Patrick Shannon of All Else Failed has returned, with his second installment of his exclusive column, “Hilarity Ensues.” This week, Patrick tackles a topic a lot of us older dudes will surely relate to: being a dismissive curmudgeon.
My buddy Rono works at the bar I used to be a door guy at. I think our tenures may have even overlapped, despite mine being as brief as it was.
Turns out carding college kids trying to sneak in to Blues Traveler shows while fighting off cougars isn’t nearly as fun as I had thought it would be, despite the hilarity of a morbidly obese buffoon throwing a temper tantrum at his band after the set. Not even the roadies for Sick Puppies acting like they were slinging gear for Led Zep circa ‘73 could crack me up anymore; time to move on.
Anyway, Rono is a young buck, hired on to run food up from the tragically misplaced kitchen. I still frequent the joint, so when he brings me my trio fries, we often end up talking about heavy music.
Rono will tell me about a new band, usually the one of which he is sporting a pastel neon abortion looking T-shirt, fawning over them as though they are reinventing the auto-tuned wheel. Because I am old and fairly drunk by this point, I babble some nonsense about Deadguy or Shellac or Godflesh that usually falls on disinterested ears.
How quickly I have become the stereotypical curmudgeon, forced to defend my far superior tastes against the blissful ignorance of youth.
Unfortunately, I know the truth: my tastes aren’t far superior. Yes, I will always prefer the raw production and legendary innovation of the early days of “metalcore” (when it actually had elements of metal and hardcore, as opposed to the full on metal of today that somehow retains the “core” suffix). In reality, I remember old heads (or should I say, at least one very angry drunk skinhead) telling me Deadguy weren’t shit when they first hit the scene, despite my being so blown away by them I almost stopped trying to do a band.
We played with Bloodlet to empty venues. Guys from the late 80’s would shit all over Turmoil. The truth is that the music you hear when you are young becomes what you are passionate about, and it is difficult to relate to a genre that specializes in abrasiveness once your own glory days have passed. Just as the older heads that openly dismissed the bands I loved, including All Else Failed, I feel inclined to immediately dismiss anything from roughly 2007 on, and I desperately don’t want to be that dude.
So I’m not going to be. From now on (couldn’t bring myself to say from “this day forward”), I am going to attempt to be more positive with Rono.
I’m fairly certain I won’t be able to keep from an occasional suggestion, but if he is bending my ear about some new jacks that are making him get his two-step on, well, that band is his to enjoy in the best time of his life to enjoy them, and not mine to disrespect or dismiss in any way. For what it’s worth, on the hardcore side of things there are tons of great newer bands, and I will even occasionally check out a “metalcore” band I learned of from Rono (or his shirt) and (sort of) “get” what they are all about. Old cohorts may deny me for this, but I’m going to keep it real: I like what I’ve heard of [the band who shall not be named on Gun Shy Assassin]. I feel better already.
And for fuck’s sake, at least it’s not Blues Traveler.