To all the haters who call Lorde awkward, weird, or unusual: Go back and watch her performance, any performance, and take a second look at what makes her a really fascinating artist. Continue reading Lorde may be a picture perfect performer
Sometimes we come across an artist who is not only beautiful as a person, but also as a musician. And sometimes those artists struggle with various things, including addiction. One of those artists was Cory Monteith: star on Glee, but who I knew as the talented drummer for Bonnie Dune.
I heard of this band many years ago while I was in high school. I knew some of the people who were in the band. Years passed, and I heard of them again, this time with a new drummer, one many people recognized for his vocal and acting skills on television. My friend’s band The Honey Trees was opening up for Bonnie Dune, so I decided to go. After their set it was Bonnie Dune’s turn. I instantly fell in love with the amazing harmonies, the vocals, and the way all the instruments came together so beautifully, you felt yourself plucked out of where you were, out of everything that was going wrong or worrying you, and out in the middle of a story. It was only you and the band. That’s how those artists made you feel, Cory included.
After the show, he came out to sign autographs and take photos. I knew I had to meet him. When it was my turn, I looked at him and I said “You were phenomenal. I know a lot of musicians, I’ve known every drummer this band has had. You were amazing. You played beautifully. I just had to say that you’re a great drummer. ” He looked at me, with genuine eyes and an authentic smile, and said “thank you”. We took our photo then I left.
Years passed, and I heard of him entering rehab for drug and alcohol addiction. I heard a lot of negativity about this and I thought of musicians, artists, actors, and other people who have gone through similar. Imagine yourself going through the pressure of what they deal with. It’s not so easy. Addiction is a disease. There are artists who can push through it such as Russell Brand, and some that even after trying so hard, just can’t, such as Amy Winehouse, Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin.
Months later, I heard of his passing. Heroin and alcohol is what they said. I am brought back to my good friend, an amazing musician as well, who died from an overdose just months before Cory passed; and it all seems real again. I break down. I think of his band mates, friends, loved ones and family. I break down for a bit and it’s hard.
People talk about the actor and celebrity factor of it all, but others have come to forget he was a musician as well. This was someone whose drumming could calm the most panicked hearts. I cry to think we will never hear it live again. We are just left with his memory, the recordings, and photographs. This amazing musician, gone too soon. This amazing artist, we will always miss.
Addiction is real and it affects millions around the world daily. If you or anyone you know is affected by this, talk to them. Talk to someone. Get help. Music culture is a family, and we are here to help.
By Toni Rivera
Each week, TheIndieSD.com would like to feature your true and personal stories about meeting your favorite musician. Indie bands have some of the most social and outgoing musicians, and many times people have been given the chance to speak with them after shows, take photos, and simply discuss how their music has touched our lives! If you want to share a story about meeting your favorite indie artists, let us know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and it could be featured on the site!
Say that five times fast! Or, you could debate on the common themes of “I don’t want to grow up” and “You can’t make me become an adult” — both of which are predominantly explored all throughout the pop punk genre.
I have a theory that certain music genres carry certain emotional themes. Dance music is probably the most straight-forward example of this. If you’re going to be dancing, you should probably be dancing to songs that sing about parties, nightlife, bottles, VIP service and other things associated with living life like there’s no such thing as daylight. It’s almost like being on a dance floor with your very own soundtrack playing in the background. And that’s because, if you don’t feel like the most important party goer ever when you’re listening to the latest Electro hit, then they’re probably not doing their job correctly.
On a more complex level, the same is seen with earlier genres of music, such as hymns. They served a very specific purpose of being able to communicate scripture to church patrons in a way that was musical (and thus very easy to memorize). Furthermore, Blues is one of those genres that not only has very specific moods and emotions behind it, but it was also named solely after that mood! (“You’ve got the blues” becomes a commonplace description of life, not just a type of music.)
Getting back to the point at hand, pop punk does the same as its musical genre brethren. You commonly find what I like to call the Peter Pan Pop Punk Situation, or PPP…PS for short. I’m still working on the name. The idea is that pop punk represents a supreme belief in being young forever. No rules, no authority. No adult life situations. All adventure, all the time.
Even sad and mature themes in pop punk music have a “Oh well, that’s life and I won’t let it get me down or change me” vibe to it. Pop punk kings Blink-182 dive into the subject of broken homes in their song “Stay Together For the Kids”, which is surprisingly sung from the child’s perspective — even though at the time of its release, singers Mark Hoppus and Tom Delonge were both married and later became fathers that year.
My most recent example and admiration is State Champs, whose lyrics are associated to the everyday angsty, uncertain, and adventurous aspects of young adult life. A Tumblr search of the band will find lyrics about everything from heartache to sheer defiance, such as:
“So they say, there are shades of grey in a lifetime. If that is so, I’ll let you know that I am looking on the bright side.”
and in another song,
“We’re growing up, but I’ll stay young, even if it kills me.”
Lyrics that would make Peter Pan very proud, indeed.
Recently resurrected punk act New Found Glory has shown that they still yearn for the “We will never grow up” and the “We will never fall in love” ideals that first skyrocketed the band back in the 90s. They’ve built a heavy repertoire of heartbreak songs and yet few of these songs will actually break your heart. New Found Glory’s approach to bad relationships is very relatable to a young adult or a teen, as they take a “Oh well, I’ll move on” approach to relationships — something that we often tend to do as we get old enough to want independence, but still young enough to not worry about finding Mr. or Mrs. Right.
It’s lyrics like these that keep that youth spirit alive, and one of the reasons why pop punk can be inspiring and revitalizing. We listen to a lot of music not because we can relate to the lyrics at that exact moment in our lives, but because music is simply the soundtrack to our lives. We are attracted to the songs that embody all the emotions with which we’re already all too familiar. Whether that feeling is nostalgic to a time when we were young and alive! Or whether that feeling is the hope of finding a love that won’t shatter our hearts.
So, despite having a mainstream career that can be compared to the very short-lived and short-loved nu metal, why is pop punk still so popular? Musical vets like New Found Glory prove that you can continue in this genre, based merely on the dedication of its fans. (They even launched a “Pop Punk’s Not Dead” tour back in 2010!) My theory relies on that young-at-heart stance that this genre always pulls out. Its fans will always listen, because they will always be able to relate to that feeling of living life to the fullest with little to no regrets, no matter what age. Or as State Champs say in their single “We Are the Brave”: “Well these days are only getting longer, when everyday we’re only getting stronger.” Stronger, indeed.
If you want to see and feel these lyrics for yourself, State Champs is now on tour with New Found Glory and Cartel, and will be opening up for NFG at the House of Blues, San Diego this Friday. Check out this link for tickets and info.
For those of you who have ever wondered what it would be like to have your own site dedicated to the music scene of San Diego, I have one word for you: Exhausting! That’s the first word that comes to mind, but trust me, that’s not the only one. I can also say that this site is fun, inspirational, and even downright surprising at times. Through hard work and dedication one can get so much done, and see so many things, and I’ve definitely done that over the year.
But there’s a problem. There’s a big stain on my site lately and I’ve been totally lacking in elbow grease. Let’s say that my inspiration is the elbow grease — so you get my drift. I got too roped up in all the opportunities that this site brought about and I worried too much about pleasing everyone else. I realized that at the end of the day this is MY project, and thus I have to start thinking of it in that way.
I thought long and hard about all of the things that bring me inspiration, and I thought about all of the articles I have posted on the site over the course of the past year. Yes, it will be a year on November 21st, since I created my dot com. I know it’s a little too soon for New Years-like nostalgia, but just stick with me for a moment. I thought back and I realized that I had the most fun, the most inspiration, while working on two projects. The first was a piece I did on my friend’s project, Immovable Objects. I sat in the studio with Matt Gagin and his friends, and I learned so much. I witnessed their dedication and talent, and I got to dive right into their musical world. It was enlightening to be let in on such a process.
The second thing was the shortly famous Streetside Sessions. My most views ever on this site came the day after I posted that video. I remember I could hardly contain myself, as I kept having to push back its debut date on the site. I just wanted to share it already! Not only that, but being on the streets of Bankers Hill, listening to a San Diego musician play their songs for their entire neighborhood to hear, was magical. I watched people come out of their balconies to sip a cup of coffee and just listen and admire. I watched passerbys stop to ask insightful questions, and one person even offered a tip! To say that the project was a success would be a severe understatement.
Those were my two favorite moments of theIndie SD, ever. Now I invite you all to help me turn over a new leaf.
Help me help musicians, local musicians, people who want to share their music on a street corner, or conduct an impromptu concert in a park. People who want to genuinely share their love for creation and art. Tell me which bands you think should be a part of something like this. I seriously want to know.
And more so than that, tell me what you want to see on a local music site. What do you not want to see? What kinds of things have you always wanted to do with the San Diego music scene? I know it sounds like I’m just stealing your ideas, but what I want is everyone to have the chance to be a part of this. Music is a community event. It’s something to be shared and experienced, whether you play an instrument or not, whether you sing like an angel or croak like a frog. Consider all of you guys and gals, all of you out there reading this, cordially invited to be a part of it. Come into studios. Sit down with others and learn about their music. Head bang at local music shows. And yes, listen to some great, amazing musicians, playing on the streets of San Diego.
Because at the end of the day, I get absolutely nothing out of this site, no money, no fame, nothing — except fun. I’m profiting off of inspiration. And I want to share the profits with all of you. Here are more than a few ways to reach me, there’s also a comment form, and please don’t be shy! This isn’t just my music scene. It’s all of ours. And we all get to be a part of this creative process, don’t we?