to tell the truth. Listening to actual goth music is a very small hurdle to get over, and if people don’t want to do it then they deserve the poseur tag.

No, kid, you are not about to transform what goth is. Mostly because you have absolutely no say in the matter since you don’t listen to any actual goth music. Goth music sounds like ‘grandma’ music? Wow. This person is certainly out to win hearts and minds. So, everybody in the goth subculture dresses alike? Um…they would only think that if they only paid attention to the social media accounts of those who only dress in clothes made by dark alternative brands. These fashion victims think that dressing like a nu-goth witch automatically makes them a member of the goth subculture, when in fact it doesn’t. If they don’t listen to actual goth bands then that would make them poseurs. Again, it is not ‘gatekeeping’ to tell the truth.

As I stated above in my response to them it is perfectly okay to listen to other forms of music besides goth if you are a member of the goth subculture. However, that gets thrown out the window if you don’t listen to any actual goth bands at all. To call yourself a goth means that you listen to at least some goth music. You don’t even have to like all forms of it. You may just like deathrock or darkwave and that is perfectly okay. The people who think that they have to listen to only goth music are boring as hell and will probably drop out of the subculture sooner rather than later.

So, what can we learn from all of this? If you want to be a part of the goth subculture you have to listen to at least some actual goth bands. Metal, emo and rap/trap are not goth. Period. If you don’t listen to any goth bands and insist on calling yourself a goth then you are a poseur. Don’t want to be called a poseur? Then don’t call yourself a goth. The end.

Friends Don’t Let Friends Join A Modern Wannabe 80’s Post-Punk Band

The man, the myth, the legend.

First, let me start out by saying that I am not going to name a single wannabe 80’s modern post-punk band in this post. So, if you are looking for some spicy drama you ain’t going to find it here. If you are a person who has been trying to find new music in the modern post-punk genre you will know exactly what I am talking about. Same thing applies if you are trying to find good goth bands since the line between the genres is very blurred right now. Suffice it to say that this issue is very out in the open for anybody to easily observe.

In music there are always trend trains that some musicians want to jump on because they think it will bring them more attention. For the last few years the 1980’s have been very popular with teens and those who actually don’t remember the decade. It’s a nostalgia trip down memory lane based partially on the music that they think was popular at that time. Joy Division being featured on Stranger Things is a prime example of this. However, what these people don’t realise is that Joy Division actually wasn’t that well known back then. Chicks with huge perms and wearing neon workout gear were not Jazzercising to Joy Division. Trust me. I had a gym class back then that made us Jazzercise to Wham. Yeah, that’s right, most people back then listened to really corny pop music.

What these trend jumpers don’t understand is that not every single ‘post-punk’ band in the 80’s sounded the same. They weren’t all copying Joy Division and many had their own sound going on. Back then you could listen to the radio or a mix-tape and know what bands were being played just by their sound. Instead of trying to sound different from one another many of these modern self described ‘post-punk’ bands think that they have to lift Peter Hook’s bass riffs in order to be included in the genre. I am not saying that every single one of the modern post-punk bands does this, but enough do it to the point that it has become tedious having to wade through an endless number of clones to find bands that have the creativity to actually mix the now stereotypical sound with the music of other subgenres.

All of this has gotten the point in which people ask in online goth communities about how to start a post-punk band and how to copy the sound. I always tell people to create their own sound because there are way too many clone bands around right now. I think it takes a lot of creativity to start a band, however that creativity is thrown out of the window when the musicians in a band play the same bass and guitar riffs as Joy Division.

BE YOURSELF, NOT SOMEBODY THAT YOU THINK YOU HAVE TO BE IN ORDER TO ‘FIT IN’ !!!!! Screw fitting in. Screw music trends. Do you know what is going to happen? If the music industry tries to mainstream the goth subculture yet again I guarantee that they are going to sign these wannabe 80’s post-punk bands. Why? Because they are safe sounding and don’t challenge the listener in any way, shape or form. I was around in the SF Bay Area when pop-punk reared its ugly head, and tons of non threatening bands got signed to major labels. What is happening right now is very similar. Meaning that a more mainstream commercial type sound is being popularized and being promoted as being ‘different’ right now, when in fact it’s about as challenging as eating a bowl of cornflakes.

London After Midnight’s Response To The News That Promoter Of Cruel World Is Anti-LGBTQ

I put a link to my last blog post about this whole Cruel World fiasco on multiple band pages and so far London After Midnight has been the only one to respond. It was such a cringe filled response that I made sure to take screen shots of everything, Good thing I did because Sean Brennan, the singer, deleted my post and his responses to it. Does that sound like somebody who is scared that their shit attitude is going to be seen by a whole bunch of people in the goth community? It sure does!

So Phillip Anschutz is an insane bigot but you’ll play the show anyway? Yes, the homophobic prick owns AEG who in turn owns Goldenvoice. Guess what that means? The guy is at the top of a pyramid and all of the money made from festivals such as Cochella and Cruel World is filtered up to him. In the end he is responsible for what happens, so by agreeing to do such a festival you are saying that it’s okay for the top dog to be a homophobe. As long as you gain some fans and some money it’s all good! Right? By golly, don’t you have a set of priorities!

Awwwww………look at all of the whatabouts and gaslighting! I feel like I should give the first part of this response a dog biscuit and a pat on the head for being such a predictable little deflection! No hon, this isn’t about me or Facebook. Rather, it’s all about your shit priorities and your inability to say no to playing a festival that is put on by a known homophobe. That’s it. You are around fifty years old, right? I just turned fifty and through the years I have learned that supporting homophobic creeps is something that a person shouldn’t do, because right wing people will think that being anti-LGBTQ is perfectly fine in the goth/alternative community. Plus, supporting such a person is just plain wrong. It’s only impossible for you to avoid right-wing bigots when you agree to play shows that they promote.

Bullshit. I’ve had people tell me that you used to be very active on Myspace. So, trying to gain credibility by saying that you hate social media is flaccid at best. Here you go again with the whatabouts pointed towards Facebook. What are you going to do once you hit that stage? Complain about how the promoter is a homophobic piece of shit? I really doubt that, because you will be too scared of being banned from playing Goldenvoice shows and venues. How do I know that? By the very fact that your responses are riddled with deflections. Oh, let’s all get together and try to figure out how to fight this? Do you know what would be the first step towards a solution? You not playing the damn show! If you really gave a shit about the LGBTQ community you would refuse to play it. Full stop.

Well, that all folks! I am not going to tell you to like or dislike this band. Judge for yourself how this band has responded to this situation and come to your own conclusions.

The Reasons Why The 80’s Actually Kind Of Sucked

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.

Scene from the UK film Threads.

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.

Jello even wrote a song about the pervasive conformity.

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 BANDS AND 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.

You probably wouldn’t know who this band was back then if you had been around.

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.

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