Thursday, May 19, 2011

Where Have All the Diehards Gone?

I've been considering this for a while, and the more and more I think about it, the more and more it bothers me.  With the interbung and it's many, many treasures (i.e. easy stealing of music that isn't even out yet, news and fact gathering that makes being a metal nerd easy and fun, naked ladies, etc.), finding new music to nerd out to is fun and easy.  These days, if you don't want to ever listen to something twice, you don't have to, and it won't cost you even a red cent of your hard earned cash bucks, either.  Obscurity of a band means nothing, either; if you want to listen to them, all they have to have done is put up a recording somewhere and you can find it after you're done stroking your wang but before you pull your underwear back up, and nobody will say "Boo" to you unless your grandma is around or something.  And you really shouldn't be doing that in the living room of a shared living space anyway, bro.  It's gross.

As such, I would never dare say that there are no more metal nerds in the world; that would be ridiculous.  I myself am something of a metal nerd, and can tell you all sorts of not-very-interesting facts about obscure bands that I've never really listened to.  I'm sure that you could bombard me with the same kind of Trivial Pursuit-style knowledge and we could go back and forth until one of us finally slips up and says something about Celine Dion's twins or some shit, and then our corpsepaint would fall off and we'd have to acknowledge each other as Not So Grim That We Don't Know Anything About Regular-People Pop Culture.  But we aren't going to go there.  What I am saying, though, is that I see a very striking lack of Die Hard Fans these days.  Not fans of metal, but fans of BANDS.  Allow me to expound on this.

When I was in junior high and high school, nothing quite tickled me the way that Bad Religion did.  I loved Bad Religion, and I still do.  Most ungrim?  Perhaps, but I think my writeups about Dream Theater and my admission that I don't like Eyehategod should have tipped you off to that fact by now.  But I was a diehard Bad Religion fan.  I bought EVERYTHING that they had, and thought none of it sucked for the entire time that I was an active fan.  I even found virtue in their 1998 clunker No Substance and managed to fully ignore the shitty nature of the follow up, 2000's The New America.  I just pretended like The New America didn't exist. 

They were the best band in the world to me, and I didn't care what anybody said.

These days, though, the Interhole has taught us all to get bored with things very quickly and to be hyper critical of things that we like.  Have you ever heard the old phrase "I liked their old stuff," or "Their demo was better,"?  I'm sure that, like me, you've said those things a million times, but never before have those phrases been so beaten to death by media and the Kvlter-Than-Thou among us than today.  I hear it all the time when I talk to my br00tal br0z.  It goes like this:

Me: "Have you heard the new [band that is frightening to common folks] album?"

Bro: "Yeah.  It was really boring.  I like their older stuff, but this one just didn't stick with me.  I'm really into [more obscure band with a weird gimmick/dumb name/guitar player from a different obscure band with these qualities].  You should really hear it.  It's so good."

Me: "I like to be in the loop with obscurity.  Hit me with it."

[We listen to a recording that sounds like it was recorded by me when I was in high school, on four-track audio cassette recording rig with one room mic]

Me: "I have no idea what that was."

Bro: "It's so good.  Did you hear that riff?"

Me: "No."

And so forth.

Invariably, after about a week, my major bro has moved on to the next thing that he's into, having expended as much energy as he's capable of listening to some obscure band whose riffs you can't hear because of the Neanderthal recording.  Poor technical skills also contribute to this, but I'm on a tangent here.

What I'm really trying to ask: "Is there anybody who likes a band to such an extent that they will purchase everything by that band without having listened to it prior?"

Where have all the diehards gone?

I still fancy myself to be something of a diehard fan of certain bands that exist.  I own everything by Trap Them, most of it bought directly from Brian Izzi at their merch booth at either Emo's or Red 7 here in Austin.  I have 5 (!) CD's, legally purchased, having listened to none of them prior to purchase, and have bought 5 shirts, a sweet trucker hat, and a Seizures in Barren Praise poster that I forced all of the band members to sign.  None of their albums/EP's are boring to me, and they're all amazing in their own way.  I purchase every Intronaut album at a record store the day that they release (this started around the time of The Challenger), and it's only through sheer bad luck and poor timing on my part that I missed the last two times they came through my area.  The same goes with Protest the Hero, whose albums I buy the day they come out without listening to the leaks first because I know that I'm going to get gay all over them.

And there are a few others who are building themselves up to be this way for me, too, including Anaal Nathrakh, Black Breath, Rotten Sound, and GridLink.

What I want to know is, what kind of music are you a diehard fan of?  I am dying to know if anybody out there still has a stable of bands that every album tickles their metalbone on the underside--where it's most sensitive--every time?  I feel that there's a sore lack of that kind of fanhood these days, especially when it's popular and expected that everyone be hypercritical of everything that comes their way.

I don't mean to demean everybody and look down on the way they listen to music.  I mean, everybody but me does it wrong, that's a given and a scientifically proven fact, but I'm not saying that I'm better than you.  I mean, I am, but...

I don't know how to finish that sentence.

Somebody tell me that they have those bands still, too.  Do it in the comments.


  1. You're right on broheim. I'm not saying that people necessarily SHOULD blindly follow a band but it's kinda weird that less people are. Too many choices are available and that makes getting invested in something harder.

    I will buy anything that Opeth, The Mars Volta, Tom Waits, Charlie Hunter, or Meshuggah put out without knowing anything about it. Oh, Opeth is doing an all Lady Gaga cover double disc? Where do I preorder?

  2. Dillinger Escape Plan, Gojira and Church Of Misery are undeniably consistently great. Easy first day purchases.

    Would have said ANB but the latest split was unfortunately average.

  3. I understand exactly. I still download all of my music first, but if it's awesome I go and track it down and buy the damn thing.

    I have a list of bands who I always support no matter what (guess that makes me a die hard eh?), my varsity/starting roster of metal bands who will always force me to buy special edition CDs, concert tickets (even when they are stuck on a shitty opening spot), multiple t-shirts, hoodies, hats, home videos/DVDs and sometimes, even live albums!

    don't worry man. you arent totally alone/insane.