No living person on this planet really has it “all together.” That is a statement I’m certain of. We all float around in our lives just barely hiding a complete mess of a human being. Yes, some are better at it than others, but they’re probably the ones that go home and chew on their sofas with tears streaming down their face while blocking out thoughts of suicide and/or homicide. Literally, everyone you see in public are nervous wrecks with vibrating hearts and the darting eyes of a weasel stuck in a bear trap. The know-it-all crust punk, the Abercrombie model, the oh-so hip hipster, the Trekkie, the newly-weds with plastered on smiles, the boss, the manager, the vegan, the hunter, the gym addict, the life of the party, the guitarist of that band, the apathetic bartender, the homeless, the compassionate protester, the driver with “NRA” and “George ‘04” bumper stickers, the soldier, the record label owner, the teacher, the professor, the governor, the senator, the president, the American; all of them are an open wound with a shiny Band Aid struggling to hold on to slippery skin. Whether they know it or not, they don’t have a damn thing “together.” If a person has any sense in their head, they’re a fucking mess. If you have any kind of intelligence, you want to scream blood.
This is the kind of paragraph I’d repeat to myself every day regardless of what kind of life I’d be living. The reality is that I’m going to be 29-years-old in two weeks. I have a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Hampshire and an IQ of 137. I deliver pizza for money and live with my parents so I can devote all my time and energy to playing in the_network. And, yes, I too am a shaky pile of nerves behind an ill made costume of normalcy. If I had tried to start some horrific career right after college or gotten married and had kids or went to graduate school or became a vigilante or a serial killer, I’d still have to repeat the above paragraph to myself every morning. I’d still have to tell myself that life isn’t what you want it to be, life is what it is. This could all be some sickening pre-birthday, soul searching bullshit that would otherwise make me simultaneously laugh and puke, but it is necessary and true. No matter what life choices we make, reality is always going to confront us with situations that will force us to evaluate the entire world and our role in it, so why not do whatever the fuck we want.
Being in a band offers plenty of situations that will force a person to look far too deeply inward. If you’re in a band, you know what I’m talking about. When you’re in a van (the band bought themselves) literally all day only to lug out all your equipment and play in front of five people in the middle of the fucking country, you get to thinking. This is happening every day to bands that are really good. I mean, I think my band is relatively good (if you don’t like your own band, quit) and we’ve played numerous horrible shows with many bands that I know are good. And I guarantee that every shitty show an amazing band plays, there’s some huge tour package with three or four equally well known bands stopping somewhere within a hundred mile radius. This has gone past a minor annoyance to a full-fledged epidemic in the extreme music scene.
Only a few years ago, one or two big bands would actually tour with one or two less well known but great bands, and those smaller bands would get the attention they deserve. Now, it’s a little different. I mean, how many times do we see some tour with The Red Chord, Despised Icon, A Life Once Lost, and Through the Eyes of the Dead? Or maybe The Dillinger Escape Plan, Every Time I Die, Converge, and The Locust? Maybe Since the Flood just decided to help out Full Blown Chaos. (I’m not saying these tours have or are happening, but just using examples with well known bands.) Are A Life Once Lost and The Red Chord still both in dire need of gaining more attention? Is Despised Icon finally getting a break? Is someone going to go to a Dillinger show and just discover Every Time I Die? Fuck no. About ten of these tours happen a year and dozens of smaller ones have to spend weeks just eating gas money. What maniacal capitalists are booking these tours? When did Rockefeller and William Randolph Hearst start booking shows? I’m sure there’s some tiring explanation for all this and maybe I’m being naïve or bitter, but the reality of the situation is worth discussion.
For every sold out show full of kids buying their second or third Suicide Silence shirt across the country, there’s most likely an amazing band like Blues or Graf Orlock playing in front of 10 jaded guys or eight broke kids in some VFW a few miles away. And while Blues is hemorrhaging money on gas and sleeping on top of each other in a Wal-Mart parking lot after eating dry Ramen noodles, fucking Born of Osiris is trying to decide whether to go to Chili’s before or after they get their two rooms at the Holiday Inn. What the fuck happened?
There’s enough fans, attention, and, unfortunately, money to go around. All I’m saying is: let’s even the playing field. If the extreme music scene is going to be built up with the same capitalist attention paid to a game of Jenga, then it is time for the tower to crumble all over the fucking kitchen table. All I’m saying is give me one day when I don’t have to repeat the first paragraph of this rant to myself. Give me one day where I don’t have to force myself to look through everyone’s bullshit façade. Give me one day where I can tell myself that everyone around me is happy, well-rounded, and honest so I can get a gun and blow my fucking brains out.