At first I was all wide eyed and amazed at everything I was seeing. But the longer I was in the punk “scene” in a big city, the more I started seeing the internal drama happening. Punks not liking other punks because they weren’t “real” enough. Bands hating other bands because they were too popular. Punks hating the poseurs who just got into the punk “scene.” This always confused me, even as a 17 year old. I knew that when I first learned about punk, I dressed as a typical 90’s skater. I went to these small back yard shows in PA and was treated as an equal, everyone was there to see the bands. No one was judging me because of how I dressed or because I was just learning about punk rock. This whole internal battles killed the punk rock “scene” to me. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying Punk Rock is dead. I just mean that it changed, when people stopped enjoying the music and decided to fight about it, they were slowly killing it. Every time I go to watch some old punk rock videos on youtube the comment section is always a battlefield of negative comments. People are still fighting over what is cool and what isn’t . It really makes me sad. Why not just enjoy the music, if you don’t like a band don’t listen to them. It doesn’t mean you have to go and tell everyone they suck or start an argument with everyone that likes that band.
Flash to the present… Here I am 15 years later, all grown up with a wife and kids. I still listen to a lot of punk but mostly I listen to what I call Underground Country or
. There are lots of names for it Alt-Country, Cow Punk, Po Dunk, the list goes on and on. It is, just as punk rock was, a small “scene.” But it is growing, that makes me happy. I would like to see bands be able to make some actual money from the music. But I guess is is making a lot of people angry, like really fucking angry. I am seeing fans, bands, and labels talking shit about each other. People calling others poseurs for just getting into the music. People getting mad about new labels that are going to support the underground “scene.” People pissed off at bloggers and podcasters for not writing or playing the right stuff. This all sounds so familiar… Oh yeah, I just wrote about all thing happening to the punk rock scene. See, a good many of us that are listening to this style of music are old punk rockers and if you aren’t you got a short description in the above paragraph. We should know better, it was us that killed the punk rock “scene” by fighting with each other instead of just enjoying the music. We really should know better. Hell I even hear people saying that the new people, bands and labels getting into the “scene” are going to destroy it because it is going to get too big like punk rock. Getting big isn’t what killed punk rock, look back and think. There always needs to be new fans, bands and labels to keep a music “scene” moving forward, if not it will die. When you write music, you want people to hear it. So why do people think they have to hate a band that has too many fans. “That band is a sellout” is what I hear all the time. They didn’t change to become more popular. Fans came to them to hear their sound. Which is exactly what you want when you start making music. Not every band is going to fit your taste and and that is ok. Instead of taking time out of your life to bash a band you don’t like why not post a video of a band you do like. Help good bands get more fans. That is what I want to do. Americana
-- Hobohiatus from the post Underground Country/Americana
I really identified with this on a few levels. First, I was someone that got into the punk/underground scene in high school in a small town where the scene was very accepting of people and was then turned off by the in-fighting that I witnessed in the scene throughout the years. Second, as an older adult I have also really gotten alt country/Americana music, but I have yet to experience this same type of in-fighting. In fact I have felt more welcomed and at home with these bands than I have in a very long time. But for me, I don’t really see distinct lines between punk and alt country and college rock. Sure I use these terms to describe different bands and their music but that is more to help give folks a frame of reference because honestly at the end of the day, it’s all rock ‘n’ roll music.
Hopefully the alt country scene won’t devolve like the punk scene has, but I’m sure that will depend on the success of alt country artists. If at some point an alt country band (or a band with alt country tendencies/leanings) becomes huge then I’m sure things will change in the scene but I’m hoping that this scene will never get to that point. Not that I don’t want the artists to do well, because lord knows that I do. I just hope that there isn’t an alt country equivalent to Green Day in the foreseeable future. To me this kind of music isn’t as geared for mainstream success as pop punk was/is. Yes these songs are catchy and fun but they are also gritty and, for lack of a better term, dirty and those are characteristics that play well with top 40 or mainstream rock radio. (Side note that all having been said, I could totally see The Gaslight Anthem become huge in the near future. Not that they are an alt country band but they do appeal to the same types of fans as bands like Lucero and Drag the River.)