Tuesday, 9 December 2008

The Future is Fugazi

Last week we went on tour with Selfish Cunt, one of my most favourite bands ever. I have been saying for a long time that Selfish Cunt will go down in history as being the band that influenced and inspired a million other bands to start up. They inspired me and countless other bands that have become part of the new emerging London 'scene'. As much as people try to deny it, there seems to be something in the air or people are certainly telling me there is something in the air - journalists, music industry people and music fans. The only people that seem reluctant to accept this are the actual bands that are being talked about. Why? Because all we care about is writing, rehearsing and gigging and that's really all we have time for as we are so busy doing this constantly. That's our world and what we do. We can't even afford to buy the magazines we're in, let alone sit there and have self-important discussions about who should do or say what next.

On a long, long journey from Manchester to Cardiff last week, we decided to watch a documentary on Fugazi as Heathers and No Country For Old Men weren't really cutting it. Sitting in the tour van with the SC boys and watching the documentary together was astounding.

Fugazi are a hugely influential Washington punk band who emerged after the demise of another seminal punk band of which Fugazi's Ian Mackaye used to front, Minor Threat. They are known for being an ethical, straight edge band through their lifestyles and views on keeping ticket prices low and affordable, not selling merchandise and releasing all their music through their own very successful Dischord label. However what inspired us most, was watching their full-on, passionate live performances. That band literally played their guts out each time they went on stage. They gave their audience EVERYTHING.

This reminded me of an earlier discussion we had with Martin SC about current London audiences. No one moves. Ever. The first gig I went to was seeing Belly at Newcastle Students' Union. Belly are not a wild, raucous punk band but the first thing that struck me at the gig was not their music but the Doc Marten of a mad student crowd-surfing and accidentally kicking me in the head. Moshing and other stage diving antics continued from the crowd for Belly's entire set. Even when I first went to Reading Festival, I stood at the front for every band until my toes had been stamped on 100 times and my hair was all over the place. For me, music was not just about bedroom listening but equally about getting involved in the gigs and MOVING...

I've noticed more and more in the last year that London audiences are getting more and more withdrawn....self conscious in a way. I don't understand why. Why are people afraid to let themselves go? We played a cramped, dark studio for our EP launch and the only people really moving were us. It's hard to give so much energy and passion each time just to receive claps and maybe a cheer. Come on people! Show yourselves! Throw yourself into music if that's what you love. Why bother going to gigs if you're just going to stand at the back and keep a look-out for when the toilet queue is quiet?!

I don't know...these days are never going to come back again and I just wish people would do what they want to and not be so damn aware of what they look like or what people are going to think. That attitude is just so uninspiring.

Before you head out to a gig to watch or perform just think of the video below and utter 'Fugazi' and hopefully that'll put a spring in your step....


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